Barton Hills Village, Michigan

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November 13, 2006




November 13, 2006

The meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) was called to order by President Laporte at 6:03 PM at the Village Hall.

ROLL CALL Present: Trustees Al-Awar, Boddie, Bogat, Butterwick, Laporte, Lindstrom, MacKrell, Perry and Wilkes. Absent: None.

Others attending: Atty. Reading, Asst. Treas. Redies, Supt. Esch, resident Zaki Alawi and architect Charles Bultman.


Ms. Laporte opened discussion on this application for variance (postponed from the October 16, 2006 BZA meeting) by referring to the letter received from the applicant requesting further postponement until December 2006. Mr. Bultman introduced Mr. Alawi, stating that he and his client desired to have an understanding of how much land the new home could occupy before investing a great deal of time and emotional energy in the project. Ms. Laporte added that the applicant’s position was clearly presented in his letter, and that the position of the BZA should also be presented, namely that the board bears the responsibility of establishing rationale for granting variances and has the right to impose conditions if needed. Comments from the October 16, 2006 Public Hearing indicated concerns about height, mass and visual impact of the proposed home, as well as concern for not obstructing neighbors’ views of Barton Pond. The point was raised that such items are the responsibility of Barton Hills Maintenance Corporation (BHMC), to which Ms. Laporte responded by reading from the BHV Zoning Ordinance (Sec. 10.05)

In authorizing a variance or exception, the Board may, in addition to the specific conditions

of approval called for in this Ordinance, attach thereto such other conditions regarding the

location, character, landscaping or treatment reasonably necessary to the furtherance of

the intent and spirit of this Ordinance and the protection of the public interest.

She felt it was the desire of the board to cooperate with the owner in creating a harmonious neighborhood and that the board was not required to but was allowed to attach conditions if doing so would help to reach the goal. Other board comment included:

--Perhaps a model indicating general mass of the project without architectural detail would be helpful. A model is required for BHMC review eventually.

--The board could indicate parameters, such as no more than “x” amount of feet in width.

--There is no point in further postponement if there is no new information. The board needs to state clearly what is expected so there is progress before the next meeting.

--The lot itself is non-conforming (less than the 1 acre required by the Zoning Ordinance Sec. 5.03(a)). Care must be taken in granting variances to avoid filling the lot up with too much structure.

--With other projects the board has requested further information. This is a big project and the request seems reasonable.

--The homeowner shouldn’t be overburdened with restrictions, but more information is needed to see basically what the home will be like in size and scale.

--The standard is practical difficulty, which may exist for the current structure but may not exist for another structure, depending on how it is designed. The reason for granting the variance has to be stated in terms of the identified practical difficulty.

Mr. Bultman showed a drawing of the lot and existing house, demonstrating the effect of building something new entirely in the current set backs. Such a building would be long and narrow and would obstruct views; it would be legally acceptable but not in keeping with the character of the neighborhood. The design would also have to consider what amount of land is necessary to provide a safe working area for the construction employees. Discussion was ended to vote on the motion proposed.

Motion Mrs. MacKrell moved to postpone consideration of the application for variance submitted by Mr. Zaki Alawi of 320 Juniper Lane until the December 11, 2006 meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals. Mr. Boddie seconded; the motion carried with Mr. Lindstrom voting no.

Motion Mr. Boddie moved that the minutes of the October 16, 2006 BZA meeting be approved with the following correction:

Page 1, paragraph 3 Public Hearing, line 15: “…the lot is about 1/3 of an acre and that about 1/3½ of that is buildable…”

Mr. Butterwick seconded; the motion carried.

The meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals was adjourned at 6:35 PM.

Jan Esch, Assistant Clerk     Approved 12/11/06