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Minutes - November 15, 2016

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

Regular Meeting

November 15, 2016

Present:   Chairman Steve Haberkorn, Members Vern Johnson, Elliott Church, Russ Boersma and Bob Swartz. Also present was Assistant Planner/Zoning Administrator Corey Broersma and Recording Secretary Laurie Slater.

Absent: None

The meeting was called to order by Chairman Steve Haberkorn at 5:30 p.m. Chairman Haberkorn explained the process to the audience.

Hearing declared open to consider a petition to extend a nonconforming use submitted by Deb Welch on behalf of Awan Muzaffar and Rumana Kasim for property located at 412 North 120th Avenue, known more specifically as parcel number 70-16-21-200-012. Petitioner is requesting to extend the nonconforming use of a vacant residential building for rental purposes. The building is nonconforming because it remained vacant for more than 9 months and was being sold for non-residential purposes during this time. Petitioner indicates the property has been maintained for residential purposes including new flooring and heat system repairs. The subject property is zoned O-S, Office-Service.

Present for this request was Deb Welch, property manager, on behalf of Awan Muzaffar and Rumana Kasim.

Ms. Welch explained to the Board that the owner of the property would like to rent the house out as it has been on the market for over a year and there has been no interest from commercial buyers. The house has been maintained during the time it was for sale as a residential use. The walls and ceilings have been painted, new flooring throughout the first floor, furnace and water heater repairs done in October 2016.

There was a list of things to be addressed and those repairs have been made. Assistant Zoning Administrator, Corey Broersma, inspected the house and there is another list of improvements and repairs that need to be completed before it can be rented out. The repairs are not life threatening given it is a vacant structure – wiring, plumbing, rot around the door, smoke detectors in the bedrooms, caulking around the tub, and a broken window in the basement.

The house had been sitting empty while on the market. The owner has been paying the house payment and taxes and it is becoming a burden. She has owned the property for six years. She originally bought it to help out an employee and that didn’t go well. It has been sitting empty since March of 2015.

The property was issued a rental certificate on December 7, 2009. The renewal inspections began March 30, 2015 and the notice of violations was provided to the owner. Inspections were scheduled to confirm the repairs, however access was not granted on May 5, 2015, May 19, 2015 or June 4, 2015. On June 10, 2015 a realtor called on the owner’s behalf to indicate the property was now vacant and would remain so until violations were corrected or the property was sold. On August 10, 2016 a realtor confirmed the property was still vacant and was being marketed as commercial property.

Ms. Welch explained the owner was not planning to rent the property out. She was trying to sell it and did not think she needed the re-inspection for rental.

There is a family of five that is interested in renting the house and is prepared to sign a two year lease.

The Board asked if this family has interest in purchasing the property. Ms. Welch replied that they did inquire about that option.

Mr. Church had concerns about the owner’s non-responsiveness to the Township’s requests for re-inspection during this time.

Ms. Welch replied that she would be there as the property manager.

Mr. Broersma also explained that this is typically how it’s done. If the property owner is not in the area, they assign someone in the area to take care of the property and communicate with the Township when it is time for the inspection and re-inspections.

Ms. Welch has been managing one other house for Rumana Kasim for the past ten months. Ms. Welch believes that there are no delinquencies in house payments or taxes for this property.

Adjacent properties are zoned O-S Office Service and R-2 Residential. The future use of this property is also O-S Office Service.

There was no one in the audience to speak to this request.

** It was moved by Mr. Johnson and supported by Mr. Boersma to close the hearing. Motion carried.

The Board went over the three standards to review when considering the extension of a nonconforming use.

     1.   Whether the extension, enlargement, alteration, remodeling or modernization will substantially extend the probable duration of the nonconforming structure, building or use.

           Bringing the structure into compliance with the rental code will not substantially extend the life of the structure.

     2.   Whether the extension, enlargement, alteration, remodeling or modernization of the nonconforming structure, building or use will interfere with the use of adjoining lands or other properties in the surrounding neighborhood for the uses for which they have been zoned pursuant to the provisions of this ordinance.

         Current zoning indicates R-2 along the west and north property lines and O-S along the south property line. There have been no inquiries about lands adjacent to be developed as O-S. The house being rented out is not going to interfere.

     3.   The effect of the nonconforming structure, building or use and such extension, enlargement, alteration, remodeling or modernization thereof on adjoining lands in the surrounding neighborhood.

          There would be no adverse effect.

** It was moved by Mr. Johnson to approve the request to extend the nonconforming use based on the ZBA’s findings of the three (3) Nonconforming Use Standards as reflected in the minutes for the reasons set forth in the minutes with the following stipulations 1) there is a property manager within the area; 2) The taxes are paid and up to date ; 3) a new rental inspection is done and passed and all fees have been paid. Motion carried.

The dates for the 2017 ZBA Meetings were approved with the meetings remaining on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. with the exception of when a holiday falls within that week.

The minutes of October 25, 2016 were approved as printed.

There was no one present for the Lake Macatawa Storage hearing that was tabled from the October 25, 2016 meeting. It remained tabled.

Mr. Broersma did comment that they would be asking for crushed concrete for their outdoor storage area at a future meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 5:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Laurie Slater

Recording Secretary

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