BOONE COUNTY BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
BOONE COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER
801 E. WALNUT ST., COLUMBIA, MO.
Thursday, May 23, 2002
Chairperson Rootes called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Boone County Commission Chambers having a quorum present.
Chairperson Rootes read the procedural statement stating that this Board is appointed by the Boone County Commission to consider specific application of the zoning and subdivision regulations. The Board is empowered to enter rulings that may give relief to a property owner from the specific application of the Zoning and Subdivision regulations. Generally, variances can only be granted in situations where by reason of shape, topography or other extraordinary or exceptional situation or condition of a specific ordinance would result in peculiar and exceptional difficulties to or exceptional and demonstrable undue hardship upon the owner of the property as an unreasonable deprivation of use as relating to the property. A variance from the strict application of this ordinance can be granted provided the relief requested will not substantially impair the intent, purpose and integrity of the zoning regulations.
Notice of this meeting has been published in accordance with our by-laws for the proper number of days. All decisions of the Board are based on the zoning or subdivision regulations for Boone County, Missouri, and they are hereby made a part of the record of this meeting.
This Board is comprised of five members, with three members constituting a quorum. An applicant must receive at least three votes in order to receive the relief that they have requested from the Board. Any applicant appearing before this Board has the right to be heard by all five members. At times that all five members are not present, the applicant, and only the applicant, may choose to wait until such time as all five members are present to hear their request.
Roll call was taken:
Present: Linda Rootes, Chairperson
Absent: Larry Bossaller, Vice-Chairperson
Also present: Thad Yonke, Staff Bill Florea, Staff
Paula Evans, Secretary
Minutes of April 25, 2002 meeting were approved with no corrections.
Request by Brian Acton to place a mobile home as a second dwelling for a family member on 4.43 acres, located at 4200 E Gordon Rd., Sturgeon.
Planner, Bill Florea gave the staff report stating that this property is zoned A-2. The adjacent zoning is also A-2. The property is located 3 miles south of Sturgeon on Gordon Road. There is a modular home and an outbuilding currently on the property. The applicant is handicapped and would like his brother to place a mobile home on the property in order to be close to provide any assistance. The original zoning for this tract is A-2. The lot was platted as Finley Bridge Subdivision, plat 6 lot 1 in February 2000. The applicant requests a variance under Section 15.C.4 (d) to permit, in case of practical difficulty or unnecessary hardship, for a period of two years, the location of a mobile home on a lot. Staff notified 23 property owners.
Present: Brian Acton, 4200 E Gordon Road, Sturgeon.
Mr. Acton stated that he is requesting a variance because there are some things he can do on his own and some things he needs help with. Mr. Actonís son lives with him but he won't be there forever. Mr. Acton stated that sometimes he has problems and thought that his brother could help him with certain situations if he is close; that would help him.
Mr. Acton stated that he thought about putting a basement under a 32 by 80 doublewide home then decided to call the Planning Department to see if he could put a mobile home in the pasture so his brother would be there if he needed anything. Mr. Acton stated that his father used to come out a lot to help, but his mother hurt her knee and his father has been taking care of her. His father is 74 years old and his mother is 72 years old.
Mr. Acton stated that it would help him with a lot of things like routine maintenance. His old house had an attached garage and he could just go right in to the house. The ramp, when it is icy and slick, is dangerous. Mr. Acton stated that he fell off of it once, his son was home then to help. Mr. Acton stated that he has been stuck in the heat on a lawnmower before and now he carries a cellular phone with him.
Open to public hearing.
In favor of the request.
Present: Brad Acton, 3615 W. Sugar Tree Lane, Columbia.
Brad Acton stated that he is the applicantís brother. Applicantís brother stated that the applicant needed help around the place. It is something he and the applicant had been talking about then made a phone call and they were told there is a possibility to do so.
Chairperson Rootes asked applicantís brother if he would be the one living in the trailer.
Applicantís brother stated yes.
