BOA - May 19th 2015

Mayfield Village
May 19, 2015

The Board of Appeals met in regular session on Tues, May 19, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mayfield Village Civic Center Conference Room. Chairman Prcela presided.

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Present: Mr. Joseph Prcela (Chairman), Mr. Vetus Syracuse (Chairman Pro-Tem), Mrs. Shirley Shatten, Mr. William Russ, and Mr. Stivo DiFranco

Absent: Mr. Tom Hanculak (Law Department)

Also Present:  Mr. John Marrelli (Building Commissioner) and Ms. Deborah Garbo (Secretary)


Mr. Russ, seconded by Mr. Syracuse made a motion to approve the Minutes of Feb 17, 2015.   


Ayes:   Mr. Prcela, Mrs. Shatten, Mr. Russ, Mr. Syracuse, Mr. DiFranco

Nays:   None                                      

Motion Carried. Minutes Approved as Written.


Doris Fullmer
6140 Hemingway Rd.
Great Lakes Fence Co.

  1. A request for a variance from Section 1157.08 (b) to allow for a Full Privacy Fence.


Abutting Property Owners; 

Mayfield Board of Education

John Folkman
 Director of Business Services
1101 SOM Ctr Rd.
Mayfield Hts, 44124

Hemingway Rd.: 6145, 6155, 6150
N. Woodlane Dr.:6175
Woodlane Dr.: 984

(Revision to BOA 2/17/15 Organizational Meeting)

  • Oath of Office  - New Member Stivo DiFranco   
  • Confirm Appointment of Vetus Syracuse to replace Paul Fikaris as Planning & Zoning Representative to the B.O.A.
  • Election of Chairman Pro-Tem



    Mayor Rinker administered the Oath of Office to Stivo DiFranco.

    Stivo was welcomed by all.  

    Stivo DiFranco to serve for a 4-year term as new member of the BOA.    


    Chairman Prcela opened the floor to a motion for Planning & Zoning Representative to the Board of Appeals 2015 nominations.  

    Mr. Russ, seconded by Mrs. Shatten made the motion to nominate Vetus Syracuse.     

    The nominations were closed. Chairman asked if there was any discussion. There was none.

    Chairman asked for a Roll Call on the nomination for Vetus Syracuse.


    Ayes: Mr. Prcela, Mrs. Shatten, Mr. Russ, Mr. Syracuse, Mr. DiFranco   

    Nays: None               

    Motion Carried. Vetus Syracuse to serve as 2015 P & Z Rep to the BOA.


    Chairman Prcela opened the floor to a motion for Chairman Pro–Tem of the Board of Appeals 2015 nominations.  

    Mr. DiFranco, seconded by Mr. Russ made the motion to nominate Vetus Syracuse.   

    The nominations were closed. Chairman asked if there was any discussion. There was none.

    Chairman asked for a Roll Call on the nomination for Vetus Syracuse.    


    Ayes:   Mr. Prcela, Mrs. Shatten, Mr. Russ, Mr. Syracuse, Mr. DiFranco   

    Nays:   None               

    Motion Carried. Vetus Syracuse to serve as 2015 Chairman Pro-Tem to the BOA.


    Chairman Prcela recites the variance request. I’m sure you and Mr. Marrelli have had a conversation.  I had a chance to read your well written letter and I actually took a drive by your home as well.    


    Chairman Prcela stated that anyone wishing to speak must be sworn in, administering the oath to the Board Members, Applicants, & Appellants and asked anyone wishing to speak to state their name and address for the record.

    Doris Fullmer, 6140 Hemingway Rd explains her variance request. When I go in my backyard now, I feel like I’m in the middle of a park. I have no privacy at all. I’m recently retired. When I worked, I worked a lot of hours and really didn’t have the time to spend in the yard. Now I have that time and I’d like to enjoy that time in my yard with my family, friends and myself. I feel like I don’t have a backyard anymore between the noise, the traffic, and the school buses. I put a lot of money and time into it, I’d like to enjoy my yard and my house.   

