Town of Esopus Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes
     May 16, 2006

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chairman Don Cole. The Pledge to the Flag followed.

ROLL CALL

Present: Catherine Charuk, Don Cole, Darin DeKoskie, Joe Guido, Richard Wenzel, and Karl Wick.
Absent: Rob Hare

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Karl Wick made two corrections to the minutes of the April meeting; page 3 paragraph 3, 2nd line, should read ďwhere his concern liesĒ, and page 7 last paragraph, the 1st word should be ďtheĒ and not ďthereĒ. KARL WICK MADE A MOTION TO ACCEPT THE MINUTES AS AMENDED. JOE GUIDO SECONDED. ALL PRESENT VOTED IN FAVOR.

APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS

Two vouchers were submitted, one for 16 hours of secretarial work and one from the Daily Freeman for $35.89 for public hearing notices.

INFORMATIONAL MEETING

SUSSHOLZ, MICHAEL  Case # 05-16-06-01

The applicant was present and explained that he is seeking a variance for an undersized lot. The required is 7500 square feet and his lot is 75' by 100' for an area of 7000 square feet. He also mentioned that the zoning requires 15' setback on each side and that would give him 40' and he would like to build a 48' wide house so he is seeking a variance of 4' on each side. Mr. Wick asked if the applicant knew when the lot was created. He suggested that if the lot was in existence prior to 1971 it would be grand fathered in.

Mr. Wenzel asked what the topographical aspects of the lot are. The applicant pointed out the lot on a map that he presented. Mr. Guido advised the applicant that the variance has to be for the point closest to the line, not the average distance. Mr. Guido asked if there is a house on the side. The applicant advised that he is building on two lots side by side. He owns one and the other is in contract with someone. Mr. Guido asked why the lots couldnít be combined and the applicant stated that he only owns one. He is building on the other one but he doesnít own it. Mr. Guido asked if this is to be a modular house and it is. The applicant stated that he would like the house to conform to the one being built next to it. Mr. Guido said he understands but the other lot has more property.

Mr. Guido asked if there are modulars that are 40' wide that the applicant could get that would not require a variance. The applicant stated that he is sure that there are but most people would prefer to have a wider house. Mr. Guido then asked if the house is being built on speculation and the applicant answered that he has a prospective buyer.

Mr. Guido asked the owner to stake out where the house will be going so he can get an idea of where it will be. Mr. Wick stated that the four corners of the lot and those of the house should be staked out. Mr. Guido suggested that the applicant provide pictures of houses in the area to show that this would not be changing the character of the neighborhood. There were no further questions. Mr. Guido advised the applicant that notices will be going out to the neighbors and a public hearing will be held at the next meeting.

PUBLIC HEARING

PICKNELL, JUANITA & RAY  Case # 04-18-06-01

There was no one present from the public regarding this case. Mr. Picknell stated that they would like to install a 16x32' in ground pool. The applicants provided photos for the record. There were no questions from the Board. Mr. Picknell said that someone asked him at the last meeting where the water will run to and he pointed out in the photos where it would go.

Mr. Cole polled the Board as to whether they would like to vote on this case tonight or not. No one on the Board objected to voting.

JOHNSON, JULIE A.  Case # 02-21-06-02

There were new drawings presented as requested at the last meeting. Mr. Guido asked how the new drawings lined up with the original ones since it appears to him that the new one is just like the old one with the exception that the stairs are outside now. Mr. Carey stated that they eliminated the stair bay and put them on the outside. Mr. DeKoskie stated that he also feels that the garage area is the identical size. Mr. Carey stated that it is 41' and it was originally 50'. The architect stated that it is 42' wide and the same depth. Mr. DeKoskie stated that essentially the bay area for vehicles and storage is still the same. Mr. Carey agreed that that is correct. The bay areas are the same. What they did was take the stair area and put it outside. They also changed the plans to put in two 16' doors instead of four 8' doors.

Mr. Cole stated that the objection last month was that the apartment was too big. The apartment has been cut down and now the Board is discussing garage doors. Mr. Guido replied that they are discussing the overall size of the garage. Mr. Wick stated that essentially it has not changed except that now the stairs are outside and they lost a very tiny shop area. The garage was 41' 2" and it is now 41'. Mr. Carey said that the original garage was 50'. Mr. Wick stated that the plans show the garage area is 41' 2". Mr. Carey said that he understood from the last meeting that it was the overall size of the edifice that was objected to and he has decreased that by 20% by putting the stairs on the outside. The architect advised that by putting the stairs outside and stacking them over the stairs from the pool they are saving space. Mr. Wick advised that architect that at the last meeting the Board specifically discussed that a three bay garage would be more likely to get a variance than a four bay garage. Mr. Carey said that he was at the last meeting and the discussion centered not on the number of bays but on the size of the apartment above them. Mr. Cole said that at the last meeting the major concern was that the apartment would be rented out. The Johnsonsí gave as their reasons for needing an apartment of that size was because they have three children, two of whom are in college, and they are reducing the number of bedrooms in the house from five to three. Mrs. Johnson stated that they need a garage of that size because they have four drivers in their home now and a fifth one coming up. She also mentioned that her husband collects cars and there is no on street parking by their property.

