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June 23, 2014 Board of Zoning Appeals Minutes

Jim Maciejewski, PresidentAttorney Dave Austgen
Ken Schneider, Vice-PresidentSteve Kil
Steve Hastings 
Tom Ryan 
Paul Panczuk 

CALL TO ORDER:


Mr. Jim Maciejewski called to order the meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals for Monday, June 23, 2014, at 7:06 p.m.

(The Pledge of Allegiance was said.)

ROLL CALL:


Roll call was taken by Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary, with the following members present: Jim Maciejewski, Ken Schneider, Steve Hastings, Tom Ryan and Paul Panczuk. Steve Kil was present. Attorney Tim Kuiper was present.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:


MAY 28, 2014, MEETING

Mr. Maciejewski noted the minutes of May 28, 2014, were before the Board for their consideration. He asked if there were any comments or corrections. Mr. Schneider noted that on Page 5 of the meeting minutes of May 28, 2014, the second to last paragraph mentions “President Ryan” which should be changed to “Mr. Ryan.”

Mr. Maciejewski asked if there were any corrections or comments related to the minutes of May 28, 2014. There were no further comments from the Board. Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion to approve the minutes as corrected. Mr. Hastings made a motion to approve the minutes as corrected. Mr. Panczuk seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

NEW BUSINESS:


A. SONNY SAHI --- 9031 WINDING TRAIL --- VARIANCE OF USE --- INSTALLATION OF BASKETBALL/SPORT COURT IN REAR YARD --- SONNY SAHI.

Mr. Maciejewski noted the first item on the agenda a request for a variance of use for installation of a basketball court in the rear yard at 9031 Winding Trail. He directed the Petitioner to approach the Board and explain the nature of his request.

Mr. Sony Sahi, Petitioner, appeared before the Board to request of a variance of use so that a shooting pad can be installed at 9031 Winding Trail.

Mr. Kevin Koy, an associate of Petitioner, Mr. Sahi, stated that items of evidence (plans, signed petition) have been brought for submission to the Board. Mr. Koy stated that a great deal of arborvitae will cover and seclude the sport court. Mr. Koy stated that the plans are significant. Mr. Koy stated that it seems the community is in favor of the basketball pad. He stated that a few residents were concerned with whether or not the court would be covered and/or secluded with shrubbery.

Mr. Koy stated it is Mr. Sahi’s intention to use arborvitae and shrubbery to enclose the sport court. Mr. Koy informed the Board that no electricity will be run to the sport court.

Mr. Koy informed the Board that Mr. Sahi went around the neighborhood and sought signatures for a petition. Mr. Sahi stated he went to several homes with a petition entitled “Petition for allowing a basketball shooting pad at 9031 Winding Trail, given that the land in question encompasses an ample 90x193 feet, one of the largest plots of land in Lake Hills subdivision.”

Mr. Sahi stated that three properties in his neighborhood smaller than his lot that already have shooting pads similar in size to what he is proposing. “Given that the land and the layout at 9031 Winding Trail supports the installation of the concrete pad without any visual burden on the neighbors whatsoever due to installation of ample arborvitae, hedge, therefore the following neighbors are not opposed to granting of the variance of 1483 Chapter 3, Section E, from Town Zoning Ordinance at 9031 Winding Trail.” Mr. Maciejewski accepted the petition from Mr. Sahi.

Mr. Koy stated that the third item he wished to address with the Board is the professional landscapers. He stated that the landscaper that will do the work at Mr. Sahi’s is present at tonight’s meeting in the event that the Board has any questions for him. Mr. Koy stated that the landscaper would be willing to speak if the Board finds it necessary.

Mr. Maciejewski asked the Petitioner if he had considered installing a basketball standard in the driveway like many of his neighbors. Mr. Sahi stated he had considered this option. Mr. Sahi stated that he does not have much of a front driveway. He stated that he believes if a basketball standard is placed in the front, the ball will roll in the front yard and somebody will get hit because of the cars going back and forth.

