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Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Minutes 2021

Meeting Minutes

01-18-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting Canceled
02-22-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals

February 22, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Lareau called the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order on Monday, February 22, 2021, at 7:00 p.m., which its members attended on-site, and led all in The Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

The following members were present: John Kennedy, Vice Chairman; Brendan Sheeran; Drago Popovic (arrived late); Nancy Wohland, Secretary; and Mark Lareau, Chairman. A quorum was attained.

Also present: Sergio Mendoza, Director of Building and Planning, and Adam Decker, Board Attorney.

Absent: Paul Panczuk, Town Council Liaison.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS:

Mr. Sheeran nominated the full complement of officers to retain their seats: Mark Lareau as Chairman, John Kennedy as Vice Chairman, and Nancy Wohland as Secretary. Mr. Popovic seconded the nominations. Nominations carried unanimously by roll-call vote. (Note: The board held off on Election of Officers until the full body was present.)

Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve the minutes of July 20, 2020, and September 21, 2020; Mr. Kennedy seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote (4-0 as Mr. Popovic was not in the room for the approval of minutes.).

Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

NEW/OLD BUSINESS:

A. 2021-01 JENNIFER BUKSAR – 10135 E. Earl Drive – Special Exception Variance
Mr. Lareau advised that Jennifer Buksar is seeking relief from Zoning Ordinance §24-373 to allow a tobacco shop in the US 41 Overlay District.

Ms. Buksar requested that she be allowed to have a tobacco establishment in the US 41 Overlay District. The shop, Tobacco Island, would be their third location, with one on Broadway in Crown Point and the other in the overlay district in Schererville at US 30 and US 41. She commented about the security measures they put in place and stated that they use custom-built furnishings for a more upscale retail establishment.

(Drago Popovic entered the meeting.)

Mr. Lareau opened the floor for Public Hearing. Having no one wishing to speak, Mr. Lareau closed the Public Hearing and brought the matter back to the Board.

Mr. Popovic made a motion to send a favorable recommendation to the Town Council with the contingencies that there be no accessory LED lights in the window, that any exterior improvements or expansions to the building shall come before the Plan Commission, and that the square footage for the variance shall not exceed 2100 at the site address of 10135 E. Earl Drive. Mr. Kennedy seconded the motion. Motion failed 3 nays - 2 ayes by roll-call vote.

Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Nay
Ms. Wohland Nay
Mr. Lareau Nay

Attorney Decker advised that a vote to send an unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council should be taken.

Mr. Sheeran made a motion to send an unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council, including the Findings of Fact:

  1. That the establishment, maintenance, or operation of the Special Exception will be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare;
  2. That the Special Exception will be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted, nor substantially diminish and impair property value within the neighborhood.
  3. That the establishment of the Special Exception will impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district;
  4. Adequate measures will be taken to provide Ingress and Egress, so designed as to minimize traffic congestion in the public streets; and
  5. That adequate utilities, access road, drainage and/or necessary facilities will be provided;
  6. That adequate measure will in all other respects conform to the applicable regulations of the Zoning District in which it is located; and
  7. That the Special Exception shall be required to comply with reasonable time limitations on the commencement and duration of Special Exception as well as holder of rights to same.

Ms. Wohland seconded the motion. Motion carried 3 ayes - 2 nays by roll-call vote.

Mr. Kennedy Nay
Mr. Popovic Nay
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

Mr. Lareau advised the petitioner that the Board of Zoning Appeals will be sending an unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council.

B. BZA Rules and Regulations Resolution 2021-02-22
Mr. Lareau advised that the next item on the agenda is a resolution to change the rules regarding public hearing notice to match state statutes.

Mr. Kennedy commented that the state is currently reviewing a bill that would eliminate the need to put any public notification in the newspapers. Discussion ensued.

Attorney Decker explained the public change and advised that it is entirely the Board’s purview.

Mr. Lareau read Resolution No. 2021-02-22 and entertained a motion for the same.

Mr. Popovic made a motion to adopt BZA Resolution No. 2021-02-22; Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote.

Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Mr. Popovic Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

C. Proposed Schedule of Meeting Dates
Mr. Lareau advised that the next item on the agenda is to review the proposed schedule of meeting dates with filing deadlines for consideration to help facilitate review times and anticipated filings.

Mr. Mendoza explained that the document allows for ample preparation and review of petitions and the related Findings of Fact before the meeting and welcomed any feedback.

Attorney Decker advised that he has reviewed the document and has no issues with it. The Board favors the schedule and expressed thanks for the additional review time they will have going forward.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business, Mr. Lareau adjourned the meeting at 7:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

03-15-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals

March 15, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Lareau called the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order on Monday, March 15, 2021, at 7:02 p.m., which its members attended on-site and remotely, and led all in The Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

The following members were present: John Kennedy, Vice Chairman; Brendan Sheeran; Nancy Wohland, Secretary; and Mark Lareau, Chairman. A quorum was attained.

Also present: Sergio Mendoza, Director of Building and Planning, and Adam Decker, Board Attorney.

Absent: Drago Popovic.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Kennedy made a motion to approve the minutes of November 16, 2020; December 21, 2020; and February 22, 2021; Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote:

Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

NEW/OLD BUSINESS:

A. BZA Rules and Regulations Resolution 2021-02-22
Mr. Lareau advised that the next item on the agenda is a resolution to amend the public notice requirements in the Rules and Regulations. He further advised that it needs to go to the Plan Commission and then come back to the Board and asked that it be deferred.

Mr. Mendoza advised that there is an ordinance before the Plan Commission for a public hearing on April 7, 2021.

Mr. Sheeran made a motion to defer Resolution No. 2021-02-22; Mr. Kennedy seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote.

Mr. Kennedy Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

B. Public Hearing Announcement – St. John Smiles
Mr. Lareau advised that the next item on the agenda is a public hearing announcement for St. John Smiles of 9484 Wicker Avenue. The petitioner will be seeking a Special Exception request on April 19, 2021.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business, Mr. Lareau adjourned the meeting at 7:07 p.m.

Respectfully submitted;

Margaret R. Abernathy, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

04-19-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals

April 19, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Vice Chairman Kennedy called the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals Regular Meeting to order on Monday, April 19, 2021 at approximately 7:00 P.M., with members attending on-site and remotely, and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members Present:
John Kennedy, Vice Chairman; Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, and Nancy Wohland, Secretary

Absent:
Mark Lareau

Also Present:
Adam Decker, Board Attorney; Bryan Blazak, Councilman Liaison; and Sergio Mendoza, St. John Building and Planning Director. A quorum was attained.

MINUTES:

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting: March 15, 2021

Board Action
Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve the March 15, 2021 regular meeting minutes, seconded by Ms. Wohland and carried by roll call vote with three ayes and Mr. Popovic abstaining since he did not attend that meeting.
Ayes: Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, and John Kennedy
Abstain: Drago Popovic
Nays: None

NEW/OLD BUSINESS:

A. 2021-03 Public Hearing for a SPECIAL EXCEPTION per StJMC 24-343 for a dental medical office at 9484 Wicker Avenue, St. John Smiles; Dr. Abhishek Nagaraj and Anushka Gaglani.
Anushka Gaglani, St. John Smiles, stated they would like to open a dental practice at 9484 Wicker Ave. Dr. Abhishek Nagaraj, St. John Smiles, stated they are a husband and wife team and would like to come in to the St. John area to serve the community. Mr. Kennedy asked if they had another business elsewhere. Dr. Nagaraj stated they currently have a business in Illinois. Mr. Kennedy asked how many chairs would be in the office. Mrs. Gaglani stated the building will be built out to accommodate nine chairs, but we will start off with three. Mr. Kennedy asked if they felt the parking was adequate. Dr. Nagaraj stated he believed it was. Mr. Kennedy stated there will be nine employees and potentially nine customers so we want to make sure parking is adequate. He asked what the hours of operation would be. Dr. Nagaraj stated we are typically open from 9am – 6pm Monday thru Friday, and 9am – 3pm on Saturdays. Mr. Kennedy asked Director Mendoza if everything was in place for the public hearing. Mr. Mendoza stated it was.

Public Hearing
Mr. Kennedy opened the public hearing. Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Mendoza if any comments were received electronically. Mr. Mendoza stated there were none.

Dr. Helen Makris, owner of Shops of St. John, stated we are in full support of having this business established in our plaza. It would be a great addition, and the Town is in need of this type of business.

With no further questions or comments from the public, Mr. Kennedy closed the public hearing.

Board Action
Mr. Sheeran made a motion for a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for the Special Exception of St. John Smiles, including all discussions and Findings of Fact, seconded by Mr. Popovic and carried by roll call vote with four ayes.
Ayes: Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, and John Kennedy
Nays: None

B. 2021-04 2021-04 Public Hearing for a DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE per StJMC 24-461 (b) to locate a second storage shed at 8836 Patterson Street; Britany and Colin Rae.
Britany Rae, 8836 Patterson Street, stated the second shed is of much need for our family since we do have an above average sized yard for being within the Town limits of St. John at roughly two acres, and need the extra space for such things as mowers and maintenance tools in order to keep our yard maintained. Our current shed houses those items, but we would like a second shed to help store our four children’s items because the current shed is too close to Patterson Street for us to feel safe allowing our children to access their items so close to a busy road. The second shed we are asking to put up would be in our side yard and would not make our lot look cluttered since we have the extra space. If anything it would help with the clutter since we would have a place to put our children’s toys.

Public Hearing
Mr. Kennedy opened the public hearing. Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Mendoza if any comments were received electronically. Mr. Mendoza stated there were none.

With no one present to speak for or against the variance, Mr. Kennedy closed the public hearing.

Mr. Popovic asked if there was a picture of the shed they were proposing. Mrs. Rae presented a picture of the proposed shed to the Board and stated that the colors would match their home. Mr. Mendoza stated they are under the required 250 sq.ft. with this structure, but the variance is because they will be going over the allotted number of sheds on the property by adding a second one.

Board Action
Mr. Popovic made a motion to approve the developmental variance for a second storage shed, including all discussions and Findings of Fact, seconded by Ms. Wohland and carried by roll call vote with four ayes.
Ayes: Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, and John Kennedy
Nays: None

C. 2021-05 Public Hearing for a DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE per StJMC 24-265 (c) and 24-265 (d) to encroach into the rear yard and side yard setbacks at 9640 Industrial Drive, Perm Machine and Tool Co.; Lee Milazzo (President) and James Wieser (Attorney).
James Wieser, Attorney, stated Mr. Milazzo built the first building in the industrial park in 1996. Mr. Milazzo built that for his business that provides and rebuilds equipment and items for the canning industry nationally and internationally, which has been deemed an essential business. The business added an additional building in 2007 due to growth, which is the same reason we are here tonight. His business has continued to grow and in order to accommodate that growth, he would like to add a 9,000 sq.ft. building to further provide his business to the customers he has. In laying out this building and the size that is needed, we encroach on the side and rear yards. An additional issue is that the building will overlap on to an existing draining and utility easement. The utility that is in there is NIPSCO, and we have provided a letter of release to Mr. Mendoza from NIPSCO regarding that easement. After speaking with Attorney Decker, we are aware of what we need to do in regards to the drainage easement that runs through the property, but that is not something that will come before this Board, rather we wanted to make you aware of every piece of the project.

Lee Milazzo, Perm Machine and Tool Co, stated we are currently renting a warehouse in Lowell where we store used equipment. With that warehouse being further away, it takes productive time away from us. He stated he purchased 9640 Industrial Drive for the real estate behind the building in order to put the addition up there. It would greatly improve business flow and time with the employees. He stated the reason for the angled wall, and why we approached NIPSCO, is because we need the extra length for an indoor loading dock. In inclement weather, loading a flatbed can be dangerous with the various equipment that is involved. Mr. Milazzo stated we initially moved in to this area in 1996 with myself and my secretary, and we now have about a dozen employees. In 2011 we were nominated and awarded exporter of the year for the entire state of Indiana. Mr. Wieser stated with the addition of the building, several employees will be hired on as well.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Decker if the drainage easement was owned by the Town. Mr. Decker stated it is. Mr. Kennedy asked if the drainage easement would overlap. Mr. Decker stated the discussion with Mr. Wieser was in regard to the western most boundary on the site plan where the easement is located. The request tonight is for the encroachment of the rear and sideyard setback, but this other issue will involve the easement itself and will go before the Plan Commission for review. We have some more homework to do as far as the easement is concerned, but that is not before the Board tonight, only the rear and sideyard setback. Mr. Sheeran asked the results of situations like this in the past, specifically in regards to the drainage easement. Mr. Mendoza stated in 2016 there was a plat of easement reduction and certification that was submitted to the Plan Commission for a residential subdivision. The lot itself held a fifty foot easement in the rear that was reduced to twenty feet. The Plan Commission will also be considering one this Wednesday for a twenty foot rear yard drainage easement and reducing it down to ten feet. If this moves forward, we will need to follow the same process with a plat of easement reduction and certification. The Plan Commission will then look to see what the impact is to the drainage. Mr. Sheeran stated we do not have that yet with this project. Mr. Mendoza stated no. The consideration is to vary from the rear and sideyard setbacks currently. Mr. Kennedy asked if we make a decision to allow them to encroach, are we authorizing them to enter the drainage easement. Mr. Decker stated no. Mr. Sheeran stated no because it would then have to go to the Plan Commission to consider the drainage easement. Mr. Decker stated whatever decision the Board makes tonight does not address the issue of encroaching in to an easement.

Public Hearing
Mr. Kennedy opened the public hearing. Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Mendoza if any comments were received electronically. Mr. Mendoza stated there were none.

With no one present to speak for or against the variance, Mr. Kennedy closed the public hearing.

Mr. Sheeran asked how many feet they would be encroaching on to the drainage easement. Mr. Milazzo stated eight feet. Mr. Sheeran asked if the eight feet were necessary for Mr. Milazzo’s operations. Mr. Milazzo stated it is. The area that is encroaching is part of the loading dock, and we need to get all the space we can for that area. He stated one lesson he has learned is to always build larger than you think because you can always use the extra space. If we do not build larger, we will be back in for another addition. The lots are hard to work with in this area because they are very narrow for industrial buildings, but we are trying to maximize it as best we can. Mr. Kennedy stated the southern border of the wall will be adjacent to the building. Mr. Milazzo pointed out his original building as well as where the building that was built in 2002 is located. Mr. Kennedy stated you own the building to the south as well, then. Mr. Milazzo stated yes, the two buildings to the south. When we did the second building we had to get a release from NIPSCO as well. Discussion followed regarding further upgrades that would be done to the site if the addition is allowed as well as the proposed layout of the addition.

