Zoning Committee Meeting, June 16, 2009

Special WWPNA Zoning Committee
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The special meeting convened at 7:05 p.m., and the Committee members present were Charlotte Winzenburg (Chair), Gertie Grant, Gloria LeFree, and David Callaghan. Guests present were; Ilene Sloan, Mike and Kristina Ziehler, Joan Portman and her daughter. A sign-in sheet with contact information is attached.
The reason for the special meeting was the Zoning Appeal Application (Case #91-09) for 528 South Pennsylvania Street. It is an appeal of a denial of a permit to erect a 2nd story addition to a single unit dwelling 2 feet into the 5 foot north side setback and 4 feet into the 23 foot 6 inch South Pennsylvania average front setback, in an R-2 zone. The hearing was moved forward to June 23, 2009, too early to address at a regular monthly Zoning Committee meeting.
The applicants, Mike and Kristina Ziehler, explained why they wanted to add the second story to their home. The present house has 865 square feet of living space, with two bedrooms and one bathroom. One bedroom is now taken by Mike for his home office. The basement is unfinished and damp. The Ziehlers want to start a family and would like a bigger house in which to do so. Mike showed his drawings to the Committee, which were completed by him with the help of an architect friend. It was noted that the resulting interior of the home would be very efficient and appeared well done, but the Committee questioned the Ziehlers about why they needed to infringe on the front setback requirement with the design they chose. Citing the fact that the drawings were complete and that they thought they were choosing a design that would complement the surrounding homes, they insisted that expanded out the back of the house would be much more intrusive to the neighbors. Adding to the back of the house would cause problems with the multiple sewers running underground, and cause a foundation to be built that would add extra time, noise, and money to the project.
The two neighbors on either side of the house were there in protest to the addition. The neighbor to the north feared her natural light would be lost and cause her home to be in the shadows, as well as depriving parts of her garden of sunlight. The other neighbor was more concerned about the noise of construction and the front setback violation causing a precedence in the future. Having a toddler and another child on the way, they were prepared to endure the remodel of the home on the other side of their house, which is slated to begin soon. Now they could be in the middle of two construction areas.
The Ziehlers, knowing their neighbors’ concerns, had a Solar Access study performed. They showed the Committee and the attendees the reports that were generated that showed very
little change because the roofline will recede one foot even though it is going to be a story higher.
After much discussion of possible enhancements to the plans, consideration of other ways to add a second story without infringing on the front setback, and recommendations by the Committee for standing before the Board of Adjustments, the applicants were excused and the Committee asked the neighbors for their input. Based on that discussion and the preceding dialogue,
MOTION: Gertie Grant moved that the Zoning Committee recommend to the WWPNA Board (via email vote) to send a letter to the Board of Adjustments advising them that WWPNA agrees that the 2 foot side setback is necessary, but that the 4 foot front setback from the average could be avoided with a different design. The reasons for this decision include, but are not limited to the following: a relevant hardship was not expressed; alternatives to the present design are possible; and the variance is not in the spirit of the ordinance. David Callaghan seconded. The motion carried. 4-0-0
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

Submitted by Charlotte Winzenburg on July 6, 2009 - 7:23pm.