View Agenda for this Meeting






The Meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m., with Chairman Harrington presiding.


Present Members Bauer, Harrington, Reinke, Fannon, Brennan and Sanghvi

Also Present Donald Saven Ė Building Official

Sarah Marchioni - Recording Secretary

Tamara Buswinka Ė Staff Planner


The Zoning Board of Appeals is a hearing board empowered by the City Charter to hear appeals seeking variances from the application of the Novi Zoning Ordinance. It takes a vote of at least four members to approve a variance request and a vote of the majority of the members present to deny a variance. A full Board consists of six members. Since there is a full Board any decisions made will be final.


Chairman Harrington indicated that there are eight (8) cases on the agenda. Case No. 00-008 has been tabled to the next regularly scheduled meeting. Are there any other changes to the agenda? Hearing none, all in favor to approve the agenda, please say aye. All ayes. Agenda approved.


Chairman Harrington indicated that there are minutes from March 7, 2000. Are there any changes or corrections to the minutes? Hearing none, all in favor say aye. All ayes. Minutes approved as written.


Chairman Harrington indicated that since there are no hands we would move onto the first case.

1) Case No. 00-010 filed by Wayne Henry, 1939 West Lake Drive

Wayne Henry is wishing to remove and rebuild the second floor of his home and construct a new detached garage, located at 1939 West Lake Drive.

Wayne Henry was present and duly sworn in.

Wayne Henry: I am sure that everyone is aware of how much is being done around the lake at the north end as far as improving the properties and I would like to be part of that. I would like to tear down and rebuild the second story that would allow me to have a three-(3) bedroom home. It would also upgrade the house in general by providing a new exterior. It would not move me any closer to the lot line than the existing house. As you can see in the survey, I am over twenty (20) feet from each house on the two sides. There would have been room on a forty five (45) foot lot to have placed that house so it wouldnít have encroached on that ten (10) yard setback but the house was built before the Ordinances were in place. The builder tried to center the home between the two adjacent homes as opposed to centering it on the property. I would need this variance due to the lot configuration and the placement of the existing house on the lot. The first page of the survey shows that the house is 15.3 feet from one lot line and 7.3 feet from the other side. So that is where I am requesting the 2.7 foot variance.

Wayne Henry: In addition, I would like to tear down and rebuild the garage as opposed to just putting in a new roof and siding. The lot configuration doesnít allow placement of a garage to meet all four (4) setbacks. The proposed new garage would be further from the road than the existing garage. The nearest point would be 15.8 feet, which was the reason for the request for the 14. 2 front yard setback variance. I would like to keep it at the existing distance from the side lot, which is 4.6 feet. By leaving it at the existing location it would enable me to make the garage a more functional width, as I have on the diagram it would be 21.4 feet wide. That would still keep me from covering up my back door that comes right alongside the existing sidewalk and would not be in front of the stairs or the backdoor. It would also allow for parking alongside the side of the garage. I know that one of the concerns at this end of the city is the parking of the vehicles on the road. If that side yard variance was not granted it would mean that I would have to limit the width to twenty (20) feet. I understand that a twenty (20) foot garage probably isnít real bad but my existing garage is 18.7 feet wide. So I would be tearing down my old garage and building a new garage to make it 1.3 feet wider. I donít think that that makes economic sense. My other choice if you didnít grant the variance, would be to still make the wider garage and have it be in front of the stairs and back door.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-five (25) notices sent to neighbors and there were three (3) approvals and no objections.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: Where are you going to put the entrance to the garage?

Wayne Henry: West Lake Road.

Member Sanghvi: If I understand correctly you are just pushing the garage backward towards your home, correct?

Wayne Henry: That is correct.

Member Brennan: We typically havenít had a lot of objection to renovations of homes in the north end. Given that this addition on the home is straight up to the existing lot lines then I donít have a problem with that. I donít think that it is overwhelming to go to the minor additional width and depth for the benefit of getting it off the road. I have no problem with either of the requests.