Mr. Kennedy asked what would happen if the Plan Commission said no to the encroachment of the utility easement. Mr. Decker stated if the Board approves this variance, it will go to the Plan Commission to consider a plat of easement correction to essentially approve the reduction of easement. If that is denied, the construction of the building cannot happen as it stands with the building encroaching eight feet in to the utility easement. Mr. Wieser stated we would be faced with having to make a decision on how to move forward with the variance that we have received. We could guess that the Plan Commission would say that we need to get side and rear yard approval before coming to them with an easement reduction. In the event that we receive favorable approval this evening, that would address the main issue with the construction of the building. We would like to think that the Plan Commission would then grant the reduction of easement, but if they do not do that, Mr. Milazzo would redesign the building to make it work with the variance that will hopefully be approved.

Mr. Kennedy asked if Town Engineer Kenn Kraus had looked at the proposal yet. Mr. Mendoza stated the only discussion we have had is in regards to the plat of easement reduction. We have not received any questions from him in regards to the drainage easement. Mr. Sheeran stated the building to the south clips the easement as well. Mr. Wieser stated they had received a release from NIPSCO for that. Mr. Sheeran stated you would have needed to go through the same process since you are past the setback for that building as you are now. Mr. Wieser stated that was correct, Mr. Milazzo was before the BZA before for the setback on the south building. Mr. Kennedy asked if anyone was aware of drainage issues in that area. Mr. Milazzo stated he has never had any water issues on the property.

Mr. Kennedy asked if any contingencies should be placed on a potential approval. Mr. Decker stated you could, but it is not necessary. The review of this drainage easement by the Plan Commission will happen either way. Mr. Kennedy asked if they could approve the side yard, but not the rear yard. Mr. Decker stated the Board has that discretion, but there really is no need to do that. Mr. Kennedy asked if a decision needs to be made today because he would like for Mr. Kraus to look further in to the drainage. Mr. Milazzo stated we brought this in to the Town back in October or November. We understand that there has been some personnel change that has delayed it, but the cost of building the addition has gone up $52,000 since then, so that is what we are being faced with. Mr. Wieser stated the first time we approached the Town, we were preparing to be on the December agenda. Once Mr. Phillips left, we came to the Town two more times and were unsuccessful with even filing an application. When Mr. Mendoza was named as the Director, we immediately came in again to try and move this forward. So, yes, there is a sense of emergency with this variance.

Board Action
Ms. Wohland made a motion to approve the developmental variance allowing the addition to encroach on the rear and side yards, including all discussions and Findings of Fact, seconded by Mr. Sheeran. Mr. Kennedy stated his biggest concern is the encroachment on the drainage utility. Mr. Decker stated you could allow a contingency upon the Plan Commission approving the drainage easement. Mr. Sheeran stated we could also defer it and once the Plan Commission decides then readdress it. The motion tied 2-2 by roll call vote.
Ayes – Drago Popovic, Nancy Wohland
Nays – Brendan Sheeran, John Kennedy

Mr. Wieser stated we now have to wait another month to come back to you. With all due respect, the issue that the Board is hung up on is not even a matter of this Board. He stated he should not have said anything because they could have been out twenty minutes ago, and the issue is not in this Board’s jurisdiction. You have an entity and an engineer that is going to make a determination regarding the easement independent of your determination from a jurisdiction perspective. Mr. Kennedy stated he understood Mr. Wieser’s concern, but we have concern with making sure that the area stays safe. Mr. Wieser stated you have nothing in front of you from an engineer and you will not have anything in front of you next month since it is a decision that the Plan Commission will make. Mr. Sheeran stated he understood that, but he is against going over the setbacks period, drainage or not. He stated he wanted to wait to hear what the Plan Commission said because it may have changed his mind. Mr. Wierser stated you would still be opposed to it. Mr. Sheeran stated you know what you had on the site and you need to work within it. The easement is there for a reason. Mr. Wieser stated the Board of Zoning Appeals is also here for a reason, with all due respect, and that is in justifiable conditions and circumstances you grant variances. Mr. Sheeran stated we do not grant everything in front of us just because someone comes in. Mr. Wieser stated he is not suggesting that the Board should.

Mr. Kennedy stated right now there is no recommendation. He asked Mr. Decker if what Mr. Wieser stated is true in regards to not having a say in the concern of the easement. Mr. Decker stated the State statute provides that in order for the BZA to approve a variance from the Development Standards, the applicant is to provide evidence to the satisfaction of the Board that the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the community. That the use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. That the strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties. The Board is well within its rights to have considered the presentation and made a determination that it perhaps need to further evaluate if the approval will or will not be injurious to public health and safety in the context of the drainage easement, and perhaps also that the applicant has not established that strict application of the Zoning Ordinance, speaking to the current setbacks, will result in a practical difficulty to the use of the property. The Board is within its legal rights to have made the determination of not approving the motion to approve the variance tonight. Mr. Wieser stated the issue is they are not approving or denying, but deferring. Mr. Decker stated there has not been a deferment made. Mr. Wieser stated they have the right at this point in time, with a 2-2 vote, to consider some other motion rather than us having to come back next month. Mr. Decker stated they can also determine to approve with other conditions.

Ms. Wohland made a motion to approve the side and rear yard setbacks contingent upon the approval from the Plan Commission for a plat of easement correction that has been reviewed by the Town Engineer, including all discussions and Findings of Fact, seconded by Mr. Popovic and carried by roll call vote with four ayes.
Ayes: Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, and John Kennedy
Nays: None

D. 2021-06 Public Hearing for a DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE per StJMC 24-461 (b) to exceed permitted accessory square footage at 11407 W. 108th Avenue; James and Melissa Ophoff.
James Ophoff, 11407 W. 108th Ave., stated last year we put in a pool and covered pavilion in the back yard, and our intention was to also install a shed to house the pool and lawn equipment. We went through the approval process on the covered pavilion and pool, and this spring went to purchase a 20’ x 14’ shed from Yoder, who told me that the Town of St. John requires a variance for a shed that size. We had discussions with the building department here who told us that the maximum sized shed we are allowed is 160 sq. ft. Mr. Ophoff stated that he and his wife decided to forgo the 20’ x 14’ shed and stay within the 160 sq. ft., however when a Town inspector came out, he informed us that the pavilion is considered an accessory structure. We were disappointed in hearing this since the pavilion was approved as just a pavilion and not an accessory structure. The pavilion is 20’ x 14’ and we never had to get a variance for it. The 10’ x 16’ shed has already been ordered, but now we are having to ask for a variance for even that size. We assumed once we switched to a 10’ x 16’ shed everything would be fine, but that was not the case and now we have a shed ordered that was not the original size we wanted and we are still having to go through a variance for it anyway.

Public Hearing
Mr. Kennedy opened the public hearing. Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Mendoza if any comments were received electronically. Mr. Mendoza stated there were none.

With no one present to speak for or against the variance, Mr. Kennedy closed the public hearing.

Board Action
Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve the developmental standard variance to allow a 160 sq.ft. shed, with the contingency that all accessory structures on the property max out at 440 sq.ft., including all discussions and Findings of Fact, seconded by Mr. Popovic and carried by roll call vote with four ayes. Ayes: Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, and John Kennedy
Nays: None

PUBLIC COMMENT

James Ophoff, 11407 W. 108th Ave., stated he had read thoroughly online the Ordinances regarding an accessory structure, and it is very unclear as to what constitutes that. It seems to be left open to the inspector to make the decision of what falls in to that category, and potentially they are going to tend to err on the side of caution. In this case, it is not on the base of common sense. One could also say a playhouse or tree house is an accessory structure along with a lean-to over a wood pile or a pergola that you see all over Town. He stated he is not trying to cause problems, rather prevent future misunderstandings. His recommendation was for the Board to look at the way the Ordinance is written to give further clarification for both the inspectors and residents. Mr. Kennedy stated he very much appreciated those comments as those are things the Board and staff need to hear.
E. 2021-07 Public Hearing for a DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE per StJMC 24-555 (e) (1) b to exceed the permitted monument sign square footage at 9615 Keilman Street, Great Lakes Orthopedics; Shelly Pitchford (Vice President) and Lisa Neal (Doyle Signs).
Mr. Kennedy apologized for going out of turn and stated this petitioner was not present and requested a motion to defer the agenda item.

Board Action
Mr. Popovic made a motion to defer petition 2021-07 for Great Lakes Orthopedics, seconded by Mr. Sheeran and carried by roll call vote with four ayes.
Ayes: Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, and John Kennedy
Nays: None

ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Kennedy adjourned the meeting at approximately 8:05 P.M.

 

 

John KennedyDrago Popovic
Board of Zoning Appeals, Vice-Chairman      Board of Zoning Appeals, Member
05-17-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals

May 17, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman Lareau called the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals Regular Meeting to order on Monday, May 17, 2021 at approximately 7:00 P.M., with members attending on-site and remotely, and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members Present:
Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, Secretary; Mark Lareau, Chairman

Absent:
John Kennedy, Vice Chairman; Drago Popovic

Also Present:
Adam Decker, Board Attorney; Bryan Blazak, Councilman Liaison; and Sergio Mendoza, St. John Building and Planning Director. A quorum was attained.

MINUTES:

None available, please defer.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. 2021-08 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE, StJMC 24-376 (a) to relocate required side and rear parking to the front of the building, and StJMC 24-376 (f) to reduce the required minimum 15,000 SF building to 8,120 SF at 10845 Poplar Place, Martin’s Commercial Addition, Lot 9; Jeff Brant (Brant Construction), Don Torrenga (Torrenga Engineering).
Jeff Brant, Brant Construction, stated this property is a non-conforming piece of property for the Overlay District. The lot itself is only 40,000 sq. ft. which would not allow for a 15,000 sq. ft. building with parking, so we are asking to reduce the building size to 8,120 sq. ft. We are also asking for a variance to have the parking at the front of the building since the site is small.

Mr. Lareau stated it was mentioned that the lot is non-conforming. Director of Building and Planning, Sergio Mendoza, stated the lot was created before the Overlay District was in that area. Mr. Laearu asked what the minimum lot size was in the Overlay District. Mr. Mendoza stated he could not remember off the top of his head, but the minimum lot size would accommodate a 15,000 sq. ft. building. Mr. Lareau stated it was hard to make a decision since he did not know what size lot would accommodate the 15,000 sq. ft. building.

Ms. Wohland asked how many parking spaces will be available once the building is built. Mr. Sheeran stated thirty-four spaces total. Ms. Wohland asked how many employees would be in the building. Mr. Brant stated the employees will vary depending on what business comes in. We currently have a nail salon that is interested, but their business varies during the time of day. Ms. Wohland asked how many employees would be present during the peak hours. Mr. Brant stated maybe twenty employees on the weekends. Ms. Wohland asked how many customers the salon would typically have. Tam Whin, 1013 Stonebridge Dr. Schererville, proposed renter in the building; introduced herself to the Board and stated she could not say exactly because it depends on who comes in and who does not. Ms. Wohland asked if the nail salon would be the only tenant in the building. Mr. Brant stated they will not be. He stated he had been in front of the Board previously with a proposal that had extra parking spaces, but the Board did not want those extra spaces. Mr. Decker stated that Mr. Brant is referring to the Plan Commission, not the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Mr. Lareau stated that he was just informed that the lot size is two acres to house a 15,000 sq. ft. building, which here we are under an acre, so that information is helpful. He asked if there was any other detail that could be given to the Board to help understand the proposal. Mr. Brant stated they are proposing a single-story center that could be used by a multitude of potential tenants. Diamond Nails is the main driver of this project. They have been very successful in Schererville and would like to replicate their business in St. John. Mr. Brant stated his company built the bank on the corner, and this was a leftover parcel that we subdivided. When we did this, the US 231 Overlay District did not exist. With the new District in place, this property does not fit within the parameters, which is why we are here asking for the two variances. Ms. Wohland asked if there was ever an answer on the number of customers. Mr. Sheeran stated at a peak hours there could be twenty employees with twenty customers, but customers will be flowing in and out of there. Mr. Lareau stated we only have thirty-four spaces. Mr. Brant stated we originally proposed a plan with more parking, but the Plan Commission asked to reduce the parking. Mr. Mendoza stated the original proposal had forty-four parking spaces. Upon review by the Plan Commission, they asked that the parking spaces be reduced to meet the minimum square footage requirement and maximize the available green space that is also required per the Overlay.

Mr. Sheeran asked how large the space would be for the nail salon. Mr. Brant stated 4,000 – 4,2000 sq. ft. Mr. Sheeran stated this will probably be two businesses. Mr. Brant stated there could be two to three tenants, but we do not know because we have not been able to approach potential clients since we do not know what we can build on the site. Parking is a big concern because if people cannot park there, then no one will want to try and access the facility. Mr. Sheeran stated he understood the Plan Commission wanting the green space, but parking really effects the facility. Ms. Wohland stated there is a pickup lane shown on the site plan, so there could be another business in there other than the nail salon. Mr. Brant stated that was correct. There is a proposed pickup lane so if some type of restaurant wanted to go there, they could. This is not an ordering window, strictly a pickup lane.

Mr. Lareau asked what the thought process was for requiring parking in the rear as opposed to the side. Mr. Mendoza stated within an Overlay District, you want to create design standards that are different from other corridors. In this case you would want the façade to be visible from the street, being the focal point, with the parking being on the side or rear of the building. Mr. Lareau asked if the side facing Parrish would be considered the front. Mr. Mendoza stated that was correct. Mr. Lareau asked if the building could be put on the opposite side of the lot. Mr. Brant stated that would not work because all of the building setbacks are already set since this lot was created before the Overlay District was created.

Public Hearing
Mr. Lareau opened the public hearing.

Pat Miller, Acorn Gates Townhome Association, stated she is directly behind where the liquor store is in this proposed area, and would like to express her concern with the added traffic. The road, Poplar St., which this building will be built on is the entrance in to the subdivision. The Town is trying to put a big building in a space with not enough parking and no overflow. The traffic on Parrish has already increased and this will increase it even more. She urged the Board to take that in to consideration when deciding on the development.

Carolyn Nirtaut, 9497 W. 107th, stated this business will have its parking lot facing her house. There are already hundreds and hundreds of cars that come through that area and this will create more traffic and more accidents.

Mr. Mendoza read an email from John Tiebel, RR & BJ, LLC. Developer, Martin’s Corner Subdivision, which stated “To Whom This May Concern, Please be advised, we have reviewed the variance request and believe granting such a request would be highly problematic and we oppose the proposed construction. As developer of Martin’s Corner Subdivision and having built four of the buildings in the subdivision, we have abided by the size, setback, and parking requirements of the ordinance at the time of construction. The proposed lot excluding the roadway easement is less than one acre in size. The construction of an 8,200 square foot building on a lot of this size is much too large for this lot size. The buildings that we’re required to construct on similar size lots are all 20% to 30% smaller than this structure. Correspondingly, the parking allocations for a building this size and use are too low. As I understand, the proposed use of this building includes food and personal services (beauty/spa). These two uses are two of the most intensive uses for parking. I have not performed a detailed look at the site plan, but with 17 spa stations and a restaurant, I would anticipate parking should be near 50 spaces. A lot less than one acre with St. John’s green space requirements is not likely to support the parking demands and square footage of this building. For a quick example if any Board members are familiar with State of Mind Salon & Day Spa (9470 Broadway), this facility has patrons parking all over the street as the lot does not fulfill the needs of the occupant. Such a scenario of people parking along the street would be a huge negative for nearby users such as Franciscan Alliance, Spurlock Liquors, and the nearby day care center. Not only does this present a safety concern, it is also a nuisance for neighboring properties. Variances should be granted when the request shows an undue hardship for a use that does not fit within the general code. In the case of the subject, there is no reason that the requestor should not meet the parking requirements of current Zoning. If such a variance is granted, we would request and expect similar variances for the remaining three vacant lots that we own within Martin’s Corner Subdivision. Respectfully Submitted, John Teibel, RR&BJ, LLC. Developer, Martin’s Corner Subdivision.”

