BOA - January 17th 2017

Mayfield Village
Jan 17, 2017

The Board of Appeals met in regular session on Tues, Jan 17, 2017 at 7:35 p.m. at the Mayfield Village Civic Center Conference Room. Chairman Prcela presided.


Present: Mr. Joseph Prcela (Chairman), Mrs. Alexandra Jeanblanc, and Mr. John Michalko

Also Present:  Mr. John Marrelli (Building Commissioner), Ms. Deborah Garbo (Secretary), and Steve Jerome (Council Member/arrived @ 7:45 pm)

Absent: Mr. Vetus Syracuse (Chairman Pro-Tem), Mr. Stivo DiFranco, and Mr. Mark Guidetti (Law Department)


  • Election of Chairman
  • Election of Chairman Pro-Tem
  • Election of Secretary
  • Election of Planning & Zoning Representative to the B.O.A.

Chairman Prcela called to order the meeting of the Mayfield Village Board of Appeals. We are missing two of our members, but we have enough people for a quorum, so we’ll move forward.

We’ll begin with our Organizational Meeting. Every year we elect a Chairman, Chairman Pro-Tem, Secretary and our P & Z representative who is Vetus. I’d like to entertain a motion at this time.

Mrs. Jeanblanc, seconded by Mr. Michalko made the motion to retain the incumbents in their present positions.  

Chairman Prcela asked if there was any discussion. There was none.

The nominations were closed.

Chairman asked for a Roll Call on the nominations.


Ayes: Mr. Prcela, Mrs. Jeanblanc, Mr. Michalko  
Nays: None              

Motion Carried.

Joseph Prcela to serve as 2017 Chairman.

Vetus Syracuse to serve as 2017 Chairman Pro-Tem.

Deborah Garbo to serve as 2017 Secretary.

Vetus Syracuse to serve as 2017 P & Z Rep to the BOA.   

Chairman Prcela concludes the Organizational portion of the meeting.


Mrs. Jeanblanc, seconded by Mr. Michalko made a motion to approve the Minutes of Dec 20, 2016.       


Ayes: Mr. Prcela, Mrs. Jeanblanc, Mr. Michalko

Nays: None                                      

Motion Carried. Minutes Approved as Written.

Consideration of Case Number 2017-01:

Ron & Tina Lew
994 Worton Park Dr.

  1. A request for a 5’ side yard variance and 12% variance from the required 35% of the average width of the lot at the building line from Section 1181.07 (a) to allow for construction of an attached garage.
  2. A request for a variance from Section 1367.02 to allow for construction of a front facing attached garage.

Abutting Property Owners:

Worton Park Drive: 980, 1006, 981, 989, 99
N. Woodlane Drive: 6214
Norman Lane: 6217


Chairman Prcela states, before we get into our Case #2017-01 tonight, I noticed that we have a young student with us.

Stephanie Zbiegien, student from Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin introduced herself. Everyone welcomed Stephanie.


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.

Chairman Prcela states, the abutting property owners have been notified and we’ve all had a chance to review your packet of information. Maybe you could explain to us in a little bit more detail any hardship.

Michael H. Wildermuth, Architect for Ron and Tina Lew introduced himself. I am a member as well of a Board of Zoning Appeals, re-elected last Wednesday. Everyone has a copy of this plan and I also has some photos. The existing garage is this little section in the middle here, you come around to the end and enter in from the side. The existing garage is really quite small. When Ron pulls the van in, you can see the way his van is set up, it’s got a fold down ramp that comes out of the side which he kneels down on.

Chairman Prcela said, for the record, maybe you should identify his ailment that requires Dr. Lew to be in a van.

Tina Lew replied, he’s paralyzed.

Michael Wildermuth continued, the problem with the existing garage is when Ron pulls into the garage and puts the ramp down, he has to go out this way, and the ramp is so close to the outside of the garage that he has to end up driving over the side of the ramp. Because of that, he’s actually fallen out of his chair a few times.

When Tina called me, she asked if there was a way they could get a garage to fit out there without getting too crazy with variances. As you can see on the plan, the new garage actually overlaps over into the old garage. It utilizes a portion of the existing garage for maneuvering on the side. The extra space inside that’s left over is called Den/Office on the plan. That would be raised up to be even with the existing house so he won’t have any problem with maneuverability back and forth in that space. This ramp that’s in the back will allow him to get up easily into the house, with a nice low slope ramp.

Mrs. Jeanblanc said, for the purpose of the record, I’m assuming that the distance of this ramp is the requirement for the slope.

Michael Wildermuth replied, it’s probably twice the length that would be required in order for him to get up, so it’ll be much easier for him to get up and into the house. 

Mrs. Jeanblanc said, I think the length is deliberate to determine, so it is a lower slope.