Member Fannon: I think that moving the garage off of the road is a great idea so I have no objections to the variance.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Bauer,


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried


2) Case No. 00-011 filed by Timothy Herrington of Keford Collision

Timothy Herrington of Keford Collision is requesting a variance for a change in a non-conforming wall sign, located at 39586 Grand River.

Tom Herrington was present and duly sworn in.

Tom Herrington: The sign that we are talking about was originally a sign that said "Family Dentistry" on the front of the building. Recently, the dentist moved out of the area and we were able to take over that office space. For the past twenty years, we have operated from the side of the building and customers were used to coming into the side of the building. When we moved our offices to the front we found customers walking through the shop area now looking for the office. Even though there are signs on the side doors that are pointing to where the office is up front there is still confusion. Especially since there are twelve (12) doors and employees cars parked there. When the insert in the sign was replaced it seemed to cure the problem of customers walking into the shop area. We were unaware that we had to get a variance in order to change the insert to this existing sign. We just had so many customers walking through the shop area where there is painting and other hazardous activities.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were ten (10) notices sent to neighbors and there were two (2) approvals and no objections.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: This was one of the business center operations where the Board had approved the ground pole sign in front at a previous meeting. The family dentistry operation had moved out and Keford changed the sign by putting their name on the sign. They do have another sign on the building towards the rear, correct?

Tom Herrington: Yes, that was a sign that was put in the same time.

Don Saven: It is a rather long building.

Tom Herrington: The building is about two hundred (200) feet long and there are twelve (12) doors.

Chairman Harrington: Didnít we help them with fencing at one time?

Don Saven: Yes.

Member Brennan: Is this a case that we need a variance for a second sign?

Don Saven: Changing the non-conforming sign.

Member Brennan: But they have another sign on the other wall?

Don Saven: Yes.

Member Brennan: Are they allowed two (2) signs?

Don Saven: No.

Member Reinke: They have three (3) signs now, correct?

Don Saven: Technically there are three (3) signs. There is a ground pole sign that is a business center sign that was approved by the Board earlier on. Therefore, the sign that was at the south end was an approved sign. The family dentistry sign was approved but is now non-conforming. It can be addressed in both ways, as a non-conforming sign or a second sign for a business.

Member Brennan: Are there other businesses in the building?

Tom Herrington: We actually run the collision shop and the towing business.

Chairman Harrington: What we have advertised is "a non-conforming sign shall not have the face changed or any change in the verbiage." We are not talking about approving an additional sign, we are talking about the language change, correct?

Don Saven: That is correct.

Member Brennan: Are you the only owner, the only business in this operation?

Tom Herrington: Yes.

Member Brennan: Keford Collision is the sign that you are requesting tonight. Is the other sign relative to the towing business?

Tom Herrington: Yes.

Member Brennan: Are you going to need the ground sign anymore?

Tom Herrington: We actually advertise both businesses on both signs.

Member Brennan: But the verbiage is the same on both signs on the building, correct?

Tom Herrington: Yes.

Member Brennan: Now you have a ground sign as well that says what?

Tom Herrington: The ground sign and the sign on the front of the building are the signs that I am talking about.

Member Brennan: What is this other building sign that we are talking about?

Tom Herrington: The other one is on the east side of the building that says "Keford Collision."

Member Brennan: That is my point, we have three (3) signs on this parcel. There are two (2) on the building and one (1) on the ground.

Tom Herrington: We would be willing to remove the sign on the east side of the building because the offices are not on the side anymore.

Chairman Harrington: That could be part of the problem with people going through the body shop, right?

Tom Herrington: It could be part of it.

Member Fannon: It seems like a reasonable solution if they remove the east wall sign for the safety of the customers.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Bauer,


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried

Case No. 00-012 filed by Matthew Quinn representing Autometric Collision, Inc.

Matthew Quinn representing Autometric Collision, Inc. is requesting a use variance to allow an I-2 use in an existing I-1 Zoning District. The property containing 38,000 sq. ft. is located at 40900 Grand River, sidwell number 5022-24-100-011.