Hearing no further comments, Mr. Lareau closed the public hearing.

Mr. Brant stated he would like to reiterate that at many meetings, more parking was presented, but the Commission did not want it. We have reduced the parking to minimize the variances, but unfortunately the property does not meet the requirements of the new Overlay District. We would like to move forward and bring another business in to the community that will provide a quality service for the residents in St. John. Mr. Lareau stated he understood the predicament, but with the lot size situation, there is not much that we can do with it. Mr. Sheeran asked if one tenant in a building half this size was feasible. Mr. Brant stated it was not. He stated he was open to suggestions from the Board on how they would like him to move forward. Mr. Lareau stated his particular concern was parking versus how many customers and employees would be present at the nail salon alone, not to mention if there was a second business in there. Mr. Brant asked if the Board would like to see a smaller building and how small. Mr. Lareau stated he would need to work with staff. Mr. Brant stated he could work with Mr. Mendoza, but that does not mean that the Board would approve it. Mr. Decker stated to Mr. Lareau that the Board did not need to answer questions from the petitioner since they are only there to decide on the matter at hand. Mr. Brant asked if he could receive a deferral to go back and try to come up with a different plan.

Board Action
Mr. Sheeran made a motion to defer petition 2021-08 for Brant Construction, seconded by Ms. Wohland and carried by roll call vote with three ayes.
Ayes – Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau
Nays - None

B. 2021-09 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE, StJMC 24-125 (d) (2), to encroach into the required 25’ Building Line by approximately 1’ at 11154 Madigan Ave., Mill Creek Subdivision, Phase 6, Lot 170; Doug Rettig (DVG Engineering), Randon Devenport (Olthof Homes).
Doug Rettig, DVG Engineering, stated we have prepared a site plan for a new home in Mill Creek on lot 170. When we prepared the site plan, there was a drafting area. This plan is typically built with a two car garage home, but in this case they changed it to a three car garage. It is typically a front loaded garage, but in order to get the third bay in there, the house gets deeper instead of wider, making the driveway side loaded. What was drawn on the site plan was a plan with a three car garage, but the draftsman did not realize that when that bay is added on, the other part of the garage gets wider. The twenty-two foot dimension should have been twenty-four feet. We drew it, staked it out, the homeowner received a permit, and we built the foundation. After a few weeks, we did a foundation survey and the twenty two foot dimension was built to the plans at twenty four feet so the house got two feet deeper, which is what they wanted, but not what we drew. He stated what he could explain is that stakes were put in to the ground so we are not sure how it did not get caught by excavation or concrete. The home is now one foot over the front building line.

Mr. Lareau asked if there have been any issues with this petitioner in the past. Mr. Mendoza stated he has not had any issues in the fourth months he had been here, but he has seen this scenario in the past. Mr. Sheeran stated Mr. Rettig and Olthof have a great reputation and we have never had an issue in the past with them. Mr. Rettig stated this is his first time ever being in front of a Board of Zoning Appeals. Mr. Sheeran stated if the correction is made, it is going to destroy that garage. Mr. Lareau asked if the home was built. Mr. Rettig stated it is just the foundation. It was put on hold when this was noticed.

Public Hearing
Mr. Lareau opened the public hearing.

With no one present to speak for or against the variance, Mr. Lareau closed the public hearing.

Board Action
Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve the developmental standard variance, including all discussion and Findings of Fact, seconded by Ms. Wohland and carried by roll call vote with three ayes.
Ayes – Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau
Nays - None

NEW/OLD BUSINESS:

C. 2021-07 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE per StJMC 24-555 (e) (1) b. to exceed the permitted 30 SF signage on a monument sign to 55 SF at 9615 Keilman Street, Great Lakes Orthopedics; Shelly Pitchford (Vice President), Lisa Neal (Doyle Signs).
Mr. Lareau stated the petitioner has asked to defer their public hearing. Mr. Mendoza stated that was correct. Public hearing notifications were not made properly.

Board Action
Mr. Sheeran made a motion to defer 2021-07 to the next regular meeting, seconded by Ms. Wohland and carried by roll call vote with three ayes.
Ayes – Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau
Nays - None

PUBLIC COMMENT

ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Lareau adjourned the meeting at approximately 7:42 P.M.

 

 

Mark LareauBrendan Sheeran
Board of Zoning Appeals, Chairman      Board of Zoning Appeals, Member
06-21-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals

June 21, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman Lareau called the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals Regular Meeting to order on Monday, June 21, 2021 at approximately 7:00 P.M., with members attending on-site and remotely, and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members Present:
Drago Popovic, Nancy Wohland, Secretary; Mark Lareau

Absent:
John Kennedy, Vice Chairman; Brendan Sheeran

Also Present:
Adam Decker, Board Attorney; Chris Salatas, Town Manager; Bryan Blazak, Councilman Liaison; and Sergio Mendoza, St. John Building and Planning Director. A quorum was attained.

MINUTES:

None available, please defer.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. 2021-07 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE per StJMC 24-555 (e) (1) b. to exceed the permitted 30 sq. ft. monument signage to 55 sq. ft. at 9615 Keilman Street, Great Lakes Orthopedics; Shelly Pitchford (Vice President) and Lisa Neal (Doyle Signs).
John Streets, Doyle Signs, stated we are looking to remodel the existing sign in front of Great Lake Orthopedics, on the existing foundation, but put a nice masonry base with a concrete pad in, add a brand new sign cabinet with LED lighting, as well as have multiple tenant panels to accommodate all of the tenants, along with a decorative cap. This sign measures 55.2 sq.ft. and will be visible from the road and US 41, but will be about 400 feet off of US 41. He stated he believed this sign is within the intent of the Code in allowing the tenants in the property to have proper signage. The setback remains the same as the existing sign, and we are only two square feet larger than the sign that is there now. All in all this is an upgrade that will look much nicer, light up nicer, and accommodate all of the tenants. Through this variance we are seeking an additional twenty-five square feet from what the Ordinance requires.

Mr. Lareau asked if the lighting referred to a light-up sign with scrolling images. Mr. Streets stated there will be no electronic message center. The LED’s will be inside of the sign. Mr. Lareau stated in traveling past the site, he has not been able to see how the sign will be seen from US 41. Mr. Streets stated you may not be able to read each tenant on there, but the sign will at least have somewhat of a visible area and presence from US 41. Discussion followed regarding the location of the sign. Mr. Streets stated ideally allowing this sign at this size will allow the tenants to have some verbiage that will be seen from 96th Street at the least.

Mr. Popovic asked what the dimensions of the old sign were. Mr. Streets stated the new sign is two inches shorter than the existing sign and two to three square feet larger than the current sign itself. Mr. Lareau asked if there was any concern with this being a solid panel as opposed to how you can see underneath the monument sign currently. Mr. Mendoza asked if Mr. Lareau was referring to the line of site. Mr. Lareau stated that was correct. Mr. Mendoza stated the sign will be more than twenty feet back from the edge of the sign to the curb. There should be no concern for line of site there.

Public Hearing
Mr. Lareau opened the public hearing. Mr. Lareau confirmed with Mr. Mendoza that there were no comments sent electronically for this item.

Jack Tauber, 9575 E. Oak Ridge Dr., asked how the sign would affect the appearance of the neighborhood and if the lighting would become an issue with the surrounding homes. Mr. Streets stated the current sign is illuminated, but there have been comments that it is not illuminated enough. The LED will be a cool light rather than the warm bright light. He stated he did not believe it would interfere with any residents. Mr. Lareau stated in other areas light studies have been done to see how far the light will travel, and asked Mr. Mendoza if a study like that needed to be done in this case. Mr. Mendoza stated they would need to comply with the lumens permitted for signage. Anything above that would need to be adjusted to fit the guidelines. Mr. Mendoza was not sure if that was stated in the Ordinance or not.

With no further public comment, Mr. Lareau closed the public hearing.

Mr. Lareau asked if the proposed LED lights were brighter than what is there. Mr. Streets stated the current sign is lit with florescent tubes, whereas this sign will have white LED illumination. He stated in his opinion it will not be much brighter than what is already there. Mr. Popovic asked if this was something that could be modified if it does disturb the residents. Mr. Streets stated there are dimming features that can be added down the road if it is deemed to be too bright. Mr. Lareau asked if that was a contingency that could be added if the lighting needs to be changed down the road. Mr. Decker stated Chapter 14 of the Zoning Ordinance established the outdoor lighting plan requirements and provides basic standards for illumination of signs and gross emission of light (measured lumens). The applicant would still need to comply with those provisions in Chapter 14 even if the variance is approved.

Board Action
Mr. Popovic made a motion to approve the developmental variance, including all discussions and Findings of Fact, contingent on the sign meeting the requirements regarding lumens found in Chapter 14 of the Town’s Zoning Ordinance, seconded by Ms. Wohland and carried by roll call vote with three ayes.
Ayes – Drago Popovic, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau
Nays – None.

B. 2021-10 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE per StJMC 24-461(b) to exceed the permitted 250 sq. ft. of accessory structure to 346 sq. ft. of accessory structure at 11314 W. 109th Avenue; James Walters (homeowner).
Jimmy Walters, 11314 W. 109th Ave., stated he was looking to get an additional ninety-six square feet of accessory structure. He stated he was going to remove the existing shed that is 11’ x 12’ and in need of repair, and replace that with a 10’ x 16’ shed.

Mr. Lareau asked if the current shed was closer to the house. Mr. Walters stated that was correct and that the new shed will be in the rear corner. Mr. Lareau asked if the size of structures was based on the lot size. Mr. Mendoza stated it is based on the size of the lot, so anything less than an acre is maximum square footage. Mr. Walters stated his lot is a little over an acre. Mr. Lareau asked the size limit for one acre. Mr. Decker stated in the Zoning Ordinance, for an R1 District, excluding garages, a maximum of two accessory structures are permitted, provided the square footage of all buildings does not exceed 250 sq.ft. Mr. Mendoza stated the question is on the size of the lot. Mr. Lareau stated he thought there were limitation for greater than an acre that were different from less than an acre. Mr. Popovic asked if the shed was custom built. Mr. Walters stated he is purchasing a prefabbed shed and noted the picture that was available. Mr. Decker stated he did not find anything in Bulk Requirements regarding the size of lot versus the square footage that is allowed of accessory buildings.

Public Hearing
Mr. Lareau opened the public hearing.

With no one to speak for or against the variance, Mr. Lareau closed the public hearing.

Board Action
Mr. Popovic made a motion to approve the developmental variance, including all discussions and Findings of Fact, seconded by Ms. Wohland and carried by roll call vote with three ayes.
Ayes – Drago Popovic, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau
Nays – None.

C. 2021-11 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE per StJMC 24-516 (e) (1) to encroach into the 8 ft. side yard along a street with a structure (fence), and StJMC 24-520 to obstruct site lines on a corner lot within the triangular area formed by street property lines with a fence at 11073 Summerlin Street; Candice and Marvin Richardson (homeowners).
Marvin Richardson, 11073 Summerlin St., stated we are one of only four of five homes in the subdivision who’s home backs up to farmland that is not owned by the developer. Our home is considered to be on a corner lot due to the stub that runs to the back of our property and dead-ends at the farmland. Mr. Richardson stated he understood the reason for the Ordinance and that it would hinder emergency vehicles, but there will be no emergency vehicles accessing that stub to get to a residence. Also, our home is the only one with a window well that faces a street rather than a home, so we are looking to cover that. From the back corner of the home to the window well is about eight feet, and the distance from the side of the home to the sidewalk is twenty feet.

Mr. Lareau asked if the current Ordinance states they can only go to the building line. Mr. Mendoza stated they would have to remain eight feet from the side yard. Mr. Lareau stated that would give them twelve feet from the house to the property line. The concern is that eventually that street will connect to something, and if we allow the fence, there will be an issue for line of site in the future. Mr. Lareau asked if they had thought of keeping the fence inside of the setback. Mr. Richardson stated that was fine, but his understanding of the Ordinance was that he needed permission to bring the fence further towards the front of the house to include the window well in to the fenced in area of the lot. Mr. Lareau apologized and stated he was correct that he needed a variance to bring the fence off of the back corner and further up the front of the home. Ms. Wohland stated she agreed that we cannot predict what will come in the future that will end up expanding the current stub, but there is also a drainage easement that someone may need to get in to in order to do work. Mr. Lareau stated he believes the consensus is to go to the easement rather than the sidewalk, but we need to discuss bringing the fence further towards the front of the home to get the coverage of the window well. Mr. Decker stated in an R2 District, there shall be two side yards of not less than eight feet and side yards abutting a street shall be no less than twenty feet. Clearly there would need to be a variance for purposes of building in the side yard along the street. Because the side yard abuts a street, that requires a side yard of twenty feet. Currently the foundation is 20.9 feet from the sidewalk. If they seek to build a fence, it would require a variance anywhere in the side yard. Mr. Richardson stated we are not trying to go in to the easement, just for clarification. He then asked if a condition could be added that if further development is done, the fence would then need to be moved. Mr. Lareau stated if we can get what you need for the side yard and cover the window well, that will be part of the property forever, but the sightlines would still be fine.

Public Hearing
Mr. Lareau opened the public hearing.

With no one to speak for or against the variance, Mr. Lareau closed the public hearing.

Mr. Popovic stated how the property is laid out, you would only have 9/10 of a foot to build a fence on. Mr. Decker stated the drawing as proposed is the fence going twenty feet from the house to the sidewalk and following the boundaries of the lot. In the Board’s consideration for the variance, you can establish whatever conditions you feel are reasonable. Mr. Lareau asked if they could make the contingency that the fence can come off of the house by only eight feet to leave the twelve feet for line of site. Discussion followed regarding the location of the window well, the distance from the house to the sidewalk, and the distance from the back corner of the house to where the proposed fence would start. Mr. Popovic asked if the north side of the home has the same starting point with the fence being further up towards the front of the house rather than the back corner. Mr. Richardson stated he did not believe that side was an issue because that side of the house butts up to another home. Mr. Lareau stated typically the fence is supposed to start at the back corner of the home, but assumed it was being placed to be uniform with the other side of the property. Mr. Mendoza stated on the north side of the home they are not going in to their front yard, so that side is good to go. Mr. Popovic asked if there would be a gate on the side of the window well. Mr. Richardson stated there would be a gate, which is something we will have to figure out. Mr. Popovic asked if there was a number they would feel comfortable with in order to accommodate a gate. Mr. Richardson stated he would like to ask for ten feet from the back corner of the house to the front in order to cover the window well, as well as ten feet from the foundation of the home towards the sidewalk to accommodate a gate. Ms. Wohland asked if it would be beneficial to have the petitioner come back with a corrected picture. Mr. Lareau stated we can make the contingencies with ten feet from the back corner of the house towards the front to cover the window well and ten feet from the foundation towards Mill Creek Rd. The north side has no issues. Discussion followed regarding gate locations.