Chairperson Rootes asked if there would be other family members living in the trailer as well.
Applicantís brother stated that his fiancée would be living there and their three kids.
Chairperson Rootes informed the applicantís brother that the Members may have more questions for him later.
Starla Bradley, 3615 W. Sugar Tree Lane, Columbia.
Ms. Bradley stated that she is Brad Actonís fiancée. Applicant has been in this condition for 10 years. Being where he is, he does have a son that is currently living there, which won't last forever. There has been times where the applicant has gotten sick in the middle of the night and needs to go to the hospital. With someone being there and being able to help him, it will help a lot. Applicantís father can no longer attend to him as he could before. Applicant needs someone out there to help with mowing the yard. There had been a situation before where there had been a complaint against applicant because the yard wasnít being mowed and there were some things that werenít being picked up. The applicant couldnít do it, he needs someone out there that can help him with those things.
Chairperson Rootes asked how old the applicantís son is.
Ms. Bradley stated he is 17 years old.
In opposition to the request.
Ron Reitz, 4220 E. Gordon Road, Sturgeon.
Mr. Reitz stated he lives next to the applicant. Mr. Reitz stated that he just moved to that location on April 1, 2002, and likes the applicant a lot and has no personal animosity toward him in any way. They get along pretty well and have never had a problem with the applicant.
Mr. Reitz stated that what he questions is the need for an additional dwelling on the property and have some concerns about the aesthetics of the area and how it may effect property values in the near future. Another concern is maybe with the number of people that might be living there. The applicantís brother had stated that he has 3 children. Mr. Reitz stated that he has seen as many as 7 to 8 vehicles on the property already and at least 3 or 4 of the vehicles appear not to be running and there is a couple of others that are being worked on all the time. The fact that the applicant already has a son living there and maybe another relative, as the applicantís cousin was staying there for some time. Mr. Reitz stated that the applicant has relatives that visit nearly every weekend that mow and do various yard work. The applicant does the mowing himself often.
Mr. Reitz stated that when the son does move out why can't someone live there in the house, not necessarily the brother. It is just the proximity of the neighborhood and of the dwelling next to Mr. Reitzí. The lots out there are longer than they are wide, so some of the homes are close together. With the addition of more cars and another singlewide trailer on the property in addition to the mobile home that is there. Mr. Reitz stated that he just wished to voice his opposition against the request.
Kim Reitz, 4220 E. Gordon Road, Sturgeon.
Mrs. Reitz stated that she had a letter from a neighbor who couldnít be here.
Chairperson Rootes asked Mr. Reitz if they lived east or west of the applicant.
Mr. Reitz stated east.
Chairperson Rootes asked if that was lot 16.
Mr. Reitz stated it was lot 2.
Member Bowne stated that those houses are very close together. Member Bowne asked Mr. Reitz how close together the houses were.
Mrs. Reitz stated about 75 to 100-feet.
Chairperson Rootes asked Mr. Reitz if his home was a mobile home.
Mr. Reitz stated no, it is a 2-level home.
Member Bowne asked if there were any other mobile homes in this area.
Mrs. Reitz stated no.
Member Bowne asked if there were any modular homes.
Mr. Reitz stated not that he knew of, not in that subdivision.
Chairperson Rootes read the letter from Stan Brooks, 3905 E. Graybill Road, Sturgeon, dated May, 22, 2002, to the Board of Adjustment concerning the Acton request. The letter stated "we apologize we were unable to attend tonightís meeting, however, we would like for this letter to be considered as our thoughts on the request you are considering tonight. Even though we understand and sympathize with Mr. Actonís situation, as adjoining property owners, we can not support this request. We believe that the current planning and zoning guidelines concerning the minimum amount of acreage for a mobile home should be enforced. We also feel that if a mobile home is allowed on this site, it will have a negative effect on surrounding property values. Because of this we would encourage you to not allow this variance. Sincerely Stanley D. Brooks and Joureen S. Brooks."
