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CALL TO ORDER:                             6:30 P.M.

 

LOCATION:                                       ST. CLOUD COUNCIL CHAMBERS

                                                            1300 NINTH STREET, 3RD FLOOR

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

ROLL CALL:                                      Kimberly Paulson         (Chair)             EA

                                                            Carl Beigel                   (Vice)               P

                                                            Pete Placencia                          P

                                                            Greg Norris                                          P

                                                            William Spinola                                     EA                  

                                                            Robert Paulsen             (Alt)                 P

                                                            Deanna Merrill  (Alt)                 UA

 

STAFF MEMBERS:                            David Nearing, Director of Planning and Zoning

                                                            John Groenendaal, Senior Planner

                                                            Jack Morgeson, City Attorney

                                                            Sitting in for Sherry Taylor, Secretary -

                                                            Kimberly Davies, Planning Technician

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  May 9, 2007 and April 11, 2007

 

NEW BUSINESS:

           

            1.  Election of Officers

                        A. Chairperson

                        B. Vice Chairperson

 

Mr. Morgeson asked the Board if they would like to address the Election of Officers or continue it until the next meeting. 

 

Acting Chairman Beigel made a motion to postpone the Election of Officers until the meeting on July 11, 2007.

 

Mr. Norris seconded the motion. 

 

All Ayes 4-0 to postpone the Election of Officers until July 11, 2007.

 

Organizational meeting will be held on July 11, 2007.

 

           

 

 

 

2.  Request for Variances

 

(a) CASE NUMBER:               2007-08

                 APPLICANT:                     Michael Vaz

                 OWNER:                            Michael Vaz

                 ADDRESS:             1509 Massachusetts Avenue

 

VARIANCE PETITION DETAILS: Applicant is appealing a staff determination regarding the requirements of the Land Development Code, Section 3.20.3 (A) to allow a deck structure in the front yard and Table III-4 to reduce the front setback.

 

Mr. Groenendaal presented the case.  See Staff Report.           

 

This case was discussed at the last meeting and re-advertised for this meeting.

 

Mr. Groenendaal noted it is Staff’s determination that decks are not appropriate in the front yard. If it is the Board’s determination that they are allowed, then it is Staff’s recommendation that the applicant meet a 25’ setback and a variance will be needed to reduce the setback from 25’ to 10’. 

 

Acting Chairman Beigel asked what the setback is now from the street to the porch deck that he has now.

 

Mr. Groenendaal noted it is 10’ from the front property line to the deck.

 

Mr. Morgeson noted that the Staff Report dated May 24, 2007, the report to the Board is that under the LDC, 3.20.3 (A) 1 (A), the deck is not a permitted structure in the front yard, but if it were to be allowed by this Board, then the setback issue would need to be addressed as well.

 

Mr. Groenendaal asked that the Board give direction on the setback, and to use the front setback for that zoning district which is 25’ and then the variance could be granted to 10’ if that would be the Board’s decision.

 

Vice Chairperson Beigel asked how far the setbacks are with other houses along that street.

 

Mr. Groenendaal noted some of the other houses sit within 10’-15’ but their roof line comes out also.

 

Mr. Morgeson noted the LDC directs that the Board consider just this case and not other properties in the same or different zoning districts with regard of conforming or non-conforming.  The Board is required to consider the 6-criteria as to whether the 6-criteria have each been met in the affirmative in order to approve the variance request.  Staff’s report states if in the event the 6-criteria have been met favorably with regard to the appeal to the application to the accessory structure, after that, the setback issue would be addressed.  He asked the Board if they understood what he was saying.

 

Vice Chairperson Beigel noted he understood.

 

Mr. Norris asked if the Board approves this variance and allows the deck in the front yard, which basically sets a precedent for the future.

 

Mr. Groenendaal noted it would be saying that Staff’s interpretation has been incorrect all this time and that the correct interpretation is that a deck is appropriate in the front yard.

 

Vice Chairperson Beigel asked about putting a roof over the deck.

 

Mr. Groenendaal noted if you extend the roof-line out, the 25’ setback situation would have to be dealt with but that was not an option to the applicant because of the cost.

 

Mr. Vaz noted he had 25.5’ from the front of his deck to the curb.  All the rest of the houses on the street do line up with his deck.  From the property line that is there, it is 10’ and the house is 23.4’ from the property.  The house is built 2’ over that property line.

