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BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS MINUTES 02-15-07

VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 16

									 Regular Meeting                 BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS               February 15, 2007

                                          Minutes

______________________________________________________________________

The Regular Meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals was called to order at 1:00 p.m., in
the Public Hearing Room, 2nd Floor, 1120 Monroe Ave NW, by Chairperson Ed Kettle.

       Members of the Board:          Chairperson:            Edgar D. Kettle
                                      Vice Chairperson:       Ronald D. Smith

                                                              Andrew Brower
                                                              Juan Davis
                                                              Stephen B. Deem - alternate
                                                              John Kriekaard
                                                              Paul Potter - absent
                                                              Jerri Schmidt
                                                              David Shaffer
                                                              Rodney J. VanTol - absent

       Inspection Committee:                                  Edgar D. Kettle - Chair
                                                              Andrew Brower
                                                              Juan Davis
                                                              John Kriekaard

       City Staff:     Stanley Bakita, Assistant City Attorney
                       Dale Fitz, Planner II
                       Kay Moul, Planner

       Recording Secretary: Carol Gornowich

Note: Alternate Mark Lewis was present in the audience but did not participate in Board
discussion or decisions.

Each member of the Board having reviewed the Minutes of the Regular Meeting held on
January 18, 2007, Mr. Smith moved the reading of the Minutes be waived and the same
be approved as correctly representing the action taken by the Board. The motion was
supported by Ms. Schmidt. Yeas: 7. Nays: 0. Abstention: 1 (Deem). Motion carried.


The Appeal of Mel Trotter Ministries (applicant) Richard Craig (Board
Member/Agent), Duthler Julius Trust (owner), 555 28th St. SE - requesting a use
variance, contrary to Article 15, Section 5.152 and Article 7, Section 5.72, to use the
existing building and site for: 1) automobile repair, 2) storage of vehicles waiting for
repair on the north side of the building in a parking area zoned Single Family
Residential, 3) the display and sales of the repaired used vehicles in front of the building,
4) food distribution, 5) clothing and furniture warehousing, 6) second hand sales of
clothing and furniture, Zone C-2 and R-1, Lot size 528 ft. x 616 ft. (7.5 acres), was
recognized by the Board.
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 2 of 16

Mr. Fitz described the request explaining that outdoor storage of operable and
inoperable vehicles is not permitted in an R-1 zone; used car sales are not permitted in
C-2 zones without being an ancillary use to new car sales; food distribution and
warehousing of goods are not permitted; warehousing is not permitted and second hand
sales of clothing and furniture is a Permitted with Approval use.

Mr. Brower described the location of the property with Madison to the west and Eastern
to the east, just south of Plaster Creek.

Richard Craig, Mel Trotter Board Member, was present to discuss the request. He
provided history relating that Mel Trotter Ministries has been in Grand Rapids for 106
years. Last year Mel Trotter served over 250,000 hot meals; 2,000 served at the
Thanksgiving banquet. The car donation program resulted in the sale of over 1,000
vehicles last year. Each month they accept 25 applications for free vehicles, giving
away free vehicles 3 times per month. When a handicap equipped vehicle is donated
they are given away to people in need. The initial focus of Mel Trotter was men and
alcohol and they now serve men, women and children, with services much broader than
alcohol related. Mel Trotter has a food distribution operation which is very difficult in the
current location due to traffic and only one loading dock. Food is distributed within their
program as well as to other charities. The attraction this building has is that they can
combine the uses and get them away from the downtown ministry where they have a
tremendous parking and circulation problem. The building was previously used as an
automobile dealership and serves their purpose of vehicle repair. They would also like
to be able to take in food. They receive bulk donations from Gordon Foods and they
would like the ability to repackage it. They would also have a freezer and cooler area
and would like to be able to accept produce and properly store and distribute it as soon
as possible.

Mr. Craig described the vehicle operation in more detail. At any one time they may have
200 vehicles stored on the site. The average length of time is 34 days. If they can’t be
repaired then they are sold for parts. The highest number of cars stored last year at one
time was 275. Mel Trotter has a base of approximately 40,000 contributors and do not
rely on government funds. The mission is based on the support they get from donors,
the second hand car sales and second hand merchandise sales. He compared the
second hand store at this location to the store present at 29th and Broadmoor. That
location will not be closed; this would be an additional location. Mel Trotter currently has
a warehouse in one area, the car facility in another and the approval at this location
would combine it all at this location.

Mr. Craig explained that they received calls from some neighbors of the site with
concerns. Apparently when the car dealer was located here the residents could hear the
speaker system. Mel Trotter would not use the speaker system. Neighbors also related
that the lighting was not controlled and Mel Trotter pledges not to use the lighting unless
there is a need for it. If so, they would install lighting that would not spill over to adjacent
properties. Mel Trotter also proposes the installation of landscaping and a buffer for the
neighbors to the west between the car storage area and the existing fences on the
residential properties. The other two sides of the site, the north and east sides, have
trees and the property is owned by either the City or County and will be utilized for a trail
system.
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 3 of 16

Mr. Brower related his understanding of their desire to consolidate their operations in
one location. His understanding is that they wish to move some of the operation from
the downtown location to this site. He asked if the primary uses at the downtown
location are currently auto repair, auto sales and the food operation.

