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BZA MEETING

August 15, 2019

The White County Area Board of Zoning Appeals met Thursday, August 15, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Second Floor, White County Government Center, Monticello, Indiana.

Present: Dennis Sterrett, Randy Conwell, Stan Minnick, and Abbey Gross

Absent: Chris McWhirter

Also attending were Executive Director Joseph W. Rogers, Board Secretary Erika Martinez and Area Plan Attorney Makenzie Martin

Visitors attending were: Virgil Collin, Travis Funkhouser, Abby Funkhouser, Gail Sassman, Bill Sassman, Rich Sassman, Chris Gervais, Brad Gervais, Joyce Spogis, Frank G. Spogis, Rebekah Chatterjec, Maria Robledo, Joyce Ganther, Ray Ganther, Cheryl Limanni, Jennifer Spires, Phil Limanni, Nanette Rebar, Skip Sturgeon, Amy Sturgeon, Ralph Widkier, Terry Henna, Leslie Vogel, Shelby Reynolds, Barry D. Sawyer, Phil Vogel and Doug Pepple.

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Dennis Sterrett at 6:00 p.m.

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Minutes:

There was a motion by Abbey Gross and a second by Stan Minnick to approve the meeting minutes and finding of facts dated July 18, 2019 as written. Motion carried unanimously.

There was a motion by Randy Conwell and a second by Abbey Gross to approve the finding of facts dated May 17, 2018. Motion carried unanimously. There was a motion by Stan Minnick and a second by Randy Conwell to approve the finding of facts dated July 19, 2018. Motion carried unanimously.

Note: At the introduction of each case hearing, Director Rogers entered all documents provided to the Board in their pre-meeting packets, the Staff Report and all other file documents into the official record of the meeting. All documents entered into the record along with all hearing testimony and record ballets will be used in establishing the Findings of Fact for each hearing.

Note: Director Rogers informed the applicants, before the start of the meeting, that the Board is a five-member Board with only four scheduled for attendance at this meeting. Each petitioner must obtain 3 votes in favor in order for the petitioner’s request to pass. The applicants have the right, since there is not a full Board, to be continued to next month in hopes for a full Board.

Variance #2997

Director Rogers provided the Board with an overview of the variance requests, reviewed the Staff Report and supplemental information. He then displayed for the Board and the audience a series of photos he had taken at the site showing the area subject to the request along with the surrounding area to the property.

Director Rogers read the call long into the record. The call log included three entries, Owen Lovvern, Shafer Freeman Lakes Environmental Conservation Corporation representative, visited the office requesting information on where the proposed deck would be located and had no concerns after reviewing the survey. Bob & Georgene Kemetz and Charles & Rose Brady submitted a letter in support of the variance petition.

Director Rogers stated that the requests are to be voted on separately. The first request is asking for a 13’ front (waterside) setback vs 30’ for the proposed dwelling. The second request is for an 8’ rear (roadside) setback vs 20’ for a detached garage.

Director Rogers stated that the Staff feels the proposed structures, use and location create no injurious impact to the surrounding neighborhood, but noted that the proposed garage may create a safety concern for passing traffic due to the proximity to the roadway. This safety concern may be mitigated by the fact that Apple Knob Drive is a dead end street (which eliminates any thru traffic) and is subject to a low speed limit.

As to the house, Director Rogers reported that there is a significant amount of buffer land between the house and the lake and that the proposed house would be no closer to the lake area than either of the neighboring houses, thus he does not believe there will be any visual impairment created by the proposed home.

Bill Sassman, applicant, stepped to the podium to represent his request. Mr. Sassman stated that they want to turn the property into a year-round home. When it was built it was a weekend home. Mr. Sassman stated that there is no insulation, termite issues, a sagging rafter and that it’s time to replace the structure. Mr. Sassman stated that Harris Loop is not a right angle and it gives people coming around the loop plenty of visual clearance around the garage. The location of the existing garage is about the same location for the proposed garage.

There were no citizens in the audience to speak in favor or against the request, Attorney Martin passed out the ballots.

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

Variance #2997 front (waterside)- 4 votes cast; 4 to grant, 0 to deny;

Petition GRANTED

Variance #2997 rear (roadside)- 4 votes cast; 4 to grant, 0 to deny;

Petition GRANTED.

Variance #2998

Director Rogers provided the Board with an overview of the variance requests, reviewed the Staff Report and supplemental information. He then displayed for the Board and the audience a series of photos he had taken at the site showing the area subject to the request along with the surrounding area to the property.

Director Rogers stated there were four communications received from the public. The first contact was with Vigil Collins, Collins met with the Director to express his concern over the south side setback. Mr. Collins believes the overhang will cause water from the roof to flow onto his property and opposes the request. Greg Vogel emailed a letter of support that was included in the Board Packet. A support letter was received from Doug Pepple stating that all members of the City Council were in support. A letter of support was also received after the cut-off date from Leslie Vogel and Mr. Rogers read this letter into the record.