Matthew Quinn was present and duly sworn.

Matthew Quinn: Larry Smith, the owner, has been on a long journey with the city of Novi in an attempt to use this vacant and abandoned building that has been this way in a dilapidated condition for the last eight (8) years. It sits east of Meadowbrook, next to the Production Tool Co. on the north side. Immediately to the east of the facility is another dilapidated building that is going to be converted into an auto glass collision shop. There is a site plan that has been approved for this. Next to this is an oil type of refinery and across the street is the Weiss industrial building and the abandoned adult care facility. So this whole area speaks of an I-1 zoning district with multiple uses. Behind the site are the industrial businesses on Vincenti Drive that come off of Meadowbrook.

Matthew Quinn: Mr. Smith was first directed by the city to obtain an ordinance change to use this building to allow a collision shop at this site. We worked hard through the Planning Commission to seek an ordinance change and then to City Council. City Council was very complimentary in the attempted re-use of the building but they didnít think that a city wide ordinance change allowing collision shops in I-1 was proper. As you can see in the City Council minutes, they felt that it was a decent proposal for this building. It was a way to get the building used and that the only way they could see obtaining the use for this building was to direct us to come to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Now we are here seeking a use variance with conditions. I have placed six (6) conditions in our request that were really part of the proposed ordinance. These six (6) conditions are something that we think we can live by and that will serve the city.

Matthew Quinn: The main difference between a collision shop in an I-1 district and an I-2 district is the problem of outdoor storage. That is why historically collision shops have been placed in I-2. In Novi, the only zoning district where you can have outside storage is an I-2 zoning district. We have a remedy to this solution. Our remedy is that we will do the entire work of the collision shop, including the storage of the crash vehicles, which will be brought immediately inside. They will be worked on inside and once they are done they will remain inside until they are picked up by the customer. So everything will happen indoors totally. With that condition placed on this building it becomes an I-1 use because there is no outdoor storage.

Matthew Quinn: The size of this building is 38,000 square feet and this is very large for a collision shop. Normally, they are ten or fifteen thousand square foot buildings. That is why Mr. Smith can do the entire business within this 38,000 square foot building. Mr. Smithís business is high-end collision work and deals with Mercedes, Porsche and Range Rovers. The reason that this location is important is because the Mercedes, Range Rover and soon Jaguar dealership is around the area. They donít have their own collision shops and that is why this is an ideal location. Mr. Smith spent a lot of time in the city of Novi looking for a location and building that could be rehabilitated or that he could buy. He is really not interested in building a brand new building because of the cost and expense. This is a win-win situation. There is an eight (8) year vacant building that is dilapidated and hasnít been able to be used by anyone because no one is willing to pay the money. Mr. Smith is going to spend over one million dollars to make the building habitable. Also, he is going to voluntarily abide by the Grand River Corridor design plan as far as the landscaping in the front. This is going to be a very nice building that will mean something and be a benefit to the city. I think that with the six (6) conditions that we would ask at your pleasure to make our request permitted for, we would be more than happy to abide by them.

Chairman Harrington: Mr. Quinn, for record purposes could you identify those conditions, which you are requesting be made part of the proposal?


Matthew Quinn: One, that no outdoor storage of any vehicles, equipment, materials or similar elements shall be permitted. Vehicle parking on the site shall be limited to customers with vehicles in good working order and in good repair and not damaged and employees and not for vehicle storage overnight. Two, all activities, except as specified in A, above and as required for trash disposal in any enclosed dumpster, shall take place within a completely enclosed building. Any vehicles, equipment or materials delivered on site shall be immediately placed within an enclosed building. Three, all windows and doors shall be kept closed at all times except when doors are open during active loading and unloading. Four, no overhead doors or loading areas shall be visible from any public roadway. Five, a minimum site size of 2 acres and a minimum site frontage of 200 feet along a major thoroughfare shall be required. Six, no vehicle parking in front of the actual building setback line shall be permitted. Some of these are directly from the I-1 Ordinance but we thought it was important to re-iterate them as being applicable here.


