2008-08-16 / Top News

Basement Doors Variance Is Sent to ZBA

By Ryan Schlehuber

A request to install an aluminum fence along Heriot Trail, known as "Washout Road," has been tabled until the Mackinac Island Planning Commission receives more information about property ownership in that area. The matter was discussed at a regular meeting Tuesday, August 12. The Commission also sent a variance request for basement doors to the city's Zoning Board of Appeals.

John Anding, who owns a home just south of the Stonebrook subdivision off Lake Shore Road, told planning commissioners he wants to install a 40-foot-long, 48-inchhigh aluminum fence on the back corner of his property, abutting a corner of Heriot Trail to keep visitors and snowmobiles off his property and adjoining properties.

Kelly Bean, assistant to Mayor Margaret Doud, told the commission that Mr. Anding had approval from at least one of his neighbors to install the fence.

The fence would deny public access to Mr. Anding's property as well as other properties, which sparked a brief discussion between commissioners and city' attorney Tom Evashevski as to whether it may infringe on the rights of other property owners or an easement allowing the road.

"I'd suggest we table this until we get more information," Mr. Evashevski advised the board. "It may even require showing some title work."

Sisters Debra Orr and Sandra Orr will need a variance for external basement doors on their new Cadotte Avenue home because adding them will exceed the allowable lot coverage for the house. The matter will now go to the city's Zoning Board of Appeals, the governing body that reviews variance requests and regulations.

City Building Inspector Dennis Dombroski said the Orrs have other options, but like the appearance of the outside doors. The project will also include a four-foot by eightfoot retaining wall, he said.

Under the city's zoning ordinance, "No variance in the provisions or requirements of this ordinance shall be authorized by the board unless the board finds from reasonable evidence that all the following facts and conditions exist:

1. That there are exceptional or extraordinary circumstances or conditions applying to the property in question as to the intended use of the property that do not apply generally to other properties in the same zoning district.

2. That such variance is necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of a substantial property right similar to that possessed by other properties in the same zoning district and in the vicinity. The possibility of increased financial return shall not of itself be deemed sufficient to warrant a variance.

3. That the authorizing of such variance will not be of substantial detriment to adjacent property, and will not materially impair the intent and purposes of this ordinance or the public interest.

4. That the condition or situation of the specific piece of property, or the intended use of said property, for which the variance is sought is not of a general or recurrent nature as to make reasonably practicable the formulation of a general regulation for such conditions or situation."

Matt Myers was given permission to build an accessory building behind his home on British Landing Road. Mr. Dombroski said the plans meet all requirements, including the city's rule that no accessory building shall be taller than 14 feet.

The accessory building will be wood-sided with an asphalt roof and the design will match his home.

Mr. Myers said he will use the accessory building only to store personal items for his home.

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