Mr. Craig replied that a lot of the food comes into the downtown location. The auto
repair and sales is not at the main Mel Trotter site; it is located elsewhere. The
warehouse is also located elsewhere and they are trucking things back and forth a
number of times per day.

Mr. Craig responded to additional questions relating that the area to the rear of the
building on this site is currently gravel; the front portion of the site is paved. The rear
portion of the site would primarily be for storage of vehicles waiting to be serviced
although if the front lot is full of vehicles for sale there may be some storage of vehicles
already serviced. The intent is to keep the customer area at the front of the site.

Mr. Brower asked about the interior building layout.

Mr. Craig referred to the site plan and floor plan provided and described the proposed
use locations within the building.

Mr. Brower asked if the site would be suited to their use if they weren’t able to park
vehicles in the residentially zoned area.

Mr. Craig replied that it would not. At any one time there are 200+ cars, some
inoperable and towed in.

Mr. Smith asked how the cars are marketed.

Steve May, Chief Financial Officer for Mel Trotter, explained that the vehicles are sold to
anyone who comes in with a need for the car. The majority of the buyers are looking for
reliable transportation to and from work rather than a high end car suited for long trips.
The vehicle sales operation is open to the public and there is no requirement to
demonstrate need. The majority of their advertising is word of mouth but they also do
limited radio advertising. Mr. May responded to additional questions indicating that they
are a non-profit organization and the vehicle sales proceeds go back into the ministry as
well as provide funding for approximately 10 staff positions. Certified mechanics are on
staff and work with and supervise clients; a training program is offered to clients.

Mr. Smith asked if they ever considered a referral program; prospective buyers having to
be referred to the organization.

Mr. May replied that the referral program involves the 25 applications per month
mentioned by Mr. Craig. They give away approximately 3 vehicles per month based on
the situation. They also use the program to further the ministry purposes; not just for the
sales program.

Mr. Kettle related that although the Board is impressed with the work of Mel Trotter, they
must meet the points. Everything they wish to do at this location is not permitted. He
asked that they be prepared to address point two following public comment; that literal
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 4 of 16

interpretation of the ordinance would deprive the applicant of property rights commonly
enjoyed by other properties in the same district.

Mr. Brower related that staff received an email communication from Rev. Avery, 1946
Linden Ave., offering support for the requested variance.

There were no citizens present to comment.

Mr. Brower asked if they were to eliminate the area labeled for food distribution and used
that for parking the vehicles, rather than the rear residentially zoned portion of the site, if
that would be sufficient for the staging of the donated vehicles.

Mr. Craig replied that they don’t need all of the space located within the residential zone
but they do need more space than is available in the commercially zoned area.

Ms. Schmidt asked how the food distribution would work in conjunction with the auto
operations; whether there was any conflict with having the two uses in the same
location.

Mr. Craig replied that there aren’t any regulations prohibiting that. They do plan to have
a wall between the two uses and there will be no real connection where one could walk
through a door or prop a door open between the two areas. It wouldn’t be much different
than a grocery store located next to a repair garage.

Mr. Craig responded to Mr. Kettle regarding point two. He agreed they are asking for
quite a bit that is not permitted in the zone district. His understanding however is that
auto repair is a permitted use in the C-2 district. This is a unique site, which is what they
feel makes this request different. There is no other access to the residentially zoned
portion of the site other than via 28th St. It is unrealistic to expect someone would secure
an easement across the commercial site and construct 6 or 7 houses on the residentially
zoned portion. Therefore, what use does that property have? What they propose will
make active use of the site and improve the face along 28th St. Other than another car
dealership he isn’t sure what the site could be used for.

Mr. Kettle indicated he was struggling with the request and how they would say no to a
similar request if this were granted.

Mr. Craig suggested that it relates to the uniqueness of the site and if a similar situation
arose they may have to say yes. However, there are few sites that would accommodate
all of the uses they propose. They need to be good stewards of the donations they
receive. It would be possible to construct a new building on an appropriately zoned site
yet the subject site would remain vacant and the cost to Mel Trotter would be
significantly greater.

Mr. Deem recalled previously approving this site for a dealership operation that decided
to locate elsewhere.

Mr. Bakita asked Mr. Craig if they had considered a rezoning request to PRD or PUD
rather that pursuing a zoning variance. He suggested that if this Board is struggling with
the request that perhaps they could table indefinitely to allow the applicant an
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 5 of 16

opportunity to discuss the rezoning possibilities with staff. With a PRD or PUD rezoning
the Planning and/or City Commission can impose conditions to protect the adjacent
residential district.

Tom Meyers, Mel Trotter Ministries Director, provided additional explanation of the
services they provide to the community.