Susan Wick of 600 Main Street, St. Remy asked how long ago the applicants purchased the house. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson answered that it was in January of this year. Mrs. Wick then asked what has changed in their family situation since then. They knew when they purchased the house that they had three children and how many vehicles they have. She stated that she doesnít understand why the applicants didnít buy something different if they knew they needed all this space. Mr. Johnson answered that there wasnít anything else situated on the river that was available to them.

Mr. Cole asked if there was anything else that the Board wanted from the applicants or if the members wanted to vote at this meeting. Mr. DeKoskie asked that the applicants come back with the square footage of the apartment including the space designated as office. The architect stated that it is 1,094 square feet. Mr. Wick stated that the usable space has not really shrunk at all. By putting the staircase outside they have reduced the square footage but not lost any usable space. Mr. Wick stated that his main concern is that the variance itself is quite substantial and the applicants did go into this recently. They knew what the property looked like so it is a self created hardship.

The pubic hearing was closed. It was decided that the application would be voted on at this meeting.

DECISIONAL MEETING

VANHEUSEN, JANET  Case # 03-16-06-01

Mr. Cole asked if anyone on the Board wanted to ask any questions. Mr. Guido said that he counted eight buildings on the property now. One looks like an apartment or a bungalow and he asked if anyone in living there now. Ms. VanHeusen answered yes. He then said that behind that building are two garages. Ms. VanHeusen said that they were barns. Mr. Guido asked what they are being used for. Ms. VanHeusen answered that one is a shop and they are working on two bays because they were collapsing into the ground. Mr. Guido said then there is the main house and he asked if anyone is living in there. Ms. VanHeusen said that she is and she has a business in there.

Mr. Guido said that there are two baby barns, one large one and one smaller one, and a camping trailer that is not registered. Ms. VanHeusen stated that it is registered but she just doesnít use it. Mr. Guido said that then there is another large trailer, a contractorís trailer and he asked how long that would be there. Ms. VanHeusen answered that she doesnít know; he lives with her. Mr. Guido asked how far off the property line the green trailer is and Ms. VanHeusen answered that itís about ten feet away.

Mr. Guido stated that at the last meeting there was mention of allowing the trailer to remain where it is for a year with the possibility of a one year extension. He would have a problem allowing that extension since there are plenty of buildings on the property that could be used for storage. The applicant presented a bank check for $1,100.00 to be held in escrow until the trailer is removed. MR. WICK MADE A MOTION TO GRANT A VARIANCE TO ALLOW THE APPLICANT TO KEEP THE TRAILER ON HER PROPERTY FOR A PERIOD OF ONE YEAR FROM THIS DATE IN EXCHANGE FOR A $1,100.00 PAYMENT TO BE PUT INTO AN ESCROW ACCOUNT AS STIPULATED IN THE LETTER OF CONTRACT WITH THE OPTION TO COME BEFORE THIS BOARD WITH A REQUEST FOR A ONE YEAR RENEWAL. RICHARD WENZEL SECONDED. The vote was as follows:

   KARL WICK - Iíll vote in favor. There is a hardship and I think the time limitation is going to force her to deal with this hardship.

  DARIN DeKOSKIE - Iíll vote in favor.

  DON COLE - I vote in favor.

   JOE GUIDO - Iím against this variance. I think thereís plenty of storage there already. I might have voted for it if there was no option for renewal but this way, it could end up being two or three years and that trailer could still
    be there.

   CATHERINE CHARUK - The only reason I would vote in favor of it is because of the escrow. That gives her the motivation to remove it.

   RICHARD WENZEL - I vote in favor. I feel itís a necessity for her right now. Itís not detrimental in any form because of the stipulations.

Motion carried 5-1.

PICKNELL, JUANITA AND ROY  Case # 04-18-06-01

KARL WICK MADE A MOTION TO GRANT A VARIANCE TO ALLOW INSTALLATION OF AN IN GROUND POOL IN THE BACKYARD, THE VARIANCE BEING IN THE AMOUNT OF 980 SQUARE FEET OVER THE ALLOWED LOT COVERAGE. DARIN

DeKOSKIE SECONDED. The vote was as follows:

   KARL WICK - I vote in favor. I feel itís an area variance. Weíre always concerned about lot coverage because of the permeability of the soil. With the topography of that lot, everything drains out the back. The runoff would not be any worse than what it there. I think it would be no detriment to the neighborhood.

  DARIN DeKOSKIE - I vote in favor.

  DON COLE - Iím going to vote in favor because Karl had a good idea.

   JOE GUIDO - Because of the size of the property and the unique shape of it and the fact that I donít believe it will run off into any neighborís lot, Iím in favor of this variance. Itís not a building.

   CATHERINE CHARUK - Iíll vote in favor also. (The rest of the comments were inaudible.)

   RICHARD WENZEL - I vote in favor because of the location of the pool on the property. Itís not going to be a detriment to anything. Thereís nothing around there thatís itís going to disturb.

Motion carried 6-0.