 

Vice Chairperson Beigel asked if there was a sidewalk in front of Mr. Vaz’s property.

 

Mr. Vaz noted there is no sidewalk, it is on the opposite side of the road.  Mr. Vaz stated from the curb to the front of his deck is 25.5’, more or less.

 

Mr. Morgeson noted he would like to advise the Board to address the first issue and that would be the structure’s applicability to the Land Development Code and whether or not a variance should be granted regarding that structure as to whether it’s appropriate to be in the front.  If, in fact, the Board does not determine that to be in favor of the applicant, the other issue becomes removed, so just in terms of chronologically going about this, that is the issue to start off with by way of discussion and focus.

 

Vice Chairperson Beigel asked if the property line is straight.

 

Mr. Groenendaal noted according to the survey, the dimension is 23’ from property line to the corner of the house, the deck comes out about 13’ from that point, so it would be 10’. 

 

Mr. Paulsen noted on the survey says the width is 10’2”, how far out from that point of the edge of the house is the width of the porch.

 

Mr. Vaz noted he thought it was 6’ from the corner of the house out toward the front.

 

Vice Chairperson Beigel asked if that was a new addition on the house.

 

Mr. Vaz noted it was already there when he purchased the home.

 

Mr. Norris asked Mr. Vaz to talk about his decision to build the deck without a permit.

 

Mr. Vaz noted he did not realize he needed a permit.  He noted the house is not really structural, it’s sitting on pillars.  The house is almost 100 years old and he didn’t think it would be that big of an issue to build a deck or porch in front of the home.  The City informed me by letter and that is why he requested a variance.

 

Mr. Norris asked the applicant if he thought a permit would not be needed since it was sitting on pillars or block.

 

Mr. Vaz noted he did not realize and it was a mistake on his part.  It was not done maliciously. 

 

Mr. Norris asked Mr. Vaz why he chose to put the deck in the front of the house.

 

Mr. Vaz noted it was to enjoy the sunset.

 

Mr. Placencia noted it is a nice deck, but questioned why it is in front of the property, the Board has to set precedence.

 

Mr. Morgeson noted the six criteria are what the narrow focus is in deciding the case and the application must meet the six criteria. 

 

Mr. Paulsen noted the code says it must have a roof and it must be connected to the house.

 

Mr. Nearing noted it does not have to have same pitch, but must be physically attached to the house.  It couldn’t be an aluminum add-on.  That would not be a roof extension.  It would have to be structurally attached to house and basically built of wood, shingles and have an appearance that it belongs there.

 

Mr. Norris asked how many square feet is the deck.

 

Mr. Nearing noted it was approximately 13 x 23, so it is approximately 200 sq ft. which is a very large recreational deck.  Mr. Nearing discussed future change of the code by city council.

 

Mr. Norris asked if the deck had been inspected and built by code.

 

Mr. Vaz noted it was inspected by Pam Neal, of Code Enforcement, who stated it looked structurally sound.

 

Mr. Groenendaal noted Pam Neal is a Code Enforcement Officer who wouldn’t have structural knowledge but it looks soundly constructed. 

 

Vice Chairperson Beigel asked Mr. Vaz if he made decks for a living.

 

Mr. Vaz noted he works for a builder in Central Florida.

 

Mr. Paulsen asked if there were vertical supports in the ground.

 

Mr. Vaz noted there were supports in the ground, the house is lagged with 3 ½” lag bolts, 16” center, and 2 x 8’ pressure treated lumber.

 

Mr. Morgeson encouraged the board to focus on the six criteria; the issue is if the six criteria have been met.

 

Mr. Paulsen asked if the applicant made plans.

 

Mr. Vaz noted he drew up something, and he thinks he might have a copy.

 

Mr. Groenendaal noted there is a building permit in the planning department.

 

Mr. Vaz noted he didn’t draw up a set of plans for it.  He figured out the way it would look and built it to what the specifications he had there.

 

Mr. Paulsen asked if he had any plans to add a roof.

 

Mr. Vaz noted it was not, it is impossible to add a roof because of the design of the house.

 

Mr. Norris asked if there were comments from the neighbors.

 

Mr. Vaz neighbors’ have complimented it.