Mr. Koy stated that the driveway is not flat. Mr. Sahi stated he does not feel safe installing a basketball standard in the front of his home. He stated his children play varsity-level basketball and he does not want them to get hurt before their basketball season.

Mr. Sahi stated that other neighbors have swimming pools in their back yards and he is requesting the liberty to install a back yard basketball court. He noted that three people in Lake Hills subdivision already have a back yard sports court.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski asked Mr. Sahi how he intends to address the steep grade issues that exists in the rear yard. He noted that plan does not depict any topography. Mr. Sahi stated he wanted to get the Board’s approval before he gathered those details. Mr. Sahi stated that the grade can be addressed by either sloping or a retaining wall. He stated that this would not be a problem.

Mr. Hastings asked about the drainage plan. Mr. Sahi stated that there are two drain sewers in the back of his lot. He stated that a one degree pitch on the shooting pad would be achieved so that the water would drain to the back.

Mr. Hastings stated that the amount of area that is being taken up due to the size of the proposed shooting pad along with the landscaping that will be done means there will be a lot of water coming down the hill. Mr. Sahi stated he is open to ideas.

Mr. Hastings stated he noticed that the retaining socks that were present by Mr. Sahi’s property were mostly moved to the side and the sand and clay was washing into the drain. Mr. Sahi stated that this matter was taken care of.

Mr. Hastings noted that the sports courts are usually back yard to back yard. He stated Mr. Sahi is concerned about the ball running into the street in the front year; Mr. Hastings stated he has the same feeling about the back yard. Mr. Sahi stated that the basketball rim would be facing towards the house rather than facing the street behind him.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Sahi stated that the basketball rim would be facing the house and most of the surrounding pad would be covered by arborvitae. He stated that the drawing reflects that the arborvitae are stacked right next to each other.

Mr. Koy stated that the Petitioner had the landscaper present tonight in the event that the Board wanted to question him.

Mr. Sergio Gutierrez appeared before the Board from Wilkinson Crete Quarry. He explained that the arborvitae that will be placed around the shooting pad are approximately 6’ tall and 24” in diameter. He stated that this proposed arborvitae will be able to cover some of the street.

Mr. Gutierrez stated he does not have the exact amount of arborvitae that will be installed, but he believes the number to be 22.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Sahi stated that the arborvitae could be considered for all of the open areas on the shooting pad.

Mr. Maciejewski asked how the grade change would be dealt with. He remarked that one percent across the court will not suffice. Mr. Sahi stated that there would be a retaining wall. Mr. Maciejewski noted that the retaining wall was not reflected on the plans. Mr. Sahi stated he could work on the grading plans for submission to the Board.

Mr. Maciejewski speculated that there would need to be two retaining walls to level the grade change. Mr. Sahi stated he could not address the retaining wall issue presently; he stated he would have to consult with his architect.

Mr. Koy stated that Mr. Sahi wants to make the grade. Mr. Hastings remarked that the Board received four plans for the proposed sport court. Mr. Sahi stated that he is trying to keep his neighbors in consideration as well as adhere to all of the Town ordinances.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Hastings voiced his concern about the ball being able to get through the arborvitae. Mr. Sahi stated that if the Board would prefer that a fence be installed, he would be amenable to it.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Sahi stated he was not told to bring a grading plan to the meeting. He stated that he did all of the required work so that he could send green cards out to his neighbors. Mr. Sahi stated he would have brought the grading plan with him if he had been told to do so.

Mr. Sahi stated that the grading issue will be addressed, and he will also install a fence if directed to do so by the Board. He stated that he wanted to dress-up the shooting pad by placing arborvitae around it.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Hastings asked if the Petitioner was assuming that the plants would deaden the sound. Mr. Sahi stated that he did not see that there would be a sound issue any more than when his neighbors are swimming.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Sahi stated that sport court would be used primarily by him and his two sons. Mr. Koy stated that the architect has chosen a softer pad that will presumably have lesser sound.

Mr. Panczuk asked Mr. Sahi to expound on the material to be used for the shooting pad. Mr. Sahi stated that the coating on the shooting pad would be VersaCourt. He stated that VersaCourt is used nationwide. He stated it’s not as loud as concrete and does not hold water.

