City Planning Commission/Board of Zoning Appeals, February 2018

March 3rd, 2018  |  Published in Observer Reports

Board of Zoning Appeals & City Planning Commission
Feb. 7, 2018

Members present: Kevin Dreyfuss-Wells, David Weiss, Councilman Rob ZimmermanOthers Present: Joyce Braverman, Director of Planning; William Gruber, Director of Law; Dan Feinstein, Senior Planner

Mr. Zimmerman, acting chair, called the meeting to order at 7 p.m.  The agenda for this meeting may be found here. The minutes of the Jan. 2 meeting were unanimously approved. A copy can be viewed here.

The first agenda item concerned a request for a zoning variance at 2994 Courtland Blvd., at the request of Kevin Cieszykowski, JP Compass Consulting, representing Theodoreos and Kari Teknos, homeowners. They request variances to garage regulations to construct a new detached two-car garage facing the street, located in the rear yard. Code requires an attached garage on a street block where the majority of garages are attached. All but one garage on the street are attached. In addition, code allows one garage per property, located in the rear yard. The home has an existing attached side-facing three-car garage, proposed to remain, creating five garage spaces with 1,058 square feet of available space on the property. Code limits are four garage spaces and 800 square feet of garage area.

The staff position was for a one-car detached garage, and relocation to be 10 feet off the side property.

Mr. Cieszykowski recapped the family’s need for additional space and also noted that a driveway turnaround is shared with the nextdoor neighbor, making the front-facing garage necessary because a side-facing garage wouldn’t permit enough space to turn a car around.

Mr. Weiss asked why the setback was only 3 feet, not 5. Mr. Cieszykowski responded that he didn’t know that rule and they could accommodate the change. Mr. Weiss asked why the area next to the attached garages couldn’t be a space for widening the turnaround. Mr. Cieszykowski responded that the yard is small and already contains HVAC equipment.

Mr. Zimmerman opened the floor for public comments. There were none.

Mr. Weiss asked the applicant if the home next door that shares the turnaround is for sale. Mr. Cieszykowski responded that he saw construction work, but he doesn’t know about a sale. Mr. Weiss said that the home is for sale.

Ms. Braverman commented that if the garage is moved 5 feet from the property line, it would be partially hidden from the street. Mr. Weiss noted that it would be less visible if it had a 10-foot setback, which would be 5 feet from the property line. Mr. Cieszykowski noted that a 10-foot setback would hamper use of the turnaround.

Mr. Weiss read the staff position, but noted that nearby houses also had variances for big detached garages facing the street. He added that only one bay of the new garage would be seen from the street. He proposed that if the garage were moved 5 feet off the side and rear property lines, he’d recommend approval. The variance was unanimously approved.

The second agenda item was for the Hobbs Residence, 21749 Parnell Road, represented by Scott Tharasiu, Great Lake Fence, on behalf of Brian and Joanna Hobbs, requesting a variance to the fence location and height regulations for corner lots. The applicant would like to replace and extend an existing fence by attaching a 6-foot ornamental aluminum fence to the existing chain-link fence and by replacing a section of existing fence with 6-foot ornamental aluminum fencing. Code requires that corner side yard fences not extend beyond the setback line of the principal building on the next-door lot, and permits only a 3-foot fence on corner side yards. The homeowners also propose to screen the aluminum fence with 4-foot shrubs in addition to existing landscaping that will screen some of the new fencing.

The staff position recommends limiting the fence to 4 feet tall, but allowing a 6-foot driveway gate.

Mr. Hobbs requested a taller fence because their dog can jump a shorter one, and they had a break-in in the back of the house. He also noted that the ornamental fence they propose adding would be better looking than the existing chain-link fence.

Mr. Gruber asked why they’re leaving some of the fence at 4 feet. Mr. Hobbs responded that the 4-foot section is screened by taller shrubs, so they don’t need to replace it. Mr. Weiss noted that code allows only 4-foot fences on corner lots because the fence blocks sightlines on the street. However, in this case, it wouldn’t because of the fence set back.

Mr. Wiess asked if the proposed 4-foot landscaping would grow to 6 feet or taller over time. Mr. Hobbs confirmed it would.

Mr. Zimmerman opened the floor to public comment. There were none.

Mr. Dreyfuss-Wells commented that he’s concerned about setting precedent. Mr. Gruber responded that this situation is specific enough to prevent that. Mr. Dreyfuss-Wells noted that he would prefer that the height of new fences be set at 5 feet. Mr. Weiss agreed. Mr. Zimmerman commented that he would have considered approving a 6-foot fence, but since the variance needs all three present members to approve, he would vote with the group’s decision. The variance was unanimously approved.

Agenda item three for the City Planning Commission is for the Van Aken District Local Sign District. Jason Russell, of RMS Development Corp., Van Aken District, requested a Conditional Use Permit for an amendment to the Local Sign District. The purpose is to provide signage for the new mixed-use Van Aken District. There are two districts: 1) the Local Sign District for District Identity Signs and 2) the Local Sign District for Tenant Signage. An initial plan was approved in October 2017. That plan has now been revised and another Local Sign District for tenant signage is proposed, covering various types of retail and office tenant locations.

Mr. Feinstein recapped the overall plan, noting the identity signs were already partially approved. This will guide sign use, each of which will then be individually approved. Mr. Russell said that the changes being proposed were in line with requests when the partial plan had been approved. He noted that a banner system was created. In addition, a regional wayfinding signage package was created working with the City of Cleveland. He also noted that they had clarified the Market Hall signing facing Warrensville, adding agreed-upon elevations and presenting information on adding a mural. Mr. Russell confirmed that the changes had been worked out in the Planning Commission work session, including: new specialty signage will be permitted; no portable signs in the right of way without city approval; no vinyl signage; projected signage of 7 feet will be permitted; blade signs of 8 feet are permitted.

Ms. Braverman recommended that regulations for a mural on the Food Hall to be added. Mr. Dreyfuss-Wells asked if the mural could be public art, noting that then, perhaps, the size of the mural could be larger. Mr. Russell clarified that they wouldn’t know the size of the space until the building process is further along.

Mr. Feinstein recapped the proposal, noting that much of the proposal was new, some revised per earlier input, and that these are meant to be guidelines, not to cover every possible need; signage will be individually approved.

Mr. Zimmerman opened the floor to public comments. There were none. The proposal was unanimously approved.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
Lynn Lilly

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