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BZA MEETING
January 19, 2017

The White County Area Board of Zoning Appeals met Thursday, January 19, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Second Floor, County Building, Monticello, Indiana.

Present: Randy Conwell, Stan Minnick, Dennis Sterrett

Also attending were Executive Director, Joe Rogers, and Board Secretary, Annette Cobb.

Absent: Abigail Diener, Dave Rosenbarger

Visitors attending were: Kym Landi, Dan Dumoulins, Steve Whiteman, Ken Broniad, Phil Hunt, Jan Conwell, Loretta Lord, Mark Martin, Steven Buschman

 

Due to absence of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, the meeting was called to order by Executive Director Rogers at 6:00 P.M.

*****

Executive Director Rogers explained to the audience that the BZA Board is typically a 5 member board, but only three members were available for tonight’s meeting. By State Statute, an official action of the board cannot take place unless there are 3 affirmative or 3 negative votes. Therefore, all 3 votes must be cast in favor of the variance to grant or against to deny. If there is a split vote, your hearing would be continued to the next hearing, which is in March. You have the option, as a petitioner, to ask to be continued until the board is fully staffed.

Reorganization: The first order of business was reorganization. Randy Conwell nominated Dave Rosenbarger as Chairman. Dennis Sterrett seconded. The motion was passed and Mr. Dave Rosenbarger elected as Chairman with a 3-0 vote. Randy nominated Dennis Sterrett as Vice-Chairman, seconded by Stan Minnick. The motion was passed and Mr. Dennis Sterrett elected as Vice Chairman with a 3-0 vote. Dennis Sterrett nominated Annette Cobb for secretary, seconded by Stan Minnick. The motion was passed and Ms. Annette Cobb was elected with a 3-0 vote.

Note: At the introduction of each case hearing, Director Rogers introduced all documents provided the Board as a part of their meeting packet, the Staff Report and any affiliated file documents into the official record of the meeting. These documents, along with hearing testimony and hearing submittals, will be used for developing the Findings of Fact for each petition decision.

Variances & Special Exceptions

Variance Petition #2937 modified-Special Exception Use-Hunt & Company LLC (continued from 4/21/16 & 6/16/16 & 9/15/16). The applicant modified the original request from a request for Special Exception Use for an outdoor gun range to a request for Special Exception Use for an outdoor and indoor gun range.

Vice-Chairman Dennis Sterrett asked the applicant if he would like to be heard tonight in front of the 3 member board or continue the hearing until there was a full board available. Phil Hunt, applicant, indicated he wanted to proceed with the hearing. Executive Director Rogers read the staff report and presented pictures of the site. Director Rogers also reviewed the information from the prior hearings to give the new member a history of the previous hearings. Director Rogers read the conditions of the variance hearing approval that took place on September 15, 2016. Director Rogers explained that tonight the board must decide if the applicant has met the condition of #3 which stated, “Criteria to meet the special exception application requirements set out in Section 3.16.6 and 3.16.7 must be approved by the board for approval as opposed to the administrative staff.” Director Rogers went on to emphasize that two specific criteria required for Board review are 1) that the applicant must submit a Shooting Range operation design plan which meets the criteria for the range type proposed as provided for in the NRA Range Resource Book, or equivalent, and submit such plan as part of their Special Exception Use Permit application and 2) that the applicant must provide a Shooting Range operation safety plan as part of their Special Exception Use Permit application; this plan shall address, but not be limited to the areas of Gun Handling Rules, General Range Rules, Specific Range Rules and Administrative Rules and Regulations using the Area Plan Shooting Range Safety handout as a guide to establishing a proper plan. Further, Director Rogers advised the Board that the applicant intends to execute an administrative subdivision and tract transfer to support the proposed range. The staff requests the board attach as a condition to their consideration the following “Any approval of the applicant’s request for special exception use is contingent upon the final property configuration being created as indicated on the survey submitted to the staff by the applicant dated Dec. 28, 2016. The property configuration must be created in accordance with the regulations and requirements of the White County Zoning and Subdivision Control Ordinances and be completed within 60 days of the day of the Board’s decision. Failure to satisfy this condition will void the Board’s approval of the special exception use request and will prevent the issuance of a Special Exception Use permit.” Director Rogers noted that, prior to the issuance of an Improvement Location or Building Permit, a final site plan meeting the standards of the Indiana Building Code and the White County Indiana Zoning Control Ordinance will have to be provided to the staff for approval. Director Rogers also noted that there was a discrepancy between the survey submitted for the tract transfer and Mr. Hunt’s site plan in regard to setbacks that are to be applied. Director Rogers asked that Mr. Hunt revise his site plan to meet the setbacks on the survey or, when his surveyor prepares the surveys for the Administrative Subdivision, the setbacks be adjusted to reflect the county setbacks. He stated that our office has no preference but there needs to be consistency between the setbacks on the survey and those indicated on the site plan.