Mr. Kil noted pools, patios, decks, sports courts and other accessories cannot exceed 15% of the lot coverage. He stated that Mr. Sahi is getting real close to the 15%. Mr. Kil stated that the proposed sport court is 1350 square feet. Mr. Kil stated that Mr. Sahi should calculate the square footage of his plans. Mr. Sahi stated he was willing to work with the Town if need be.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil directed Mr. Sahi to calculate the square footage he would be using for this project, in the event the Board needs to address this issue. Mr. Sahi stated he does not have the entire square footage tonight, but he would obtain it. Mr. Koy stated that Petitioner, working with his architect, would make sure that the fifteen percent lot coverage was adhered to.

Mr. Maciejewski noted that Mr. Schneider found there was roughly 13’ of grade change. Mr. Schneider concurred. Mr. Schneider stated that from the southwest corner of Petitioner’s lot up to the corner of the house has approximately 13’ of grade change.

Mr. Schneider commented that he wished that Petitioner had brought in a grading plan. He stated that if a retaining wall was put up at the end of the court, there could be six foot of exposed wall. Mr. Sahi stated that the retaining wall would not be seen because it would be located up by the patio area.

Mr. Maciejewski stated that this would only go so far. He stated that the curb up would still have to be addressed. Mr. Maciejewski stated two retaining walls would be needed. He stated that the second retaining wall would be closest to the curb. Mr. Maciejewski noted that a six foot tall arborvitae would probably be only a few feet of above the retaining wall at the court level.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil stated one way to address the grade would be to build retaining walls and apply a tier system to the yard. He stated that the retaining wall would have to be placed along the conservation easement and push the court forward. Mr. Kil stated that if the retaining wall goes above three feet, in order to stop the balls from escaping, an aluminum rail would have to be placed on top of the retaining wall. In addition, to the retaining wall and the fence the trees would be above the fence and then the court.

Mr. Schneider noted that landscaping would then have to be added to the conservation area. Mr. Kil stated that swales would have to be established on each side of the lot so the water would drain properly to the street.

Mr. Koy stated that Mr. Gutierrez has experience with landscaping and hardscaping. Mr. Sahi concurred that two retaining walls would be needed.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil stated that if a nice block retaining wall is put in place, they would only have to concentrate on covering the court. Mr. Gutierrez stated that the retaining wall would be comprised of Tennessee stone.

Mr. Sahi stated that he would not be cheap about landscaping. He stated that the landscaping would be done within the parameters set forth by the Board.

Mr. Koy stated that once the sport court is done, Mr. Gutierrez will go to work with the landscaping and it will be beautiful within a matter of a few weeks.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if there were any other questions or comments. There were no further comments. Mr. Maciejewski asked if all of the notices and publications were in order for a public hearing. Attorney Kuiper stated that the notices and publications for a public hearing were in order so that a public hearing could be properly conducted tonight.

Attorney Kuiper noted, for the record, that there were two written remonstrances received.

Mr. Maciejewski opened the public hearing.

P U B L I C H E A R I N G

Mr. Maciejewski stated any member of the audience who wished to address the Board relative to this matter should come forward and state their name, address and comments for the record.

Sergio DeMarco
Mr. DeMarco stated he owns the property immediately south of Mr. Sahi. He stated his only concern was whether or not the sport court would be a fenced in area. He asked about the location of the hoops.

Mr. Maciejewski noted that the hoops would be located towards the house. Mr. Sahi stated that there would only be one hoop. Mr. Maciejewski stated, according to the sketch, the hoop would be 36.5’ away from the house.

Ron Reido, 9059 Hillside Drive
Mr. Reido stated his residence is almost immediately behind Petitioner, Mr. Sahi’s residence. Mr. Reido stated his concern is waking up in the morning and hearing a basketball bouncing, and he stated he is a basketball fan. He stated that this is not what he thought he was buying into, a basketball hoop in his front yard.