Mr. Popovic asked what the preference would be coming off of the home. Mr. Richardson stated he could go with eight feet. There is a four foot bed of landscaping along that side of the house, so another four feet to the fence would work. In total, eight feet from the home towards the street.

Board Action
Mr. Popovic made a motion to approve the developmental variance, including all discussion and Findings of Fact, contingent upon the west facing fence not exceeding ten feet towards Summerlin St. from the back corner of the home, and that the south edge of the fence not exceed eight feet from the foundation of the residence towards Mill Creek Rd., seconded by Ms. Wohland and denied by roll call vote 2-1, with no majority reached.
Ayes – Drago Popovic, Mark Lareau
Nays – Nancy Wohland

Mr. Lareau asked if they could come back with revised drawings. Mr. Mendoza stated they would have to resubmit and re-advertise the public hearing. Mr. Lareau stated that is the option we have moving forward then.

D. 2021-12 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE per StJMC 24-555 (b) (3) a. to exceed the permitted 6 sq. ft. of canopy signage per entrance to 41.5 sq. ft. and 21.5 sq. ft. canopy signage per entrance, and StJMC 24-555 (e) (1) b. to exceed the permitted 30 sq. ft. monument signage to 32 sq. ft. at 9285 Wicker Ave.; Shaune Ensign or Abby Spihlman (Legacy Sign Group).
Shaune Ensign, Legacy Sign Group, stated we are requesting a variance approval on two illuminated canopy signs as well as a reface of the existing monument sign. Our client has a need to display their branding on the canopy, which they do have currently, but it is not up to the standards that Citgo requests. Due to the unique situations and the sightlines of Wicker Ave. and 93rd St., their existing monument sign is not very visible from the traffic lights, and therefore not allowing enough reaction time for their clients. Typical branding is on all three sides of the canopy, but we are only requesting two sides be branded. The proposed signs are LED illuminated channel letters and logo, and the monument sign proposed is merely face changes. They are seeking to add a discounted commodity for a Citgo card, but no additional modifications will be made to the monument sign.

Mr. Lareau asked if all three sides of the canopy would be branded. Mr. Ensign stated, no just two sides. Mr. Lareau asked if it was the south and west side. Mr. Ensign stated that was correct. The Citgo standards fill the canopy signs more than this location. Unfortunately the trimark eats in to a lot of the square footage because it is being boxed out and the triangle is larger than the lettering on the canopy. Mr. Lareau asked if the canopy signage would be lit. Mr. Ensign stated it is not currently, but we are proposing internally illuminated channel letters. Mr. Mendoza stated the canopy requirements are six square feet per canopy signage. Mr. Lareau stated this is four times the size. He stated he does not believe they have ever allowed that much of a size difference. The monument sign does not seem to be an issue. Mr. Lareau asked why that size of signage was needed on the canopy. Mr. Ensign stated the forty-one and a half square feet is only on the one side because of the area that the trimark covers since it needs to be squared out. Typically Citgo brands one side of the canopy with the trimark logo, and the other two sides are the letters only. The logo adds to the square footage since everything is boxed out. The letters only are twenty-eight square feet. Mr. Lareau stated even without the triangle, you are exceeding that requirement quite a bit. Mr. Popovic asked if there was a reason the two additional square feet were needed on the monument sign. Mr. Ensign stated it is merely face changes. He stated he could not speak to who permitted the sign previously, but their sign is a four foot by eight foot sign making it thirty-two square feet in total. It previously could have been boxed out, and just the signage was thirty square feet, which it would probably be about the same with this sign if you only include the sign area.

Public Hearing
Mr. Lareau opened the public hearing.

With no one to speak for or against the variance, Mr. Lareau closed the public hearing.

Mr. Lareau stated the canopy proposes an issue with how far out of the Ordinance it is. Mr. Ensign asked if there would be an opportunity to re-propose some additional sizes that the Board may entertain. Mr. Lareau stated they could do that. Mr. Ensign requested that the decision be tabled until the next meeting.

Board Action
Mr. Popovic made a motion to defer the variance until the next regular meeting, seconded by Ms. Wohland and carried by roll call vote with three ayes.
Ayes – Drago Popovic, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau
Nays - None

NEW/OLD BUSINESS:

E. 2021-08 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE, StJMC 24-376 (a) to relocate required side and rear parking to the front of the building, and StJMC 24-376 (f) to reduce the required minimum 15,000 SF building to 7,000 SF at 10845 Poplar Place, Martin’s Commercial Addition, Lot 9; Jeff Brant (Brant Construction), Don Torrenga (Torrenga Engineering).
Jeff Brant, Brant Construction, stated we are here tonight to present our revised plan for lot 9 in the Martin’s Commercial Addition. This lot is a non-conforming lot per the Overlay District, and we are also asking for a variance for parking spaces. We have gone to the Plan Commission and they have approved the site plan with the engineering and lighting plan, subject to this Board approving the two variances. We came up with the 7,000 sq. ft. building by taking the percentage of a 15,000 sq. ft. building on a two acre lot and dividing it to get about 17%. In the Overlay District, the building takes up about 17% of the lot, which we have done the same here.

Mr. Lareau asked how many parking spaces were needed with the previously proposed building. Mr. Mendoza stated there were thirty-three parking spaces with the 8,120 sq. ft. proposed building previously. With the new square footage of the building, twenty-seven spaces are needed, but the variance here is for the parking to be at the front of the building as opposed to the rear requirement in the Overlay District. As stated, this is a legal non-conforming lot since it was created before the Overlay District was created and the new Overlay requires a certain amount of coverage, so they are reducing the size of coverage to meet that standard.

Public Hearing
Mr. Lareau opened the public hearing.

With no one speaking for or against the variance, Mr. Lareau closed the public hearing.

Mr. Lareau stated there are more than enough parking spaces, but they are requesting that they be in the front of the building rather than the rear per the Overlay District. Mr. Brant stated that was correct. Mr. Popovic asked if the pickup lane was initially an issue. Mr. Brant stated no, the issue was that we initially had some parking on the other side of the ingress/egress road off of Poplar and the Commission wanted us to remove those spaces. The other issue was that we reduced the size of the building after working with Mr. Mendoza to accommodate the Town’s requirements. Mr. Popovic asked how drastic the change was from the last time. Mr. Lareau stated the building is quite a bit smaller than originally proposed. Mr. Brant stated we are trying to meet the requirements of the Overlay District with a lot that was platted before the District existed. Mr. Popovic asked what would be going there. Mr. Brant stated it would be a retail facility. If you look at the majority of the buildings in that area, the parking is in the front of the building.

Board Action
Mr. Popovic made a motion to approve the developmental variance, including all discussions and Findings of Fact, seconded by Ms. Wohland and carried by roll call vote with three ayes.
Ayes – Drago Popovic, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau
Nays – None

Mr. Decker asked the Board to go back to item C, the Richardson’s corner fence. He stated that he believed he misspoke about the result of the vote that was taken. The motion at that time was to approve with the conditions that were recited and the vote was 2-1. Mr. Decker stated he believed he had said that the motion was denied, but it was not a motion to deny that was approved by the Board. The motion to approve simply failed and is still before the Board. The Board could consider a motion to deny or a motion to defer which would leave the matter on the agenda for a future meeting as opposed to the petitioner having to go through what steps they may have to take to represent to the Board. Since there were only three members present, the motion failed since it was not unanimous, but it was not denied. If Mr. and Mrs. Richardson would like, they could come back to next month’s meeting and re-present their petition to the Board. Mr. Lareau asked if they would still need to go through the public hearing process. Mr. Decker stated not on a deferral. Mr. Lareau stated in order to remedy that, we would need another motion to defer. Mr. Decker stated that would correct it. If a motion to defer fails 2-1, then no action will be taken, which is still not a denial.

Board Action
Mr. Popovic made a motion to defer the petition for the Richardson’s at 11073 Summerlin St. until next month’s meeting, seconded by Ms. Wohland and carried by roll call vote with three ayes.
Ayes – Drago Popovic, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau
Nays – None

Mr. Lareau asked for Mr. Mendoza to contact the petitioners. Mr. Mendoza stated he would contact them that night.

PUBLIC COMMENT

ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Lareau adjourned the meeting at approximately 8:37 P.M.

 

 

Mark LareauDrago Popovic
Board of Zoning Appeals, Chairman      Board of Zoning Appeals, Member
07-19-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals

July 19, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Vice Chairman Kennedy called the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals Regular Meeting to order on Monday, July 19, 2021 at approximately 7:00 P.M., with members attending on-site and remotely, and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members Present:
Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, Secretary; John Kennedy, Vice Chairman

Absent:
Mark Lareau, Chairman

Also Present:
Adam Decker, Board Attorney; Chris Salatas, Town Manager; Bryan Blazak, Councilman Liaison; and Sergio Mendoza, St. John Building and Planning Director. A quorum was attained.

MINUTES:

None available, please defer.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. 2021-13 USE VARIANCE per StJMC 24-341 to allow a Medical Office Use, Northshore Health Center Inc., within the US 41 Overlay District at 9825 Wicker Avenue, inside the Strack & Van Til; James Wieser (Attorney).
James Wieser, Attorney, stated the reason for the request is that the Ordinance prohibits health centers or medical offices in the US 41 Overlay District. Northshore Health Center’s is a federally qualified health center and their purpose is to serve all folks that are in need, regardless of income or financial need, with their medical needs. Centier’s lease with Strack and VanTil has recently expired, and Strack and VanTil has decided to not renew their lease, but rather go a different direction and partner with Northshore. Mr. Wieser stated there offices are usually smaller with this particular one being about 557 sq.ft. The idea is to provide a health clinic that will give very basic services to patients that would choose to use the facility. They have currently begun remodeling in Schererville, and we will soon be in front of Crown Point’s BZA for the same matter. To be clear, this is not an acute facility, but rather a facility for people who want to receive Covid/flu shots or potentially have the flu or other minor ailments. He stated in their research, they have found that their average patient load in other areas is typically thirty to forty-five patients per day between the hours of 8:00am and 8:00pm Monday through Saturday. Since they will potentially be in the Stracks building, there will be more than adequate parking available and the space that is available inside will also be on point for what they are trying to accomplish. Mr. Wieser went over the proposed layout for the facility and explained how he believed this would be a benefit to the community. Mr. Kennedy asked how many staff members would be there. Mr. Wieser stated there will typically be three employees with two exam rooms.

Public Hearing
Mr. Kennedy opened the public hearing.

With no one speaking for or against the variance, Mr. Kennedy closed the public hearing.

Mr. Kennedy stated as a point of reference, the Board did allow a dentist office in the Overlay District just a few months ago and we did go over the parking scenarios just like with this petition. Mr. Popovic stated he was not opposed to the idea in general, but the increase in traffic is a concern. Mr. Wieser stated the bank had traffic of about ten to fifteen people an hour, whereas this facility will have about thirty to forty-five people in a twelve hour period. Based on their research, it would be about four to five vehicles per hour. Mr. Popovic asked who did the research. Mr. Wieser stated Northshore. Mr. Kennedy stated the main driver of the building is Stracks. If someone visits Northshore, more than likely they are also shopping at Stracks and getting two things done in one place.

Board Action
Ms. Wohland made a motion to approve a favorable recommendation to the Town Council for a use variance for Northshore Health Center, including all discussions and Findings of Fact, seconded by Mr. Sheeran and carried by roll call vote 3-1.
Ayes – Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, John Kennedy
Nays – Drago Popovic

NEW/OLD BUSINESS:

B. 2021-11 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE per StJMC 24-516 (e) (1) to encroach into the 8 ft. side yard along a street with a structure (fence), and StJMC 24-520 to obstruct sight lines on a corner lot within the triangular area formed by street property lines with a fence at 11073 Summerlin Street; Candice and Marvin Richardson (homeowners).
Marvin Richardson, 11073 Summerlin Street, stated our home backs up to farmland that is not owned by the developer and we have a window well on the side of our home that faces the street, which we are looking to cover with the fence for further privacy. The first variance is to move the fence ten feet forward from the back corner of the home, and the second is to move the fence eight feet from the home towards the street in order to cover the window for additional safety. There is a ten foot easement, but the fence would be twenty-five feet away from that. We had a previous submission for more fenced in space, but we went back and clarified the plan of what we are asking for.

Mr. Mendoza stated the home was constructed on the south side of the twenty foot building line on the lot. With the line of site identified in the Ordinance, the building remains off of that, however the petitioner is requesting to enclose a window well that is adjacent to that building line which would encroach in to the side yard. They are requesting to come out eight feet from the home, leaving a twelve foot setback from the sidewalk and run east to the property line, and then essentially enclose the rear yard of their property. Mr. Kennedy stated there is no issue to the north or east, just this portion. Mr. Mendoza stated that is correct. Mr. Kennedy stated currently Summerlin is not a major thoroughfare that does not see a lot of traffic, and even with future development, it will probably be residential. He stated he did agree with Ms. Wohland’s previous comments about it not being along the sidewalk, but that has been moved back almost 12.9 feet. Discussion followed on how the motion should be made.

Board Action
Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve the variance contingent upon the BZA submittal and Reeve’s Fence proposal and drawing dated June 30, 2021 being followed, including all discussion and Findings of Fact, seconded by Mr. Popovic and carried by roll call vote with four ayes.
Ayes – Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, John Kennedy
Nays - None

C. 2021-12 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE per StJMC 24-555 (b) (3) a. to exceed the permitted 6 sq. ft. of canopy signage per entrance to 41.5 sq. ft. and 21.5 sq. ft. canopy signage per entrance, and StJMC 24-555 (e) (1) b. to exceed the permitted 30 sq. ft. monument signage to 32 sq. ft. at 9285 Wicker Ave.; Shaune Ensign or Abby Spihlman (Legacy Sign Group).
Shaune Ensign, Legacy Sign Group, stated we are asking for approval of 32 sq.ft. of sign area for face changes in the existing monument sign. We previously sought a 41.5 sq.ft. and 21.5 sq.ft. sign request, however after review with the client and brand standards with Citgo, we are asking for a 17.5 sq.ft. sign with the triangle Citgo logo and the Citgo letters, as well as a 9 sq.ft. square of letters on the other elevation. These letters are LED illuminated channel letters and are sized to be eighteen inches tall, which allows for maximum readability from 180 lineal feet. From 93rd and Wicker Ave., the readability is anywhere from 183 to 202 feet. In order to allow for maximum visibility and for patrons to be able to make the adequate decision to turn, we are proposing the adjusted sizes on the canopy.