 

Mr. Norris asked if there were any comments on the six criteria.

 

Mr. Norris and Vice Chairperson Beigel reviewed the six criteria.

 

There was discussion about the six criteria.

 

Mr. Norris asked what the applicant would do if the application was denied.

 

Mr. Morgeson noted if the application is denied, the Land Development Code would preclude the applicant from moving forward and the deck will have to be removed and obviously, the applicant would have whatever rights the applicant would want to pursue.  There is also a time frame in which they would be precluded from re-application for the appeal.  There is a 12-month period to re-apply for any such relief, based on new criteria, unless there’s some procedural basic in which they were denied. 

 

Mr. Beigel have problem with criteria #2.  You can’t start work without a permit.

 

Mr. Norris problem with criteria #1.  He sees no special circumstances peculiar to the land structure. 

 

Mr.Groenendaal asked Mr. Morgeson since this is the first time to have an administrative appeal if he thought the six criteria are applicable to the appeal. 

 

Mr. Morgeson stated that he is seeking an appeal of decision which is by definition, seeking a variance, through the process and those are the criteria that the LDC requires so the Board has to consider the 6-criteria and make a decision even with regards with this determination.    

 

Mr. Norris noted the code is not clear as to what an accessory structure is.  He asked when Staff could go before City Council to revise the LDC.

 

Mr. Groenendaal noted they were getting ready to take to the City Council.  Within 2 months the LDC could be added to.

 

Mr. Morgeson noted the L.D.C. 3.20.53, accessory structures as it says in the code, shall not located in front yards, etc., with the exception of accessory structures which would customarily be found in those yards.  The question to staff is defining an accessory structure.  Is this deck an accessory structure, in the opinion of Staff.    The Board is a fact finding body and the rules of evidence does not apply, but the Board has to take substantial competent evidence that is presented and make a determination.  The Board is not in the position of making a determination or over-rule of what the current code is. 

 

Mr. Beigel noted there is no real determination as to what an accessory structure is.

 

Mr. Groenendaal noted he could tell the Board what an accessory structure is.  It is everything that is not a primary structure, it is not the house.

 

Mr. Norris asked how high the deck is off the ground.  From the grass to the top of the deck.

 

Mr. Vaz noted it was maximum 15” to 18”.

 

Mr. Vaz noted the maximum is15 inches

 

Mr. Norris asked what the building code says, how high before a railing is required.

 

Mr. Vaz noted he thought it was “32”.  He plans on putting a railing up.

 

Mr. Norris asked if they should allow a railing.  If it is low like it is, it kind of blends in to the environment, and if you put railings, it will stick up there like a sore thumb.

 

Mr. Morgeson noted the Board can implement any reasonable conditions that they wish, but all six criteria must be met to grant it the variance.  If the conditions were not met, the variance would then become revoked and a violation and would become a code enforcement issue. 

 

Mr. Placencia noted he thought it was an accessory structure.  He thinks it is not customarily found in the front yard.  If the variance is approved, all criteria need to be met. 

 

Mr. Morgeson noted he wanted to caution the Board that they need to deal with the here and now and the facts that are presented to the Board.  He noted that speculation is not the route to go if something else has already occurred. 

 

Mr. Beigel noted if approved it will stay, if denied, the applicant will have to remove it

 

Mr. Groenendaal noted that the two options were from the last report.  The applicant discounted the extension of the roof as one option.  Mr. Groenendaal noted that was his option previously but applicant did not agree.

 

Mr. Beigel noted the Board needs to approve it disapprove it.  If it is not approved, the deck has to come out.  If it is approved, the deck stays.

           

Mr. Paulsen made a motion to deny the variance based on the 6-criteria not being met.

 

Mr. Norris seconded the motion.

 

Acting Chairperson Beigel asked if there was any other discussion.

 

Mr. Norris noted he thought Mr. Paulsen was correct, that if 6 out of 6 criteria are not met, the variance cannot be granted.  This is per the Land Development Code. 

 

Mr. Morgeson noted if the criteria have been met, then the variance can be worded with conditions or none, but the conditions that the Board feels appropriate.

 

Mr. Paulsen made a motion to not allow the variance based on the 6-criteria have not been met.

 

Mr. Norris seconded the motion to deny the variance.

 

Chairperson Beigel noted the motion and the second was to deny the application.

