Decision on West Jeff zoning variance postponed


(Posted Sept. 24, 2015)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

A request to obtain zoning variances on a property at West Main Street and Putnam Avenue in West Jefferson is on hold for at least a few more weeks.

Owner Michelle Carmazzi, who has been trying to sell the corner lot, is seeking variances so a modular home can be built there. The Planning and Zoning Commission denied her request, which then went before village council Sept. 21.

After a 30-minute public hearing on the matter, council members agreed with President Ron Garver to adjourn the hearing until the next meeting so that council can obtain more information and get clarifications from the village law director.

Carmazzi and realtor Elizabeth Finchum said that a modular home on the site would enhance home values in the neighborhood. Their zoning variance request is to alter setback distances to accept such a structure.

The Planning and Zoning Commission denied their appeals, citing the size of the lot. Commission chairperson Dean Bollinger said the lot is too narrow.

“We denied the request on safety issues, especially in case of fire,” he said.

West Jefferson resident Theodore Gangluff agreed that the lot wasn’t big enough for the planned changes.

“The lot is 7,500 square feet, smaller than what is required by ordinance,” he said. “The (required) side setback is 30 feet and they want eight feet. The front setback is 35 feet and they want 15.”

Gangluff also said he didn’t want a modular home there because it would decrease the value of other homes in the area.

Molly Stone, who lives in a modular home, also said the lot is too small.

Finchum said she has had three prospective buyers for the lot, and Carmazzi mentioned a prospective buyer, but none were present at the hearing.

Council voted 6-0 to put the issue off until the next council meeting, which is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 5.

In another zoning issue, council gave a first reading to an ordinance that would add noncompliance fees to the zoning code. The fees were separated from the 2012 version of the code, said Arnie Booth, zoning inspector.

The fees are being reinstated and updated, with an administrative fee added. According to the ordinance, the first occurrence of not meeting a fee schedule would amount to a $100 fine; a second occurrence in the same year would be $200.

The administrative fee would be $50 for the first offense and $75 for any subsequent occurrence in the same year. The administrative fee is added any time paperwork has to be filed with the county auditor, Booth said.

Council must approve the fees before they can be added to the zoning code. A second reading is set for Oct. 5.

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