Mr. Kettle explained that they support the good work this organization does but what
they are asking is not permitted in this district. The Board is struggling with being able to
meet the points. Mr. Kettle feels Mr. Bakita’s suggestion is their best option.

Mr. Fitz related that there is a used car dealer further down the street that was approved
as a PUD.

Mr. Smith explained that the problem he recognizes is that the vehicle sales is open to
the general public thereby making it more than just a service provided to their clientele.

Mr. Brower felt that he could meet some of the points but he too is struggling with point
two. Therefore, if the rezoning option is not feasible he suggested the applicants be
prepared to address that point.

Mr. Brower MOVED TO TABLE CLOSED INDEFINATELY TO ALLOW THE
APPLICANT AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE REZONING. SUPPORTED by Mr.
Smith. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
______________________________________________________________________

The Appeal of Robert Ryan Phillips/Magnum Engineering LLC (applicant), IB
Property Holdings/Bayview (owner), Charles T. Blowers/ERA Network Real Estate
(agent), 2845-2853 Vineland Ave SE - requesting a non-use variance, contrary to
Article 15, Section 5.152(47), to assemble and test audio components, Zone C-2, Lot
size 250 ft. x 129 ft. (.86 acres), was recognized by the Board.

Mr. Fitz described the request explaining that light industrial uses are permitted on a
second floor or above if there is a permitted by right use on the ground floor and the
structure must be separated by at least one lot or right-of-way from other residential
structures. This site is adjacent to a residential structure.

Mr. Davis described the location of the property near Meijers at 28th and Kalamazoo.
There are several residential duplexes located in this area.

Ryan Phillips, President of Magnum Engineering, explained that he recently began his
own audio engineering company and feels this site is suited to his needs. It was a
struggle starting the new company with limited funds. Their desire is to stay in Grand
Rapids due to his relationship with Grand Valley and other local organizations. Other
than the restrictions on manufacturing, this site is well suited. They plan to do audio
engineering of loud speakers. They are typically small devices with maximum
dimensions of 18” and are light weight. Audio engineering basically requires only office
space. The sticky point they get into is with prototyping for manufacturing or doing small
quantities of production. The facility isn’t really suited to commercial uses due to limited
access. There is a fenced in area with additional parking spaces.
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 6 of 16

Mr. Kettle noted the building is horse shoe shaped. The south side of the building is
adjacent to the home, which causes concern. He asked Mr. Phillips to describe the
operation within the building; whether they would do any testing within the south portion
of the building, which appears to be office space.

Mr. Phillips replied that the plan for the south portion is for the main offices as well as
testing. Even though it is audio testing it is low volume and no vibration or noise would
leave the building. Most of the operation will take place in that area, including
prototyping. The interior of the building has been neglected and isn’t really suited to
their applications and will have to be renovated.

Mr. Davis asked if a machine is used for the testing and if they would be manufacturing
in the south portion of the building.

Mr. Phillips clarified that they will do testing. The procedure is to apply a small signal,
the noise level about as loud as a voice, and monitoring the parameters of it. This
testing can be done in general office space. Light manufacturing on a prototyping scale
would also take place. Due to the building size, it isn’t suited to a large manufacturing
operation and they don’t intend any high scale manufacturing. The manufacturing
consists of assembling pre-made components using screws and adhesive. The EPA
dictates no chemical emissions outside the facility.

Mr. Smith asked then if there would be production in the southern portion of the building;
whether it would be more than R & D and testing.

Mr. Phillips related that he came from a full production plant. The kind of quantities they
anticipate are under 1,000 per year, which is more of a prototyping operation and can be
done in a lab environment. It wouldn’t be set up as a traditional production setting with
pallets being moved around etc. It would be more of a one time, hands on application.
There will be construction of the units within that portion of the building.

Mr. Kriekaard noted that 1,000 units per year equates to 2-3 per day.

Mr. Phillips agreed. They are looking to supply manufacturers with prototyping and
engineering assistance. Any mass production would take place at another site.

Mr. Kriekaard asked for clarification on the volume, whether it would be that of a human
voice.

Mr. Phillips clarified that that would be the testing within the southern portion of the
building. There are some tests that are louder than that but with reconstruction no
vibrations will leave the building; it will be a controlled environment. There will be no
sounds or vibrations outside the building.

Mr. Kettle asked what was located in this building previously.

Mr. Phillips replied that to the best of his knowledge there was a vending machine repair
company in the north half and a bakery in the southern portion. There is evidence of
hoods and a cooler.
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 7 of 16

Mr. Smith asked if he has purchased the building and how long it had been vacant.

Mr. Phillips replied that the purchase is pending the outcome of the variance request.
He was not aware of the vacancy period.

Realtor Charles Blowers addressed the Board explaining that he represents the seller.
The site has been vacant for approximately 1 ½ years. He agreed that there was a
vending company located here and they prepared some of the foods that went into the
machines. The property was foreclosed on.

