CRISP COUNTY ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
May 16, 2006
The Crisp County Zoning Board of Appeals met at a regular meeting on the 16th day of May, at 9:00 a.m. in the Crisp County Courthouse.
The following members were present: Emmett Walker, Mark Brubaker, Bob McCadams, J.C. Clark and Frank Lott. Also present, Connie Sangster, Secretary & Planning Director & Jimmy Mumphery, County Building Inspector.
Also present was the following visitors: Michael Martinoff and Ed Vaughan.
VOTE: A motion was made by Frank Lott, seconded by J.C. Clark to approve the Minutes of March 21, 2006. Carried unanimously 4-0.
Request from Michael Martinoff for a variance to reduce the required 15’ sideyard setback to 4’ for the purpose of a screened porch. Property located at 128 Smoak Bridge Circle and being zoned RS1 (Single Family Residential).
Chairman Emmett Walker called the hearing to order. Mr. Walker read aloud the criteria in which a variance request is handled. Mr. Martinoff was present and spoke on his own behalf. Mr. Martinoff stated that he had recently purchased the house as a weekend home and is in the process of bringing the residence up to code and trying to do everything right and that the house was an eyesore for the neighborhood before he purchased it. Mr. Martinoff stated that the front of the house that faces the lake has two levels of decks and they were falling down so they got a contractor to completely rebuild the decks. Mr. Martinoff stated on the side of the house, of his neighbors, Johnny McBrown there was an existing foundation already poured and when they did the deck, they did it out to the foundation and put a roof on it to cover that deck area and that is where they are asking for the variance. Mr. Walker asked when did they close in the screen porch. Mr. Martinoff replied approximately 5 months ago. Mr. Mumphery stated that he did not know because the work was done without a permit, and that this situation came to our attention when he went out to do an inspection. Mr. Walker asked if this property had changed hands several times. Mr. Mumphery replied yes, the Gleaton's were the original owners and a lot of work had been done without permits. Mr. Mumphery stated that when Mr. Martinoff purchased the property he was going to complete the addition. Mr. Mumphery met with Ricky Barry and an engineer on the property to look at the existing structure and how it applied to codes and that was when the enclosed screened porch was discovered that was built by Mr. Ricky Barry without a permit. Mr. Martinoff stated that he had purchased the house from the bank and they had corrected a lot of areas that had been done wrong and that he did not realize when Ricky was doing the porch that they were breaking any rules and mainly did not realize that because the foundation was already there to the 4’ area. Mr. Walker asked if Mr. Brown sent in the letter. Mr. Martinoff stated yes, he is the neighbor on the side of the porch and Mr. Smithwick is on the other side. Mr. Walker asked Mr. Mumphery if he understood him to say the fellow that started this project did not have a permit. Mr. Mumphery replied it was not the part with the screen porch; it was all the other work he was out inspecting. Mr. Walker asked what the original intent of the foundation was. Mr. Martinoff replied there was a deck and a stairway that went to the foundation and a wooden deck that came around the corner of the house and went down the stairway. Mr. Walker asked if there was a roof over the deck. Mr. Martinoff replied no, it was supported by the cement foundation on that side of the house. Mr. Mumphery stated that he had some original pictures that did not show any structure on that side and that is what brought this to his attention. Mr. Martinoff stated there was a stairway. Mr. Mumphery replied yes a stairway but not a deck part. Mr. Martinoff stated the deck went down to the side and the stairway down to the side. Mr. Mumphery replied yes, that is what was added and what brought on the variance. Mr. Walker asked if it was a wooden foundation. Mr. Martinoff replied no, it is a concrete foundation that was there when they bought the house. Mr. Lott stated that the biggest thing that gets him is the lack of permits. Mr. Martinoff stated that they are not adding on externally, just some areas above the garage that was framed out and they are in the process of finishing those bedrooms off and that has all been permitted through Jimmy. Mr. Walker asked if there was any additional footage. Mr. Martinoff stated no, they were not adding any additional footage, and they have all the additions they planned. Frank Lott asked if Mr. Barry assumed there a permit on that job. Mr. Mumphery stated no sir, and this was probably the second or third job that we had to go to him about no permit in the same general area. Mr. Martinoff stated that they had Jimmy out to look at the house before they started with what they were planning to do, and there was no permit required which was basically rebuild those decks and they were screening those in but what caused the problem was extending the deck on around the side of the house and that is where they did not realize Ricky was doing something that required a permit, or they would have gone for it. Mr. Mumphery stated that it was not Mr. Martinoff’s fault, it is the contractors fault, and like he said earlier, we were in the same situation to where he was doing some work without a permit, and it like any homeowner, they trust the contractor to do everything right. Mr. Walker asked the guest (Ed Vaughan) if he planned on doing any speaking. Mr. Vaughn stated that he was a neighbor of the Martinoff's and was here on their behalf. Mr. Vaughn stated they had been good neighbors and have taken an eyesore that has been in the neighborhood that has been sitting there for a long time vacant and to the point of dilapidated and falling down and have made a beautiful little House on the lake and it has done a lot for the neighborhood in that area. Mr. Walker stated that it was far from being falling down now. Mr. Lott asked Mr. Vaughn which side of the property did he live on. Mr. Vaughn replied, when you first pull on to Smoak Bridge Circle from Arabi Warwick Road, he lives in the tan house. Mr. Walker stated that he spoke with Mr. Mumphery in reference to any erosion that might occur down the road from the water coming off of that deck. Mr. Mumphery replied that the roof was probably a 3/12 pitch if not less and water run off would not be a problem, because of the established grass and the water is going to come through and flow toward the lake. He stated that he did not see a problem with water running on to the neighbors property and that he has about an 18” overhang and it is 46” to the fence with established grass, and as long as there is established grass you won’t have a runoff problem and when it hits the grass it will flow toward the lake. At this time Mr. Walker asked if there were other questions or comments. There were none, Mr. Walker stated that this concluded the public hearing portion of the meeting and now they would go into discussion and vote.