Chairperson Rootes asked staff if they had contact with the Brooks.
Mr. Florea stated they didnít have contact with the Brooks, but staff did receive another letter from Irv Bales which was received today. Mr. Florea stated that staff received a phone call from Mr. Bob Gordon who is a neighbor and said he is against the proposal.
Chairperson Rootes read a letter dated May 23, 2002 which stated, "My name is Irv Bales, I reside at 3903 Graybill Road, Sturgeon, in Finley Ridge subdivision. I will not be able to attend the Planning Board hearing this evening because of another commitment, however, I would like to address the appeal for a variance by Mr. Acton. Our property adjoins the Acton property. There are three points I would like to make. First, the Acton house and the house east of it are already out of character with the surrounding homes because of the close proximity in which they are built. One is built near itís east property line, the other near itís west property line, which puts them very close together. Adding a mobile home to the Acton property will increase the out of character appearance. Next, adding a singlewide mobile home to this area will most likely detract from the property value of the surrounding homes. Third, zoning rules are designed for the express purpose of protecting the interests of surrounding property owners and the aura of the community. Granting this variance would be a breach of the purpose of zoning regulations. For the reasons noted above I am asking the Planning Board to reject the request for variance by Mr. Acton. Cordially, Irv Bales.
Lisa Shireman, 19150 N. Route V, Sturgeon.
Ms. Shireman stated that she is just now moving in to her house. Ms. Shireman stated that she has just built a house on north Route V and she and her husband are concerned about property values.
Ms. Shireman stated that when she was looking for land, she looked high and low in Boone County to find land that she would want to build her house next to. She wanted to be in a good neighborhood so that when she decided down the road that she might want to resell her house that there would be nothing that is going to stop someone from buying the property because of something detracting from the appearance of it. Ms. Shireman stated that she encourages Boone County to stick to the 10-acre. The property has already been divided in half, it is on a four-acre parcel and it is supposed to be a 10-acre parcel in order to have a trailer to begin with. Ms. Shireman stated that she does not see putting another mobile home on 4-acres.
Ms. Shireman stated that while she sympathizes with the applicant, she would encourage him to buy property next to his home. Ms. Shireman stated that she believes that they need to keep to the 10-acre because that is minimal to what she would want trailers to be on in Boone County.
Ms. Shireman stated that on the positive side if Mr. Acton needs any assistance, she and her husband try to be very neighborly people and would be more than happy to assist Mr. Acton in any way if he needs his lawn mowed or shrubs trimmed, she would be happy to help out in that situation.
Tina Burkett, 4308 Gordon Road, Sturgeon.
Ms. Burkett stated that she has been a landowner in that area since 1979 and lived on Graybill Road originally, then bought property on Gordon Road. Ms. Burkett stated that she knew the Tinkers who originally placed the mobile home there, then it was sold to the Lowhornís who then divided the property. Ms. Burkett stated that she was surprised that the Lowhornís were even granted a building permit to do that because that would leave the mobile home on 4 or 4 Ĺ-acres. Ms. Burkett stated that she is against this request because of the land value in the area. Ms. Burkett stated that she would be more than happy to help Mr. Acton in any emergency situation or anything that he may need. Ms. Burkett stated that she met Mr. Actonís son and enjoy them as neighbors. Ms. Burkett stated that she can't see putting another mobile home there for the convenience.
Closed to public hearing.
Chairperson Rootes stated that there has been reference to dividing this parcel and asked staff if they knew the history of that.
Mr. Florea stated that it was re-subdivided in February 2000. It was an approximately 10-acre tract and was split in to two tracts. There was a doublewide on the property at the time it was subdivided. Under County regulations, doublewides or modular homes are treated the same as a site built home. So the minimum lot size would be 2 Ĺ acres in order to place a doublewide on the property. Singlewides are treated a little differently. In a platted subdivision, in order for a singlewide mobile home to be allowed, all lots in the subdivision have to be 5-acres or greater.