Tim Herrington: I have been in the collision business personally for twenty four (24) years and our family has been in it for over forty (40). The consultants to our industry tell us when you go to them for shop layout and design that for every work stall that you need inside the building you need two (2) spaces outside. So using this formula that would mean that 2/3 of the building would be storage and only 1/3 would be production. I heard Mr. Quinn say that they would keep all of the damaged parts inside the building as well. This is going to be a larger facility then we presently run and at our facility we use an area of approximately 20 x 50 to store the damaged parts for disposal. Quite frankly, I donít see how he could operate inside the building. Presently, Collex is supposed to be operating under the same guidelines and you can go by there on any given day and there are wrecked cars all over the parking lot. In fact, when some of them become total losses and the people donít dispose of them our towing company is called by the police to pick the abandoned vehicles up and dispose of them.

Member Harrington: Your concern is that they will not live up to the conditions that they have set forth to the Board.

Tom Herrington: Our concern is that Collex came in under the same premise and how do you shut the door after the horses have already left?

Member Harrington: With plenty of aggressive enforcement officers.

Tom Herrington: I donít know that that has happened in their case. None of his other facilities operate in this manner. You can go to any of his other facilities and there are cars all over. You have to have cars outside waiting to come in because it is a production line. If you donít have an area to store the cars that are waiting to come in then where are you going to store them? If Mr. Smith is going to put three million dollars into a building he is going to have to make productive space out of that area. Like Tim was saying, if a car is totaled and you are waiting for the insurance company to pick it up then there is another dead car that is not making him any money. If he can operate that way, then so be it but we have heard this story before.

Member Bauer: It was by this Board that they were okayed and that no outdoor storage took place. That is why the police are called to haul them away.

Tim Herrington: Unfortunately, the ones that we pick up have been there for a month or more sitting outside.


Don Saven: No comment.

Tamara Buswinka: I was part of the process when they were at the Planning Commission so if the Board has any questions regarding that portion of the process I would be happy to answer them.

Chairman Harrington: What about the last issue? Where people make one representation to certain boards about what they are going to do and then on the backside they do what they feel like doing. Was the issue of outdoor storage addressed with this particular applicant?

Tamara Buswinka: Yes, this issue is not new. It is something that the Implementation Committee talked about. It was their concern that outdoor storage would become a problem and enforcement of these conditions was one of the major issues that they had with the amendment to the Zoning Ordinance.

Chairman Harrington: Mr. Quinn, can you help us out here? I donít know if this should be kept under continuing jurisdiction.

Matthew Quinn: There is a major difference between the "average" collision shop and this one. Cars that are worth forty to seventy thousand dollars donít sit around long. It is not like a Mazda that the Herringtons deal with where they can leave them out because people donít care about them. Expensive cars get taken care of. The insurance companies act quicker and people demand better service when they have expensive cars. Because Mr. Smith is dealing with more expensive cars he doesnít have the volume that someone dealing with Toyotas or Mazdas might have. Yes, they charge more but the volume isnít there. That is why within this footage, which is three times bigger than your normal store he has plenty of storage space. The reason that this is an unusual store is because of its size. That is why you donít need the exterior. Mr. Smith has a great reputation and has eight (8) shops in the area. I believe that when he represents to the city that he is going to abide by these conditions that he will. The law will be the law. There will be more here because it is not just a violation of an ordinance, it is a violation of a zoning condition and the Zoning Board of Appeals have some more authoritative action that you can take.

Chairman Harrington: There are some real aggressive city attorneys that can enforce those ordinances.

Member Bauer: On these conditions, were they taken out of the Zoning Ordinance?

Matthew Quinn: They were taken out of the proposed ordinance.

