The Newbury Township Board of Zoning Appeals public hearing was called to order by Mr. Ray Fidel, Chairman, at 7:30 p.m. on July 6, 2010 with Board members, Mary Lee Brezina, Bill Skomrock,Sr., Tezeon Wong and Ken Blair present.
All in attendance for this hearing were duly sworn and asked when testifying to state their name and confirm being sworn in.
Ray Fidel read the applicants request:
Jan Blair, Chairman of the Newbury Board of Township Trustees, requests area variances for the site development of Oberland Park located at 14639 Auburn Rd, to include a pavilion, 5 soccer fields, 4 multi-purpose fields (MPF), 1 baseball/softball field(BSF) including dugouts, a horseshoe pit, a sand volleyball pit, playground and additional parking. Variance 1: 50 ft. setback from Auburn Rd. for MPF (vs. Art. XXII, Sec. 22.03 req’d 150 ft. from road right-of-way); Variance 2 for all other sites: >200 ft. req’d setback from the south side line that abuts R-1 Residential zoned district including Newbury School.
The Chairman asked the applicant to state her case. Jan Blair described the site development plan for Oberland Park using the map provided by Hess & Assoc. Engineering for the pavilion and various ball fields. The Multi-Purpose-Fields (MPF) could be used by anyone to play most any sport – but NOT recommended for baseball.
Roger Mezak confirmed the Park and Rec Board’s handshake agreement not to build any structures within the 150 ft. fronting Auburn Rd.
Mr. Fidel stated that the BZA’s main concern was for the safety of the ball players – he felt 50 ft. was too close to protect little kids who might run into the road chasing after a ball.
Roger Mezak outlined the uses of the remaining field and the constraints presented by the existing gas well, tanks and lines. When fully implemented, 6 or 7 games could be played simultaneously with little kids playing in the shorter field near the school. At present the newly seeded fields are not mature enough to play on; rotating future play on these fields is recommended.
Discussion continued regarding an appropriate barrier for safety. Should it be a fence, mound, trees/shrubs or field markers? Chain link fence would be too expensive, split rail could have mesh lining, soil for mounding is available but mounds are difficult to mow, trees/shrubs would not stop a ball and markers would not stop a kid from running in the road.
Mr. Mezak said the park and school were functionally like one large campus with additional fields and parking on school property. Mr. Blair said that the school board agreed that a split rail fence or mounding with trees would be an acceptable barrier. Mr. Wong thought the type of barrier should be left up to the trustees, Park and school board’s decision. Mr. Skomrock, Sr. was concerned that the height of the mound might obscure the view of the new Oberland Park Sign and also questioned who should make the ultimate decision on the type of barrier.
Ms. Brezina questioned the location and number of parking spaces that begin at the 2nd oil tank. Discussion continued regarding possible relocation of the fields with the proximity of the tanks and topography limitations. Mr. Wong asked if field marking was a zoning issue? Permanent lines don’t exist – field edges would be outlined with cones.
Mr. Fidel asked the board for input. Ms. Brezina said she was adamant that 50 ft. setback was too close for safety and too great a variance request. She suggested 75 ft. setback which would be a 50% variance.
Mr. Fidel then asked for audience comments. Mr.& Mrs. White, who live directly across Auburn Rd., said their concern was for safety first and a mound or shrubs would be okay but NOT a chain-link fence that they felt would diminish their property values.
Mr. Fidel asked if golf would be permitted? Ms. Endres responded that golf is prohibited in the Active Park zoning regulations.
Mr. Mezak agreed that the trustees would set up rules, limitations and policy for use of the park. Ms. Blair said this was a new creation that the trustees would continue to monitor.
Mr. Wong asked why this variance was even requested or required since townships are exempt from zoning? Ms. Blair said it looked better if the township followed the same rules required of any resident and this variance hearing provides an opportunity for public input.
Mr. Fidel asked about the royalties received from the gas well – less than $40.00 per month indicating diminished returns and possible future abandonment. Ms. Endres clarified the 150 ft. setback for any USE in Active Park per the Newbury Zoning Manual. The trustees and the school board have an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) regarding the policies for these adjacent properties.