    Mr. Marrelli states, the type of fence is not one of the four types permitted by our ordinance presently. The height’s o.k. The request is for a solid fence vs. board on board.

    John Klaczik with Great Lakes Fence Co. introduced himself. This is a solid vinyl fence, it’s called Dogwood, a non-bracket system. Doris wanted privacy and a maintenance free product.

    Doris Fulmer said I have two neighbors on the side of me who have privacy fences that were put up years ago.

    Chairman Prcela said, in looking at the plan, the proposal is only on the rear property line?

    Doris Fullmer replied, yes.

    Mr. Marrelli brings attention to site plan of the High School when they did the Stadium Improvements 2 years ago. As you know, there’s a lot of expansion going on here. They re-did the whole field and then did the ball fields. Doris lives in this area here. Traffic has been re-routed to the back of the building. This parking lot is now more active than it’s ever been. I understand there’s a lot of activity & changes since this plan went into effect. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t have more people that abut the School property in this area asking for the same thing in the near future. That back school area is highly populated where before it was just on Friday nights. Kids go back there to smoke to get away from the building.

    Chairman Prcela states, we’re a quasi-judicial body. Our determination in granting the variance is based on a “practical difficulty” or “unnecessary hardship” standard. In the interest of safety & privacy, I don’t believe there’s a lot of trouble makers back there. But I do know, the day I drove by, I saw some kids loitering. Based on what I’m seeing, it looks like you could construe this as a hardship of this parcel. 

    Mrs. Shatten said it’s a lot different, a definite change since she’s built / bought the house. I think that’s a hardship.

    Chairman Prcela agreed it’s definitely changed. I used to coach Youth Football there 10 years ago.

    Mr. Marrelli said they have the new Wildcat Sport & Fitness Center now that the public can use. That goes non-stop.

    Doris Fullmer said there’s actually two parking lots now. It’s like Grand Central Station sometimes in the evenings.

    Mr. Syracuse said I drove to your property this afternoon and around by the School, parked on the corner lot where you live and I walked along your property line. There really is no privacy, especially with access to that parking lot for the new Stadium. I saw other privacy fences in place adjacent to your property which were probably grandfathered in before the zoning code. Walking along that line, I could look into your windows. This isn’t just someone’s back yard. The way I’m looking at it, this constitutes a practical difficulty with that being a public school and all different people in the community use that both for fitness & sports. I feel this variance should be granted.

    Mr. DiFranco asked, is this a variance for only the type of material being used?

    Mr. Marrelli said no, it’s for the type of construction. Board on Board you can see through it on angles. Solid you can’t see through it at all.

    Doris Fullmer said my living room is in the back of my house, when people drive by with their lights on, I can see them, and I’m sure they can see me.

    Mr. Syracuse noticed a lot of trash along the fence line. i.e. plastic bags.

    Chairman Prcela said, we don’t get a lot of these requests, but we’ve seen this before. Has this fence section in general gone through Ordinance Review Committee?

    Mr. Marrelli replied, no.

    Chairman Prcela said maybe Ordinance Review should take a look at it.

    Mr. Marrelli said you have to watch you don’t open a can of worms. Once you go there, you’ll have people boxing themselves in. Then you end up with a non-neighborhood feeling with all these solid walls. To John at Great Lakes, do you normally use this kind of thing on a back line residence?

    John Klaczik replied, every city is different. There are hundreds of solid vinyl. There are semi-privacies, decorative top, lattice top to break up the solid wall, etc.

    Mr. Marrelli said I thought about going to Ordinance Review and re-writing this section. But once you step in that arena.

    John Klaczik agreed. A lot of cities try to avoid that too because you do end up making walls. One that comes to mind is Bay Village. Anything taller than 4’ is considered privacy, doesn’t matter if you put 6’ of netting, it’s considered a privacy fence anything over 48”. A lot of cities try to avoid that, but there’s so many different type of styles. It’s all personal preference.  

