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October 7, 2010


The October 7, 2010 Special Meeting of the Board of Adjustment opened at 7:30pm. The clerk read the notice of compliance with the "Open public meetings act." Present were Board members: Mr. Wolfersberger, Mr. Leonard, Mr. Palisi, Chairman Struncius, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Spader, Mr. Kelly Alternates: Reynolds and Ardito

Absent: Renner and Madden

Application #2010-23 – Thomas Highton, Jr. – 400 Central Avenue – Block 95; Lot 12 – Applicant wishes to demolish existing single family dwelling and construct a new single family dwelling. There is a two-story detached garage apartment on lot.

Home has been owned by his family since 1976 and is in disrepair. Initially a summer residence; home was not constructed with heat and is not flood compliant. Garage apartment at rear end of property also built around 1930; 2 bedrooms, one bath and is a year round rental. They have only had five tenants since 1976. Applicant is looking to live here year round. Applicant and wife are both teachers and it is a financial necessity to keep the rental apartment. They want to bring the new home further into compliance. Applicant is looking to make a modest addition and increase to four bedrooms.

The applicant is requesting the following variances -
A. For a use variance for retaining the two principal structures.

B. For a front yard setback 15.8’ from Central Avenue and 7.5’ (porch) and 10.5’ (dwelling) from St. Louis Avenue, whereas 25 feet is required.

C. For building coverage of 32.52%, whereas 30% is the maximum permitted.

D. Pre-existing variances for the existing accessory building are as follows:

i. Front yard setback of 12.790 feet, whereas 25 feet is required.

ii. Side yard setback of 4.62 feet, whereas 5 feet is required.

iii. Rear yard setback of 4.59 feet, whereas 5 feet is required.

iv. For 2 stories, whereas only 1 story is permitted.

Mr. Leonard inquired why the applicant cannot move the home further back to comply with a front yard setback. Applicant replied that the rear yard is used for both residence and this would infringe on the applicant’s privacy. The home fronts with the other homes on the block.

Ray Carpenter, Licensed Engineer/Licensed Planner, credentials accepted. Ray Carpenter addressed Ray Savacool’ Engineering Report and stated the special reasons that he believes supports this application.

1. The old home is filled with mold which is causing his wife to have health issues.
2. Improving the site triangle
3. Improving the aesthetics
4. Safety – upgrading the plumbing and electric and bringing the building up to code.
5. Bringing home into flood compliance

Ray Carpenter stated that the home is 227 square feet over what is allowed which partly is an open wraparound porch and believes that this is a minor request. Home will not be utilized as a rental and will be providing a safer home.

Mr. Wolfersberger questioned the number of bedrooms and questioned if there is a fence separating the rental unit from the main home? (yes)
Mr. Leonard questioned where the parking will be located. Thomas Highton stated that there is adequate parking.

No audience questions

Due to the home needing to comply with flood regulations and being a foot higher the building coverage will increase due to the extra steps needed. Building coverage will now be 34.5%. Steve Ardito commented that there is a sliding glass door off of the kitchen and there are no steps, considering the flood elevation you will need steps to exit which will add to building coverage. Thomas Highton stated that was an oversight. Jim Wolfersberger inquired why when building a new home they could not come in at 30% building coverage. Thomas Highton said they added room onto the rear of the home so they could have an eat in kitchen which put them over on coverage. Dormers were added for aesthetics and he is requesting stairs to the attic. Tom Spader explained that he is able to have 500 square feet of habitable space which the applicant was not aware of. Rau Savacool stated that with a height of 6 feet 9 inches it is not considered habitable.

The board members stated their concern on the amount of building coverage and asked the applicant to consider making some changes to lower the coverage. Jim Wolfersberger said this is a concern of his. Tom Spader stated this lot is larger than most lots to start with and also inquired if the applicant would agree to having a deed restriction that the garage apartment would be utilized as a yearly rental, not seasonal. The applicant said that he would consider it.

Audience questions/comments

George Meyer – 404 Central Avenue – Anyone building a home today has to jack it up so high to comply with flood regulations so they are at a disadvantage when they are trying to comply with code. The block is not the most pleasing block but these young people are stepping up to the plate to improve it.

Chairman Struncius explains that they consider all of this when hearing the applications.

The applicant stated that he is willing to consider some of the suggestions but needs time to make the changes.

Mr. Reilly stated that he does not have an exact number that he wants to see building coverage reduced to but he wants to see an effort to bring the numbers closer to conforming.

Mr. Ardito requested a landscaping plan.

Motion by Mr. Reilly, second by Mr. Leonard to carry application #2010-23 to October 21, 2010 without notice.

In favor: Wolfersberger, Spader, Leonard, Struncius, Reilly, Reynolds and Ardito.
Opposed: None

Meeting adjourned

Attest: Karen L. Mills, Clerk of the Board

Published December03, 2010 | Board of Adjustment Minutes | 1116

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