Member Brennan: My brother-in-law has owned a shop in Northville for thirty-five (35) years and I am intimate with his business. I have marked up my notes with three (3) comments. One, the no outdoor storage of damaged vehicles. My experience with more traditional shops is that vehicles sit out for some time as the Herringtons had pointed out. Two, in a weeks time there are tons and tons of body side apertures, hoods, decks, lids, bumpers and all kinds of materials. I think that B is very significant because this gentleman is going to have to have a ton of storage capability. Maybe he is used to that but that is his business. Three, is this facility going to be air-conditioned? If this is a body shop, I guarantee that these doors are going to be open in the summertime.

Larry Smith: I started looking for a building between fifteen and twenty thousand square feet. This building is way bigger than I could ever staff. I am sure that the Herringtons can attest to the labor shortage in this industry. It is very difficult to find employees and I am not looking to operate a 38,000 square foot body shop. I am looking to operate a 15,000 square foot body shop. We will have the luxury of having the equal number of footage for storage for things like scrap parts and wrecked cars. The ratio is almost right; two outdoor stalls to one indoor stall but keep in mind that all of the employee cars go home at night. I think that factors into the ratio.

Chairman Harrington: What was the answer to the air conditioning question?

Larry Smith: Large fans. Any overhead doors in the building will be in the rear. There will be no overhead doors in the front or either side of the building.

Chairman Harrington: They will be closed, correct?

Larry Smith: Yes.

Larry Smith: In my other facilities, I have not had the fortunate situation of having so large a building and we have never promised to keep everything inside. Yes, we store cars outside as most collision shops do but this is a unique situation. If I say that I will keep all the cars inside then all the cars will be inside the building.

Member Fannon: I think that is the biggest concern that I have. I am sure that if the door is open when it is one hundred degrees that is one thing. If there is any outdoor storage it is going to be a real problem with the Board coming back on us. I think that is one of the concerns of the City Council even though they did support this to some degree.

Larry Smith: I have no intention of even fencing this property in. People can drive by any day and any night and if there is a car they can have it.

Member Brennan: I have raised my concerns and I am comfortable with the answers.

Member Reinke: I think that they have addressed everything that has been asked to make it not look like a body shop. With the size of the building I guess they have the capability to store materials. I hope that if they are successful in their variance that they live up to what they are saying.

Member Fannon: Can this building be enlarged?

Larry Smith: Yes.

Member Fannon: So if there was a problem and you started growing you could actually enlarge it.

Larry Smith: If we enlarged it, economically it would not be that expensive because we would be going out the back. It would be putting up three walls and a roof.

Matthew Quinn: We would have to come back in front of you because it would be an expansion of a non-conforming, right Don?

Don Saven: That is correct.

Member Fannon: I have no objections especially if the outdoor storage is not violated.

Moved by Fannon,

Seconded by Bauer,


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried

Case No. 00-013 filed by Howard Friedlaender

Howard Friedlaender is requesting a use variance to allow farming in an OST district. The property containing 4.68 acres is located at 12 Mile and Meadowbrook, sidwell number 5022-14-200-039 (formerly 5022-14-200-007 and 5022-14-200-027).

Howard Friedlaender was present and duly sworn.

Howard Friedlaender: The property is intended for development when it is time, I donít know exactly when that will be. I would like to ask for permission to temporarily farm there until we use it for development. The property before it was zoned OST, which would have permitted farming. If I farm it, it will look neat and attractive. I might obtain a property tax break and I have done this at three (3) other locations in Novi before without any problems.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were eleven (11) notices sent to neighbors and there were no approvals and no objections.


There was no audience participation.


Tamara Buswinka: No comment.

Don Saven: I would like to point out that this property does involve a wetland area that we are very cautious about. It was brought to the attention of Debbie Thor who investigated the area. She did make some recommendations indicating that he should stay away from the wetlands area.

Howard Friedlaender: I did have a conversation with Debbie Thor about the property and the wetland area. We had a consultant come out and flag the wetland area. It is a pretty confined area, off to one side. We cleared the land outside of that wetland and had the blessing of the city forester, Chris Pargoff. When I talked to Debbie, she said that she had seen the area after it was cleared and saw that we had flagged the wetland area. I assured her that obviously we would stay out of that area. According to her recommendation, we have already installed a silt fence out side of the wetland area to protect it so that there is no question that anyone will wander into it or take any equipment into it. It is a very small and confined wetland area that extends off of the side of the property and continues to other properties. The portion on my property is fairly small and is very neatly flagged.