Chairperson Rootes stated that the existing dwelling that is referred to as a modular home is a doublewide and it falls under the category of a site built home.
Mr. Florea stated that is correct.
Chairperson Rootes stated that the Board has heard from staff about a phone call and a letter and asked the staff if there were any other responses.
Mr. Florea stated none that he is aware of.
Ms. Burkett asked if the land that the doublewide is on is attached to the subdivision, all the land there is zoned agriculture. That land was never attached to the subdivision unless Mr. Lowhorn did it.
A member from the audience stated that Mr. Lowhorn couldnít do it because it was platted.
Mr. Florea stated that he was not sure what Ms. Burkett meant by attached.
A member from the audience stated that there was 120-acres in Finley Ridge subdivision and that parcel was never part of the subdivision so it falls under the 10-acre rule. 10-acres for a singlewide, isnít that correct?
Mr. Florea stated no, it isnít.
Audience member stated that this was the case at the time the subdivision was built.
Mr. Florea stated that the zoning is A-2, which is the original zoning, it has always been 2 Ĺ acres for a doublewide or a site built home.
Audience member stated that she was speaking of a singlewide.
Mr. Florea stated that in that case, it depends on if it is inside a subdivision. If it is in a subdivision, all of the lots in the subdivision have to be 5-acres or greater in order to qualify for a mobile home to be placed in a subdivision.
Audience member stated that it is not in the subdivision, so doesnít the 10-acre rule apply.
Mr. Florea stated that it is in the subdivision, it may not be in the land that was platted as a subdivision, but it was subdivided in the year 2000.
Chairperson Rootes stated that there may be some confusion over the fact that the request is not to place a first dwelling as a singlewide trailer on this property, that would be a different situation. The request is for a variance for a second dwelling under a hardship condition and therefore the 10-acres does not apply to that.
Mr. Florea stated that there is no 10-acre rule for mobile homes.
Chairperson Rootes asked what the rule is for a singlewide.
Mr. Florea stated that singlewides can go on legal lots of record. It is easier to describe where they can't go.
They canít go in to a platted subdivision if any lot in that subdivision is less than 5-acres in size. Otherwise they can go anywhere.
Chairperson Rootes stated that if this were a vacant lot, they could not place a singlewide trailer there.
Mr. Florea stated that is correct.
Chairperson Rootes stated that this request for a variance for the second dwelling for the hardship is not bound by any size limitation.
Mr. Florea stated that is true, however, that doesnít answer the question as to whether or not if the applicant gets this variance, the applicants are also required to get a conditional use permit as well. Because trailers can be placed in subdivisions where lots are less than five acres if they are granted a conditional use permit.
Member Bowne stated that if the Board approves this variance then it would become a question of applying for a conditional use permit.
Mr. Florea stated that is correct.
Member Bowne asked if that application would also come before this Board.
Mr. Florea stated no, that would go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and the County Commission.
Member Bowne stated that they can't address that until the Board addresses the first issue.
Mr. Florea stated that is correct.
Chairperson Rootes stated that it seems that this Board has approved several variances in the past for second residences that were on small parcels, did those all have to go for conditional use permits?
Mr. Florea stated that he didnít know which of those have received conditional use permits, they would have if they were in platted lots or pre-existing lots. In most cases they were on A-2 land and many of them didnít meet the 2 Ĺ acres of the A-2 zoning district so they were lots of record. They wouldnít have been required to get a conditional use permit.
Chairperson Rootes stated that those were grandfathered in some way.
Mr. Florea stated that is correct.
Member Bowne stated that the applicants son is 17-years old and asked the applicant if his son was still in school.
Applicant stated yes.
Member Bowne asked what grade he is in.
Applicant stated he would be going in to the eleventh grade.
Member Bowne asked the applicant the ages of his brotherís kids.
Applicant stated 11, 9, and 4.
Member Bowne asked the applicant how many people live in his home.