Mr. Kennedy asked if the canopy itself would be replaced. Mr. Ensign stated no, the canopy has already been debranded and new digital graphics are already in place. There is a set of vinyl Citgo letters, rather small, that exist on the canopy current. We are peeling off the vinyl and replacing it with the channel letters. Mr. Kennedy asked if the Citgo triangle and letters would be on the west side of the canopy, and the letters be on the south side. Mr. Ensign stated that was correct. Typically Citgo only puts the trimark on one elevation. They feel that this side has the most predominate vantage point, with the secondary vantage point on the west elevation. Mr. Kennedy asked if there were other locations where this size is already installed. Mr. Ensign stated the Crown Point location has much larger letters. He then handed out an example of the typical Citgo standards, which showed larger letters on three sides of the canopy rather than two. Mr. Kennedy asked what was currently there. Mr. Ensign stated currently there are twelve inch letters. Mr. Kennedy asked if Citgo had a smaller standard. Mr. Ensign stated no because when you get in to smaller sizes, the letters cannot be made.

Board Action
Ms. Wohland made a motion to approve the developmental variance for the proposed canopy signs at a 17.5 sq.ft. canopy sign on the west side, and a 9 sq.ft. canopy sign; including all discussions and Findings of Fact, seconded by Mr. Sheeran and carried by roll call vote with four ayes.
Ayes – Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, John Kennedy
Nays – None

Mr. Popovic made a motion to approve the developmental variance for the proposed monument sign at 32 sq.ft. including all discussions and Findings of Fact, seconded by Mr. Sheeran and carried by roll call vote with four ayes.
Ayes – Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, John Kennedy
Nays – None

PUBLIC COMMENT

ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Kennedy adjourned the meeting at approximately 7:46 P.M.

 

 

John KennedyDrago Popovic
Board of Zoning Appeals, Vice-Chairman      Board of Zoning Appeals, Member
08-16-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals

August 16, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman Lareau called the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals Regular Meeting to order on Monday, August 16, 2021 at approximately 7:00 P.M., with members attending on-site and remotely, and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members Present:
Drago Popovic, Nancy Wohland, Secretary; John Kennedy, Vice Chairman; Mark Lareau, Chairman

Absent:
Brendan Sheeran, Sergio Mendoza, St. John Building and Planning Director; Bryan Blazak, Councilman Liaison

Also Present:
Adam Decker, Board Attorney; Chris Salatas, Town Manager; and Jason Dravet, I.T. Coordinator. A quorum was attained.

MINUTES:

None available, please defer.

Mr. Kennedy made a motion to defer the minutes, seconded by Mr. Popovic and carried by roll call vote with four ayes.
Ayes – John Kennedy, Drago Popovic, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau
Nays - None

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. 2021-14 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE per StJMC 24-516 (e)(1) to encroach into the 8 ft. side yard along a street with a structure (fence) and StJMC 24-520 to obstruct site lines on a corner lot within the triangular area formed by street property lines at 12681 Paintbrush Court; Adam and Ivana Sedia (homeowners).
Adam Sedia, 12681 Paintbrush Court, stated we have two young children and would like to install a six foot privacy fence in order to keep them in, and to keep out other people and animals. We live on a corner lot next to Primrose, which is a thru street that is fairly busy, but because we live on that corner to build out from the side of the house facing Primrose, a fence has to be flush with the side of the house. According to the plans we wanted, the proposal that was given to the building department did not comply with the Town Code. Mr. Sedia stated the photograph that is included in your packet shows that if you build straight back from the edge of the house, you run in to a spruce tree that we do not want to remove. Building it back would also cut off about a fourth of the back yard. What we have requested is to come out from the side of the house towards Primrose up to six feet in from the sidewalk and then follow the property line the rest of the way. Discussion followed regarding if there was one or two variances being requested.

Mr. Sedia handed out photos that were taken in his subdivision of other homes that have fences encroaching further out than his request. Mr. Lareau stated he could not speak to that because he was unsure if or how they received a variance for that much room. Mr. Sedia stated he just wanted to submit the pictures to show the character of the subdivision currently. Mr. Kennedy asked the length of the fence that heads east from the back corner of the home. Mr. Sedia stated the total distance is twenty to thirty feet from the edge of the chimney to the sidewalk. From the edge of the house to the line, we would want to follow approximately fifteen to twenty feet. Mr. Kennedy asked if he could explain the need for that amount. Mr. Sedia stated it is to avoid the spruce tree and flower bed underneath, and to also avoid having a gap between the arborvitae and the fence, which would be difficult to maintain. Mr. Kennedy asked if there would be a gate. Mr. Sedia stated there would be right next to where the bush is that would allow easy access from the driveway. Mr. Kennedy stated he had stopped by the house to look at it and the concern is “what is a hardship for the fifteen foot extension east from the house”. He stated from the angle he was looking at, it would not be fifteen feet to avoid the spruce, however it does make sense to push the fence up against the arborvitae. Mr. Sedia stated he would not have asked for that much if the arborvitae were not there. This is how the property was when we bought it, we have not added any of that landscape. Mr. Kennedy stated there will have to be two variances because of the vision triangle, just to clarify for the Board.

Mr. Lareau asked what type of fence would be installed. Mr. Sedia stated a solid white vinyl fence. Mr. Lareau stated he was out at the property and did not see an issue with the proposal. Mr. Kennedy agreed and stated if there was not a three-way stop sign there would be a little more concern.

Board Action
Mr. Kennedy made a motion to approve the encroachment in to the eight foot sideyard by no more than two feet along the street, including all discussions and Findings of Fact, seconded by Mr. Popovic and carried by roll call vote with four ayes. Ayes – Drago Popovic, John Kennedy, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau Nays – None

Town Manager Chris Salatas stated he would like to read a comment that was sent in to the department from a Brian Usher which stated, “I spoke with Mr. Mendoza of the Building and Planning Department about the work my neighbors plan to complete. I am unable to attend the meeting, but would like to use my e-mail as a vote of approval to complete the work they would like to do”. Brian G. Usher 12701 Paintbrush Ct.

Mr. Kennedy made a motion to approve the variance from obstruction of sightlines on the corner of the lot within the triangular area at 12681 Paintbrush Ct. based on all discussions and Findings of Fact, and to include the contingency that the encroachment does not exceed two feet in to the eight foot sideyard, seconded by Mr. Popovic and carried by roll call vote with four ayes. Ayes – Drago Popovic, John Kennedy, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau Nays – None

NEW/OLD BUSINESS:

None

PUBLIC COMMENT

ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Lareau adjourned the meeting at approximately 7:21 P.M.

 

 

Mark LareauJohn Kennedy
Board of Zoning Appeals, Chairman      Board of Zoning Appeals, Vice-Chairman
09-20-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals

September 20, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Lareau called the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order on Monday, September 20, 2021, at 7:03 p.m., which its members attended on-site and remotely, and led all in The Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

The following members were present: Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran; Nancy Wohland, Secretary (virtual); and Mark Lareau, Chairman. Absent: John Kennedy, Vice Chairman. A quorum was attained.

Also present: Adam Decker, Board Attorney; Brian Blazak, Town Council Liaison, Chris Salatas, Town Manager; and Sergio Mendoza, Director of Building and Planning.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Popovic made a motion to defer the minutes from the last few meetings because they are unavailable. Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote:

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

NEW/OLD BUSINESS:

A. 2021-15 USE VARIANCE: from StJMC 24-342 et. seq. StJMC 24-45 to allow indoor private recreational facility (batting cages) at 11101 W. 97th Lane; zoned I, 0.41 acre; Flint Alm (Property Owner), Steven Scott (Attorney).
Mr. Scott stated that Mr. Alm could not be here, but a representative from his office, Mr. Brian Habernet is present. The Use Variance is for the building behind the McDonald’s. This variance is necessary because we wish to put batting cages in the building. It will not change the exterior of the building. The only change is that inside the building, it will no longer be utilized as a warehouse-type building, light industrial. Instead, it will have three batting cages in the one warehouse. The area has changed over the last number of years, becoming more of a retail, restaurant area. In keeping with that change, including the 41 overlay district, we are requesting the variance so my client can provide entertainment and something the community will enjoy. The batting cages will be for private instruction, but there will be availability to the public for a batting cage time.

The Board will consider the variance application either favorable, unfavorable or no recommendation to the Town Council so they can review this matter at a Town Council meeting. The Board may stipulate any number of conditions as part of an approval because that corner is dangerous in regard to traffic and no stop signs in either direction.

Mr. Mendoza had no public remonstrations regarding this variance.

Ms. Wohland joined the meeting remotely and had no questions.

Mr. Lareau asked for a recommendation from the Board to approve, deny or defer this variance.

Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve the 2021-15 Use Variance for the batting cages. The approval will not be injurious to public health safety morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The need for the variance will arise for some condition peculiar to the property which is as follows. The subject property is in the area in St. John which has changed from a light, industrial warehouse area to a restaurant/entertainment corridor. It has become increasingly difficult for a petitioner to appropriately utilize the subject property due to its proximity to surrounding properties whose uses/characters have changed. The applicant did establish the strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance which will constitute an unnecessary hardship if applied to the property which the variance is sought. The petitioner has established that approval does not interfere substantially with the Comprehensive Plan of the Town of St. John.

Mr. Sheeran recommends serious consideration in terms of safety and some sort of observance of traffic flow through that area.

Mr. Popovic seconded the motion. Motion carried with a unanimous roll call vote:

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Lareau Aye

NEW/OLD BUSINESS

B. 2021-16 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE: from StJMC 24-95(d) (3) and StJMC 24-96(b) and StJMC 24-462(a) to construct a detached 28’ x 22’ garage in the rear yard 4’ from the side yard at 9211 Park Drive; zoned R-1, 0.24 acre; Carolyn DeYoung (homeowner), Ryan Knoll (Knoll & Sons Contractors).
Mr. Knoll represented the homeowner regarding construction of a detached 28’ x 22’ garage in the rear yard of 9211 Park Drive. Much discussion ensued as to the dimensions and placement of the garage in the yard. Mr. Knoll is looking for the side yard setback (24-462), the location of the garage (24-96), and the requirements of the area and width regulations (24-95d).

This variance is being presented to the Board for guidance to the contactor for the public hearing next month. The Board instructed Mr. Knoll to come back with exactly what he is building as far as roof pitch and height of the walls. He needs to verify with Mr. Mendoza that it’s under 14’ and if it’s over, a separate variance would be needed.

The Board advised Mr. Knoll to return next month with revised ordinances. The Board is directing the contractor to reduce the number of variances applied for and the Board will work with the applicant to accommodate that.

C. 2021-17 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE: from StJMC 24-461 (b) to exceed the allowable 250 sq. ft. of accessory area by 182 sq. ft. for a 432 sq. ft. accessory building at 9233 W. 91st Place; zoned RC-2 PUD, 0.36 acre; Alex and Bozica Romic (Homeowners).
Mrs. Romic is looking to build a pool pavilion in her yard larger than the Town allows. The Board recommended the homeowners meet with Mr. Mendoza with their final plans. If Mr. Mendoza is okay with the final plans, then the homeowners will come back before the Board for approval.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business, Mr. Lareau adjourned the meeting at 7:48 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Gerri Kudzia, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

10-18-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals

October 18, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Kennedy called the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order on Monday, October 18, 2021, at 7:00 p.m., which its members attended on-site and remotely, and led all in The Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

The following members were present: Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, John Kennedy, Vice Chairman; Nancy Wohland (virtual), Secretary. Absent: Mark Lareau, Chairman. A quorum was attained.

Also present: Adam Decker, Board Attorney; Chris Salatas, Town Manager.

Absent: Mark Lareau, Chairman

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Mr. Popovic made a motion to defer the minutes from the last few meetings because they are unavailable. Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously by roll-call vote:

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye

PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. 2021-16 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE: from StJMC 24-95(d) (3) and StJMC 24-96(b) to construct a detached 28’ x 22’ garage in the rear yard and 5’ from the side yard at 9211 Park Drive; zoned R-1 - Single Family Residential, 0.24 acre; Carolyn DeYoung (Homeowner) and Ryan Knoll (Knoll & Sons Contractors).
Mr. Knoll from Knoll & Sons Contractors is representing the homeowner regarding construction of a detached 28’ x 22’ garage in the rear yard of 9211 Park Drive. Mr. Knoll stated that he corrected the pitch of the roof to be 13’ 6” to comply with the variance.

Mr. Sheeran stated that two variances are involved. The first one is to construct a detached garage and the second is for a 5’ setback from the side yard. Our ordinance states any structure needs to be 10’. Since it is conflicting variances, we are going with the stricter one of 10’, Mr. Knoll will need a variance from that one. When there is conflicting variances, we have to go with the stricter of the two.

Since there was no public comment, Mr. Popovic made a motion to approve the Variance for 24-96(b) for the detached garage for the Carolyn De Young residence and include the Findings of Fact as follows: the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion. Mr. Knoll confirmed that the garage and the house will have the exact same siding. The motion for a detached garage carried unanimously by a roll call vote:

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye

Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve Variance 24-95(d)(3) for 5’ setback from the side yard and include the Findings of Fact as follows: the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Mr. Popovic seconded the motion. The motion for a 5’ setback from the side yard carried unanimously by a roll call vote:

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye

B. 2021-17 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE: from StJMC 24-461(b) to exceed the permitted 250 sq. ft. of accessory area by 182 sq. ft. for a 432 sq. ft. accessory building at 9233 W. 91st Place; zoned RC-2 PUD - Single Family Residential Planned Unit Development, 0.36 acre; Alex and Bozica Romic (Homeowners).

Mr. & Mrs. Romic is looking to build an 18’ x 24’ pool gazebo in their yard. The height of the structure may exceed our ordinance by possibly a foot. The structure is not fully enclosed and will be for shade.

Mr. Popovic made a motion to approve Variance 24-461(b) for an accessory building at 9233 W. 91st Place to exceed 250 sq. ft. and include the Findings of Fact as follows: the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion. The motion carried by a roll call vote:

Mr. Kennedy voiced his concern about Item #3 which is 72% over 250’.

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Nay

Since there was no limit of square footage on this variance for the accessory building, Attorney Decker, suggested the Board make a motion to set a limit of square footage for approval. Mr. Kennedy asked the Board for their consideration to make a motion regarding this previous variance to set the limit at 432 sq. ft. for approval.

Mr. Popovic made a motion to put a restriction on Variance 24-461(b) that was just approved so that the building does not exceed 432 sq. ft. as planned. Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion. The motion carried by a roll call vote:

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Nay

Mr. Kennedy advised the next item is a variance to exceed the 14 ft. roof height to 14’ 6”.

