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Architectural Review Board (ARB) meetings are held on the second Monday each month at 7:00 pm, pending the need to meet. The ARB does not do building inspection, only architectural review and zoning compliance. All Village residents are welcome and encouraged to attend the meetings.
Regular meeting: April 13, 2009
A meeting of the Village of Riverlea Planning Commission was held April 13, 2009. Members present were Michael Jones (Planning Commissioner), L. Keith Beachler, Bryce E. Jacob, Jody C. Jones, and Lisa J. Morris. Also present were Taylor and Suzanne Surface, Gary Alexander, Lorene and Mark Haimerl and residents listed on an additional sheet. Pamela M. Colwell served as Clerk. The Planning Commissioner called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.
A revised application for a Certificate of Appropriateness and Variance for an addition to the home of Taylor and Suzanne Surface at 5849 Olentangy Boulevard was presented by Gary Alexander, Architect, along with Taylor and Suzanne Surface. The original plans, submitted at a special meeting March 23, 2009, were not approved. A one-story addition to the existing great room at the rear of the house was not discussed at length and no objections were made by the Commission regarding it. The proposed master suite addition at the front of the house requires a variance since it projects 7'6â€� into the front setback, which is 2' less than what was proposed at the March 23, 2009 meeting. Also, this application has expanded the addition to the great room in the rear. They gave the following reasons as to why they felt the Commission should approve the application for a variance:
Building in the rear impacts the view of their neighbor to the north and causes a hardship due to increased costs.
Adding a second story is not only expensive but would not be in character with the homes along the river.
The unique setback line on this lot runs diagonally across the lot and not parallel to the front of the house.
This variance request has the addition projecting 2' less than the existing garage.
Not all houses on the Boulevard comply with the same standards (they found 5).
They are only asking for the same rights and privileges as other neighbors currently have on the street.
The average setback is 61.1' for residents along the river and what they are requesting is within that.
None of the residents on the Boulevard object.
The garage dominates the front and the addition would add balance.
They believe the Village's code allows for unique circumstances in granting a variance.
They presented a detailed map of the layout of the homes along Olentangy Boulevard showing how the street is curved but the setback is linear. This was used to illustrate their point that the variance they were asking for would be comparable to their neighbors and they just wanted to be treated equitably.
Jody Jones responded that all of the homes have been grandfathered in and only one variance has been approved in the past ten years and it was for the Surfaces. The hardship they refer to is not unique because it affects everyone in the Village and it's an inconvenience but nothing more. Jody Jones referred to the Village of Riverlea's code and the Ohio Zoning Code.
The Surfaces said they expected the Commission to exercise their judgment and review all circumstances and not just hardship.
The Commissioner explained that the Planning Commission has been given the task to follow the laws that Council has passed. The Commission does not make the laws. Olentangy Boulevard has always been the prime real estate in the Village since the very beginning of the Village. The openness of the front lawns was by design. The Commission provides continuity in applying the law. Whenever variances are granted it can open the door to others obtaining the same variance. If residents feel there should be a change in the current zoning, they will need to go to the Village Council.
Morris asked about what rear addition options the Surfaces looked at. Alexander pointed out that a rear addition would change the layout of the interior and would require more modifications inside. It would also block the north neighbor's view of the woods and would keep the garage dominating the front of the house.
Jacob asked what their expectations were today. Alexander said he had hoped with additional information it may make someone change their mind.
Beachler said he felt the Commission should apply reasonableness to the letter of the law. He felt the addition would add value to the neighborhood.
Morris moved and Jacob seconded a motion to approve the application for a Certificate of Appropriateness and Variance for 5849 Olentangy Boulevard.
The Commissioner asked the residents in attendance for their remarks:
Rose Stevens (5859 Olentangy Blvd) stated that she would be the one who would be most affected by an addition to the rear since it would cut off her view to the woods. She liked the front addition and wanted the Commission to allow it.
Lori Pisching (5877 Olentangy Blvd) pointed out that her property projects out in front of the setback. She appreciates the law but the Surfaces are not making an unreasonable request and it would be a great enhancement to the neighborhood.
Susan Mancini (5835 Olentangy Blvd) stated there is the letter of the law and there is the spirit of the law. It is the spirit of the law that needs to be addressed by the Commission. She said enhancing the property is to the betterment of all.
Daren Brown (5901 Olentangy Blvd) said he was disappointed in the Commission. His home is an investment. The Commission needs to be careful with their power or no one can spend and improve their home.
Janet Brown (5901 Olentangy Blvd) pointed out that the Surfaces' request was not asking a lot considering what exists in the rest of the Village. She said the addition made the house look better balanced. She approved of it.
Deborah Barman (5872 Olentangy Blvd) said the setback was worse on her side. She noted that the Surfaces' garage addition was approved under a different Planning Commission. She would like the Commission to reconsider, to look ahead, and to do what is reasonable. To make Riverlea a better place to live. She liked the addition.
John Mercer (5826 Olentangy Blvd) stated that the Surfaces' home is 15 feet further back than the rest. The addition would help the appreciation of all of the homes. He and his wife would like to see the addition in front.
Don Campbell (5846 Olentangy Blvd) said he welcomed the front addition and hoped the Commission would approve it.
The Commissioner thanked the residents for their comments. The following was recorded on the motion: yea, 2; Beachler, and Jacob: nay, 3; J. Jones, Morris and M. Jones. The motion failed 2-3.
An application for a Certificate of Appropriateness by Lorene and Mark Haimerl at 5805 Crescent Court to connect the existing house and garage under one roof, to enlarge the kitchen by eliminating the breezeway and cat walk, to enlarge the second floor bedroom and to re-roof the entire house and garage. The Haimerls stated they did not want different materials on the roof, so they have decided to replace the whole roof with 40-year three dimensional asphalt shingles. Morris and other Commission members expressed their appreciation of keeping the renovations in character with the house. The Commissioner pointed out that there will be no conditional Certificate of Appropriateness and that the Haimerls need to provide samples, product descriptions, brochures, etc. for all materials before the Commission will approve their application.
Duncan Aukland (5789 Crescent CT) came to support the application. He is happy that the ugly cat walk will be eliminated.
Jacob moved and Morris seconded a motion to table the application until the May 11, 2009 meeting. The following was recorded on the motion: yea, 5; Beachler, J. Jones, Jacob, Morris and M. Jones: nay, 0. The motion carried 5-0.
Jacob moved and Beachler seconded a motion to appoint Morris as temporary Planning Commissioner for the duration of the meeting. The following was recorded on the motion: yea, 3; Beachler, Jacob and Morris: nay, 0: abstain, 2; J. Jones and M. Jones. The motion carried 3-0-2.
An application for a Certificate of Appropriateness by Jody Jones at 5830 Falmouth Court for a window replacement with a new garden window to match the existing adjacent garden window. Jones displayed pictures of the proposed new window. Beachler moved and Jacob seconded a motion to approve the application. The following vote was recorded on the motion: yea, 3; Beachler, Jacob and Morris: nay, 0. The motion was approved 3-0.
The Commission took no additional action. J. Jones moved and Jacob seconded a motion to adjourn. The following was recorded on the motion: yea, 5; Beachler, J. Jones, Jacob, Morris and M. Jones: nay, 0. The motion carried 5-0.
The Commission took no additional action. The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 pm.