Don Saven: Has Debbie looked at this defined area?

Howard Friedlaender: I donít know if she has seen it since we have put in the silt fence. She saw it when it was flagged. She asked me if we would install a silt fence and I told her that I wasnít sure when we would do it. I knew that we would have to do it before any construction activity in the future and she said that a silt fence right now would make sense. I havenít talked to her about the fact that we did do it so I donít know if she has seen it or not.

Member Bauer: She also mentions a twenty five (25) foot buffer.

Howard Friedlaender: Alternatively, she is pointing out. Initially, she had called me because she had noticed that there had been some tree clearing activity and wondered what we were doing. I have talked to her before on other properties and I explained to her what we did and what our intent was. One of her questions was, what will we do to deal with erosion? I told her that I intended to go to the ZBA to ask for permission to farm it. She said that would be an effective means of controlling erosion. She said alternatively, I could put in a silt fence. In her letter, she indicated that if we werenít going to put a silt fence around the area that we let the twenty five (25) foot buffer re-establish. It was an either or and we took care of that.

Member Sanghvi: What do you mean by temporary?

Howard Friedlaender: Season to season.

Chairman Harrington: How many seasons?

Howard Friedlaender: At this point, I would hope that it is one season but it could be two (2) seasons.

Chairman Harrington: Do you think that twenty-four (24) months would be reasonable?

Howard Friedlaender: I do.

Chairman Harrington: Could you explain what you want to farm there?

Howard Friedlaender: Either pumpkins or soybeans. It would be something that is low and neat, certainly not corn or something large. It would be something that looks good and pumpkins may be something that we could have fun with.

Chairman Harrington: Will any of the crops require any harmful odor fertilizers or chemicals?

Howard Friedlaender: No.

Member Reinke: I donít really have any objections of the guidelines in the letter from JCK. I support the petitionerís request.

Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Sanghvi,


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried



Case No. 00-014 filed by Matt Slater

Matt Slater is wishing to construct an addition in the rear yard and is in need of a rear yard variance for 15 feet. The property is located at 25822 Sierra Drive, sidwell 5022-21-103-021.

Matt Slater was present and duly sworn.

Matt Slater: I am asking for a variance of fifteen (15) feet. I am proposing a family room addition off of the back of the house and also extending my half-bath into a full bath. The current square footage of my house is 1,175 square feet. I am planning on starting a family and I am looking for a little more room. The previous zoning was a thirty five (35) foot setback and is now fifty (50) feet.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were twenty-six (26) notices sent to neighbors and there was one (1) approval and no objections.


There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: This is Pioneer Meadows, I assume.

Matt Slater: Yes.

Don Saven: This is probably one of the toughest areas because of the zoning classification. The fifty (50) foot setback has been a real problem. Anytime we do additions or even putting up a house in that area gets pretty tough.

Member Brennan: I support the petition.

Member Sanghvi: How many trees will you have to knock down?

Matt Slater: Not one. I have one apple tree and a maple in the rear corner.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Bauer,


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried

Case No. 00-015 filed by B. Patrick McCormick

B. Patrick McCormick is wishing to construct a wood deck and screened porch in the required rear yard and is in need of a variance.

Patrick McCormick was present and duly sworn.

Patrick McCormick: I sought the neighborsí approval so I staked out the four corners. I am unable to see any windows on my one neighbor on one side and the other neighbor would only be able to see it if he looks out his one side window. Both of the neighbors approved it. I have no neighbors to the north of me so it doesnít encroach on their property. It stays clear of the wetland easement area. The reason that I am here is because my lot is a pie shape and the builders had to move the house back a few feet to get it to fit on the lot so I am a few feet closer to the rear lot line. It is not that the porch is really big or anything like that. I personally canít come up with any reasons as to why there would be any objections.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were thirty-one (31) notices sent to neighbors and there was one (1) approval and no objections. The file materials also contain the approvals from your adjacent neighbors.



