Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes 11/12/08

Minutes of November 12, 2008 of the Town of Rochester Zoning Board of Appeals, held at the Town Hall, Accord, NY.


Meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by Chairman, Brian Drabkin.


Present:                                                Absent:
Brian Drabkin, Chairman                                         Beatrice Haugen-De Puy, Vice Chair              
James Kingston                                                                                                          
Elizabeth Kawalchuk                                                                             
Marijane Knudsen
Jennifer McKenzie, Alternate


Pledge to the Flag.


Chairman Drabkin noted that Mrs. Haugen De Puy, Vice Chair, was not going to be in attendance at this meeting due to health issues, therefore the Alternate, Jennifer McKenzie, would be sitting in her place.


Mr. Kingston, Board Member, motioned to accept the October 14, 2008 minutes. Seconded by Mrs. Kawalchuk, Board Member. No discussion.
McKenzie, Alt.  –       Yes                             Kawalchuk       –       Yes
Drabkin, Chairman       –       Yes                             Knudsen –       Yes     
Haugen De Puy, VC-      Absent                  Kingston        –           Yes


ROBERT PHILLIPS, Jr. c/o Sue Ellen LeBarron-25’ Area Variance requested to construct garage, Friedlander Drive, Tax Map # 68.13-3-5.100, R-1 District


Chairman Drabkin explained that the applicant would need to re-state her case for the record as this was the Public Hearing.


Ms. LeBarron was present on behalf of this application. She explained that they wanted to put a 20’ x 24’ one story two car garage on their property and the place where it fit best was 15’ from their property rear property line. She showed the Board where the leach field was and noted that was a reason why they wanted to put the garage to the right of the house. If they put it to the left, then they’d have to drive over the leach field and they didn’t want to do that. She then submitted letter from bounding owners stating that they had no objections to the Area Variance or the placement of the garage. Also submitted was letter dated October 17, 2008 from applicant, Robert Phillips stating that he looked over his property and there was no other place to put the garage. He further stated that if he turned it 90 degrees as was suggested by the Board at a previous meeting he would have to cut down 3-4 trees and then move his well. He also could not put it on the other side of the trailer because he would have to move a telephone pole and drive across hi leach field and septic. He also looked into putting it on the wooded part of his property, but after speaking to some people, it would be costly to move the driveway and cut down the trees. He also didn’t want to cut down any trees, because they provided privacy for him and his neighbors.


Mr. Kingston, Board Member, questioned if they could bring the garage a little further down the driveway and swing it 90 degrees, and avoid cutting down the trees described by Mr. Phillips?


Ms. Le Barron noted that they’d have to cut down 3 or 4 tall trees.


Mr. Kingston, Board Member, noted that tree trunks don’t provide privacy. Maybe if it was a hedge row or evergreen they’d create privacy. If they pushed the garage further down the driveway and swung it 90 degrees they wouldn’t need a variance.


Ms. LeBarron noted that the garage wouldn’t be far enough from the side line then.


Mr. Kingston noted that if the map was to scale as submitted by the applicant that there would be enough room.


Ms. LeBarron noted that they can’t tell where the lines are on the side because someone moved the markers. It doesn’t look that far. She felt if they turned it and moved it down the driveway they’d have the same problem.


Chairman Drabkin noted that if they moved the garage where the Board was suggesting, they wouldn’t need the trees to provide the privacy- the garage would provide plenty of privacy.


Mrs. Knudsen, Board Member, questioned if they got an estimate to show the Board what a new driveway would cost?


Ms. LeBarron stated that the guy they were talking to was backed up and they spoke to someone who did it as a side job and they said it would be between $7,000 and $8,000.


Mrs. Knudsen questioned if the applicant brought in pictures as was requested at the last meeting?


Ms. LeBarron did not.


Mrs. Knudsen agreed with Mr. Kingston that moving the garage down the driveway and swinging it 90 degrees would alleviate the need for a variance.


Chairman Drabkin also agreed noting that the way Mr. Kingston showed the applicant would work.


The Board Members agreed that if they swung the garage they would only need another 10’ and according to the map, they have the room. They should use a compass or use the sited location of the house and find their side line that way.


If the applicant can satisfy their goals without the need for a variance, the ZBA has a responsibility to uphold the law unless there is no other way to achieve the goal. And if privacy was something that the applicant was claiming as a hardship—they would get more privacy from the garage than from the trees that are there.


Chairman Drabkin asked if they could make the rear of the garage parallel to the rear of the home. It would be less of a variance.


Ms. Knudsen stated that the applicant could still do it without one all together though.


Chairman Drabkin opened the hearing to the public.


There was no public comment, but the Chairman noted that there were letters from bounding owners that were in favor of the variance.


The Chairman stated that it seemed to him that the Board was in consensus that a variance wasn’t needed here that the applicant could achieve it by other means.


Ms. Knudsen motioned to close the Public Hearing. Seconded by Mrs. Kawalchuk.
No discussion.
McKenzie, Alt.  –       Yes                             Kawalchuk       –       Yes
Drabkin, Chairman       –       Yes                             Knudsen –       Yes     
Haugen De Puy, VC-      Absent                  Kingston        –           Yes


Mrs. Kawalchuk motioned to type the action Unlisted under SEQRA and to give it a Negative Declaration. Seconded by Mr. Kingston. No discussion.
McKenzie, Alt.  –       Yes                             Kawalchuk       –       Yes
Drabkin, Chairman       –       Yes                             Knudsen –       Yes     
Haugen De Puy, VC-      Absent                  Kingston        –           Yes


Mrs. Kawalchuk, Board Member, questioned if everyone went and saw the site?


Chairman Drabkin had. Mr. Kingston had not.


Mrs. Kawalchuk, Board Member, felt that everyone should go and look at it.


Ms. Knudsen noted that they’d have to open the Public Hearing back up.
Ms. Knudsen motioned to deny the variance request because this application didn’t meet the criteria for achieving an Area Variance and the Board has offered an alternative that doesn’t require a variance. Seconded by Mr. Kingston.


Chairman Drabkin would have liked the applicant to compromise with the Board and at least move the garage down to make a lesser variance needed.
Mr. Kingston remained that the Board offered other ideas that wouldn’t need a variance and the applicant didn’t prove that they couldn’t do those other methods.  


Ms. Knudsen had never heard of the ZBA compromising with an applicant. They either gave a variance if it was needed or if it wasn’t, they denied it.
Vote to deny variance:
McKenzie, Alt.  –       Yes                             Kawalchuk       –       Yes
Drabkin, Chairman       –       Yes                             Knudsen –       Yes     
Haugen De Puy, VC-      Absent                  Kingston        –           Yes
Mrs. Kawalchuk, Board Member, motioned to adjourn seconded by Ms. McKenzie. No discussion. All members in favor.


As there was no further business to discuss, Chairman Drabkin adjourned the meeting at 7:40 PM. 


                                                                Respectfully submitted,


                                                                Rebecca Paddock Stange, Secretary