NOVEMBER 14, 2019
A regular meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Village of Lakewood was held Thursday, November 14, 2019, 7:00 PM, in the Board Room of the Anthony C. Caprino Municipal Building, 20 West Summit Street, with Chairman William F. Chandler presiding. Board members present Gary M. Segrue, Louis S. Drago, Jr., Phyllis Sorensen and Jerry Holmes. Also present were Village Clerk/Secretary Joseph M. Johnson and Building Inspector Jeffrey A. Swanson.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion by Gary M. Segrue, seconded by Louis S. Drago, Jr., to approve the minutes of the last regular meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals held October 10, 2019.
Adopted: 5 ayes, no nays (Chandler, Segrue, Drago, Sorensen, Holmes)
MINIMUM LOT WIDTH VARIANCE &
SIDE YARD SET-BACK VARIANCES
235 EAST TERRACE AVE.
Mr. Randy Ridgeway, 323.5 East Terrace Ave., has re-submitted an application for a minimum lot width variance and side yard set-back variances regarding a proposal to construct a second story on the 14.4 ft. x 58 ft. single story residential structure at 235 East Terrace Ave. The existing lot is 25.4 ft. wide rather than the minimum lot width requirement of 75 ft. Also, in accordance with the proposed site plan, the easterly side yard set-back is 3.57 ft. while the westerly side yard set-back is 7.5 ft., rather than the required 8 ft. as prescribed in Section #25-10, (E), [Single-Family (R-1) District], of the Village of Lakewood Zoning Law.
Chairman Chandler thanked everyone in attendance for coming out this evening and that Mr. Ridgeway’s area variance application submittal could be considered a “take two” in that this application was reviewed at the Zoning Board of Appeals’ previous meeting held October 10, 2019. He then suggested that the review process be restarted by having Mr. Ridgeway briefly explain his proposal and reasons for the variances.
Mr. Ridgeway indicated his reasons for the variances as requested haven’t changed, in that he would still like permission for Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Maharg to be able to construct a second story onto the single story residence at 235 East Terrace Ave. Mr. Ridgeway said the floor plan of the proposed second story will include a master bedroom and master bath, plus another bedroom and bath. He said the second floor addition will basically be built on the existing building footprint. He did say each phase of the proposed construction will comply with the New York State Building Codes.
Ms. Christine Maharg indicated that she and her husband Kurt, currently have a purchase agreement with Mr. Ridgeway, contingent upon the variances as requested being approved. Ms. Maharg said plans have been drawn up and that she and her husband have been in contact with Building Inspector Swanson concerning their proposal. She said they understand that the actual construction drawings and materials to be used will need to be up to code or a building permit will not be issued by Mr. Swanson.
Board member Drago asked Ms. Maharg if indeed they will be constructing the second floor addition on the existing footprint.
Ms. Maharg indicated they would like to “square-off” the first floor’s shallow alcove on the west side of the structure making the building’s first and second floors each measuring approximately 14 ft. x 58 ft.
Chairman Chandler indicated that at the last meeting, neighbors asked to see more detailed drawings.
Ms. Maharg indicated they did prepare some drawings and she and her husband proceeded to review them with members of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Board member Gary Segrue asked Mr. & Mrs. Maharg, who is going to be the construction contractor. Also, one of the concerns voiced by neighbors at the October meeting was, because the lot is very narrow, how will the renovation be completed without disturbing adjacent properties. He also asked Mr. & Mrs. Maharg if a timetable for completing the project has been established.
Ms. Maharg said she and her husband, along with a crew, will be doing the construction work. As far as accepting the delivery of materials, they can be received and stockpiled between the house and sidewalk. If extra storage space is needed they plan on talking to their neighbor across the street to work out something where some of that property could possibly be utilized during construction. Ms. Maharg, said with winter weather soon to set-in, they would hope the construction can be completed within a year.
Board member Jerry Holmes asked Mr. & Mrs. Maharg what exactly is a sono-tube foundation.
Mr. Maharg said it is simply a beam attached to a concrete pier for support.
Chairman Chandler said some neighbors in attendance at the previous meeting questioned whether the existing foundation was adequate or not.
