BOAA Meeting Minutes – 05/17/2017


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MINUTES FOR May 17, 2017


Dan Muth Devin Brown, Director
Michael Schacht, Vice-Chairman  Shanna Pearce, Executive Assistant
Michael Bragiel, via phone

Board of Adjustment and Appeals Meeting

Item #1    Call to order.

Chairman Dan Muth called the meeting to order at 11:33 a.m.

Item #2    Roll Call/Determination of a Quorum.

Chairman Dan Muth called for roll call, quorum was present. Board member Michael Bragiel attended via phone conference.

Item #3    Call to the Public (Forms must be turned in at this time).

No public in attendance.

Item #4    Approval of the minutes from the March 8, 2017 meeting.

No discussion.

Chairman Dan Muth opened for a motion.
Vice-Chairman Michael Schacht moved to approve the March 8, 2017 meeting minutes.
Board member Michael Bragiel seconded the motion.
Voting is unanimous.

Item #5    Discussion of the role of the Board of Adjustment and Appeals and the laws and regulations that apply to it.

Devin Brown reviewed A.R.S. Chapter 6. Article 2.11-816 and the Planning and Zoning handbook, Chapter 5. 5.2 Role of Board of Adjustment, which governs the role of the Board.

Mr. Brown explained the two (2) basic roles of the Board. 1) Interpret the zoning ordinance if someone appeals to the Board. 2) Determine variancs.

Vice-Chairman Michael Schacht noted that the statutes stated the zoning issues were not in the boards’ purview, those issues were for the Board of Supervisors adding that the variances in the past had been for older modular and mobile homes age and condition.

Mr. Brown referred to page 46 of the handbook; the four (4) key criteria in evaluating a variances, noting these were the general criteria and that there were more specific criteria in the Apache County Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Brown explained that there were special circumstances to warrant a variance, inherent to a lot. Mr. Brown also explained the special circumstances or hardships and what constituted a hardship.

Mr. Schacht referred to the past approvals and questioned how to separate feelings from requirements.

Mr. Bragiel agreed and felt that some of the past variance should not have come before the board as they did not meet the criteria. Mr. Schacht disagreed and explained the board’s process adding that the board was not a last resort and the applicants’ right to appeal. Mr. Bragiel questioned if the variance application should go to the Planning and Zoning commission if not related to physical, topographical or geographical issues.

Mr. Brown stated they have a right to bring an application before the board and added that staff would need to clarify the meaning of a hardship to the applicants.

Mr. Muth quoted section of the planning and zoning handbook “…The benefits, attractiveness…and the criteria for the variance don’t fit” and stated this was the most clarifying statement for the role of the board. Mr. Muth added that in the past the board had always heard variances that were related to the age and affordability of the manufactured home and explained the history of granting all applications and adding conditions. Mr. Muth felt that half should not have been approved.

Mr. Bragiel and Mr. Brown agreed and discussed the adding of conditions. Mr. Bragiel state that the role of the board was to consider the variance for the land, not for the person or building.  Mr. Brown agreed and added that the bases for the manufacture home ordinance was property values and aesthetics and when looking at granting a variance, the board should look at the hardship.

Mr. Muth stated there were issues with the 15 year clause in the ordinance and that it needed to be addressed; changed by the commission. He also added that the board had, in the past, operated very liberally in granting variances.

Mr. Schacht agreed and explained his concerns with the present look of the community and recommended placing conditions on the variance, having staff follow-up to insure conditions were met and enforcement for those that don’t meet the conditions noting that the board was not an enforcement board and to help retain the respect for the board. Mr. Schacht did not feel that the board had been acting liberally in the past by recognizing the issues and adding conditions.

Mr. Bragiel stated that past applications did not met the five (5) criteria for granting a variance. Mr. Brown agreed and clarified the bases for the board’s approval and stated it was difficult to argue the any manufacture home met the criteria, Mr. Brown agreed with Mr. Muth that the ordinance needed to be changed.

Mr. Bragiel agreed and questioned Mr. Brown if the applicants were required to give reasons for requesting the variance. Mr. Brown advised a copy of the ordinance was given to every applicant.

Mr. Bragiel asked if applications that were being accepted did not meet one of the criteria’s. Mr. Brown replied they have a right to put forth an application. Further discussion on meeting the criteria and submitting an application for the boards review and the role of the board.

Mr. Muth noted that as the county is reviewing the comprehensive plan they had an opportunity to change zoning, setting up zones for certain types of homes or other developments and adding a parcel size limit.

Mr. Brown agreed and stated he felt that based solely on the age limit, 15 years or older, it was more of a conditional use permit (C.U.P) and should be heard by the planning & zoning commission not the board and explained the requirements of a C.U.P.

Board members agreed and discussed the benefits and the commissioner’s role.

Mr. Schacht provided his personal experience with this issue and designated zoning. He stated that the problem he had was with zoning allowing it and felt a re-evaluation of zoning was needed.

Mr. Bragiel noted Greer Article 6, designated zoning, allowing a guest house and minimum acre lots.

Mr. Brown stated staff would continue to address these issues with the commission and also while re-doing the comprehensive plan adding that solely based on the 15 year rule, applications would be submitted as a C.U.P. before the commission; only true variances would be brought before the board. Board members agreed.

Mr. Bragiel questioned if the board could make recommendations to the commission or Board of Supervisors on issues to look at or consider changing. Mr. Brown noted the boards’ role based on the Planning & Zoning handbook, chapter 5.

Mr. Bragiel recommended the board meet and compile a list of issues and concerns for the commission.

Mr. Muth asked Mr. Bragiel how he felt about the density issue. Mr. Bragiel felt it was too restrictive and stated that land owners should be allowed to have a guest house if wanted. Mr. Schact added there should be specification on the kind of buildings and noted other counties requirements. Mr. Bragiel agreed and added the regulations should be enforceable. Board discussed enforcement and the acceptable lots size for multiple homes.

Mr. Brown cautioned the board they were a little out of the agenda item and asked the board if they wanted to place this topic on the next agenda to come up with a list of recommendation for the commission and board. Mr. Muth suggested having a work session. Mr. Brown agreed as the board had experience with manufacture homes that would benefit the commission.

Mr. Muth asked if the board had any further questions or concerns.

Me. Brown advised the board they needed to complete written findings after deciding on an application for possible appeals, as the appeals would go before the Superior Court. Mr. Schacht asked if very complete minutes would suffice for the findings. Mr. Brown agreed and stated staff could also add a separate approval of the findings to the agendas.

Mr. Schacht added that there appeared to be a consistent theme and the need to focus on a resolution and instituting enforcement to improve the image of the county.

Item #6    Report from Staff to the Board, including pending, recent, and future agenda items.

Mr. Brown advised that applicant Thennetta Aul would be on the June 21, 2017 agenda to review for compliance to the conditions set forth with the approval of her variance December 21, 2016.

The board discussed the application, the conditions of the variance, current use of the property, enforcement and possible grants to aide with future enforcement.

Item #7     Adjourn

Chairman Dan Muth opened for a motion.
Vice-Chairman Michael Schacht moved to adjourn.
Michael Bragiel seconded the motion.
Voting is unanimous.

Adjourn 12: 27 p.m.