Mr. Kettle asked if there had been any interest expressed for a use permitted in the
district.

Mr. Blowers replied no.

Motion by Mr. Smith, supported by Mr. Shafer, to close the public portion of the
hearing. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

Mr. Davis addressed the non-use standards. That special conditions or circumstances
exist which are peculiar to the land, structure or building involved and which are not
applicable to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district. This is a unique
building constructed as a commercial building close to residential uses. That literal
interpretation of the provisions of this ordinance would deprive the applicant of property
rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same district under the terms of this
ordinance. There are other properties enjoying this privilege in this district; other
commercial uses in this same district close to residential with no separation. The special
conditions or circumstances do not result from the actions of the applicant, as he didn’t
build the building. The authorizing of such variance will not be of substantial detriment to
the neighboring property and will not be contrary to the spirit and purpose of this zoning.
There was no expressed opposition and the building will not experience any exterior
changes.

Mr. Davis MOVED TO GRANT. SUPPORTED by Mr. Shafer.

Mr. Smith suggested a finding that the proposed use is comparable to the former use
rather than granting a variance for an industrial use in this zone district. The nature of
the business, as presented, appears that it would have a similar or lesser impact than
the former use.

Ms. Moul asked if the Board established that the previous use was non-conforming. She
advised that any non-conforming use of a structure can be changed to another provided
the proposed use is permitted in the most restrictive zone district which the existing or
former use was first allowed.

Mr. Kettle noted that the former use was a vending machine operation with food
processing.

Ms. Moul advised that would have been a non-conforming use and the proposed is a
use found in the same zone district as the former use was found in. Ms. Moul indicated
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 8 of 16

that the Board must find that the proposed use is permitted in the most restrictive zone
district. Once that finding is made than the use can be granted.

Mr. Smith clarified that the former would have been like compounding and processing,
which would be an I-1 use and this too would be an I-1 use.

Ms. Moul agreed.

Mr. Davis WITHDREW THE MOTION TO GRANT.

Mr. Davis stated that any nonconforming use of a structure may be changed to another
nonconforming use provided that the proposed use is permitted in the most restrictive
zone district that the former use is first allowed, and therefore, MOVED THAT THE
PROPOSED USE MEETS THIS PROVISION AND IS PERMITTED. SUPPORTED by
Mr. Smith. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
______________________________________________________________________

The Appeal of Robert G. Shafer (applicant/owner), 1361 Leonard St NE - requesting
a use variance, contrary to Article 4, Section 5.23(17), to park commercial vans outside
of a completely enclosed building, between a barn and the side property line along
Carlton Ave. NE, Zone R-1, Lot size 89 ft. x 154 ft. (13,706 sq. ft.), was recognized by
the Board.

Mr. Fitz described the request explaining that no commercial vehicle shall be located on
any property in any residential zone unless parked or stored within a completely
enclosed garage or building.

Mr. Davis provided the inspection report describing the location of the property.

Robert Shafer was present to discuss the appeal. He explained that he is the owner and
president of the company. He is making this request in an effort to abide by the law.
Rather than request a rezoning he desires a variance to remain a simple home based
business. Mr. Shafer submitted a petition in support of his request signed by six nearby
neighbors on Leonard and on Carlton. The most immediately affected neighbor has
signed in support. Mr. Shafer explained that the way the vehicles are parked in the
small area of the yard they are blocked by hedges, a barn and what used to be a horse
stable that is now an auto garage. He noted that if he had a recreational vehicle he
would be permitted to park it in this location. Mr. Shafer explained that the City
Commission was scheduled to review this section of the ordinance this year. Several
years ago the original intent was to prevent large moving vans, semi trucks etc. from
parking in residential areas. Enforcement now includes smaller vehicles. If someone
had a pink Cadillac, with Mary Kay on it, that too would be illegal to park in a residential
zone. Mr. Shafer feels things have changed over the years with more and more home
based businesses. He noted that this area is changing. The two lots across the street
adjacent to McDonalds are for sale and one of the signs indicates the site can be used
for offices; a new strip mall is being developed on Fuller just north of Leonard; the owner
of the travel agency several parcels to the west of his property has been inquiring about
all of the properties in between with a desire to rezone them commercial.
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 9 of 16

Mr. Kettle explained that the issue for the Board to consider today is that the subject site
is in a residential zone and the code requires sensitivity to the amount, size and type of
vehicles stored on the property. Mr. Shafer was informed that the Board must meet the
points to grant relief. Mr. Kettle asked what is unique about this property that would
make it more entitled to the storage of commercial vehicles than another residentially
zoned site.

Mr. Shafer replied that this property has the ability to have the vehicles parked so that
there is no advertising taking place. The business identification is required on the
vehicles by the government and for the benefit of the police; it is not there for advertising
the business.