Skip Sturgeon, applicant, stepped to the podium to represent his request. Mr. Sturgeon stated that the awning is on the building because of an oversight. He wouldn’t have started building before coming to get the variance had he known it was a problem. To improve the curb appeal, Mr. Sturgeon stated he and his wife wanted to add depth to the visual of the building and an awning would be more inviting and make the neighborhood look better. Then they looked at what the purpose of the awning was. An awning provides shelter and shade on the sidewalk as people are coming to visit, over the windows it creates a shadow to be more energy efficient, it keeps snow and ice off the sidewalk in the winter. Mr. Sturgeon stated the awning isn’t out any further than it needs to be, it is at the sidewalks edge covering the door when it is opened. On the south side Mr. Sturgeon stated that he believes it will not have a negative effect on the property to the south. That the side walls are taller than the roof and all the rain is diverted and moved to another area and comes off the back of the building and then runs across the property onto his other lots. All he is doing is moving the rain instead of it coming down beside the building it will be moved off the building. Mr. Sturgeon stated that the land to the south is actually higher than his property and the water will not push up to the south property. It’s going to come along the building and find its way out the back or along the sidewalk. While doing construction, Mr. Sturgeon stated that when there was heavy rain the water from the parking lot on the property to the south was coming into the building. The water is actually coming onto his property to get to the storm drain that is located on the west of the property by Main St. Mr. Sturgeon stated that the awning is only built where windows or sidewalks are located.

Chairman Sterrett asked Mr. Sturgeon what type of material the awing will be constructed from. Mr. Sturgeon stated that the awing will be all made out of steel.

Abbey Gross asked where on the documents the elevation for the neighboring property is. Mr. Sturgeon then showed the Board the survey with the topography. Mr. Sturgeon stated that the document was submitted with the building permit. Mr. Sturgeon also stated that the building on the property to the south sits about 4” from the property line and the location makes it hard to do anything on his side that doesn’t seem close to the neighboring building .

Director Rogers stated that the requests are going to be voted on using separate ballots.

Virgil Collins stepped to the podium to speak his concerns about the requests being made. Mr. Collins is located south of the subject property at 915 N Main St. Mr. Collins stated the he has a wet crawlspace following the work that was done on Main St several years ago and the crawlspace can’t take any more water. He stated that the overhang in one place is only 19” from his building.

Phil Vogel stepped to the podium to express his opinion. Mr. Vogel is the owner to the building to the north and has no objections. Mr. Vogel stated that building water goes to the back of the building and that the awning is not adding any more space than what’s already there.

Mr. Collin stepped back to the podium and expressed his concern that the south window could be a service window. That anyone that comes up to that window is going to be walking onto his property and he doesn’t know what his legal obligations are as far as if someone falls and gets hurt. Mr. Collins stated that people can’t get to the south window if they don’t cross over to his property.

Mr. Sturgeon responded that the south window would not be a service window, it is a fixed glass commercial thermal window, a picture window. There is nothing there and he doesn’t know why anyone would go around to the side unless the window needed replaced.

Abbey Gross asked for clarification that the south window would not be used as a service window. Mr. Sturgeon confirmed that the south window will not be a service window. Director Rogers asked Mr. Sturgeon what is located on the other side of the south window inside the building. Mr. Sturgeon answered that a bathroom would be located on the other side of the south window.

Doug Pepple stepped to the podium and stated that he stopped by the location to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Sturgeon. There he was informed of the issues the Sturgeon’s were having with the property. Mr. Pepple stated all five City councilmembers independently looked at the matter and think the Sturgeon’s endeavor is worthy and needed in the city. When Mr. Pepple wrote the letter all the councilmen and council lady agreed that it was a good letter and wanted their name on it is as well. Mr. Pepple stated that the concern to the south is invalid. He previously worked on a survey crew and looked at the site and it is clear the water goes downhill which means it goes to the north, away from the building south of the subject site. He was also informed that when Mr. Sturgeon bought the property there was water in the building, so they have to address that more than anyone else. Mr. Pepple stated that the legislative body of the City of Monticello fully supports this endeavor.

There being no further questions from the audience, Attorney Martin passed out the ballots.

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

Variance #2998 north side- 4 votes cast; 4 to grant, 0 to deny;

Petition GRANTED

Variance #2998 south side- 4 votes cast; 4 to grant, 0 to deny;

Petition GRANTED.

Variance #3000

Applicant, Travis Funkhouser, requested to be continued until next month and be heard with a full Board present.

There being no further business, Stan Minnick motioned to adjourn the meeting, with a second from Stan Randy Conwell. Motion was passed and meeting adjourned at 7:11 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

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Joseph W. Rogers, Executive Director

White County Area Plan Commission

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Prepared by: Erika Martinez

Document Prepared By: White County Area Plan Executive Director Joseph W. Rogers, “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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Erika Martinez

Secretary - Area Board of Zoning Appeals