Randy Conwell made a motion to accept the condition by the staff that states “Any approval of the applicant’s request for special exception use is contingent upon the final property configuration being created as indicated on the survey submitted to the staff by the applicant dated Dec. 28, 2016. The property configuration must be created in accordance with the regulations and requirements of the White County Zoning and Subdivision Control Ordinances and be completed within 60 days of the day of the Board’s decision. Failure to satisfy this condition will void the Board’s approval of the special exception use request and will prevent the issuance of a Special Exception Use permit.” Stan Minnick seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

Phil Hunt, applicant, addressed the board. Randy Conwell asked Mr. Hunt about the purpose of the 20’ berm. Mr. Hunt explained that the 20’ earthen berm located on the west end of the outdoor shooting range is an NRA requirement that is based off of Blue Sky. Phil explained the theory behind blue sky as described in his safety plan. The earthen berm is designed to stop any ammunition lead from leaving the range and is located at the west end of the outdoor shooting range. Stan Minnick asked Mr. Hunt about his parking plans. Mr. Hunt indicated that he believes he has plenty of room for parking. Director Rogers informed the Board that the parking plan will be required as part of the final site plan that must be submitted to obtain a building permit. Director Rogers reiterated that the primary issues at hand tonight that the applicant needs to satisfy are that any shooting range operation plan shall submit a design plan that meets the criteria for the range type as provided in the NRA Range Resource Book, or equivalent, and submit a safety plan as listed in 3.16.6 and 3.16.7 of the 2008 White County Indiana Zoning Control Ordinance.

Once the Board was satisfied with Mr. Hunt’s testimony, Vice Chairman Sterrett asked if anyone in the audience wished to speak on behalf or against the applicant’s request. Nobody came forward.

When there were no further questions from the audience, the applicant, or the Board, Executive Director Joe Rogers passed out ballots.

After tabulating the ballots, Vice-Chairman Dennis Sterrett read the following results into the record: 3 votes cast; 3 votes to grant, 0 to deny; Special Exception Use request #2937-Granted.

#2941-Lord-Variance

Vice Chairman Sterrett asked the applicant if they would like to be heard tonight in front of the 3 member board. Loretta Lord, applicant, indicated she wanted to proceed with the meeting. Applicant would like all variance requests voted on separately.

Executive Director Rogers stepped to the podium and announced that there were two letters received in support of the petitioner after the board packets were sent. Director Rogers read the letters into the record from Roy & Barbara Goesel and Elizabeth Booth Poor. Director Rogers presented photo documentation of the site. Director Rogers entered one correction into the record. Item #5 listed on the staff report incorrectly indicated that only 5 additional spaces are required for parking; however, when final measurements were calculated by the Staff (see Exhibit A), 6 additional parking spaces are required. Executive Director Rogers gave a brief explanation of each of the seven variance requests then read the Staff and Supplemental Report into the record. Director Rogers indicated that from the Staff’s review of the historical records of the site, that all the variances that have been heard, granted and put into place previously are no longer valid. They have not been officially rescinded, but they are subject to enforcement or recension due to conflicts between the variance application and documentation and the actual site development results. It should be noted that, at the time of the previous variance hearings, the subject property and resort property upon which the parking was requested to be allowed were owned by the same entity - that is no longer the case. In 2015, when the restaurant went up for auction, the Staff raised the question with the Board’s legal counsel as to whether that would impact the validity of the previous variances which had been granted. The concern of the Staff was that the restaurant property and the resort property would no longer be owned by a common entity; at the time the previous variances were granted the two properties were tied together, both from an ownership and operations side. That question was deferred by legal counsel. Director Rogers further stated, “It is the opinion of the staff that the current survey is still suspect since it seems to ignore the reality of the current development. We still find discrepancies of the site in the survey related to deck sizes, locations, and completeness. This opinion has been passed on to the applicant.” In the opinion of the Staff, the Board needs to decide if they will accept the survey as presented or if they will accept the Staff’s measurements as replacement measurements to the survey. The Board also has the option to continue the meeting until the applicant is able to obtain an accurate survey. The Staff also asks that the Board take official action and attach the following conditions to the petition: 1) that the REMC pole located nearest the south end of the building be moved prior to issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy and 2) that the overhang must be reduced to no more than 16” for the variance to be valid. Furthermore, the staff has provided a timeline, Exhibit E, of the recent construction activity that reflects the times that the property owners have not obtained proper permits before initiating construction or deviated from the construction activities approved for the site. Exhibit E-1 also gives you a brief summary of contact between the office and the applicant. These exhibits are for your consideration as a factor of self-imposition per the variance ballot. Director Rogers asked for the Board to act upon the conditions requested by the staff.