Mr. Shafer responded to questions indicating that he does operate his business from his
home; they have a small home office for the book work. There are currently three
business vehicles parked on the property in addition to the personal vehicles. He is
aware of other homes being used in a like fashion and they don’t have the ability to park
the vehicles out of sight like he does. Mr. Shafer did not have photographs depicting
those situations. His understanding is that as long as there is no advertising they aren’t
breaking the law.

Additional discussion took place with regard to permitted and prohibited parking. Mr.
Bakita advised that he isn’t sure how enforcement is occurring but his understanding of a
commercial vehicle is one that has advertising for the business on the vehicle and/or if it
has commercial plates. There may be some situations where someone uses a vehicle
with regular passenger plates for their business and as long as it doesn’t have the
advertising then it wouldn’t be considered a commercial vehicle.

Mr. Shafer indicated that his property is unique because he can park the vehicles without
the advertising being visible and there is very little impact on the neighborhood.

Mr. Shafer responded to additional questions stating that his business is approximately 8
years old. There is no commercial work that takes place on this property; all work is
done off site and the vehicles are only parked at night/when not in use.

Mr. Davis related that a letter was submitted by the neighborhood association offering
support for the request.

There were no citizens present to comment.

Mr. Deem MOVED TO CLOSE THE PUBLIC PORTION OF THE HEARING.
SUPPORTED by Mr. Shafer. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

Mr. Davis read the related code section. He also noted, based on the inspection, that
this is a large lot in the area but there are also others larger. Mr. Davis addressed the
use standards. That special conditions or circumstances exist which are peculiar to the
land, structure or building involved and which are not applicable to other lands,
structures, or buildings in the same district. No special conditions are present; the fact
that it is a corner property and that the garage is close to the property line are not special
conditions. That literal interpretation of the provisions of this ordinance would deprive
the applicant of property rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 10 of 16

district under the terms of this ordinance. Based on the inspection there were no other
commercial vehicles visible on other properties. That the special conditions or
circumstances do not result from the actions of the applicant - moot. The authorizing of
such variance will not be of substantial detriment to the neighboring property and will not
be contrary to the spirit and purpose of this zoning. Although the neighborhood
association offered support, the variance remains with the property and a future owner
may not be as respectful of neighbors. That with respect to use variances, the property
cannot reasonably be used in a manner consistent with existing zoning. The property is
being used as zoned.

Mr. Davis MOVED TO DENY. SUPPORTED by Mr. Smith.

Mr. Deem asked if he could park the vehicles on the property if they don’t have
commercial plates and if the advertising is somehow covered.

Mr. Bakita replied that would be up to the enforcement staff. If he were a neighbor he
would not favor it.

It was noted that the appeal is before the Board based on Neighborhood Improvement
enforcement.

Mr. Kettle asked why he doesn’t park the vehicles in the barn.

Mr. Shafer replied that there is no ability to get the vehicles into the barn.

Mr. Deem noted that a large family may have just as many vehicles parked on their
property. Mr. Brower noted too that the neighborhood association letter pointed out that
a recreational vehicle could legally be parked in the subject location.

Mr. Kettle suggested he may be able to make arrangements to park the vehicles on a
nearby commercial site.

Mr. Shafer related that the concern with that arrangement would be vandalism.

Mr. Deem asked if the barn is large enough for three vehicles if there were a way to
access it.

Mr. Shafer replied no. They considered taking the horse shed down and constructing a
larger building but learned there would be restrictions preventing that.

Ms. Smith noted that if the storage structures were reconfigured there may be a
possibility of parking the vehicles on site, completely enclosed. Mr. Kettle agreed that
with some creativity and funds it is likely he could conform.

Mr. Kettle read the definition of commercial vehicle; any motor vehicle other than a
motorcycle or passenger automobile designed or used primarily for transportation of
property.

The question was called. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
______________________________________________________________________
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 11 of 16


The Appeal of Zoraida Sanchez/Sanchez Income Tax (applicant/owner), Juan
Davis/Davis Flia Construction LLC (agent), 841 & 843 Grandville Ave SW -
requesting a non-use variance, contrary to Article 15, Section 5.154(1), Article 9, Section
5.94(4)(b) and Article 6, Section 5.59, to construct a 22 ft. x 45 ft. addition to the north
side of the existing structure for an expansion of the commercial use and two residential
units on the second floor with a zero front-yard setback for the building on a lot with
3,796 sq. ft. of lot area and 4 off-street parking spaces, Zone C-4, Lot size 52 ft. x. 73 ft.
(3,796 sq. ft.), was recognized by the Board.

Mr. Davis removed himself from the hearing due to a conflict of interest.

Mr. Kettle related his acquaintance with the appellant and that it wouldn’t impact his
decision.

Mr. Fitz described the request explaining that a 10 ft. front yard setback is required, a
minimum lot area of 4,356 is required for each dwelling unit and a minimum of 9-10
parking spaces are required (4 for the residential use and 5-6 for the commercial space).
The appellant has an agreement for four parking spaces.

