Staff recommended approval and board members unanimously approved a conditional use request from David Bulba to allow a used car lot on Westland Drive south of Kile Lane S.W.
According to staff reports, a TVA easement runs through the property and a car lot is a better use than some others that could be allowed on the property by right. A car lot does not require a big building but can utilize a smaller building that can be placed outside of the easement area. Board members unanimously approved
The detached garage belonging to Lillios has been an issue with the city since it was discussed at a November 2010 City Council meeting.
Community Development Director Greg Thomas said Tuesday in a report to the board that staff could not justify a variance for the garage located behind Lillios’ house fronting Church Street. The house was built by David May, who elected not to construct the garage, which was later built by Greg Calfee. Calfee said he believed he was building it under the original permit.
Thomas said one contractor cannot work under another contractor’s permit.
The property is in the historic district on the corner of Church and 16th streets. According to Thomas’ report, Lillios originally went to the Historic Preservation Commission and presented the house and carriage house as one project.
However, the contractor who pulled the original building permit built the house without the garage. The house contractor’s permit could not be used since that contractor was not building the garage. He said staff realized well into the construction there was no building permit for this structure.
Thomas reported that in the course of investigation, staff recognized an apparent setback violation. Building Inspector Mary Baier noted in an August 4, 2010, letter to Lillios that her measurements indicated the structure was 7 feet, 9 inches from the curb at one corner and 9 feet from the curb at the other corner where the driveway is located on 16th Street.
He said Baier’s letter advised Lillios to supply a survey to address the setback issue. A subsequent survey was then completed for the city which showed the garage to be actually in the city right-of-way.
After that, Lillios supplied information through attorney James Logan regarding a 1921 court case that established the right-of-way in a different location than in the survey described in a Dec. 3, 2010, letter from Thomas to Lillios.
Cleveland Surveying then amended its survey to reflect the right-of-way as shown in the 1921 court case referenced by Logan. The amended survey shows the garage as not being in the right-of-way but as being within the required setback.
Thomas said his original questioning of the building inspector indicated the carriage house was to be classified as a one-story structure requiring a 10-foot setback. That information was given to Lillios.
However, Thomas said the amended survey shows the southwest corner of the garage encroaching more than eight feet into the setback.
Thomas said the carriage house is positioned such that it obscures the view of westbound 16th Street traffic from the driveway of the adjacent Jo Benjamin property, which makes it more difficult to safely back out of her driveway.
Thomas said the purpose and intent of the zoning regulations and the standards for a variance are contained in the zoning regulations. He said there was room on the property to locate a carriage house/garage so that the setbacks were not violated. He also asserted there is no inherent problem in the lot indicating a need to locate the structure within the setback.
He said it was the owner or contractor’s responsibility to obtain a building permit and locate the garage on the property so that it was not in violation of the required setbacks.
“It does seem that allowing the setback violation that has occurred here would be harmful to the intent of the zoning ordinance,” he said. “Based upon what is known, staff cannot justify the recommendation of a variance that would allow the structure to remain where it is under these circumstances.”
Board members unanimously approved the variance under the condition that Lillios move a utility pole next to Benjamin’s driveway and install curved mirrors so she can see traffic when backing out into 16th Street.
The proposed Surfs-Up Car Wash was opposed by Joel Beard, who owns a tunnel car wash on 25th and Guthrie streets adjacent to Hardee’s, and Ben Moore, who owns the vacant lot behind the Raceway convenience store.
Beard was represented by attorney Jeff Miller. Woodward was represented by attorney James Logan.
The issue came before the Board of Zoning Appeals because the property, owned by James S. Thompson, is zoned commercial highway. A conditional use permit is required for a car wash in CH zoning.
The denial came in the form of a 3-2 vote about 40 minutes after Logan asked board member Clint Taylor to recuse himself from the vote since the Bank of Cleveland holds a loan to Beard.
Miller suggested there would be no need for Taylor to be on the board if he had to recuse himself every time the board decided on a project to which the Bank of Cleveland loaned money. He said Taylor has no more conflict than Bruce Renner, who owns two car washes in town.
Board members Charlotte Jones, Dave Gilbert and Taylor voted no. Bruce Renner and Steve Wright voted in favor of the car wash.