Mr. Popovic made a motion to approve Variance 24-461(c) to exceed the 14’ roof height, but not to exceed 14 and a half feet and include the Findings of Fact as follows: the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion. The motion carried by a roll call vote:

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Nay

C. 2021-18 USE VARIANCE: from StJMC 24-473 (a) et. seq. StJMC 24-45 to allow a childcare/daycare facility at 13190 Snowberry Lane; zoned R-2 - Single Family Residential, 0.27 acre; Shawn and Claudia Decker (Property Owners).
Mr. Shawn Decker, stated he was the owner of 13190 Snowberry Lane, but resides at 8125 Knickerbocker Place since 2019. They originally lived at 13190 Snowberry Lane until 2017 when their daughter was born. They needed daycare in the area and ended up at their current residence on Knickerbocker Place because they had home-based childcare there since 2006. They bought the Knickerbocker house and business and have been running the business successfully ever since. The Snowberry house is vacant and the Deckers want to make this into a residential childcare Class I daycare, which is the smallest one that exists in the State of Indiana. It would be a 12 child maximum, age range of birth to age four, operational hours from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday – Friday, and the house would be uninhabited on nights and weekends with a security system. The ranch-style home has no basement, which is ideal from a child safety perspective, with a park behind it. There are 2 parking spaces in the garage for the employees, and 4 spaces in the driveway. They would be fully licensed.

They renewed all the requirements for the current daycare on Knickerbocker and have passed 10 inspections in a year and a half. Mr. Decker addressed the Snowberry Lane issues of parking and traffic, appearance of the home, safety/state/fire inspections and regulations. There would be no signage. They are requesting only the use of the property, everything else about the property is completely compliant with the residential use as is. The Snowberry facility would be in addition to the Knickerbocker facility.

Amy Schultz, 13131 Snowberry Lane: There are several neighbors here and we are all opposed to having a business located on our street. I don’t think that allowing businesses in the middle of our street is a precedent that the Town should be setting. Ms. Schultz is concerned about increased noise, traffic and the use of the park with limited playground equipment which would bring wear and tear and upkeep costs for the Town for the sole benefit of the childcare business. This variance will be materially detrimental and substantially adverse to the surrounding property owners. It will decrease our property values making it hard for us to sell our properties in the future. All of these things with noise and traffic are going to interfere with the peaceful use of the surrounding properties. Ms. Schultz stated she has case information that Mr. Decker had been charged with domestic violence in 2020 and you cannot obtain a childcare license with a history of domestic violence. Ms. Schultz respectfully requests that the Board deny the zoning request.

Cecile Shirely, 13191 Snowberry Lane: I live exactly across from the house. I agree it will not help the value of our houses. I lived here for more than 20 years. A lot of us have campers in our driveways and everybody is parking on the street. It is already difficult for school buses to get through and to add more traffic with people we don’t know coming through, would make it even harder for the buses until school is out. Winter time will be a nightmare because we are not plowed right away. If there is a domestic dispute there, it could bring more problems to the neighborhood. We really would like to keep it residential. We have enough traffic already. I appreciate it if you consider these things.

Frank Morsovillo, 13160 Snowberry Lane: I reside right next door to the right of the property in question. I would like to add that I appreciate Mr. and Mrs. Decker’s desire to run a successful business enterprise. I have no personal animosity toward them in any way. However, since I reside immediately next door, I feel I have the most to lose. My backyard goes seamlessly into the park, you could see the wood line and everything else. There’s a cyclone fence that separates our property. It would almost seem it would be necessary to have a privacy fence. But at the same time, that would destroy the aesthetic of having the open field and park that we enjoy. I also feel they underestimate the impact of the traffic and congestion. It’s a residential area, quiet and peaceful. That’s why we moved there. I am not convinced that this will not be detrimental to our property values and a whole host of unforeseen problems. I don’t believe that there should be a commercial enterprise in a residential area. I appreciate your consideration.

Gary Chick, 13130 Snowberry Lane: I’m two houses directly east of them, I live next to Frank. I’ve been there for about 30 years. One of the reasons I chose St. John is because it’s a beautiful area and I feel great living here. I think years ago before they put Schillton Drive all the way through, Schillton Hills was fighting us because they said our traffic from them to go to 93rd would increase immensely. Well it was just the opposite. Everyone from Schillton Hills and 93rd is cutting through there. Everyone keeps blowing our four-way stop every day. I feel it will diminish our property because what they’re putting together sounds fantastic right now, but in five years, is the house going to look the same. Is he going to be able to keep up with the wear and tear? They talk about a max of 12 kids, but next thing it might be 13, 14 kids there. Traffic is going to get immense just like the high school kids coming and going to school through our area. I think it will be a big problem down the road. I would consider not making it commercial because who knows what else you could change down the road.

Mr. Kennedy preceded to read correspondence received. 1. Letter from Delbert and Cecile Shirley, 13191 Snowberry Lane; 2. Letter from Pete Gibson, 8850 Verbena Drive; 3. Letter from Clayton T. Rife, 8830 Verbena Court. All three letters voiced their opinion against the zoning change to commercial for the childcare/daycare facility at 13190 Snowberry Lane and are attached.

Mr. Decker addressed the Board about some of the objections mentioned earlier. The objection to the park size – we have the best view of that park. We lived there for 6 years and no one hardly used it, we’re talking about little kids in small groups. I thought that was an odd concern. We can put the playing in the backyard if that’s some sort of restriction you would like to place on us.

From a safety perspective, I already went through the traffic numbers. There will be an uptick in the 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. window of time, Monday – Friday, nights and weekends it is going to be dead. I agree the RVs that are 40’ long with kids living in them in the driveway in front of people’s houses is a hazard because it forces cars onto the roads especially during the winter when plowing. I think that is a valid concern. I think that’s a risk that should be addressed but it has nothing to do with my situation here.

As far as precedence, that was another concern raised. We already have the business that’s been around for 15 years. We’re living in it; it’s doing very well. We’ve had no complaints for the last 15 years. So I understand why everyone is fearful of change especially in their immediate area when they have nothing personally to benefit from it. All the people that would have something to benefit can’t possibly be here because that business doesn’t exist yet. We do have all parents from our current daycare and they are happy about it. Ultimately, the people who would suffer if we don’t go this route is a bunch of parents who can’t find daycare just like ourselves and have to pay $100 more a week per kid and then commute to their work because there is no daycare right now that is accepting people. There’s ridiculous shortages. When you’re expanding a community like St. John with subdivision after subdivision, we need to keep in mind that we need child care too.

Regarding domestic violence, that is not correct. It was disorderly conduct. Just to clarify, it had nothing to do with this daycare.

The privacy fence – we had a privacy fence and my neighbor took it down. We paid for a chain-link fence to replace the privacy fence that he took down. I had a fence on three sides. I spent a couple grand to fill in the line because he wanted to have an open space between the two yards. I never brought it up, but to say that this is going to obstruct some view when he bought the house, that didn’t exist because there was a privacy fence there that he failed to replace. I never griped about putting up a new fence, but the fact that he brought it up tonight, politely stated, but still a low shot nonetheless.

Mr. Kennedy wanted to describe what he meant by precedence. Fifteen years ago unfortunately I was not on this Board when that was done. Whether I agree with that decision or not, I sort of agree that this is a residential area and a commercial development which is not being used residential at all, it’s strictly for commercial use. I just have concerns with that. I don’t live in that neighborhood so I have to give some weight to their opinion. At the same time, I have to do what’s best for the whole community. Personally, I just don’t think it’s good. Yes it’s been done 15 years ago. Was that the right decision? I would not have allowed that if I was on the Board 15 years ago. I just don’t feel comfortable approving what I consider as strictly commercial development in a residential neighborhood.

Ms. Wohland stated that she empathizes with the residents and agrees with Mr. Kennedy about the “commercialness” of the property. She has personal knowledge of the daycare that is currently in operation and there is a lot of traffic.

Mr. Popovic added he appreciates the Decker’s endeavors. All you can do is ask. You know the worst that can happen is you get a no. That being said, a more appropriate location for a daycare center would be beneficial.

Mr. Popovic made a motion for an unfavorable recommendation to the Town Council and include the Findings of Fact as follows: that the establishment, maintenance or operation of the Special Exception will be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare. That the Special Exception will be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted, nor substantially diminish and impair property value within the neighborhood. That the establishment of the Special Exception will impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district. Adequate measures will be taken to provide Ingress and Egress, so designed as to minimize traffic congestion in the public streets. That adequate utilities, access road, drainage and/or necessary facilities will be provided. That adequate measure will not in all other respects conform to the applicable regulations of the Zoning District in which it is located. That the Special Exception shall be required to comply with reasonable time limitations on the commencement and duration of Special Exception as well as holder of rights to same. Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion. The motion carried by a roll call vote.

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye

An unfavorable recommendation will be made to the Town Council.

D. 2021-19 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE: from StJMC 24-555 (b) (6) to allow a 4’x 9’ electronic message sign at Lake Central Plaza, 8237 Wicker Avenue; zoned C-2 - Highway Commercial, 3.2 acres; Renee Egnatz (Property Owner/Manager)

Ms. Egnatz is representing Lake Central Plaza located 8237 Wicker Avenue, 8235 – 8282 Wicker Avenue. We are seeking a variance for a 4’ x 9’ digital message board installation at the corner of Wicker Avenue and 82nd Lane. Currently what we have is two message boards underneath our main Lake Central Plaza name. What we propose to do is to remove both the outdated signs and install one 4’ x9’ digital message center that would service the 30 tenants we have in the building. It will also bring an updated look to the center as well. Our current tenants are struggling during this time. They are St. John local Mom and Pop businesses experiencing hardship because they don’t have exposure directly on Route 41. They could greatly benefit by being able to advertise their product or service in that highly visible location. We will not have any flashing or scrolling messages. We will hold all messages for at least 10 seconds. She included a document that talked about the safety of the EMC message centers and the SBA’s report on how beneficial this is for small businesses in order to get their message out there. Ray from Affordable Signs is also here.

Mr. Sheeran asked the question, when there is an Amber Alert or a Silver Alert or any public emergency, would there be consideration by your organization to put that on your sign? Ms. Egnatz stated they would absolutely put it on the sign as long as it is possible. Mr. Sheeran asked Attorney Decker if this would have to be a contingency. Mr. Decker said it could be made a condition of the approval if that’s the way this is going.

Mr. Thomas, Vice President of Affordable Signs, stated that Watch Fire has been trying to design a system where it would automatically go to all watch fires. They have not done it yet.

Mr. Kennedy wanted to know if there were any issues with the brightness of the light of the sign with traffic or our existing ordinance for sign. Attorney Decker said he didn’t see anything that would go against our current lighting situation. Mr. Thomas stated that there is an automatic adjustment for brightness. If they leave it on automatic adjustment, it is actually brighter during the day and at nighttime, it doesn’t need to be as bright. It actually adjusts down because at night it is easy to see.

Mr. Kennedy said historically in the past, we have put contingencies on approvals but this is a new Board. We didn’t want things flipping over so quickly. They are doing 10 seconds on the sign which is what State requires on the billboards on the expressways. Some discussion entailed regarding dimensions of the sign. The sign is under the maximum sign allowance.

Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve Variance 24-555 (b) (6) to allow a 4’x 9’ electronic message sign at Lake Central Plaza and include the Findings of Fact as follows: the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Added condition as per the request that Lake Central Plaza will not have any flashing or scrolling messages and will hold all messages for at least 10 seconds. Ms. Wohland seconded the motion.

Mr. Popovic reiterated that Ms. Egnatz use Amber and Silver Alerts and any public emergencies at her discretion for display on the sign.

The motion carried by a roll call vote:

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye

E. 2021-20 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE: from StJMCs 24-377(2); 24-376(c); 24-376(g); 24-385(a)(i); 24-516(e) (2); 24-519(c) (2); to eliminate bicycle parking, refuse canopy, and reduce setback, coverage and screening from the Route 231 Overlay District at 10815 Park Place; zoned C-2 PUD - Highway Commercial Planned Unit Development, 0.78 acre; Jeff Kilburg (Apex Design Build) and Dr. Emily Smythe (Property Owner/Business Owner).

Mr. Kilburg, Apex Design Build, is representing Dr. Emily Smythe, 10815 Park Place. The overview of the property location is Lot 17, zoned C-2 PUD. It’s going to be a fully masonry clad building. We are going to provide a masonry clad refuse enclosure similar to the south neighbor, with the same matching brick to the building. At the north side of the property, that’s regarding the setback, we do have screening for things like the transformer, future generator location as well as screening to the back door that will also cover the condensers. We have spaced out landscaping which meets the St. John code for landscaping. The idea is to make this look as natural as possible and avoid a 6’ privacy fence. At the front side, which I’ll call Park Place, part of the reason that we have a basic encroachment of landscaping set back at the east is per the codes of St. John. Parking cannot be located in the front of the building, so we had to create a L-shaped parking lot that shifts the parking lot into the setback for landscaping at the east side. We have a nice adequate front green space with landscaping and a future monument sign. The refuse enclosure is at a convenient location here for easy access. Part of the variances is relating to the canopy over the refuse enclosure. Given that this is an oral surgeon, there will be quite a few staff members which would park at the northeast side. We want the garbage men to come in and be able to access that Dumpster very easily and quickly. Unfortunately, that canopy lends a hand to reduce the efficiency of getting in and out of the parking lot.

Bicycle parking 24-377, given this is an oral surgery practice, patients typically would not be arriving on bicycles and would most often require some sort of assistance when leaving due to the nature of oral surgery procedures.

Parcel coverage 24-376(g), this lot is platted at a smidge over three quarters of an acre, the parking lot as well as the building requirements per the doctor, falls just under the threshold of 65%. We noticed that the 231 overlap district generally has larger lots and this one is one of the smaller lots. So we’re seeking a variance for the 3% parcel coverage difference.

Refuse area canopy 24-385(a)(1), is a bit unsightly to have a canopy over the refuse area, and as we mentioned, masonry clad refuse would be our preference here. Also makes coordinating the entry for the garbage trucks more difficult as mentioned.

Setback to the north of the building 24- 376(c), the parking requirements for the practice and the space desired within the practice, causes a building to encroach the north setback currently it’s R-2 PUD. To the north, there is a private drive that also borders to the north or a future private drive. There’s curb cuts for it currently. It does go to the east which will eventually be a church from our understanding. Obviously with future development to the east this will become more of a primary access point. I know, John, we had spoken previously in a plan commission meeting about access onto that road. We would all be open to it. It would just be dependent on the owner of the property there. Setback at the east for landscaping as mentioned, the positioning the parking lot doesn’t allow for us to move it to the front per St. John codes. So we shifted the parking lot to the rear, unfortunately it encroaches on that east setback for landscaping. We want to promote functionality. We want to promote safety for Dr. Smythe’s practice. So we don’t really look at this as a huge issue from that standpoint.

The setback at the north for landscaping 24-519(c)(2), same as the east, much like the positioning of the parking lot. The north facade of the building requirements for parking lot function, dictate the position of the landscaping at the north. It does encroach upon current setbacks but future rezoning, if it did get rezoned at any certain point, could render the setback as unneeded.