After discussion, the chairman asked for a motion.
VOTE: A motion was made by Mark Brubaker, seconded by Bob McCadams to approve the request for a variance to reduce the required 15’ sideyard setback to 4’. The chairman asked that all in favor of the vote to raise their right hand, and all opposed to raise their right hand. There was a 2-2 vote. The chairman voted to disapprove. Motion to approve did not carry vote. Vote carried 3-2 to deny the request for a variance to reduce the 15’ sideyard setback to 4’.
It was the consensus of the Board that by approving the variance they would be setting a precedence by allowing things to be built without permits.
At this time, the chairman asked if there was any new business or old business. Ms. Sangster replied no. There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.
Mr. Martinoff asked if he could ask a question? Mr. Walker replied yes.
Martinoff: I just wanted to say that we came here and have been doing business with all the local people and we were given that builder from the realtor as somebody to trust and we spent a lot of money in this county and tried to do everything the right way and I dona’t know what the next step is, is there an appeals process, is there someway I could have you to come out an look at it? I don’t think the neighbors mind and I don’t think it is a problem for the neighborhood and really to take it down now is going to be a huge expense and also you know it is a part of the house where we enjoy, we have our table where we eat set up out there and I really wish you would reconsider it because we did not purposely do this. I think Jimmy will state I have been trying to do things right since we have been here with the work I’ve been doing and I have been in constant contact with Jimmy, I have made sure everything is permitted properly. We had a structural engineer come in and put all steel beams in, I have spent a lot of money to reinforce the whole house and I just wish you would reconsider this for us because this is a house we plan to retire at someday and it is important to us that we keep that porch. It is a big part of the house for us. It is our favorite part of the house and I felt that with Mr. McBrown on one side approving it and it not bothering him and Mr. Smithwick on the other side he said it does not bother him at all. That it should not be a problem.
Walker: It’s not so much with me as it being there, it is the way it was put there. I don’t like the way….I don’t like the idea of where you put that, because what is does it opens it up in our county this is my total beliefs now. I am not speaking for the board, it opens it up for other people to do the same thing. And all they are going to do is say, well, you let certain people by with it and you do not let me by with it.
Martinoff: I agree with you if we were trying to sneak it in but I really was not I mean we were trying to be wide open and I don’t think we realized there was a problem. I mean I was not trying to hide it from anybody and it is a well constructed porch it has…
Walker: It looks real good. It is nothing about the looks of it, I saw it and it looks real good. But it strictly does back with me that it was built without a permit.
Martinoff: Can you send a warning letter or something to the contractor that if his practices do not stop he is going to lose his license cause I think that will curtail this – if you have problems and we did not realize you were having problems with him, he has been pretty straight up guy with us.
Walker: We have a new state law that is coming into effect to protect people like you and I know that’s not helping you right now.
Martinoff: Is there anything else I can do with the board or by law to try to get you to reconsider it. If we have to pay a fine or have people out or have other neighborhoods write something, I really, the thought of having to tear that down is very upsetting I don’t really want to have to face that if there is any way we can avoid it.
Sangster: To appeal zoning board decisions, Superior Court within 30 days.
Martinoff: Is that local here? I mean not trying to be a problem for any of you guys. I need to try to look at all my options before we do that.
Brubaker: I don’t blame you, certainly with that kind of expense.
Martinoff: What is next step to appeal?
Sangster: Superior Court
Walker: That is what I thought. Superior Court.
Martinoff: Do they hold a hearing or how does that work?
Sangster: Superior Court, I believe it would go before a judge.
Walker: You are caught in the middle – new law that comes into effect should stop things like this.