    Mr. Marrelli said this is the second request in two years. I think we’re going slow and I want to leave it that way. The opening is the key. I’d like to avoid the snowball effect neighbor to neighbor. I don’t like this guy, so I’m going to box him in. Then you go down the street and it looks institutional.

    Mr. Syracuse said one consideration we have to look at in this situation is it’s a fence only for the rear of her property that abuts Mayfield High School and the Wildcat Sports Facility. This instance is different than if it were granting a variance residential to residential. I don’t think it would be a good idea to run this by Ordinance Review.

    Mr. Marrelli asked about glare when the traffic comes towards the fence and headlights hit it.

    John Klaczik said it’ll bounce off it into the parking lot.

    Mr. DiFranco asked, what is the basis to grant the variance?

    Mr. Marrelli said it would be a “practical difficulty”.

    Chairman Prcela said our Law Director put together a memo for us several years back as to the standard of review in making a determination on a variance, and what the differences may be between the “practical difficulty” standard and the “unnecessary hardship” standard. An “unnecessary hardship” being a higher standard than “practical difficulty”. An example of an unnecessary hardship might be a steep ravine in the middle of the property, perhaps widened over the years as a result of erosion or a stream. John, do you have any issue if we grant this, that there may be a precedence set for the rest of the houses there?

    Mr. Marrelli replied, if I lived over there, I’d do the same thing.

    Mr. Russ concurred. You have residential against commercial here.

    Chairman Prcela states, abutting properties have received notice on this. John, have we received any comments on this, any objections?

    Mr. Marrelli replied, I didn’t get any phone calls, no objections. Usually if someone is against it, they’re here or they call.

    Doris Fullmer said I talked to Mr. Polk and Mrs. Janoch on Hemingway Rd. They said if I wanted them to come, they’d come. They know exactly what I’m going through and I have their support.

    Chairman Prcela states, that’s another hurdle, neighbors get a notice and a chance to come represent themselves. It sounds like we have no formal objection here.

    Mr. Syracuse said to your question Stivo, there are seven factors to be considered in determining whether a property owner has encountered “practical difficulties”:

    1. Whether the property will yield a reasonable return, or whether there can be any beneficial use of the property without the variance.
    2. Whether the variance is substantial.
    3. Whether the essential character of the neighborhood would be substantially altered or whether adjoining properties would suffer a substantial detriment as a result of the variance.
    4. Whether the variance would adversely affect the delivery of governmental services
    5. Whether the property owner purchased the property with knowledge of the zoning restriction.
    6. Whether the property owner’s predicament feasibility can be obviated through some other method other than a variance.
    7. Whether the spirit and intent behind the zoning requirement would be observed and substantial justice done by granting the variance.


    Mr. Syracuse said I think based on those factors, this is exactly the type of situation where a practical difficulty is met for an area variance. 

    John Klaczik said the existing chain link fence is owned by the School and that would stay and it goes around the entire perimeter of the School property from what I can see.

    Chairman Prcela asked if there’s a gap between the proposed fence and the School’s.

    John Klaczik said yes.   

    Mr. Marrelli said there won’t be a devils strip in there that can’t be maintained.  

    Chairman Prcela asked if any further questions or comments. There were none.


    Mrs. Shatten, seconded by Mr. Russ made a motion to approve the variance request from Section 1157.08 (b) to allow for a full privacy fence along the back property line at 6140 Hemingway Rd. as proposed.  


    Ayes: Mr. Prcela, Mrs. Shatten, Mr. Russ, Mr. Syracuse, Mr. DiFranco       

    Nays: None                                          

    Motion Carried. Variance Approved.

    Right to Appeal
    Chairman Prcela stated written notice will be mailed by the Building Department confirming the decision and any interested party has the right to appeal within 10 days.


    There being no further business, Mr. Russ, seconded by Mrs. Shatten made a motion for adjournment. The meeting adjourned at 6:55 p.m.