At 8:20 p.m. Chip Hess of Hess & Associates Engineering Inc. arrived and was duly sworn in.
Ms. Brezina proposes a 75 ft. setback instead of 50 ft.
Mr. Hess confirmed the limitations of the site layout, the space between fields and the depth of the gas lines per the gas company drawings as staked out for the surveyor. Mr. Mezak said the surface grade could not be lowered between the well and the driveway. He concured that 75 ft. setback would be “great”.
Ms. Blair asked the board to modify her variance request to 75 ft. setback from Auburn Rd. The board had no objections and accepted the modified variance request. Mr. Skomrock Sr. asked about the north gravel drive. Mr. Fidel stated this board could not limit future development and does not set precedence.
Mr. Fidel asked the board for additional comments or questions. There being no more questions, Mr. Fidel called for a motion stating that a yes vote would grant the variance.
Ms. Brezina moved to accept Var. #1: for the modified 75 ft. Auburn Rd. setback request as presented - with the condition that an appropriate safety barrier, to be determined by the trustees, shall be erected west of the 75 ft. line restricting the active use of the fields. Mr. Wong seconded the motion.
Mary Lee Brezina yes
Tezeon Wong yes
Bill Skomrock, Sr. yes
Ray Fidel yes
Ken Blair yes
Mr. Fidel informed the applicant her variance request #1 was granted.
Mr. Fidel then asked the board to review Var. #2 to permit recreational use less than 200 ft. from the south side line that abuts the R-1 Newbury School property. He questioned how far the fields were from the property line? Mr. Mezak stated that the line had been surveyed and staked every 200 ft. but no actual dimensions were necessary as the site map governs the field layouts.
Tezeon Wong moved to accept Var. #2 as requested; Bill Skomrock, Sr. seconded the motion.
Tezeon Wong yes
Bill Skomrock, Sr. yes
Mary Lee Brezina yes
Ray Fidel yes
Ken Blair yes
Mr. Fidel informed the applicant her variance request #2 was granted.
Mr. Fidel read to the Appellant and audience, “Within 30 days after service of the minutes granting your request, if someone wishes to challenge this decision through the court, he or she may. The required permit can be issued once all requirements regarding this application are satisfied, although if you plan construction it is recommended you wait the 30 days before proceeding. The challenge could reverse or negate our decision. At the time you receive your permit you must also comply with all other requirements of Newbury Township zoning”.
Mr. Fidel informed the Appellant and the audience that the 30-day period commences with the Appellants’ signing receipt of the signed minutes. They will be mailed registered return receipt to the Appellant. All persons receiving notice of the hearing will receive copies of the minutes.
The board members wished the applicant good luck with her project.
Mr. Fidel adjourned the BZA hearing at 8:50 p.m.
Based on the following FINDING OF FACTS, the Board has voted to grant variance #1 for the modified 75 ft. Auburn Rd. setback request as presented - with the condition that an appropriate safety barrier, to be determined by the trustees, shall be erected west of the 75 ft. line restricting the active use of the fields.
and variance #2 to permit recreational use less than 200 ft. from the south side line that abuts the R-1 Newbury School property.
1) The parcel could yield a reasonable return but the proposed site plan allows optimum use of the park.
2) The variance is substantial but the setback barrier is reasonable to provide safety for this recreational location.
3) The essential character of the neighborhood would not be substantially altered and the adjoining property owners would suffer no detriment as a result of this variance.
4) The variance has no effect on delivery of governmental services.
5) The owner purchased the property without specific knowledge of these Active Park zoning restrictions for it’s final park use.
6) The property owner’s predicament could not be obviated through some method other than a variance as the proposed site map field locations are the most logical and require the least amount of disturbance to areas of the park that are best left wooded and undisturbed.
7) The spirit and intent behind the zoning requirement would be observed and substantial justice done by granting the variance. Such other criteria, which the Board believes relates to determining whether the zoning regulation is equitable; the 75 ft. Auburn Rd. setback barrier provides for adequate safety. The adjacent property owners in attendance agreed to the variance conditions.
Mr. Fidel adjourned the BZA meeting at 9:00 p.m.
Tue, July 6, 2010
by Ann Wishart