Mr. Reido stated the landscaping and no lighting would be very important to him. He stated he agrees that there is a steep grade at Mr. Sahi’s residence.

Mr. Reido stated that he does not want to face six feet of concrete wall; he stated that look of the finished court would be his main concern. Mr. Reido stated as long as his concerns about lighting, landscaping and drainage are addressed and the Board is satisfied, he has no opposition to the proposed sport court.

Chris Cooper, 9017 Winding Trail
Mr. Cooper stated he is Mr. Sahi’s next door neighbor. He stated that Mr. Sahi has been very up-front with him as far as his intentions with the basketball court, the landscaping and any concerns he may have had. Mr. Cooper stated that based upon the plans that he has seen, he is not opposed to the sport court.

Mr. Cooper stated that he appreciated Mr. Sahi being up front and including him and his wife in the discussions. He stated it was a pleasure talking to Mr. Sahi.

Dinesh Shamar, 9025 Crooked Bend
Mr. Shamar stated he lives on the first street when entering from 91st Street. He stated that Mr. Sahi is a long-time family friend. Mr. Shamar stated he is fully supportive of Mr. Sahi’s proposed basketball court. He stated his son plays basketball also.

Mr. Shamar stated that Mr. Sahi is willing to spend money in order to do everything that the Town requires him to do. He reiterated his support for the basketball court.

Mr. Maciejewski called for additional public comment. There was no further public comment. Mr. Maciejewski noted the two letters of remonstrance, for the record. The first letter was from Mr. & Mrs. Jim Petarka, 9005 Hillside. The Petarkas are opposed to the request. Their opposition is based on aesthetics, the court facing their front yard from the rear yard of the Sahi property, not conforming with the aesthetics of the subdivision, balls rolling and leaving the yard and any lighting.

Mr. Maciejewski acknowledged the second letter received from Mr. Joseph O’Karaka, 9023 Hillside Drive. Mr. O’Karaka is opposed to the installation of a back yard basketball court based upon the court not conforming to the aesthetics of the subdivision, potential damage from basketballs leaving the property. Mr. O’Karaka suggested a front yard basketball court be considered.

Mr. Maciejewski stated that these are the two remonstrances received. Mr. Maciejewski noted that the remonstrators were not present tonight.

Mr. Maciejewski called for additional public comment. There was no further public comment. He closed the public hearing and brought the matter back before the Board.

Mr. Maciejewski asked if there were any additional questions or comments.

Mr. Schneider noted that the neighbor with the pool to the north of him has a “forest of trees.” Mr. Schneider asked Mr. Sahi if he removed many trees from his lot when he built. Mr. Sahi stated he did remove trees from his lot due to the fact that there are superstitions related to having the large trees. He stated trees can be situated on either side of the lot, but not directly behind the lot or in front of his door. Mr. Sahi stated this is one of the superstitions of his religion. Mr. Maciejewski asked Mr. Sahi what his religious affiliation was. Mr. Sahi stated he was a Sikh.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski noted that there will have to be changes to the plan pursuant to the discussions had tonight on the grading, topography, retaining walls and placement of plantings. M. Maciejewski stated if there was any large objection, the Board members should vocalize it now. He stated that there was no reason for Mr. Sahi to acquire all of the plans if there was no chance for approval of his request.

Mr. Maciejewski asked the Board if they wished to see plans on the grade changes, drainage and landscaping. The Board members were in agreement that they would like to review additional information, as requested, before any vote is taken on this matter.

Mr. Panczuk stated he had a few comments regarding some of the revisions Mr. Kil had recommended. He stated that the Board needs to see the landscaping, and it will have to be a tiered system. Mr. Panczuk stated that the court will probably have to be moved at least 10’ closer to the house. He stated that there should be some flat space adjacent to the court for landscaping and maybe a small rail type of fence.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil recommended that Mr. Sahi revise his landscaping plan to reflect all of the changes that were discussed tonight, grading, swales between the lots, retaining walls and aluminum rail at the proper height. Mr. Sahi stated he would like to work with his neighbor and would ask his opinion.