Motion was made by Randy to accept the condition by the staff that the eave must be cut back to 16” or less or the variance is invalid, second by Stan Minnick. Motion was carried unanimously.

Dennis Sterrett asked for more information about the difference between the survey and the staff measurements. Director Rogers pointed out on Exhibit A, under outdoor public floor area, there are 3 different measurements given: 1) existing decks as measured by the Staff, 2) decking measurements as provided on the applicant’s survey and 3) decking measurement provided at the time of the 2008 variance request and approval. Vice Chairman Sterrett asked if the deck runs clear across the front on the lakeside. Director Rogers explained that it currently does, but the existing deck from where the new bathrooms are to be constructed and south, will be removed and not replaced as part of the construction activities. Director Rogers stated “The only issue the staff has with the decking at this point is the increase in the intensity of the use that affects the parking requirements.”

Randy Conwell made a motion to accept the staff measurements according to Exhibit A which will result in an increase of 6 parking spaces that are required to match the increased intensity of use. Seconded by Stan Minnick. Motion was carried unanimously.

Motion was made by Randy Conwell that the REMC pole must be moved before a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued. Stan Minnick seconded. Motion was carried unanimously.

Director Rogers asked if there were any other questions for him. Randy Conwell asked if there would be any requirements for ADA if the current parking is grandfathered in. Director Rogers indicated that the current parking is grandfathered so approval of tonight’s request would not trigger an ADA parking space requirement; however, if the additional parking is required by the Board, than an ADA space requirement would have to be satisfied. There was some discussion about ADA parking guidelines at the federal and local level. With no other questions for Director Rogers, Ms. Loretta Lord stepped to the podium and addressed the board. She stated that if the board chooses to allow her parking to continue as it has in the past that she would like to designate parking in front of the building as handicapped parking. Vice Chair Sterrett expressed concern over Ms. Lord’s idea to add ADA parking. Director Rogers stated that complications with the width of the property would restrict the ability to locate ADA parking there but that the office would be willing to work with them on an acceptable solution to the ADA parking space design if that is their interest. Director Rogers explained the requirements for an ADA compliant aisle, access route, and any accommodations for ADA parking will have to be configured with our office to be compliant with the zoning ordinance. She stressed that they would like to work with the office to find a solution to provide this service. Dan Dumoulins and Kym Landi, applicant’s associates, stepped to the podium and spoke in favor of the petition and offered to answer any questions the Board might have. Kym Landi stated that they have 8 piers in front of the building and that 70-75% of their business comes from the boat docks as far as parking needs. In their opinion, guests via automobile are minimal compared to the boat dock traffic they generate. Director Rogers commented that the zoning ordinance does not make a distinction between a business that is located along the lake that would have the expectation that a percentage of their customer base would come from the lakes and those that don’t, for example, a stand-alone restaurant (one which does not service boat traffic). The same parking standard was established for each. Director Rogers interprets the applicant’s argument that since a certain percentage of their customers come by boat, the applicants believe they should not have to meet the same requirements as a restaurant where virtually all customers come by automobile. Stan Minnick asked if there is any data reflecting the safety of the area. Director Rogers stated that we do not have any official data. In the opinion of the staff, it is not recommended that parking be allowed where customers would be backing out into a 45 mph rural highway, known as West Shafer Drive. Dennis Sterrett asked if anyone in the audience would like to speak on behalf of the petition. Jan Conwell stepped to the podium. She stated she is a resident and President of Dolby Court’s Homeowner’s Association. Ms. Conwell stated that she was asked to speak on behalf of the residents of Dolby Court in support of the petition. She stated that they believe Jake’s is a great lake attraction. The restaurant has been there for many years and the residents enjoy being able to stop by on their boats for a nice lunch or dinner.

