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Minutes - January 24, 2017

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

Regular Meeting
January 24, 2017

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

Absent: Chairman Steve Haberkorn

The meeting was called to order by Vice-Chairman Vern Johnson at 5:33 p.m.

Hearing declared open to consider a petition to extend a nonconforming use submitted by Eric Heitman for property located at 622 Butternut Drive, known more specifically as parcel number 70-16-18-400-057. Petitioner is requesting to extend the nonconforming use of a vacant residential building for rental purposes based on recent improvements. The building is nonconforming because it remained vacant for more than 9 months within the General Commercial (C-2) zoning district.

Present for this request was Eric and Michelle Heitman.

Mr. Heitman explained to the Board that they moved here in 1989 and lived at 622 Butternut Drive for 10 years. After that they rented out the house. They also own the vet clinic on the adjacent lot.

The property was inspected by the Township in 2011 as are all rental properties. There were four pages of violations. Mr. Heitman did not know he had to keep the property up to certain standards in order to rent it out. He had no funds available at that time to make the repairs. The house remained vacant for several years and become an eyesore in the community.

Mr. Heitman further explained that when the funds became available to fix up the house, he proceeded to do so. It has taken a year to make the repairs. He has completed all the repairs on the list except for two – putting in a driveway and getting a permit for the water heater. Mr. Heitman contacted a property management company to handle the rental of the property. It was at that time that Mr. Heitman was made aware that since the building is nonconforming and sat empty for more than nine months he either has to bring the property into compliance with the ordinance for property zoned C-2 or get a variance to continue to use the property as residential.

Nowhere in the letter listing the violations did it give Mr. Heitman a time limit. Mr. Church stated that he could see why the applicant was under a false impression that once fixed he could rent out the property.

The Board asked Mr. Heitman what he intended to do with the old car being stored on the back of the property. He replied that it is his parts car and that he will put it back in the garage.

The property currently has dual zoning districts: the front 200 feet is zoned Commercial and the back portion is zoned Single Family Residential. There was discussion of rezoning the entire property to R-1.

The applicant stated that he does not want to rezone the property because he owns the business next door and may want to expand that business at some time in the future. There have been no violations issued on the business next door.

There was further discussion among the Board about the driveway surface and a time frame for the completion of the remaining repairs and any other required repairs that may arise in the pre-rental inspection.

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

**  It was moved by Mr. Church and supported by Mr. Swartz 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.

          The structure of the house is not changing so it will not substantially extend the probable duration of the 
          nonconforming structure or its use.

     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.

          The use of the nonconforming structure will not 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.
          The structure has been there for many years either as a residence or a rental property or sitting empty and it has
          not interfered with the use of adjoining lands.

     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 of the nonconforming use on adjoining lands in the surrounding neighborhood.
          The house has been there for many years.

**  It was moved by Mr. Church and supported by Mr. Swartz to approve the request as submitted subject to the following conditions:

     1.   All repairs on the list are to be completed;

     2.   All rental and permit inspection fees are to be paid in full;

     3.   If there are any additions to the list of repairs at the time of a re-inspection – they are to be completed as well;

     4.   As long as the property is being used as a rental, it will remain in compliance with the rental requirements;

     5.   The driveway is to be asphalt or concrete;

     6.   All conditions are to be satisfied within nine months;

     7.   The junk car is to be removed.

Motion carried.

There were no public comments.

The minutes of the December 13, 2016 meeting were approved as written.

The meeting adjourned at 6:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Laurie Slater
Recording Secretary

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