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Minutes - October 12, 2017

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

Special Meeting

October 12 2017

Present:   Chairman Steve Haberkorn, Members Vern Johnson, Elliott Church and Russ Boersma. Also present was Community Development Director John Said and Recording Secretary Laurie Slater.

Absent: Bob Swartz

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

Hearing declared open to consider a petition for a nonuse variance submitted by Sun Ray Sign Group, Inc. on behalf of Tom Haveman for property located at 131 Coolidge Avenue, known more specifically as parcel number 70-16-28-299-012. Petitioner is requesting a variance of 17 feet from the minimum 50-foot sign setback from the center of a public right-of-way; resulting a sign setback of 33 feet. The subject property is zoned General Commercial (C-2).

Present for this request was Chris Wierz with Sun Ray Sign Group.

Mr. Wierz explained that there was a free-standing sign for the three tenants for property at 131 Coolidge Avenue, but it was destroyed when a semi-tractor trailer hit it. Tom Haveman, owner, would like to replace it with the exact same sign in the exact same spot on the concrete base. The height would be the same as the destroyed sign.  If Mr. Haveman were to put the sign up in compliance with the setback, it would take up two parking spaces and people accessing the parking lot would have to go around it. The destroyed signage had fluorescent lighting, the new signage would be LED lighting.

Coolidge Avenue is a dead-end road with very little traffic on it.

Scott Tardiff, owner of Sun Ray Sign Group, stated that if the signs were put in compliance they would lose two parking spaces and that would create a hardship.

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

The Board went over the four standards to review when considering a non-use variance request.

1.  Would strict compliance with the minimum area, yard setbacks, frontage, height, bulk, density, or other regulations of the Zoning Ordinance be unnecessarily burdensome?

Yes, strict compliance would result in the loss of two parking spaces and an obstacle in the parking lot. They are replacing a sign that would be there today had it not been hit.


2.   Would granting the requested variance do substantial justice to the applicant as well as to other property owners in the zoning district? Or would a lesser relaxation than that applied for provide substantial relief to the property owner and be more consistent with justice to other property owners in the district?

There is no similar signage in the surrounding neighborhood. There were no comments received from any neighboring properties about the replacement of the signage.

 

3.   Is the plight of the property owner/applicant due to the unique circumstances of the property (e.g. an odd shape or a natural feature, such a wetland or stream) and not to general neighborhood conditions in the area?

No, it is the result of an accident. The sign was hit by a truck.


4.   Are the practical difficulties alleged self-created?

No, it was an accident.

Mr. Church wanted to be clear that what the Board might now choose to approve, might not always be so. This signage does not interfere with traffic or vision.

** It was moved by Mr. Johnson and supported by Mr. Church to approve the request as presented. Motion carried.

Motion declared open to consider a petition to extend a non-conforming use submitted by Sun Ray Sign Group, Inc. on behalf of Russ Shilander for property located at 380 Douglas Avenue, known more specifically as parcel number 70-16-30-201-012. Petitioner is requesting permission to utilize the existing sign structure for a new internally light sign cabinet. The subject property is zoned General Commercial (C-2).

Mr. Wierz with Sun Ray Sign Group also presented this request.

Beechwood is changing the name of the establishment to Beechwood Grill and would like to change their sign to a simple sign box. There would be no digital message board. It would be smaller in size. Their current signage is 98 square feet in size, the proposed sign is 75 square feet in size. It would be internally back lit. It would be less of a visual distraction to people driving down Douglas Avenue because there would no longer be a message board.

Mr. Wierz explained that the signage that is attached to the roof of Beechwood was once a freestanding sign. In the 1980’s there was a fire and when they rebuilt the signage was attached to the building. There are two six-inch steel poles on a concrete base inside the building supporting the signage. The road in front of Beechwood was expanded to four lanes in the early 1990’s creating the nonconforming setback.

Mr. Said stated that staff had no objection because they are reusing an existing structure. It is not an expansion of the unique architectural feature or the building.

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

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

The Board went over the three standards to review when considering an extension of a non-conforming use.


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

No, the modernization of the signage would not substantially extend the probable duration of the nonconforming structure. The sign has been there for years.


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.

There would be no adverse effect.


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. There is no similar signage in the surrounding neighborhood. The LED lighting would be more attractive to the eye.

 

** It was moved by Mr. Boersma and supported by Mr. Johnson to approve the request as presented. Motion carried.

The meeting adjourned at 6:03 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Laurie Slater

Recording Secretary

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