Mr. Kriekaard provided the inspection report explaining that 843 Grandville is the site of
the existing structure and 841 is a vacant lot. The existing building has a zero front yard
setback and has commercial use down and residential up. The appellant is basically
asking to duplicate that on the adjacent lot (841).

Zoraida Sanchez was present to discuss the request. She agreed with Mr. Kriekaard’s
description stating that she would like approval for the expansion and renovation of the
existing building. Her clientele is growing and she needs more space to meet the needs
of her clients. She explained the parking arrangement relating that her clients currently
use all of the parking on that site on the weekend with the permission of the owner.
During the week she serves fewer clients than on the weekend.

The letter of agreement for the parking was present in the file.

There were no citizens present to comment.

Mr. Smith MOVED TO CLOSE THE PUBLIC PORTION OF THE HEARING.
SUPPORTED by Ms. Schmidt. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

Mr. Kriekaard addressed the non-use standards. That special conditions or
circumstances exist which are peculiar to the land, structure or building involved and
which are not applicable to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district. The
existing structure is located at the lot line and other properties enjoy a similar setback.
That literal interpretation of the provisions of this ordinance would deprive the applicant
of property rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same district under the
terms of this ordinance. The proposed is a similar building with similar lot size and
setback. Other sites in this district have had the opportunity to expand in an orderly
fashion. The special conditions or circumstances do not result from the actions of the
applicant as she didn’t construct the existing structure or plat the property. The
authorizing of such variance will not be of substantial detriment to the neighboring
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 12 of 16

property and will not be contrary to the spirit and purpose of this zoning. There was no
expressed opposition and basically the request is to repeat what is currently present.

Mr. Kriekaard MOVED TO GRANT. SUPPORTED by Mr. Brower. YEAS: 7. NAYS:
0. ABSTENTION: 1 (Davis). MOTION CARRIED.
______________________________________________________________________

The Appeal of Gregory S. Gilmore/Mangiamo (applicant), 1033 Lake Drive Real
Estate LLC/The Gilmore Collection (owner), 1033 Lake Dr. SE - requesting a use
variance, contrary to Article 7, Section 5.72, Article 6, Section 5.54 and Article 8, Section
5.85(1)(a), to expand a Class C liquor license to include outdoor service in a 180 ft. x
180 ft. (3/4 - acre) portion of the front yard area, located along Lake Drive and Paddock
Street, from 11 am to dusk every day for food and beverage service, non-amplified
music, outdoor events, a large chess board, two bocce ball courts and a garden with a
maximum occupancy of 150 people on the lawn in addition to the existing inside
occupancy of 200 and rear patio occupancy of 50; to occur on a lot with 130 parking
spaces, Zone R-2, Lot size 387 ft. x 424 ft. (2.54 acres), was recognized by the Board.

Mr. Fitz described the request explaining that a total of 193 parking spaces would be
required for the proposed occupancy limit and there are currently 130 spaces provided.
In addition, the minimum front setback required is 25’ and the minimum street side
setback required is 16 ft.

Mr. Deem recalled that this appeal was before the Board previously.

Mr. Kriekaard agreed. However, the appellant has reduced the requested lawn capacity
from 250 to 150. Mr. Kriekaard described the location of the property as well as the site
layout. This site has been used as a restaurant for approximately 20 years under the
ownership of the appellant for approximately one year. The site is located within a
residential zone adjacent to a commercial zone.

Mr. Kettle related his acquaintance with the appellant indicating it would have no impact
on his decision.

Greg Gilmore was present to discuss the request. He explained that he is seeking a use
variance for the property. It is a commercial use in a residential district; a landmark
estate very unique in this area. Mr. Gilmore explained that they are not responsible for
the construction and because of the size it would be very difficult to use as a single
family residence. Being that it is peculiar and unique he doesn’t feel that there are other
commercial uses in the area that enjoy the same rights as he is requesting but other
commercial uses are permitted to use their sites to the fullest extent. Mr. Gilmore
doesn’t feel the use would be detrimental. What is being proposed is a seasonal use
and the volume of the business done during that time of the year drops more than 50%.
Mr. Gilmore related that they did $104,000 worth of business in July of last year and
$230,000 during December. He doesn’t believe that parking will be an issue because of
the reduced volume of business at that time of year. There will be no amplified music or
any large commercial promotions or ticketed events taking place on the lawn.

Mr. Gilmore recalled that he was before the Board last May with a similar request and
that was when he learned of the former owner’s agreement to install additional
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 13 of 16

landscaping and the fact that it was never done. Since learning of that requirement they
have installed 120 arborvitae trees, 4’ tall, at a cost of approximately $20,000, for
screening the property on all but the south sides. They are fast growing and will
increase in height by 2-3’ over the next couple of years. Mr. Gilmore related that they
met with several of the neighbors that previously objected to the request and rather than
the 250 capacity previously requested they have reduced that to 150. He again stated
that they agree to no amplified music and no ticketed events. Mr. Gilmore recalled from
the previous hearing that financial conditions could be taken into consideration. That
factor is a consideration for this property and the proposed is what makes year round
operation viable.