Mr. Panczuk summarized his recommended revisions as follows: the court closer to the house, flat space adjacent to the court before the next tier, landscaping on the flat space to shield the court, the wall with the required rail, landscaping in front of the wall, a single hoop on the house end of the court and no lighting. Mr. Panczuk opined that if he lived across from Petitioner he would not want to look at a wall so there should be a significant amount of landscaping. Mr. Panczuk stated he would like to see a plan of what is going to be in front of the wall.

Mr. Panczuk asked about the specifications of VersaCourt. He stated he was curious to know if there were sound-deadening properties associated with the VersaCourt.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Kil stated that it appears that the Petitioner will have to go with the retaining wall and the rail. He stated that the fence will probably be 42” high, which will stop the balls.

Mr. Sahi stated if his neighbor does not object to spending some time with him and his landscaper so they could arrive at a plan that is acceptable to both of them he would work towards that end.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Maciejewski stated it would be appropriate to table this matter until the next regularly scheduled meeting on July 28, to allow the Petitioner to cultivate the information that the Board requested.

Mr. Schneider made a motion to defer the variance of use for the installation of a basketball court at 9031 Winding Trail until July 28, 2014, allowing the Petitioner time to submit a full and comprehensive plan as requested by the Board. Mr. Panczuk seconded the motion. Mr. Maciejewski requested a roll call vote. Paul Panczuk --- yes. Tom Ryan --- yes. Ken Schneider --- yes. Steve Hastings --- yes. Jim Maciejewski --- yes. The motion was unanimously carried by roll call vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

Mr. Kil requested that Mr. Sahi send him the information electronically, if possible. Mr. Sahi stated he would send the information electronically. Mr. Sahi stated he could possibly have the plan submitted by tomorrow. He asked if the Board would be willing to approve the plan earlier than July 28 if they received the information by tomorrow.

Mr. Kil stated that this business would have to be addressed at a meeting. He stated that the Board would have to schedule a special meeting tonight before adjournment. Mr. Kil stated that a special meeting would be entirely at the Board’s discretion.

Mr. Sahi stated he would have brought all of the information required if he had known it was required at tonight’s meeting. Mr. Koy asked if the Board would consider holding an earlier meeting.

(General discussion ensued.)

Mr. Sahi stated that he would like to start this project as soon as possible.

Mr. Maciejewski stated if Monday, July 7, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. was an acceptable date to hold a special meeting, he would entertain a motion. Mr. Panczuk made a motion to schedule a special meeting for July 7, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. for the Board of Zoning Appeals regarding a variance of use for installation of a sport court 9031 Winding Trail. Mr. Hastings seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.

Attorney Kuiper reiterated for the audience that the Board of Zoning Appeals had scheduled a special meeting for July 7, 2014, at 7:00 p.m.

Mr. Sahi thanked the Board for allowing him to make his presentation. Mr. Sahi stated that Mr. Koy would represent him at the July 7, 2014, as he would be out of the country.

OLD BUSINESS:


Mr. Maciejewski asked if there was any Old Business.

Mr. Schneider remarked that he had seen a little more Olthof and McFarland signs poking up around Town. Mr. Kil stated if the signs are up during the week they will be taken down. He stated that these signs are allowed for open houses. Mr. Kil said the signs can be put up on Saturday morning and must be taken down by Sunday night. Mr. Kil stated that if the signs are not taken down on Sunday night they are taken down and thrown in the garbage.

OPEN TO THE FLOOR FOR PUBLIC COMMENT:


Mr. Maciejewski opened the floor for public comment. He called for public comment. There was no public comment. Mr. Maciejewski closed the floor to public comment.

ADJOURNMENT:


Mr. Maciejewski stated he would entertain a motion to adjourn. Mr. Hastings made a motion to adjourn. Mr. Panczuk seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously carried by voice vote (5/0). Ayes --- all. Nays --- none.
(The meeting was adjourned at 8:02 p.m.)

A TRUE COPY

_______________________________________________
Susan E. Wright, Recording Secretary
St. John Board of Zoning Appeals