 

Mr. Morgeson noted the Aye vote would be in favor of denial of the variance and a Nay vote would be against the motion.

 

Mr. Paulsen; Mr. Placencia and Mr. Norris voted Aye in favor of denial of the variance.

 

Vice Chairperson Beigel voted Nay which was against the motion.

 

Mr. Morgeson noted the vote was 3-1.  The application for the variance has been denied.

 

 

(b) CASE NUMBER:            2007-10

APPLICANT:                   Thomas Joynes

OWNER:                          Paul Inkley

ADDRESS:                      620 Kentucky Avenue

 

VARIANCE PETITION DETAILS: Applicant is requesting a variance to the requirements of the Land Development Code, Table III-4 to reduce the lot width and lot area.

 

Mr. David Nearing presented the case.  (See Staff Report).

 

Mr. Norris made a motion that the 6-critera have been met and the variance be approved with no conditions.

 

Mr. Paulsen seconded the motion. 

 

All Ayes 4-0 to approve the variance.

 

The variance was approved 4-0.

           

            (c)        CASE NUMBER:      2007-11

                        APPLICANT: Julia Soileau              

                        OWNER:                    Julia Soileau              

                        ADDRESS:                230 Carolina Avenue

 

VARIANCE PETITION DETAILS: Applicant is requesting a variance to the requirements of the Land Development Code, Table III-4 to reduce the lot width, and lot area, and Table III-9 setback for an accessory structure.

 

Ms. Davies informed the Board that there was a letter received from one of the neighbors who opposed the granting of this variance.  A copy of this letter is being distributed to the Board at this time.

 

Mr. David Nearing presented the case.  (See staff report)  The application is not supported by Staff.  Staff recommends denial of this variance.

 

Mr. Soileau, the applicant, noted there are other 50’ lots in the neighborhood and didn’t think they were asking for anything out of normal.

 

Mr. Morgeson asked that the applicant state his name and address for the record.

 

Mr. Robert Soileau introduced himself to the Board, he noted he owned the property but does not live there.  The property address is 230 Carolina Avenue.

 

Mr. Placentia asked if the 50’ lot that’s across the street, if there was a house on it.

 

Mr. Soileau noted there was a house on the property.

 

Mr. Placentia asked Mr. Soileau if he knew who the neighbors were.

 

Mr. Soileau noted he did at one time but he believes they are deceased.

 

Mr. Beigel noted that house was built in 1970.

 

Mr. Placentia asked if anyone else wanted to speak on the application.

 

Mr. Norman Hefford of 227 Maryland Avenue introduced himself to the Board.  Mr. Hefford noted he owns joint part of the property in the back.  There has been a circulation in the area for over a year saying this is a buildable lot.  There are buildable lots in that area that have grandfather clauses.  This is not zoned as a grandfather clause to his knowledge.  According to the building code, how far does the garage have to be from the property line if this variance is granted.   

 

Mr. Nearing noted in this case with the property being zoned R-1A, the side setback is actually 7 ½ feet.  The variance that is being requested is 2 ½ because it is only 5’ off what would be the new property line.

 

Mr. Ernie Gearhart noted he lives at 210 Carolina Avenue.  He lives two houses down and lives next to neighbor that wrote the letter.  His wife has an illness and he is somewhat homebound and cannot get to the meetings.  Mr. Gearhart noted he is one of the few people in the city that does not have an objection to 50’ building lots; however, he does have an objection to a 50’ building lot when it is not located in the proper area.  Generally, 50’ lots are found in PUD’s, newer developments and in the old grid where everything was developed on a 25’ lot basis if you go way back to the Seminole Land and Investment Companies platting.  He stated he just moved to Carolina Avenue.  He can appreciate the applicant wanting to sell the house and this might ease the ability to sell the house if they can sell the house with a buildable lot next to it, however, he would further state that he thinks that is very dangerous precedent to set because he has a house on Dakota he can’t sell either.  It is his understanding with this board that generally, a hardship needs to be created by something other than the owner’s doings.  He feels this hardship has not been created.  His lot is 150’x150’ and Mr. Turney’s lot is 150’x150’.  The two lots across the street have 100’ frontages and the house on the other side have 100’ frontages on it.  The houses that are directly across the street from the applicant, there is a 50’ lot that the house was built on some years ago…

 

Meeting was interrupted by a medical emergency.