Mr. Kettle clarified then that even though the request is to accommodate 150 people
they don’t anticipate 150 more customer then what they can accommodate inside but
rather moving that outside.

Mr. Gilmore agreed.

Mr. Deem recalled that the former request included hours of operation from 11 a.m. to
midnight. The current request is until dusk.

Discussion took place with regard to dusk and what that could mean during the summer
months. Mr. Fitz related that the nuisance/noise ordinance stipulates 10 p.m. Mr.
Gilmore stated that they are required to comply with that ordinance regardless. The
current hours for the patio are until 11 p.m. If the Board stipulates a 10 p.m. close for
the lawn area he would comply. Staff recommended the Board stipulate an actual time,
rather than sun down or dusk, to ease enforcement.

Mr. Gilmore responded to questions stating that the season for the lawn use would
typically be from May through October but there may be some winter opportunities for
ice carvings etc.

Mr. Kettle asked if there would be any lighting added for the lawn area.

Mr. Gilmore replied no additional lighting. He responded to Mr. Kriekaard regarding
separation of the lawn area from the driveway indicating that there is an existing gate.

Discussion took place with regard to capacity and related parking. Mr. Gilmore
explained that there are currently 130 parking spaces but they can park more vehicles if
they utilize valet parking, approximately 30 more. 20 years of Gibson records show that
the summer season business is 50% or less of the peak season and they operated for
20 years with weddings and tents on the lawn.

Mr. Kriekaard suggested if they approved an additional capacity of 75 for the lawn area
there wouldn’t be a parking problem. Mr. Deem recalled that Mr. Gilmore doesn’t
anticipate a parking shortage. Mr. Gilmore added that the average wedding attendance
is 100-150.

Mr. Kriekaard referred to letters in the file. Rachel Hood of WMEAC, Mark Rumsey of
the East Hills Council of Neighbors, East Hills Business Assoc., and Robert Sears all
submitted letters offering support. There were no letters of opposition submitted.
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 14 of 16

Mr. Rich, resident on Luton, reminded the Board that he was present for the last hearing
related to this property and was opposed. He is present today to offer his support. Mr.
Gilmore has been a good neighbor and has respected the neighbors.

Mark Lewis asked if it was necessary to stipulate no additional lighting for the lawn area;
that was a concern of the neighbors. Mr. Lewis stated that he met with Mr. Gilmore who
addressed many of the concerns and he is now in favor with stipulations. He likes the
idea of limiting the hours to 10 p.m.

Mr. Gilmore responded to the comments indicating that he thought he had addressed
the lighting in the application. He again stated that they don’t plan any additional
lighting.

Mr. Deem MOVED TO CLOSE THE PUBLIC PORTION OF THE HEARING.
SUPPORTED by Mr. Smith. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

Mr. Kriekaard addressed the use standards. That special conditions or circumstances
exist which are peculiar to the land, structure or building involved and which are not
applicable to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district. This is the largest
lot in the area with a huge structure on site. Two sides of the property border residential
and it also abuts a C-2 zone and this is the only site that could conceivably
accommodate outdoor events. That literal interpretation of the provisions of this
ordinance would deprive the applicant of property rights commonly enjoyed by other
properties in the same district under the terms of this ordinance. Mr. Kriekaard stated
that the desire is to use the yard for special events and residents also have an
opportunity to utilize their outdoor space.

Mr. Kettle added that the applicant has agreed to no ticketed events but more for
weddings, corporate events etc., which is an ancillary use to the restaurant.

Ms. Schmidt added that seasonally the interior restaurant business drops off and
basically the appellant is asking to move the business outside.

Mr. Smith recalled that the Board has approved a number of requests for outside service
in the commercial district, which is the right commonly enjoyed. Mr. Kriekaard accepted
Mr. Smith’s suggestion to address this point.

The special conditions or circumstances do not result from the actions of the applicant
as he didn’t plat the property or build the structure. The authorizing of such variance will
not be of substantial detriment to the neighboring property and will not be contrary to the
spirit and purpose of this zoning. There was no opposition expressed and the Board has
received letters of support. That with respect to use variances, the property cannot
reasonably be used in a manner consistent with existing zoning. The size and nature of
the structure make it unlikely that it would be used in a residential nature.

Mr. Kriekaard MOVED TO GRANT PER PLANS AND TESTIMONY INCLUDING: 1) no
amplified music; 2) lawn hours limited to 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., 3) no additional
outdoor lighting; and 4) no ticketed events. SUPPORTED by Ms. Schmidt.
MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 15 of 16

The Appeal of Michael G. Sak (applicant/owner), 412 Lincoln Ave NW - requesting a
non-use variance, contrary to Article 8, Section 5.85 and Article 4, Section 5.24(4), to
demolish the existing non-conforming commercial structure and construct a 1,920 sq. ft.
commercial structure to be used for light vehicle repair (approved by variance 1983) and
expand the parking area, both coming up to the north and south property lines and 10 ft.
from the closest point of the rear lot line along the alley and permit 15 sq. ft. of signage
flat on the building, Zone R-2, Lot size 48 ft. x 130 ft. (6,240 sq. ft.), was recognized by
the Board.