JOHNSON, JULIE A.  Case # 02-21-06-02

DARIN DeKOSKIE MADE A MOTION TO ALLOW CONSTRUCTION OF AN ACCESSORY STRUCTURE TO BE 7'6" ABOVE THE ALLOWABLE HEIGHT OF 15'. KARL WICK SECONDED. The vote was as follows:

   KARL WICK - I vote in favor of that one because there was an existing structure there. Itís not exactly the same but itís close enough. I donít think it affects the character of the neighborhood at all so Iím in favor.

   DARIN DeKOSKIE - Iím going to vote in favor. As Karl mentioned, there was an existing structure on site. I donít believe there was any opposition by any of the neighbors or anyone from the community.

   DON COLE - Iím going to vote in favor because this garage is not even as high as the house so itís not blocking anybody from behind which isnít even there anyhow so it doesnít make any difference so I vote in favor of it.

   JOE GUIDO - Because of the topography and the other building previously being there and the fact that the property across the street is part of this property, Iíll grant the variance for the height.

  CATHERINE CHARUK - Iíll vote in favor of it as well because of the existing structure and the fact that the most ... (inaudible).. and there have been no objections.

  RICHARD WENZEL - I vote in favor because they are replacing a building that was there and thereís really nobody against it.
 
Motion carried 6-0.

DARIN DeKOSKIE MADE A MOTION TO GRANT A VARIANCE TO ALLOW CONSTRUCTION OF AN ACCESSORY APARTMENT IN A NEW STRUCTURE WITH THE STIPULATION THAT THE ACCESSORY APARTMENT SHOULD NOT BE RENTED OR SOLD SEPARATELY. KARL WICK SECONDED. The vote was as follows:

   KARL WICK - Iíll vote in favor because the accessory apartment in and of itself is something that is common. Thereís provisions in the code for it and although I havenít seen the interior of that structure, I believe that there was probably a small apartment in there at some point, probably in the nineteenth century. I donít think itís going to alter the character of the neighborhood and that thereís no detrimental environmental effect in that itís contained in the structure.

   DARIN DeKOSKIE - Iím going to vote in favor for the reason that the applicant has decreased the amount of bedrooms in the existing house and it will have no effect on the existing septic system.

   DON COLE - Iím going to vote in favor because I believe the plan thatís brought before us is suitable for the neighborhood and I canít see any detrimental reason for not voting for it. None of the neighbors have any complaints about what is going to be done there.
 
   JOE GUIDO - Iím in favor of it because I do believe there was a pre-existing accessory building there.

  CATHERINE CHARUK - In favor. Itís a pre-existing accessory building and itís not out of character with the neighborhood. Itís smaller than the one originally proposed.
 
  RICHARD WENZEL - I vote in favor because thereís no undesirable changes here. Theyíre basically replacing what they have and he has agreed to decrease the size.

Motion carried 6-0.

DARIN DeKOSKIE MADE A MOTION TO GRANT A VARIANCE TO ALLOW CONSTRUCTION OF AN ACCESSORY APARTMENT TO BE 494 SQUARE FEET OVER THE ALLOWED 600 SQUARE FEET. KARL WICK SECONDED. The vote was as follows:

   RICHARD WENZEL - Iím in favor because I donít see any problems here. You know, this is a family thing. Itís not a developer. Itís something thatís going to be local. When you have a local family coming in which I like I donít really see any problems. Nobodyís complaining about it. Thereís no effect whatsoever. And everything is there already, so...

   CATHERINE CHARUK - Iíll vote in favor even though it is a rather large accessory apartment but itís consistent with the size of the buildingís garage. Itís a good use of that space.

   JOE GUIDO - Iíll vote against it. I think the accessory building could have been smaller.

   DON COLE - I vote in favor of it. I think the building itself is going to be an asset to the neighborhood. It will not be a problem to anybody in the neighborhood. I canít see voting against something that is not detrimental.

   DARIN DeKOSKIE - Iím going to vote in favor. I believe that a 1094 square foot apartment is something that will be more adequate for the building standards for an accessory apartment. I also feel that given the footprint of the garage and the lay of the lot, that the accessory apartment best utilized the space.

   KARL WICK - I struggled with this. I think when an obvious solution doesnít present itself, we should go be a strict interpretation of the law. Number one, this is a self created hardship which, in and of itself, doesnít  preclude a variance but, number two, there are other options where the applicant could gain a similar benefit. With that strict reading of the law, I canít vote in favor. I have to vote against this variance.

Motion carried 4-2.

OTHER BUSINESS

The secretary asked the Board how they can address the problem of all the notices of disapproval from the building inspector not being presented with the application. Mr. Cole asked for an example. Mr. Sussholz came before the Board tonight with one notice of disapproval for an undersized lot but the applicant mentioned that he also is in violation of side yard setbacks. The same thing happened with the Johnson application. With the original application there was only one notice of disapproval. They were actually issued four disapprovals. The problem might be with the applicant not understanding that all notices have to be included with the application.

JOE GUIDO MADE A MOTION TO ADJOURN. DON COLE SECONDED. Meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathleen Kiernan
Secretary