Michael Wildermuth replied, that’s correct. It’s somewhere like 1:30, close to twice the requirement. For a ramp, it’s 1:12 and 1:20 for a slope. That’s the general of what we’re looking to do, to try and maximize the amount of space we could get and raising the roof of that existing garage up higher. A lot of the houses in that area have those very low ceiling garages. We’ll raise all that up. The new garage will have higher head room because it’ll be built up to match the peak of the house. I know this isn’t the Architectural Review Board, but the general gist here is that the front of the house peak wise from the front will balance each other and material that’ll be used on the front of the house will match what’s over here, which is an existing stone. It’ll be a nice balance in the front of the house.

Mr. Michalko asked, what’s the height of the garage door?

Michael Wildermuth replied, standard 7’ door.

Mr. Michalko asked, no racks or anything on the van that would interfere with that?

Tina Lew replied, we’ve already taken them off. When our garage door closes, we have like 2 inches between the back of his bumper and the garage door, very tight.

Michael Wildermuth states, in doing so, it pushes us out to within the 5 feet. I started out getting a little bit closer, after talking to John, he recommended we stay at 5 feet.

Tina Lew said, and it doesn’t go past our current driveway as it is now.

Chairman Prcela said, to be clear, a driveway setback requirement is different from a building setback.

Mr. Marrelli said that’s correct, the driveway setback is 3’ off the property line and building setback is 10’.

Michael Wildermuth said, the existing driveway is actually closer to 5’ off the line, so we lined it up with that to be less of an impact. There’s a very large tree that’s coming out. Tina corrected, it came out today.

Mr. Marrelli asked, are you going to have any issues with backing out?

Tina Lew replied, he’ll probably back into the garage off the street.

Mr. Marrelli said, the reason I mention that, if you would choose you could put a turnaround off your driveway. As you pull out, you could back into it and go out.

Tina Lew said, we got rid of that tree, so he could turn, come in and go around now.

Mr. Marrelli replied o.k., you shouldn’t back in off a street if you could help it.

  • Councilman Steve Jerome arrived @ 7:45 p.m.

Chairman Prcela asked, has anyone spoken to your neighbor on the driveway side, to your north?

Mr. Marrelli replied, they received a notice. 

Tina Lew said, they never called me or asked me about it.

Chairman Prcela said, I’m not too familiar with that backyard. I assume that’s a pretty deep backyard?

Mr. Marrelli replied, it’s pretty deep next door.

Tina Lew said, it’s kind of a strange set up. They have like three yards, it’s almost like 3-sided.

Michael Wildermuth said, there’s a lot of woods, greenery in between.

Chairman Prcela notes, the rear setback line is 40’. You mentioned Architectural Review Board.

Mr. Marrelli said, that’s next week. You were first.

Chairman Prcela asked, did you attempt to slide the garage within the setback?

Tina Lew replied, our original plan was to widen the garage from the street to the backyard and build an extra room up. The fist Architect I had come out asked, why would you want to start walking up & down stairs at this point? Our house is on a slab. I said that’s true.

Michael Wildermuth said, it’s always a challenging design to put a two-story building on top of an existing one-story.

Tina Lew said, there’s been additions over the years. We have three roof lines from the previous additions.

Michael Wildermuth said, this will actually fix a lot of ills that were done to this house over the years. It’s had some strange things done to it when they added the additions. This will help.

Chairman Prcela said, we have the authority to grant variances. It has to show that there is a hardship directly related to the interpretation of the code.

Tina Lew said, here’s another hardship. If he has to park in the driveway because he can’t turn around in the garage to get on his ramp, the hardship is it would be real hard for him to scrape his windows in the winter.

Chairman Prcela said John, the code is a little confusing to me.

Mr. Marrelli explained. The idea is, the two side yards together should equal 35% of the lot. I guesstimate it at a 12% variance.

Chairman Prcela said, so the side yard setback on the side that we’re not touching is roughly 20 feet. I can definitely see the hardship in the existing configuration of the garage. How long have you lived there?

Tina Lew replied, since 1998.

Chairman asked, how long has Dr. Lew been in a wheelchair?

Tina Lew replied, 35 years.

Chairman Prcela states, the ramp slope is more than adequate. I do believe that the literal interpretation of the code in my opinion would make that building probably not useful.

Michael Wildermuth said, it would become a closet.

Chairman Prcela said, and the front elevation I think with the two slopes it would be dangerously close.

Michael Wildermuth said, it would push them very close together.  

Mr. Marrelli said, if you didn’t have that room, you’d have a ramp in the middle of nothing to get into the house. You need to enclose it.

Mrs. Jeanblanc said, you’d be creating something stranger in that case.

