BOA - August 16th 2016

Mayfield Village
Aug 16, 2016

The Board of Appeals met in regular session on Tues, Aug 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mayfield Village Civic Center Conference Room. Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse presided.


Present: Mr. Vetus Syracuse (Chairman Pro-Tem), Mr. Stivo DiFranco, Mrs. Alexandra Jeanblanc, and Mr. John Michalko

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

Absent: Mr. Joseph Prcela (Chairman) and Mr. Mark Guidetti (Law Department)


Mr. Michalko, seconded by Mrs. Jeanblanc made a motion to approve the Minutes of March 15, 2016.     


Ayes: Mr. Syracuse, Mr. DiFranco, Mrs. Jeanblanc, and Mr. Michalko
Nays: None

Motion Carried. Minutes Approved as Written.


Applicant: Greg Powelson (6674 Seneca Rd.)

  1. A request for a variance from Section 1157.08 (b) to allow for construction of a Solid Panel Fence.

Abutting Property Owners

Seneca Rd.      6682, 6684

SOM Ctr. Rd. 865, 875, 881, 885


Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse called the meeting to order. Tonight we have consideration of Case #2016-02. The applicant is Greg Powelson, 6674 Seneca Rd. requesting a variance to allow for construction of a solid panel fence. The abutting property owners have been notified.


Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse 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.

Greg Powelson introduced himself. We’re the first house on the corner next to the Dentist office. We have three properties that butt up to the west side of our property, the Dentist office, the 2nd & the 3rd house on Seneca. It’s kind of an unusual property in that we have five neighbors if you will. We moved in April 2007. When we moved in there was already a solid vinyl fence on the east side of our property. The rest of the fencing around our property that was there was a chain link.

In 2008 the property two doors down from the Dentist which would be the third one on SOM down from Seneca Rd decided to cut down their hedge which existed between our two properties. It was pretty wooded even though it was narrow. They cut it down for whatever reason. That house is a rental property. Once that was cut down we started having problems with that neighbor, saying things to my wife. We decided the easiest way to make that go away would be to put a fence on that part of the property.

We called the city, this was back in 2008. We purchased the fence from Home Depot. They subcontracted out the installation. The installers handled all the permits. The city came out to review what they were doing. We decided to build a fence on the back second third of our property. The fencing we chose was the exact fence to match the fence that was already on our property on the east side. That’s what we did, and that’s been there since 2008. We would have fenced the entire side of the property but it was $15,000 to do it. We did about a $5,000 chunk of it.

We decided about 7 or 8 months ago to redo some of the retaining walls behind our house. In conjunction with that we decided to put a hot tub on our cement patio. Where that hot tub will be situated is now right on the fence line on the 1st house next to the Dentist office. There was no privacy between those two pieces of property. We decided it’s time to finish the fence. We contacted Home Depot to complete the fence on that side. The quote was another $5,000 to do that piece of it. The next thing was to call the city. The city came out, took a look at it and advised us there’s a variance that needs to be addressed.

The choice that we made regarding the fence in 2008 which is about 50% of the west side of our property was decided on and chosen solely to match what was already there when we moved into the house. What we’re looking to do now is simply continue/finish that run on that side of the house. That side of the house right now is the white vinyl and then chain link. We want to complete the white vinyl primarily for privacy purposes and in conjunction with putting in the hot tub out there, which in essence is in the backyard of the 2nd house over there on SOM.

  • Property Fence History by Mr. Marrelli

Mr. Marrelli gives a little history. The west side fence, I came by and I said I’m not sure how this happened. I did some research on it. If you look at paragraph three of the fence code Section 1157.08 it says;

However, an open or a closed fence not over eight feet in height may be placed along the rear or side line which separates residential properties from property used for nonresidential purposes, subject to the written approval of the Building Commissioner…..

When your fence guys came in, they explained that you were against the Dentist office. That’s how it got approved. That was the only section you had. So he has a west side solid fence. The east side solid fence we have no record of, but it’s there. Now to say change the style to finish the yard is kind of absurd.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse asked, is the fence on the east side on their property?

Greg Powelson replied, the one of the east side is our neighbor’s fence. I assume it’s on his property line.

Mr. Marrelli said, I have no record on that fence. 

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse asked, how tall is the fence on the east side?

Mr. Marrelli replied, 6 feet.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse asked, same height as the one on the west side?

Greg Powelson said, what we put in in 2008 was an exact match of what was existing when we moved in.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse asked John, you don’t know when that fence went in on the east side?

Mr. Marrelli replied, I do not.

Greg Powelson replied, it was prior to us moving in. It was already there when we moved in in April of 2007. 

Mr. DiFranco asked for clarification on the side that has the fencing that’s up against the Dentist office.

Mr. Marrelli replied, the west side is up against the Dentist office. His west sideline has the Dentist office and two houses. The fence from the house goes south maybe 50’.

Greg Powelson states, our gate would be where we walk out this side of our house, that gate actually is across from the Dentist office, it’s on the corner of the Dentist office. The fence that we’re looking to complete actually covers two neighbors. It covers the Dentist office and the gray house.

Mr. Difranco asked, so the entire back yard is essentially going to be closed in by a solid fence?