Mr. Fitz described the request and related requirements: 1) A minimum side setback of
5’ is required if this were a commercial zone abutting a residential zone. A minimum
side setback of 6 ft. on one side and a total of 15 ft. would be required if this was a
residential structure in a residential zone. All other permitted uses in a residential zone
require a minimum side setback of 20 ft. on both sides. 2) A minimum rear setback of 25
ft. is required for a residential structure in a residential zone; a 25 ft. rear setback is also
required if a commercial zone abuts residential. The entire width of the alley can be
counted. 3) Signs are not permitted. 4) The light vehicle repair use was granted by
variance and the front setback has been hard surfaced for many years with an 8 ft.
setback on the north side, 0 ft. setback on the south. It is not clear what is required for
the side or rear setbacks because a commercial use in residential zone is not noted.
The existing building has a rear setback ranging from 10 ft. to 14 ft. with side setbacks of
8 ft. The existing hard surfaced area presently has an 8 ft. setback, new plans pave up
to the north property line. 5) The use was permitted by a variance in 1983. Approval of
the request would expand the area that the commercial space encompasses.

Mr. Kettle recalled that this property was previously before the Board. This was the
former site of a gas station and the subject building was an ancillary building as part of
that use. Years ago the gas station was converted to a party store and this building
continued to be an automotive related use. Mr. Sak purchased the property and utilized
the building for storage for some time. The Board granted a variance previously and
today the Board is considering taking down the existing building and constructing new.

Mr. Bakita agreed that the proposed use is that which the appellant already has a
variance for but perhaps on an expanded basis. The Board is considering the new
building.

Michael Sak was present to discuss the appeal. He explained that his request is for a
non-use variance to demolish the existing building. He recalled he was before the Board
previously addressing this issue and requested to amend the application but was
advised it would be necessary to file a new application. He was requesting a variance to
expand the size of the building but has been advised by contractors that it would be best
to demolish the existing structure and build new. Mr. Sak recalled that he had also
advised the Board previously that there is vacant land to the north and south that has no
use, which is the reason he is requesting a zero setback on the north and south sides. It
was suggested that he do something with that space because it is currently dead space.
That area had been the subject of undesirable activity in the past.

Mr. Sak submitted copies of letters of support he had presented at the previous meeting
noting that he received permission from the authors to resubmit the letters.
Grand Rapids Board of Zoning Appeals
February 15, 2007
Page 16 of 16

Mr. Sak responded to questions indicating that the new construction will include a
restroom and all utilities will be up to code. The electric service will be the same as
previously existed.

There were no citizens present to comment.

Mr. Smith MOVED TO CLOSE THE PUBLIC PORTION OF THE HEARING.
SUPPORTED by Ms. Schmidt. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

Mr. Kettle turned the Chair over to Mr. Smith in order to present the motion.

Mr. Kettle addressed the non-use standards. That special conditions or circumstances
exist which are peculiar to the land, structure or building involved and which are not
applicable to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district. The subject
building is outdated and in disrepair. The Board previously approved expansion of the
commercial use, which had been the use for some time. That literal interpretation of the
provisions of this ordinance would deprive the applicant of property rights commonly
enjoyed by other properties in the same district under the terms of this ordinance. There
are other small workshops in residential zones, specifically those that were formerly an
ancillary use to gas stations. The special conditions or circumstances do not result from
the actions of the applicant as the variance for the use was previously granted. When
the appellant previously requested an expansion of the building there was concern
regarding the dead space to the north and south of the structure and by expanding into
that space the concern is addressed creating a safer situation. The authorizing of such
variance will not be of substantial detriment to the neighboring property and will not be
contrary to the spirit and purpose of this zoning. Construction of a new building will be
an improvement to the neighborhood. Even though the site is residentially zoned there
is an existing variance for the use and there was no testimony in opposition.

Mr. Kettle MOVED TO GRANT PER PLANS AND TESTIMONY. SUPPORTED by Mr.
Deem.

Mr. Davis noted that it will be necessary to have a minimal setback to accommodate the
footings of the building.

Discussion took place regarding the proposed fence on the site plan. It was noted that it
will be necessary to reduce the height to 3’ to a point 15’ back from the sidewalk. Ms.
Moul indicated she would work with Mr. Sak on the fence requirements.

The question was called. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
______________________________________________________________________

PUBLIC COMMENT: None.

REGULAR MEETING ADJOURNED: 2:58 p.m.

Mr. Kettle requested adjourning to meet in Executive Session for the purpose of
discussing pending litigation. Ms. Schmidt, supported by Mr. Deem, moved to adjourn to
meet in Executive Session. Mr. Kettle called for a roll call vote. Yeas: 8. Nays: 0.
MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.

								
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