Building Inspector Swanson indicated it will be up to the builder to make sure the foundation and all other phases of the construction is adequate and complies with the NYS Building Code.
Board member Segrue asked Mr. Swanson if he typically checks-up on construction projects as they proceed.
Mr. Swanson said as with all construction projects he makes a point to inspect work as progress is made to make sure is being done in accordance with the plans as submitted and up to code.
Board member Holmes indicated that another concern that was mentioned in October was stormwater management on the site.
Building Inspector Swanson indicated it is against the law to directly discharge stormwater generated on one piece of property onto a neighboring property.
Chairman Chandler then asked if anyone in attendance opposes the granting of the variances as requested.
Mr. Gary Chwojdak, 231 East Terrace Ave., said as neighbors we would all like to see the property finally taken care of. He said the neighborhood is a beautiful place to live and that’s why he moved here five years ago. Mr. Chwojdak said he has recently had stormwater issues and noted the property at 235 East Terrace Ave. sits at a higher elevation than his property.
Mr. Chwojdak said he and his neighbors, as a group, have expressed common concerns regarding stormwater run-off and whether the foundation was sufficient. A letter listing our concerns was submitted to the Clerk’s Office following the October meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Building Inspector Swanson wanted to make it clear that the application under review this evening is for the various area variances, not how the proposed construction is done or looks. If the Zoning Board of Appeals makes the decision to approve the variances, then he will delve into the construction part of the project to make sure any new construction will comply with the NYS Building Code. Mr. Swanson said the existing structure could be completely remodeled without the benefit of any kind of variance. The addition of a second story plus building outside the existing structure’s footprint is what triggered the need for the area variances.
Ms. Mary Ellen Williams, 31 Case Ave., said she grew up in the area and owned the property at 235 East Terrace Ave. before selling it to Mr. Ridgeway, following a fire that had caused some damage to the structure. She said it is her opinion that Mr. Ridgeway is not the most honest man in the world, because he mentioned at the time of the sale, certain things were going to be done to improve the building and property. Ms. Williams said she feels somewhat responsible, in that neighbors have suffered, because for over the past six years the property has sat empty with no heat, no water and no care.
Mr. Martin O’Hagen, 237 East Terrace Ave., asked Chairman Chandler will the variance be granted to Mr. Ridgeway or Mr. & Mrs. Maharg.
Chairman Chandler said if a variance is approved, it will be granted in the applicant’s name, Mr. Ridgeway.
Building Inspector Swanson indicated it is not uncommon for the sale of a property or construction project to be contingent upon the approval of a variance or variances.
Mr. Kenneth Wray, 265 East Terrace Ave., said we all just want the property to look better.
Mr. Chwojdak said as neighbors, we just don’t want our properties to be negatively impacted by the project being considered at 235 East Terrace Ave.
With no one else to be heard, Chairman Chandler and members of the Zoning Board of Appeals proceeded to review questions listed on the Area Variance Findings & Decision form.
Board member Drago indicated that due to the narrowness of building lots in the immediate area the granting of area variances along this stretch of East Terrace Ave. is not unprecedented. He added if the work as proposed is allowed to be done, it would be a positive change in the neighborhood.
Motion by Louis S. Drago, Jr., seconded by Gary M. Segrue, to approve/grant the area variance application as submitted by Mr. Randy Ridgeway, 323.5 East Terrace Ave., whereby to allow a 14 ft. x 58 ft. second story to be built onto the existing structure at 235 E. Terrace Ave. also measuring 14 ft. x 58 ft. on a 25.4 ft. wide lot rather than on a lot having a minimum width of 75 ft., and having side yard set-backs of 3.57 ft. (east) and 7.5 ft. (west), rather than the required 8 ft. as prescribed in Section #25-10, (E), [Single-Family (R-1) District], of the Village of Lakewood Zoning Law, with the conditions that its construction will comply with all NYS Building Codes, that any stormwater management issues be adequately addressed and that construction be complete by December 31, 2020.
Adopted: 4 ayes, 1 nays (Segrue, Drago, Sorensen, Holmes), (Chandler)
Meeting Adjourned: 7:40 PM
Joseph M. Johnson