There was no audience participation.


Don Saven: This also includes a deck, which can project up to eighteen (18) feet into the rear yard setback.

Patrick McCormick: This is not like a porch with a brick bottom, a separate room or extension of a house. It is basically putting a roof on top of part of the deck.

Don Saven: When they put the roof on top of the deck then it had to meet the requirements of the regular structure.

Member Sanghvi: I donít see any reason why we should not approve this.

Member Reinke: I wish that you would train all of the other petitioners that come in before us. With a package like this it makes it very easy. My only comment is to how we position homes on lots, anytime you want to do anything they end up coming before the Board.

Patrick McCormick: There is one other thing that I would ask. I understand that I can ask to have the five day waiting period waived. I would ask that since Coy Construction said that they could start at the end of the week.

Moved by Reinke,

Seconded by Sanghvi,


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried

7) Case No. 00-009 filed by William Curtis, 101 Penhill

William Curtis is requesting a re-hearing due to the 90-day expiration of his previous variances that have been approved on November 10, 1999. He is also requesting a variance for a 14í long by 7í x 8í wooden deck in front of his house.

William Curtis was present and duly sworn in.

William Curtis: As you notice, all of the original setbacks are the same. The only problem that I ran into was the construction loan. My TRW was really messed up because in the paper and news there was a William R. Curtis Construction Company being sued. My TRW was really full and it took the bank about two (2) months to clear it before they approved the loan. So we couldnít get the construction loan to start the project. The only reason that I added the deck was because I was coming back before the Board so I may as well see what I can do.

Chairman Harrington indicated that there were fifty (50) notices sent to neighbors and there were three (3) approvals and no objections.


There was no audience participation.


Member Brennan: I have no problem with the petitioner coming back with a variance that we granted previously. I would like to know the specifics for the variance request for the deck. Is there a setback problem?

Don Saven: There are two (2) front yards and decks can project up into four (4) feet. You are looking at 14.76 feet if you were considering it as a thirty (30) foot setback requirement. The deck projects approximately eight (8) feet on one side and the other side is even with the house.

Member Brennan: I would like someone to define exactly what the variance request is for the deck.

Don Saven: 14.76 feet.

Member Brennan: Setback?

Don Saven: Yes, from the property line.

Moved by Brennan,

Seconded by Fannon,


Roll Call: Yeas (6) Nays (0) Motion Carried

Other Matters

Amend Rules of Procedure

Chairman Harrington: I would assume that we are picking up on the issue that was left regarding temporary signs.

Member Brennan: Sarahís note to us included the Husky motion stating that they had thirty-six (36) months. That canít be right.

Don Saven: Yes, it is. You gave them three (3) years because of the widening of the road. They have picked up a permit just recently regarding this issue.

Member Brennan: There was still some debate regarding the two (2) signs that you can see from 96 and I thought that they were supposed to take one down.

Don Saven: That is correct.

Member Brennan: I donít think that it is down yet.

Don Saven: I will take a look at it.

Chairman Harrington: Did we adopt or are we considering tonight, the language on "mock up" signs?

Don Saven: It would be a good idea.

Chairman Harrington: My comment on the language would be that I think that it is excellent as far as it goes but I would add, "unless another extension is approved by the Board at that meeting." There may be reasons why we may want to permit someone to keep a temporary sign for a period of time. We should reserve the discretion to maintain the temporary sign beyond five (5) days if the issue is addressed before the Board.

Member Brennan: I think that as a rule, we have done that in the past when we have had a case that has gone beyond one or two meetings because we couldnít come to an agreement.

Chairman Harrington: The language should be further amended. "It must be removed within five (5) working days from the date of the meeting where the decision on the sign is made unless the Board chooses at that meeting to extend the temporary sign."

Member Reinke: I understand and agree with what you are saying but I wonder if we are creating something that in some fashion is going to give us more problems than if we deal with it on an individual basis as we deal with the case before us. If we deny a petitionerís sign request that has a "mock up" why donít we deal with the situation?