Greg Powelson replied, on the east side where our neighbor built a vinyl fence, he only did maybe the first 35% of his yard where his deck is. The rest of his side is chain link. On the east side is white vinyl for the first third, then chain link for the second two thirds. On the west side, we built the vinyl fence on the first half in 2008 and that’s the back part of our property. That piece of property is where the vinyl fence is currently. That leaves a little bit of Dentist office and the gray house that will complete that side.

Mr. DiFranco said, just so I understand, in 2008 it was because of the Dentist office that it was allowed?

Mr. Marrelli replied, that’s correct.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse asked the applicant to point out the proposed fencing and hot tub on the diagram. Greg demonstrates.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse asked, you’re asking for a variance to complete this vinyl fence that’s already there on the west side?

Greg Powelson replied, yes, just to complete it. 

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse asked, the rear that has the chain link will remain the same?

Greg Powelson replied, no reason to change that.

Mr. Michalko asked John if a setback is required.

Mr. Marrelli replied, no. This is a maintenance free fence so you don’t have to really get to the other side of it, so it could be right on the line.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse asked, does anyone have any more questions.

Jim Klements, 6684 Seneca Rd introduced himself. I have no objection.

Mr. Michalko asked John, have you received any objections from anybody? 

Mr. Marrelli replied, no objections received in my office. 

Mr. DiFranco asked, this was brought in because it doesn’t meet the code specifically?

Mr. Marrelli replied, the fence types allowed, part (b); split rail, board on board and picket.

Mr. DiFranco asked, you don’t have a problem with this type of fencing?

Mr. Marrelli replied, not at all.

Mr. DiFranco asked, what about the existing fence that is unpermitted on one side? What do we do with those types of situations?

Mr. Marrelli replied, I don’t know what to do with it. I have a situation where I can’t tell when it was done. It might even have passed its statute of limitations.

Mr. Michalko states, I go around looking in other areas in the Village and there are some of these type fences, some stockade fencing, etc.

Mr. Marrelli states, let me clarify a couple things. In a situation where there’s a patio and the fence is not on the property line, we’ve allowed those as privacy screens.

Mr. Michalko said, the ones I saw are on the property lines.

Mr. Marrelli said, they could be happening without us knowing about it. 

Mr. DiFranco asked, why doesn’t Mayfield Village allow for the full privacy type?

Mr. Marrelli replied, historically the reason being is because they’re not very wind resistant. We get some high winds through here off the freeways. They act like a sail. If they’re not put in deep enough, or enough cement, we find them leaning because of snow, ice, wind. It then detracts from the whole area.

Mrs. Jeanblanc asked, do you think there’s less of a risk with this particular location because it’s going to be behind a series of buildings?

Mr. Marrelli replied, I don’t know how the winds come through there. All of our fencing that’s been permitted is open so the wind can get through it. The solid fence is nice because they’re maintenance free and nobody can peak in.

Mr. Michalko asked, will these be cemented in?

Greg Powelson replied, yes.

Mr. Michalko asked, what’s the depth of your posts?

Greg Powelson replied, I don’t know. It’s being installed by Home Depot. I could get you that information.

Mrs. Jeanblanc asked, when you look at the neighbor’s fence, is that leaning?

Mr. Marrelli replied, I don’t think so. It looks o.k.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse states, it’s important for the Board to know that our standard review for Area Variances is that the literal application of the zoning regulation would result in a practical difficulty. In granting an Area Variance, we should have to determine that one or both of the following factors are met by the request:

  1. The conditions upon which an application for a Variance is based are particular to the subject property with respect to the physical size, shape or other characteristics of the premises or adjoining premises, differentiating it from other premises in the same district; or that
  2. The Variance would result in an improvement of the property that is more appropriate and more beneficial to the community than would be the case without granting of the Variance.

We did have two of these applications I believe last year. One was with respect to property that was abutting the parking lot at Mayfield High School Wildcat Stadium. That one was approved. The other one was denied. That one was solely residential, abutting only residential, standard size lot.

Mr. Marrelli stated, the one that was denied, the resident tried to build a barrier across the driveway, I guess his dog was barking at cars.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse said, that’s one of the reasons I believe this is in our building code, that you can’t have that solid fence to create a barrier in residential areas. But in this case, I did drive by your property, it does abut commercial property and part of the fence is already there on the other side that matches.

Mr. Marrelli said you have a strange situation here where you have a commercial property that covers part of your yard and the rest does not.


Mr. DiFranco, seconded by Mrs. Jeanblanc made a motion to approve the variance request from Section 1157.08 (b) for Greg Powelson at 6674 Seneca Rd. to allow for construction of a solid panel fence as proposed.


Ayes: Mr. Syracuse, Mr. DiFranco, Mrs. Jeanblanc, and Mr. Michalko
Nays: None

Motion Carried. Variance Approved.

Mr. Marrelli states, for the record, if the Powelson’s decide to finish the rest of the yard, can we get something on the record to allow them to do that with the same style fence without coming back to the Board?

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse replied, that is not what was before us today. We’re only looking at the variance that they’re asking for. They will need to come back.

Right to Appeal

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse 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.


Mr. DiFranco, seconded by Mr. Michalko made a motion to adjourn the meeting.


Ayes: Mr. Syracuse, Mr. DiFranco, Mrs. Jeanblanc, and Mr. Michalko
Nays: None

Motion Carried. Meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.