Applicant stated that he, his son, and nephew temporarily. The applicant stated that his nephew would be moving out this summer.
Member Bowne asked applicant where his father lives.
Applicant stated Columbia.
Member Bowne asked applicant if he had any other relatives.
Applicant stated that he has other kids but they are with his ex-wife in Columbia.
Member Bowne asked applicant if his other relatives also live in Columbia.
Applicant stated yes, his sister.
Member Bowne stated that Mr. Reitz testified that the applicant had 7 to 8 vehicles at his home.
Applicant stated yes, he had a couple of blown motors and they will be gone. One is to be painted. Applicant stated that he would be down to about 3 or 4 vehicles.
Member Bowne asked applicant if he drives.
Applicant stated yes.
Member Bowne asked the applicant if he was aware that there was an ordinance in Boone County that does not allow non-running vehicles to be on your property.
Applicant stated that he was aware of that.
Member Bowne stated that she believed the limit on that is two vehicles.
Member Bowne stated that it seems that the applicant is looking for a long term solution and that is not what this variance is meant for. Whenever they say a trailer is going to be on the property for two years, Member Bowne interprets that to be a short term solution and that is not what applicant is looking for. If the place is too much for the applicant, why live there?
Applicant stated that he likes it out in the country.
Member Bowne asked the applicant if he worked.
Applicant stated no.
Member Bowne asked the applicant what he uses for income.
Applicant stated social security and long-term disability through 3-M. Applicant stated that he went through a malpractice lawsuit case 7 years ago.
Member Bowne stated that the reason she asked that is because one, applicants son is still going to be there for two years, and two, there is always the option of hiring help or requesting assistance. Columbia is not that far away, it is not like it is the other side of the world. Member Bowne stated that she has concerns about the close proximity already of the applicant to the neighbor, let alone increasing the density in that area. Member Bowne stated that because of her conservation background, she has concerns about putting that many people in that much housing in one concentrated area. Applicant is looking for a long term solution with a short term answer. That may not be the best thing. Whether it is the best thing in the applicants interest or the best thing in the neighborhoods interest, it wasnít going to fall under either case.
Ms. Bradley stated she believed that it was misunderstood when Member Bowne stated long-term. Ms. Bradley stated that she and applicants brother are in the process of buying their own land in Harrisburg. Ms. Bradley stated that she knows that they wonít be there forever and donít want to be there forever. This is a process to help the applicant. Ms. Bradley stated that she initially wanted to put a doublewide out there and the Planning Department stated no because of the two-year policy of the dwelling being temporary only. That was the initial goal, this is not a long-term situation.
Member Clementz asked the applicants brother and his fiancee if they both worked in Columbia.
Ms. Bradley stated they both work during the day.
Member Clementz stated that they would be able to be with the applicant at night.
Ms. Bradley stated yes.
Member Clementz stated that the applicantís son stays with the applicant at night.
Applicant stated that sometimes he goes home to his mother.
Member Clementz asked if the applicantís son attended school in Sturgeon.
Applicant stated yes.
Chairperson Rootes stated that Member Bowne was correct when she said that generally what the Board is looking at are short-term solutions. The Board usually sees requests by elderly people that are not looking forward to a lot of years left and someone would need to help them out. There is quite a bit of expense and trouble in setting up a home and providing the sewer lagoon to go with it for a really short term kind of thing. The Board also finds that when a variance is granted, if they decide the hardship is such that the variance is needed and people get the place set up, then there is no end to it and it becomes a long-term thing. If there were some sort of new crisis that had arisen then that may be a little different but it seems that the applicants situation has been similar for quite a while and is not anticipated to change for a while. It has been stated that this would just be a short term stay over place until applicants brother could move on to his own place.