The screening at the north and the east that would be bordering the R2 PUD sections 24-516(e)(2). Currently in St. John, codes for the 231 overlay district reads as a privacy fence and/or screening. It’s a bit unsightly, considering most of the neighboring properties do not have a screening of any sort like that. We would love to keep it to a natural screening product like just a landscaping buffer as we show on the site plan. We would obviously screen more unsightly elements being like a utility transformer, generator, condensers things like that. It definitely will look more natural and more consistent with the surrounding properties.

Just a quick overview of the neighboring properties to the east and to the north, the large one being the church. St. John Dental Group, which used to be the bank, has a refuse enclosure that is masonry with a limestone bottom. The next door facility to the west, more like elderly care. They have various locations screening HVAC systems and also have refuse areas of similar style. Appears to be stucco or Dryvet style of material. St. John Dental Group has the more natural landscaping buffer that is more consistent across the Gates of St. John. The new church two lots to the north of Dr. Smythe’s has a composition on the exterior of the building including a stucco material masonry as well as a lap siding. You can see that the masonry product is complementary to the building and we would be achieving a similar style without the stucco and the lap siding.

Mr. Kennedy wanted to know the exact setbacks. Setback for the landscaping is supposed to be 15’ and if you know that number, you’re 3’ into it. Just as you know with that one development for the structure, we gave a maximum distance. He asked Mr. Kilburg if he had those figures to provide the Board. The setback is now going to be 12’. If we give you a variance from the 15 yard setback and we don’t have that low end number, it would allow you to take it all the way to the property line. Mr. Kennedy recalled Mr. Kilburg wants to take the setback to the north down to 8’ versus 10’.

Mr. Kilburg stated that currently to the north of the building, we have 15’ from the lot line to the building and that is to the building. But clearly the variance was for the landscaping that encroached within that setback. The parking lot at the north side is a 9’ 3¼” off of that property line. For the east side, that parking lot setback is typically a 45’ requirement. We’re at 23’ 11” where the parking lot encroaches into that setback area. That’s usually the distance between landscaping and the parking lot start or end, however you want to look at it.

Mr. Kennedy wanted to go through this one step at a time. So we got the bicycle, we got the refuse, we got the partial coverage of 62%, because we’ll want to keep that minimum of 62% versus 65% allowed. We got the refuse area.

So now we got the setback at the north of building. That is supposed to be 24-376 - the minimum side and rear yard adjacent to residential zone shall be 45’ and adjacent to all the others shall be 15’. Mr. Kilburg confirmed they are at 15’. Mr. Kennedy asked why are you having a rear yard. Mr. Kilburg replied that depends on how you want to look at the property. Technically if you look at the property straight on, the rear of the building would be maybe the side. The address is on Park Place. The other caveat to this is, that private driveway is included in the R2 PUD to the north. Technically though, the actual development is occurring north of that private driveway. So I don’t know if you include that in your setback or that private driveway, being that it leads to a future church, is then the official setback location. We will hold on to this for a second.

The setback at east for landscaping 59-(c)(2), landscape side and rear landscaping and maintain yard shall be provided including a visual buffer next to a commercial zoning district or development 15’. Mr. Kilburg confirmed they are within the 15’. He stated the east of the building is 23’-11” to the parking curb. We would fall somewhere in the proximity of 7’-10’ from the setback from the property line. It looks like 7’-10’ just based on the 23’-11” to the parking.

The setback to the north of the building along the private drive. The building is at 15’ and the landscaping is very close. There are no specific dimensions on how far that landscaping is. If you were to go off the 15’, landscaping would be approximately 3’-5’ off that property line.

Back to the setback north of building 376-(2)(c), the building itself. The minimum side and rear yard adjacent resident residential zone shall be 45’ and 15’ adjacent to all others. They are at 15’ which meets our commercial development.

Mr. Kennedy stated there is no guarantee this building is going to be a dentist facility or oral surgeon forever. He is concerned about the bicycles. He would like at least one bike loop to be put somewhere on the property just in case a different business was to take over this building down the road. I would hate to give a variance and no one ever has to put a bike spot there. That’s just my personal opinion.

Parcel coverage, small lot. Refuse, don’t think there’s any other refuse that has a canopy on that area. I think we got the setback at the north building it’s because it’s a private drive, it’s got to be 45’. The Board would like a solid number to have a minimum for landscaping. I’m afraid if we give a variance and we don’t have a low end minimum number, you are allowed to move that line. We have to have some sort of control on this. The last one is the screening.

Bicycle parking 24-377 not having to install parking facilities for this location. Mr. Sheeran agreed with Mr. Kennedy regarding putting something there and it does cover future use. So in this particular one, Mr. Sheeran made a motion to deny Variance 24-377 and include the Findings of Fact as follows: I believe the approval will be injurious to public health, safety, morals comfort in the general welfare for the community. The use and the value of the adjacent area the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. A strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties of the use of the property. Mr. Popovic seconded the motion. The motion carried by a roll call vote:

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye

Motion for bicycle parking has been denied.

Next is parcel coverage 376(g) for 62%. Attorney Decker stated that the ordinance provides for a maximum parcel coverage. So I believe the variance is on the upper side of the limit versus the lower side. I think the applicant has indicated that 68% of the lot is being covered for purposes of coverage and density. Am I missing something or is that not correct.

Mr. Kilburg did not have the code in front of him to reference back to. Our understanding is that it is similar what you’re saying. There is a 65% threshold I do know offhand. Mr. Decker agreed and read Section (g), Subsection 1, maximum parcel coverage shall be 65% of any parcel as approved in a development plan. They are going over that 65% and would need a variance for that.

Mr. Kilburg referred to the site plan which has the percentages on it. Hard surface area which is 48%, green space/yard which is 38% and building which is 14%. Based on how the equation works out, because it’s based on lot size, the lot size directly reflects the ratio in this case of parcel coverage which equates to 62%. Mr. Mendoza initially had given us feedback on it saying we needed to file a variance and so that’s something we carried through. We have been talking to Mr. Mendoza for four months.

Mr. Kennedy said understanding the numbers that 48 and 14 is 62, and that is under 65% coverage, the rest is landscaping 38%. I don’t know what to give you a variance for. The Board agreed there would be no variance in that case the way the ordinance reads. We are going to move past this one.

Refuse area canopy, 24-385(a)(1), this requires a canopy over a dumpster. The Board stated there were no other canopies in that district. Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve Variance 24-385 and include the Findings of Fact as follows: the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Mr. Popovic seconded the motion. The motion carried by a roll call vote:

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye

Next on the agenda is Variance 24-36(c) for setback of north of building. Since it’s a private drive and is R2 PUD, it’s residential. He requires 45’, he is showing 15’ here. That road is going to be to a future church. The church owns that entire property. Churches are allowed in residential zoning. It’s almost hard with the residential standard when I consider that more of a commercial use. You know that 45’ would seem a little aggressive to stay off a drive into a church. Unfortunately, given the site size and it’s already been platted, doesn’t give a lot of flexibility. You would have to have an extremely small building and parking lot. We would like some kind of tie-ins here to the landscaping to the property line. Mr. Kilburg has those distances.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Decker if the board was addressing this setback correctly, that it’s not the landscaping, but the building itself. Mr. Decker agreed. Mr. Sheeran had a concern regarding the road that goes into what will be a church. I think 45’ is a very big number. My concern is if the church sells and now this is the backyard road, 15’ is a very small number. After looking at the GIS, it was determined that a house will never be able to be built there and a road will always be there.

Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve the setback for the north of the building and include the Findings of Fact as follows: the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. I will add as a contingency that it will be less than 15’. Mr. Popovic seconded the motion. The motion carried by a roll call vote.

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye

Setback for the east 519(c)(2), next to undeveloped residential zoning needs to be 30 ft. since the north is that private drive and the east is R2 PUD currently supposed to have 30’ of landscaping. A landscaped and maintained yard shall be provided. The width shall be as follows: next to an undeveloped residential zoning district, 30 ft. Mr. Kilburg currently has 15 ft. to the north and 9’-1” to the center point from the property line. He is reducing 15’ to the north, 6½’ to the east. Because it’s a residential, he needs 30 ft. and he has less than that. Just to clarify it is 23’ 11”, not 23 ½’. The last one is the screening. You are required to have a fence in the commercial district. The screening on the north and east is because he is asking not to put up a 6’ privacy fence.

Mr. Popovic made a motion to approve the setback at east for landscaping for 24-519(c)(2), which is 23’ 11” and include the Findings of Fact as follows: the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Contingency being that it will be no less than 23’ 11”. Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion. The motion carried by a roll call vote.

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye

Setback for north of landscaping, minimum of 15 ft. Mr. Popovic made a motion to approve the setback at the north for landscaping 24-519(c)(2), 15 ft. setback to the north and include the Findings of Fact as follows: the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Contingency being that it will be no less than 15 ft. Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion. The motion carried by a roll call vote.

Mr. Popovic Aye
Mr. Sheeran Aye
Ms. Wohland Aye
Mr. Kennedy Aye

Due to the fact that this is a commercial development, along adjacent to residential property, he is required to have a 6 ft. privacy fence installed. He is asking for a variance on the north and east side of variance not to put in that privacy fence. Variance 516-(e)(2) states screen shall provide not less than 6’ and no more than 7 ft. fence height. Screening shall be provided on all peripheral lots where the adjacent property has a different land use. An open screen shall be installed and maintained and shall have a total height of not less than 6 ft. and no more than 7 ft. walls, berms, plantings. In talking with Mr. Mendoza, he was under the impression that it needed to be some sort of privacy fence.

Mr. Kilburg noted that the elderly car facility does butt up to residential on its west side. To my knowledge, there is not a privacy fence there unless the homeowners have obviously installed one. There are no berms on the property.

Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve and include the Findings of Fact as follows: the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. Mr. Popovic seconded the motion. The motion carried by a roll call vote.

Mr. Popovic Yay
Mr. Sheeran Yay
Ms. Wohland Yay
Mr. Kennedy Yay

F. 2021-21 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE: from StJMC 24-83 et. seq. 24-424 (b) (3) et. seq. 24-95 (d) (3) to encroach 4” into the 10’ side yard at 9732 Tall Grass Trail; zoned RC-1 PUD – Single Family Residential Planned Unit Development, 0.39 acre; Blackburn Builders (Property Owner) and Doug Rettig (DVG Team, Inc.)
Mr. Doug Rettig with DVG representing Blackburn Builders, Joshua Blackburn is here if you have any specific questions for him. We prepared a site plan for lot 41 in The Preserve Unit 1, 9732 Tall Grass Trail. The house that we showed for the drawings we were given was 66 ft. wide. At that point, the house was about a tenth of a foot, which is about an inch, clear of the building line to the north which is a 25 ft. setback because it’s a corner lot. We have a 25 ft. building line and our site plan shows the house to be 25.1 ft. from the property line. On the south is a 10 ft. building line. The site plan shows it to be 10.1 ft. from the property line so the house was just inside the building line to the north and to the south by a little over an inch. When we went to do the foundation survey, the house was a little bit bigger than what was shown on the site plan. The house was drawn at 66 ft. and we measured it at 66.4 ft. So the house was not exactly what we drew.

I talked with Mr. Blackburn and he was asked by the developer to add a brick ledge. Brick ledges are 0.4 ft. Nobody realized by adding that brick ledge we just made the house 4 inches wider. So instead of being an inch clear on both sides, we’re an inch over in round numbers on both sides, an oversight. The developer wanted the brick ledge because it’s a corner lot. They added a 4 inch brick ledge and that made the house 4 inches wider. The foundation got 4 inches wider to accommodate the brick ledge. They centered it still, used the stakes we had out there but instead of being an inch inside the building lines, we were an inch over the building lines because the house grew by 4 inches. This was something we uncovered when we did the foundation. It was not something we were aware of until after the fact. They had to make a change to the architectural drawings to appease the developer who wanted the brick ledge.

In the front yard, we had the house 30 ft. back but it ended up 29.6 because they added that brick ledge to the front. They were not in violation because the building was only 25 ft. The developer asked us to put them 30 ft. back but in reality, we only need to be 25 ft. to meet the Town’s ordinance. So we’re not talking about that one because it is not a violation. So he added a brick ledge on two sides, both sides facing the streets.

To the north of them he has the street. To the south of them he’ll have a potential neighbor. There is an existing residence there who again is probably about 8 or 9 feet off the property line himself. Because this is a 100 ft. wide lot, the minimum side yard is 10 ft. In St. John it’s not unusual to have an 8 ft. side yard. He’s still well above that. In this particular subdivision 100 ft. side lots have a 10 ft. side yard setback which is required in R1.

Mr. Kennedy asked if this has been an issued with this developer or builder. Mr. Rettig responded that he’s a new client of ours and I would say no. It was an oversight, I think this is the best way to explain it.

Mr. Popovic made a motion to approve 24-95(d)(3) and include the Findings of Fact as follows: the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.
Contingency that the minimum side yard setback will be 9’ 10”. Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion. The motion carried by a roll call vote:

Mr. Popovic Yay
Mr. Sheeran Yay
Ms. Wohland Yay
Mr. Kennedy Yay

G. 2021-22 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE: from StJMC 24-95 (d) (1) to reduce the required 20,000 sq. ft. lot to 17,000 sq. ft. at 8656 Monfort Drive; zoned R-1 - Single Family Residential, 0.46 acre; Josh Nooner (Property Owner) and Doug Rettig (DVG Team, Inc.).
Development of variance to reduce the required 20,000 sq. ft. lot to 17,000 sq. ft. at 8656 Monfort Drive. It’s a single family resident, Josh Nooner property owner and Doug Rettig.

Mr. Rettig with DVG is representing the property owner. This is going to be a one lot subdivision. All the other units are all built. They are all acreage tracks and are parcels that are 100 ft. by 200 ft. that goes out to the middle of the road. The Town owns some of it. These parcels were created all the way up and down the block, 100 ft. by 200 ft. Most of the homes are built but this one was never built on. On Wednesday night we will be talking about this one lot subdivision for this but we wanted to get the variance going first. So I pointed out the fact that if we dedicate 30 ft. for the right-of-way, which we will be asked to do, the lot will only be 100 ft. by 170 ft. It will not meet the minimum R1 square footage of 20,000 sq. ft.

Every home on the block is done the same way except we have to do the one lot subdivision. Several lots north there is a one lot subdivision that was done some years ago. They did the exact same thing. I can’t speak whether they got a variance or not. So what we’re trying to do is get ahead of the game when we go for our one lot subdivision. You can see there how it goes out to the middle of the road but we will have to dedicate 30 ft., a formal dedication for the right away from Monfort Drive. Then we end up with a lot that doesn’t meet the R1 zoning. Rezoning to R2 would be another option, but we thought we would just go for the variance because it’s so consistent with everything else that was done in the neighborhood. The lot is going to look like every lot in that subdivision. Forty ft. setback in the rear but we’re 49, so we exceed that. We have over 20 ft. on each side, so we’re well over that. There’s a 40 ft. front building line and we’re going to be 41.