Chairman Harrington: I agree, but we may be approving a permanent sign.

Member Reinke: I am wondering if we are better to deal with the situation on a case by case basis and not even put this in there.

Chairman Harrington: Not even have any language at all?

Member Reinke: Right.

Chairman Harrington: About removing signs?

Member Reinke: About removing a "mock up" because they are putting a "mock up" there for a case before us.

Chairman Harrington: I was offended by the "mock up" that stood on Decker Road a month or two after we made our decision. I believe that our rules should require that the renderings should have a life span and there should be an expectation that those signs are removed. I think that it should be part of our Rules of Procedure. If we forget on a sign one night and it is not addressed then we should not have to look at temporary signs for the next month. I think that they should know that if it is a temporary sign then it is down in five (5) days.

Member Brennan: I agree. I think that the extension beyond five (5) days should be the exception not the rule.

Chairman Harrington: Correct and that can be done on a case by case basis.

Member Bauer: Yes, because sometimes it is taking more than thirty (30) days for a sign to be built.

Member Brennan: We are not going to be on this Board in twenty (20) years and I would like to have some written history of how we got to where we are at.

Member Sanghvi: I have no problem with inserting that part. I would rather add a couple of more words.

Chairman Harrington: I would like to modify the Rules of Procedure to include the following language "should a mock up sign be denied at the Zoning Board of Appeals, it must be removed within five working days from the date of the meeting unless otherwise agreed by the Board at that meeting." Also, do we need to have any discussion about what we do with mock-ups where signs are approved?

Member Reinke: No, because we are dealing with a situation that if it is denied then it just goes down.

All in favor to the amendment please say aye. All ayes. Amendment approved.

Appointment of an alternate

Member Brennan: Do we have any word from Council as to an appointment for an appointment?

Sarah Marchioni: I spoke with Marianne from the Clerks Department and she said that there are about six (6) people that have applied. They are going to set up interviews and the next date for interviews wouldnít be until June 12. She suggested that if you want someone sooner then you should write a letter to Council and I can forward it to them. They set dates to do interviews to be organized but if you want someone sooner than you can suggest it.

Chairman Brennan: As chairman of the Board, I would urge Council to treat this as a priority issue. I view this as a priority Board in the city and we desperately need the full resources of an alternate. We have been very blessed and favored with Dr. Sanghvi for quite a long period of time. That position, due to illness, schedule conflict, weather and the like, needs to be replaced at an early opportunity, particularly because of the learning curve that is associated with the Board. We do request that Council address it as a priority item and urge any residents to apply.

Member Reinke: I would like to address this to our secretary, Sarah. You are doing an excellent job of giving us information but there is one piece of information that I would like for you to expand on. When we have a variance request I would like to see what is allowed, what they are asking for and what is the exact size of the variance that they are going to require.

Sarah Marchioni: I do that for the Public Hearing notification letters and I will include that in your packet.

Member Reinke: Just include the letter in the packet.

Chairman Harrington: That is a cheat sheet for us when we drive around looking at these properties.

Member Fannon: How long can a "mock up" sign stay up after it is approved?

Member Bauer: They have ninety (90) days to act on it.

Member Reinke: Usually, when we have a case it is going to take the petitioner an x amount of time to come up with a permanent sign.

Don Saven: The chances of leaving a sign up versus putting a sign up may be a time period until they go for a final Certificate of Occupancy.

Chairman Harrington: Why donít we note this as a continued agenda item for next month as further discussion on continuation of temporary signs where the permanent sign has been approved?

Don Saven: We did something like this when Art Van was going through the renovation and we had taken signs down, leaving a "mock up" sign up. The Board had talked about this.

Member Reinke: It just about has to be a case by case basis because you have different conditions that warrant whether certain things can be done or not.

The Meeting was adjourned at 8:27 p.m.



Date Approved: May 2, 2000


Sarah Marchioni

Recording Secretary