 

Mr. Gearhart resumed saying anything else he would say, the Board has already heard from Staff or other applicants. 

 

Mr. Placencia reviewed the six criteria. 

 

Mr. Norris asked if this was the only R-1A in the grid.

 

Mr. Nearing noted it was.

 

Mr. Norris asked when that designation was given to the property, it was just surveying the area and seeing which area has the big lots?

 

Mr. Nearing noted it was not used here but that was very useable methodology.  Typically, what it is called is a windshield survey.

 

Mr. Placentia reviewed the criteria.

 

Mr. Norris noted there are other 50’ lots in that grid.

 

Mr. Placentia noted the Board is still discussing the grid system.

 

Mr. Nearing noted he would like to remind the Board that none of those 50’ lots were created since this property was zoned R-1A.  The current zoning was put in place in 1988.

 

Mr. Placencia continued to review the 6 criteria. 

 

Mr. Norris asked what the boundaries were of the zoning district.

 

Mr. Nearing noted the R-1A portion of the grid section extends approximately from Lakeshore South to 5th Street and from Eastern to Dakota. 

 

Mr. Norris asked if there were a lot of 50’ lots in that section.

 

Mr. Nearing noted there were not as many as in other sections.  Most of the 50’ lots are going to be south of 5th Street and West of Dakota Avenue.

 

Mr. Paulsen asked if this was the first request since the new zoning was put into place in 1988 to make a 50’ lot.

 

Mr. Nearing noted there may have been one other, but in general, this is a very uncommon request.  Typically, Staff tells people that this is the minimum criteria for this section of town for this zone.  Mr. Nearing informed the Board to keep in mind there is a differentiation between the section of town and the zone it’s in.  In this case, the zoning is R-1A regardless of its location.

 

Mr. Morgeson noted there is a Staff Report submitted addressing Staff’s position on each of the criteria that should be in your packets.  Each Board member should have a copy.

 

Mr. Norris noted the general intent and purpose of the regulations were to keep the larger lots and that’s why they designated this as an R-1A, versus an R-2.  Staff notes, granting this variance would not be consistent with that intent. 

 

Mr. Norris made a motion that 2007-11 has not met the 6-criteria and the variance be denied.

 

Mr. Paulsen seconded the motion to deny the variance.

 

Three Aye votes to deny the variance.  One Nay vote to approve the variance (Mr. Placencia).

 

The motion was denied 3-1.

 

Mr. Morgeson noted the approval of the minutes were by-passed from May 9th and April 11, 2007. 

 

Chairperson Beigel asked if anyone wanted to make a motion to approve the minutes from May 9th and April 11th.

 

Mr. Paulsen noted on the May 9th minutes, Page 10, the mis-spelling of Chairperson Paulson’s last name.  It should read Paulson not Paulsen.

 

Mr. Norris made a motion to approve the minutes for May 9, 2007 and April 11, 2007, as noted.

 

Chairperson Beigel seconded the motion.

 

All Ayes 4-0 to approve the minutes.

 

Mr. Nearing asked the Board if there were no cases to be heard next month if they would like to meet to have an election of officers.   

 

The board stated they didn’t want to hold a meeting unless there were cases to be heard. 

 

Mr. Beigel stated he would like for the Board to have a workshop to go over the codes.

 

Mr. Nearing stated a workshop could be scheduled to review the codes, etc.

 

Mr. Norris made a motion to adjourn the meeting.

 

Mr. Paulsen  seconded the motion to adjourn.

 

All ayes  4-0 to adjourn the meeting.

 

The meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

If a person decides to appeal any decision made by the Committee/Board, with respect to any matter considered at such hearing/meeting, such person will need a record of the proceedings and that, for this purpose, such person may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, which record includes the testimony evidence upon which the appeal is to be based, and which record is not provided by the City of St. Cloud. (FS 286.0105)

 

In accordance with the American with Disabilities Act, persons needing assistance to participate in any of these proceedings should contact the Secretary/Clerk of the Committee/Board (listed below), prior to the meeting. (FS 296.26)

 

Sherry Taylor, Secretary                        City of St. Cloud

Board of Adjustment                             1300 Ninth Street

(407) 957-7203                                      St. Cloud, FL  34769