Tina Lew said, Ann Marie on N. Woodlane converted their garage. She made a room for her Mother when she was going to come live with them.

Mr. Marrelli said, that’s not uncommon, but I don’t recall that, I don’t think it was a variance requirement of any kind.

Mrs. Jeanblanc states, there are a number of street facing garages on their street.

Michael Wildermuth agreed, quite a few street facing garages.

Mr. Michalko points out street facing garages on SOM Ct Development.

Chairman Prcela states, I would concur that in regards to item #2, there is no question that a precedence has been set on the street for allowing a variance for a front facing garage. Practically speaking, I do believe the design is very well done. I’m a little concerned in the fact that it does appear that I guess you could have brought it in 5’ more, but I don’t think that would have met the code for the 35% average width.

Mr. Marrelli said, you’d still be looking at that variance of that section either way.

Chairman Prcela asked Councilman Jerome if he had any comments. 

Councilman Jerome replied, yes.

Chairman Prcela at this time administered the oath to Councilman Jerome.

Councilman Jerome said, one point I was going to make is that I’ve looked at it from many different angles in my professional opinion with this situation, with trying to make their house livable. I think this would definitely meet that aspect and I think from a value standpoint, this would definitely add a lot of value to the house. Unfortunately in that neighborhood there are a lot of cool houses, but a lot of interesting designs that don’t meet a modern setup, especially with the garages. Their water meter in their garage is a bad setup. For all those reasons I think it’s a win-win for them, for the neighborhood and for Mayfield Village.

Chairman Prcela said, our codes are written to improve and better our community. Sometimes we find ourselves in a position where the codes and their literal interpretation don’t really do what they’re intended to do which I believe would be the case in this particular instance, even though I don’t see much of a hardship with the parcel itself. I think it could be accomplished while meeting at least part of the code, but not the entire code. John, have any of these been addressed at Ordinance Review Committee?

Mr. Marrelli replied, each Director does their own Chapters. These have been looked at. Nothing on the books for change.

Mrs. Jeanblanc asked, there’s presumably no way to put the garage further forward?

Mr. Marrelli replied, you’d be beyond the front setback. I think the front wall of the house is already at the minimum.

Michael Wildermuth said, you have to be very careful of that front setback.

Chairman Prcela said, aesthetically I do think it looks good, makes the house attractive.

Tina Lew said, John knows we’ve done so much to this property since we’ve moved in. We’re trying to improve it.

Mr. Marrelli said, it’s continuous.

Michael Wildermuth comments, their landscaping is beautiful.

Mr. Marrelli said, in case you didn’t notice in front of you, we started using a new Board of Appeals Application form. On the second page, the applicant answers questions that might help explain anything other than what we’ve talked about.

Chairman Prcela said, thanks for bringing that to our attention John. I like the new form.

Mr. Marrelli said, we also have a new Conditional Use Application form for Planning Commission.

Chairman Prcela asked, any other comments?

Mr. Michalko said, it’s pretty well laid out in my mind.

Mrs. Jeanblanc said, I think there’s definitely a hardship and I think the plan’s in conformity with the modern trend towards accessibility and home construction.

Chairman Prcela said, I would agree.


Mrs. Jeanblanc, seconded by Mr. Michalko made a motion to approve the variance request to allow for construction of an attached garage for Ron and Tina Lew at 994 Worton Pk Drive.

2. A request for a variance from Section 1367.02 to allow for construction of a front facing attached garage. 


Ayes: Mr. Prcela, Mrs. Jeanblanc, Mr. Michalko      
Nays: None                                        

Motion Carried. Variance Approved.

Mrs. Jeanblanc, seconded by Mr. Michalko made a motion to approve the variance request to allow for construction of an attached garage for Ron and Tina Lew at 994 Worton Pk Drive noting that the Architectural Review Board may have their own comments.

1. A request for a 5’ side yard variance and 12% variance from the required 35% of the average width of the lot at the building line from Section 1181.07 (a) to allow for construction of an attached garage.


Ayes: Mrs. Jeanblanc, Mr. Michalko

Nays: Mr. Prcela                               

Motion Carried. Variance Approved.

Chairman Prcela states, simple majority does in fact carry. You’re approved. A.R.B. is next.

***********CORRECTION: Following review of the Board of Appeals meeting, it was determined that Variance request Case #2017-01 is DENIED per Charter Art V, Section 12 (D); “a majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and the affirmative vote of three members of the Board shall be necessary for any official action.

On Jan 24th, Applicant submitted a written request to be placed on the next BOA agenda when there are more members present for reconsideration of the vote that incorrectly granted approval with less than the required 3 affirmative votes.

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.


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


Ayes: All  
Nays: None                                      
Motion Carried. Meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.