Mr. Dravet brought up a map so everyone could have a visual of the property. You can see that some of the lots go to the middle of the road and some don’t.

Pete Ladowski, 8746 Monfort Drive: He lives three lots south of property in question. He wanted to know if the said property was going to be rezoned from R1 to R2.
Mr. Kennedy responded that the Board was not going to rezone the property. It’s going to stay at R1 but he is asking for a variance to take it down to 17,000 sq. ft. He will still require all the same R1 zoning requirements of a 10 ft. setback etc. versus R2. The only variance he is asking for is to reduce the lot size from 20,000 ft. to 17,000 ft. It’s just because the ownership is to the center of the road.

Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve the variance and include the Findings of Fact as follows: the approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the area adjacent to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse manner. The strict application of the terms of the zoning ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property.
Contingency that the lot will be no less than 17,000 sq. ft. Mr. Popovic seconded the motion. The motion carried with a roll call vote:

Mr. Popovic Yay
Mr. Sheeran Yay
Ms. Wohland Yay
Mr. Kennedy Yay

NEW/OLD BUSINESS:

None was had.

PUBLIC COMMENT:

None was had.

ADJOURNMENT:

Having no further business, Mr. Kennedy adjourned the meeting at 9:19 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Gerri Kudzia, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals

11-08-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals

November 8, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Special Meeting Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman Lareau called the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals Regular Meeting to order on Monday, November 8, 2021 at approximately 6:00 P.M., with members attending on-site and remotely, and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members Present:
Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, Secretary; John Kennedy, Vice Chairman; Mark Lareau, Chairman

Absent:
Drago Popovic, and Adam Decker, Attorney

Also Present:
Chris Salatas, Town Manager; Sergio Mendoza, St. John Building and Planning Director; and Bryan Blazak, Councilman Liaison. A quorum was attained.

NEW/OLD BUSINESS:

A. Review and consideration for approval the September 20, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes.

Board Action
Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve the September 20, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Regular Meeting minutes, seconded by Ms. Wohland. Mr. Kennedy stated he was absent at that meeting and asked if the Board felt that the minutes were accurate. The Board unanimously agreed that they were. The motion carried by roll call vote with four ayes.
Ayes – John Kennedy, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau
Nays – None

B. Review and consideration for approval the October 18, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes.

Board Action
Mr. Sheeran made a motion to approve the October 18, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Regular Meeting minutes, seconded by Mr. Kennedy. Mr. Lareau stated he was absent at that meeting asked if the Board felt that the minutes were accurate. The Board unanimously agreed that they were. The motion carried by roll call vote with four ayes.
Ayes – John Kennedy, Brendan Sheeran, Mark Lareau
Nays – None
Abstain – Nancy Wohland (Ms. Wohland lost electronic communication with the meeting and was unable to be heard to vote.)

ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Lareau adjourned the meeting at approximately 6:04 P.M.

 

 

Mark LareauJohn Kennedy
Board of Zoning Appeals, Chairman      Board of Zoning Appeals, Vice-Chairman
11-15-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals

November 15, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Mr. Lareau called the Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting to order on Monday, November 15, 2021, at 7:00 p.m., members attended on-site and remotely, and led all in The Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

The following members were present: John Kennedy, Vice Chairman; Drago Popovic; Brendan Sheeran; Nancy Wohland, Secretary; and Mark Lareau, Chairman. A quorum was attained.
Also present: Sergio Mendoza, Director of Building and Planning; Adam Decker, Board Attorney and Town Council Liaison Bryan Blazak.
Absent: Chris Salatas, Town Manager

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

No minutes to approve.
A motion to defer minutes was requested. Mr. Kennedy made a motion to defer minutes and Mr. Sheeran seconded the motion.
Ayes – John Kennedy, Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau Nays – None Motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Mendoza stated that minutes should start becoming available with the hiring of an individual early next year.

5. PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. 2021-23 SPECIAL EXCEPTION: from StJMC 24-174 to allow an accessory use/building (open memorial pavilion) at 9615 Keilman Street; zoned C-1 - General Commercial District, 1.4 acres; Grant Currier (Linden Group Inc./agent) and Shelley Pitchford (Property President/Manager/Owner).
Grant Currier introduced himself as president of Linden Group Architects, 10100 Orland Parkway – Suite 110, Orland Park, Illinois 60467 and he introduced Shelly Pitchford, one of the owners with Great Lakes Orthopedics, to give a brief background on the significance of the pavilion.

Mrs. Pitchford stated that she and her husband own the building, and one of their associates, Dr. Richard McClain, who was with them for several years was recently diagnosed with a fatal lung disease and has recently succumbed to his illness. They would like to create in his memory a memorial pavilion overlooking the pond to be constructed for staff to enjoy. It would be something nice for his memory to go on.
Mr. Currier gave a brief explanation of the project. It is a two-story commercial office building with a retention pond to the east right off the exit doors. They are looking to construct a 12 x 12 wood frame pavilion structure enclosed with a safety railing around it. It will be engaged into the hill that slopes down into the detention pond. There would be a couple of sonotubes supporting the right side of the structure, the basic deck structure, the roof would be a blue standing seam metal roof. Mr. Currier shared a more photo-realistic picture of the proposed structure. A nice focal point, a gathering point or break area overlooking the pond and engaging the features to make it a little bit more useful.
Board Questions:
Is there going to be more shrubbery or is it just the structure itself that is going in. Is there going to be an attempt to improve that area as a whole. Mr. Currier responded that right now it is just the structure itself and removing a section of existing fencing to create the pavilion and possibly in the future additional plantings may be added around the pond. There is a nice landscaping plan and maintenance already in place.
Another question was asked regarding the color of the roof of the pavilion. Mr. Currier suggested that there will be a coordination with the current building roof.
Public Comment- None
No Questions from Mr. Blazak or Nancy Wohland via online attendance. Additional Board Questions regarding the proposed pavilion plan.
Mr. Popovic questioned the remedy for the foundation of the pavilion going into the wetland area. Mr. Currier stated they would be using a drilled pier using a 2 foot in diameter soft board concrete sonotube for each corner. The structural engineer has not yet looked at the plans, but Mr. Currier stated it would probably be 5 feet deep. A comment was raised as to the type of ground in that area. The ground is probably muddy and/or clay in that area. Mr. Currier stated after the pier is taken out and findings will be looked at specifically for what kind of soil is being worked with. Mr. Currier identified the structure as a relatively light structure with lateral loads on it and not a whole lot of gravity load with the structure. The structure is a wood structure wrapped with cement board. Mr. Currier further clarified that it is pressure treated framing and then wrapped with cement board product. Attorney Decker clarified that this would be a recommendation to the Town Council for a final say on the proposed project.
Mr. Kennedy made a motion for a favorable recommendation to approve the 2021-23 SPECIAL EXCEPTION: to allow an accessory building.
1. That the establishment, maintenance, or operation of the Special Exception will not be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare;
2. That the Special Exception will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted, not substantially diminish and impair property value within the neighborhood.
3. That the establishment of the Special Exception will not impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district;
4. Adequate measures will be taken to provide Ingress and Egress, so designed as to minimize traffic congestion in the public streets; and
5. That adequate utilities, access road, drainage and/or necessary facilities will be provided;
6. That adequate measure will in all other respects conform to the applicable regulations of the Zoning District in which it is located; and
7. That the Special Exception shall be required to comply with reasonable time limitations on the commencement and duration of Special Exception as well as holder of rights to same.
Brendan Sheeran seconded the motion.
Ayes – John Kennedy, Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau Nays – None Motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC COMMENT

No public comments

ADJOURNMENT

Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 7:12 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jan Barry, Recording Secretary

12-20-2021 Board of Zoning Appeals

December 20, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman Lareau called the St. John Board of Zoning Appeals Regular Meeting to order on Monday, December 20, 2021 at approximately 7:00 P.M., with members attending on-site and remotely, and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ROLL CALL:

Members Present:
John Kennedy, Vice Chairman; Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, Secretary; and Mark Lareau, Chairman
Also Present:
Adam Decker, Board Attorney; Bryan Blazak, Councilman Liaison; Chris Salatas, Town Manager; and Sergio Mendoza, St. John Building and Planning Director. A quorum was attained.

MINUTES:

November 15, 2021
Mr. Kennedy made a motion to approve the November 15, 2021 Board of Zoning Appeals Regular Meeting minutes, seconded by Mr. Sheeran and carried by roll call vote.
Ayes – John Kennedy, Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau
Nays - None

5. PUBLIC HEARINGS:

A. 2021-24 DEVELOPMENTAL VARIANCE: from StJMC 24-516 (e)(1) to encroach into the 8ft. side yard along the street right-of-way with a structure (fence); and from StJMC 24-520 to obstruct site lines within the Vision Clearance Triangle area with a fence on a corner lot, at 9544 Ivy Avenue; Tyler Beemsterboar (homeowner), George Bemmsterboer (Agent).
George Beemsterboer, Agent, stated his son would like to erect a fence, but there has been some confusion with being on a corner lot and how the Ordinance reads in regards to the placement that is allowed past the building line. Mr. Beemsterboer stated they would like to place the fence one foot in from the sidewalk if possible.

Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Mendoza if he could interpret how the Code reads and if it is eight feet off of the sidewalk. Mr. Mendoza stated that the Ordinance reads eight feet from the right-of-way from the street, which begins on the inside of the sidewalk. Anything on the opposite side of the sidewalk is street right-of-way, where anything on the opposite side is property line. The Ordinance reads eight feet from the street right-of-way. Mr. Sheeran stated he is looking for a seven foot encroachment. Mr. Mendoza agreed.

Chairman Lareau asked the need for moving the fence to the sidewalk. Mr. Beemsterboer stated he would like to use as much of his property as possible. He stated he understood that the Ordinances had been changed, but that this is also a T intersection and not a four-way stop so he was unsure if that would make a difference in the decision, which was why he was present to ask. Mr. Kennedy asked Mr. Mendoza if the fence was moved to the eight foot placement off of the right-of-way, would the Vision Clearance Triangle still be an issue. Mr. Mendoza stated it would be because the triangle starts from the corner of their property line to the corner of the building. Mr. Beemsterboer did receive a map showing the triangle and we did tell him if he did not want to ask for a variance then he would need to stay out of that triangle, but if he impeded in to the triangle, we as a staff cannot approve that it has to be reviewed and approved through the BZA.

Mr. Beemsterboer stated after his conversations with Mr. Mendoza he would definitely like to ask for a variance from the Vision Triangle because if that needed to be followed, it would look odd with an angled fence. If we can get the variance from the Vision Triangle then we would not need a variance for the encroachment in to the right-of-way, however we would still like to ask for it for as much yard to be fenced as possible. Discussion was held regarding the pictures of the lot that were submitted and what pictures were taken from what direction.

Mr. Beemsterboer stated the fence that would be installed would be over 50% open, five feet high, and made of powder coated aluminum. Mr. Lareau stated that the fence is not aluminum or stockade fence, but rather open and see-through. Mr. Beemsterboer stated it is an aluminum singular half inch fluting. Mr. Beemsterboer approached the Board to show them a picture of the fence.

Mr. Lareau asked Mr. Mendoza if he could possibly see a street view of how the Vision Triangle would be laid out. Mr. Mendoza gave the Board the layout that was given to Mr. Beemsterboer to show the Triangle and also pulled up an aerial view of the property to give a better idea of how it would look. Discussion was held regarding the placement of the fence and how other residents have installed fences on corner lots.

Open to Public Hearing 2021-24 Developmental Variance
No one public comment was made.

Closed to Public Hearing 2021-24 Developmental Variance

Further discussion was held regarding the placement of the fence and what variance was being requested. Mr. Beemsterboer stated he was fine with staying eight feet off of the sidewalk rather than one foot if needed, but that still puts the fence in to the Vision Triangle. Mr. Popovic stated his one concern is that right now it is going to be a fence that is open and see-through, but in the future if someone changes it to something like a solid privacy fence, it could be detrimental. Mr. Kennedy suggested to make the variance contingent on the fence staying the same. Mr. Lareau asked if that would follow the property for the lifetime. Attorney Decker stated a developmental variance would be transferable to future owners, and it stays with the property. As part of the Board’s consideration of the developmental variance, you have the ability to impose other conditions or restrictions. Mr. Sheeran asked if somehow a new property owner would be made aware of the restriction. Attorney Decker stated unfortunately it would not be recorded anywhere so the new property owner would not know when buying the house about the variance or restrictions. Mr. Sheeran asked if that would show if the new owner would come in to get a building permit for anything. Mr. Mendoza stated his department is working on tying variances to properties so in the future the new owner would be made aware and have to comply in order to get a new permit.

Mr. Lareau stated his concern is still being inside of the Vision Triangle and suggested also making a restriction to not allow any sort of landscaping to be planted inside of the fence in order to keep the open line of sight for traffic. Mr. Beemsterboer understood and agreed. He stated he had already been in discussions with his son regarding foliage because the Ordinance states that the foliage can only be two feet high within the Vision Triangle and his son agreed that he was not planning on planting anything in that area. Discussion was held regarding allowing the fence to be within the Vision Triangle and allow eight feet from the sidewalk, or to only allow the fence at the twenty-five foot property line so that it only encroaches in to the Vision Triangle in a very small area.

Mr. Beemsterboer made the suggestion of moving the fence to the back of the brick patio and running the fence along the line of the garage and then over to the sidewalk. Mr. Lareau stated he would still be encroaching in to the Vision Triangle. Mr. Beemsterboer stated he was confused because a permit had already been given to him based on the eight foot rule, but now he is learning that he would need a variance to work off of the permit that has already been issued. Mr. Mendoza stated his understanding was that the permit was issued with the fence on two sides and that the third side was going to be held off on until he received an approved variance. If there was anything installed outside of what the permit was issued for, it was issued in error, but staff would not approve a fence permit to encroach on a Vision Triangle. Mr. Beemsterboer did assure that the side of the fence in question had not been put up yet.

Board Action
Mr. Kennedy made a motion to approve the variance from StMC 24-520 Triangle Site Distance, and all discussions had. This approval will not be injurious to public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare of the community. The use and value of the adjacent area to the property included in the variance will not be affected in a substantially adverse matter. The strict application of the terms of the Zoning Ordinance will result in practical difficulties in the use of the property. The following contingencies are hereby made part of the record; the fence is built no further than the twenty-five foot building line to the north, no solid panel fencing is allowed, and no foliage is allowed above two-feet tall inside of the fence, per the Town Ordinance. The motion was seconded by Mr. Popovic and carried by roll call vote. Ayes - John Kennedy, Drago Popovic, Brendan Sheeran, Nancy Wohland, Mark Lareau
Nay - None

NEW/OLD BUSINESS

PUBLIC COMMENT

ADJOURNMENT

Chairman Lareau adjourned the meeting at approximately 7:48 P.M.

 

 

Mark LareauJohn Kennedy
Board of Zoning Appeals, Chairman      Board of Zoning Appeals, Vice-Chairman

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