Vice Chairman Sterrett asked if anyone in the audience wished to speak against the requests.

When there were no further questions from the audience, the applicant, or the Board, Executive Director Rogers passed out the ballots.

After tabulating the ballots, Vice Chairman Sterrett read the following results into the record:

1. A parking lot variance to eliminate the additional number of off-street parking spaces required as a result of the increased floor space and increase in deck area (6 space add’l req’) 3 Votes cast-3 votes to grant-0 to deny, Petition Granted

Director Rogers explained that since Parking Variance #5 was granted then the other parking variances (requests 6 & 7) no longer need to be considered.

2. 14.4’ rear (roadside) setback vs 20’ req’d for an ADA compliant bathroom addition-3 votes cast-3 votes to grant-0 to deny, Petition Granted

3. 5.7’ rear (roadside) setback to bring the main building and pillar into compliance-3 votes cast-3 votes to grant-0 to deny, Petition Granted

4. 0’ front (waterside) vs 30’ req’d for bathroom addition-3 votes cast-3 votes to grant-0 to deny, Petition Granted

5. 0’ front (waterside) vs 30’ req’d for roof over existing deck-3 votes cast-3 votes to grant-0 to deny, Petition Granted

Variance #2941 was granted with the following conditions attached:

1. REMC Pole must be moved before a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued.

2. Eaves must be reduced to 16” or less or the variance will be invalid.

Variance #2942-Buschman

Vice Chairman Sterrett asked the applicant if he would like to be heard tonight in front of the 3 member board. Steven Buschman, applicant, indicated he wanted to proceed with the meeting.

Executive Director Rogers stepped to the podium and read the Staff Report and provided photo documentation of the petition site. Director Rogers shared with the Board that the subject property is split zoned, which is no longer allowed, so Director Rogers gave a brief history of split zoning from 1972 to the current 2008 Zoning Ordinance. Director Rogers explained that there have been no community communications in-favor or against the petition. Steve Buschman, the applicant, then stepped to the podium and spoke on behalf of his request. Mr. Buschman stated that the proposed building will be the same height as the building that is currently on the site. He stated that due to the nature of his business the doors need to be 12’ in height resulting in the need for a higher peak. The proposed building will be used for overflow and storage only with no customers on site. Director Rogers asked the applicant if he would like to have his variances voted on together or separate. Mr. Buschman chose to have his requests heard separately.

When there were no further questions from the audience, the applicant, or the Board, Executive Director Rogers passed out the ballots.

After tabulating the ballots, Vice Chairman Sterrett read the following results into the record:

1. 25’ height vs 19’ max height allowed 3 votes cast; 3 votes to grant; 0 to deny, Variance Granted

2. Variance from the Parking Lot construction standards according to Chap 8 of the White County Zoning Ordinance-3 votes cast; 3 votes to grant; 0 to deny, Variance Granted

Petition #2942 Granted

Minutes – September 15, 2016 Hearing:

There was a motion by Randy Conwell and a second by Stan Minnick to approve the meeting minutes dated September 15, 2016 as written. Motion was carried unanimously.

Other Business

Director Rogers briefly went over the annual report with the members and pointed out new additions made this year.

There being no further business, Vice Chairman Sterrett made a motion the meeting be adjourned with a second from Randy Conwell. Motion carried, meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

__________________________

Annette Cobb, Secretary

Area Board of Zoning Appeals

 

__________________________

Joseph W. Rogers, Executive Director

White County Area Plan Commission

 

Document Prepared By: White County Area Plan Secretary Annette Cobb “I AFFIRM, UNDER THE PENALTIES FOR PERJURY THAT I HAVE TAKEN REASONABLE CARE TO REDACT EACH SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IN THIS DOCUMENT, UNLESS REQUIRED BY LAW.”_________________

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