Member Bowne stated that the applicant would be right back where they started right now. Member Bowne stated that she doesnít believe that this is the answer to the situation. The applicant is fortunate that he is able to do as much as he can. Member Bowne realizes that there are times that whenever things arise, applicant lives in a good neighborhood, if an emergency came up there are many people there that would help the applicant. With someone not living right there in the home, then the applicant will have to get to a place where he can contact them anyway. The applicant would have had to contact his brother anyway whether he lived in the trailer next door or whether the applicant would have to contact the neighbor next to him. There would have to be some kind of communication if something were to happen. In an emergency situation, they are a phone call away. That is going to be the case whether it is the applicants brother living in the trailer or whether it is the Reitzí next door or any of the other neighbors. Applicants son is in the house for two more years, Member Bowne stated she does not see an immediate need here.
Applicant stated that sometimes his needs are rather personal, that is why he wanted his brother there.
Chairperson Rootes asked applicant how long he has owned this property.
Applicant stated a year and a half.
Chairperson Rootes stated that Ms. Bradley had stated that the applicants condition has been similar for 10-years.
Applicant stated yes, but he does have some trouble as years go by, he gets sick from time to time and gets massive bladder infections. Applicant stated that he does mow the lawn but not in the heat because the heat makes him sick.
Chairperson Rootes stated that the applicant has heard from all the members that they do not feel that this route is the right thing within the regulations and it is not the purpose.
Applicant stated that 23 letters were sent out.
Mr. Florea stated that is correct.
Applicant stated that five people are present who are in opposition. Applicant stated that he though it had to be the majority of the property owners.
Chairperson Rootes stated no, it is the vote that makes the decision.
Applicant stated that he misunderstood the procedure.
Chairperson Rootes stated that the Board is influenced by the people that testify and by letters.
Member Bowne stated that the County is required to notify all the landowners within so many feet of the property to let them know that this request was coming before the board. Each of those landowners have the right to voice their opinion if they choose.
Chairperson Rootes stated that according to the statement that was read at the beginning of the meeting, the applicant would need to have three votes in favor of the request.
Member Bowne made a motion to deny the request.
Member Clementz seconded the motion to deny the request.
Applicant asked if it would be legal if he were to put a basement under a bigger modular home in place of his current one.
Mr. Florea stated yes.
Applicant stated a 32 by 80 modular home on a basement would be legal.
Mr. Florea stated yes. However, there is still a limitation on the number of unrelated individuals in a single dwelling unit, that limit is 4 unrelated individuals.
Chairperson Rootes asked staff how that was counted. If Mr. Acton and his son, nephew, and brother are all related. The brothers three children are related.
Member Bowne stated that those arenít the brothers children, they are his fianceeís children.
Ms. Bradley stated that they are both her and applicantís brothers children.
Mr. Florea stated that staff has to look at the legal definition of what a single family is. It is an unlimited number of related individuals, it is not more than four unrelated individuals. It is unspecific as to what relationships qualify as in does a brother-in-law qualify as a family member. Mr. Florea stated he doesnít know. The regulations are not specific.
Chairperson Rootes stated that it sounds like entire group is related.
Mr. Florea stated that they may be. If you were to have a family of four they would not be able to take in a boarder, because that would be five unrelated individuals. The boarder would be unrelated to four individuals. That means that there are five unrelated individuals living in that unit. The question is if an in-law qualifies under that definition, Mr. Florea stated that he doesnít know the answer to that, staff would have to seek legal council.
Chairperson Rootes stated that this would be part of the applicants concern. First of all applicant would have to apply for a building permit to find out about what the applicant would be able to build there. If applicant did have intentions of a certain group of people living there with the applicant, that would have to be clarified with staff.
Mr. Florea stated that staff would work with the applicant through the Planning office on those issues.
Member Bowne made and Member Clementz seconded a motion to deny a request by Brian Acton to place a mobile home as a second dwelling for a family member on 4.43 acres, located at 4200 E Gordon Rd., Sturgeon.
Chairperson Rootes - Yes Member Bowne - Yes
Member Clementz - Yes
Motion to deny request carries. 3 Yes
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.
Paula L Evans
Minutes approved this 27th day of June 2002.