BOA: February 21st 2017

Mayfield Village
Feb 21, 2017

The Board of Appeals met in regular session on Tues, Feb 21, 2017 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, and Mr. John Michalko

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

Absent: Mr. Joseph Prcela (Chairman), Mrs. Alexandra Jeanblanc, and Mr. Mark Guidetti (Asst. Law Director)


Mr. DiFranco, seconded by Mr. Michalko made a motion to table the Minutes of Jan 17, 2017 until next meeting date. Mr. Syracuse and Mr. DiFranco were not present at the meeting of Jan 17th.        


Ayes: Mr. Syracuse, Mr. DiFranco, Mr. Michalko

Nays: None                                      

Motion Carried. Minute Consideration TABLED.



Ron & Tina Lew
994 Worton Park Dr.
Michael H. Wildermuth, Architect

  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 (approved on Jan 17th).


  • Applicant requests reconsideration of Case #2017-01. Initial request was denied at the B.O.A. meeting of Jan 17th due to lack of affirmative vote of three members of the Board.
  • Architectural Review Board granted design approval on Jan 26th.

Abutting Property Owners

Worton Pk Dr: 980, 1006, 981, 989, 999
N. Woodlane Dr: 6214
Norman Ln: 6217


Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse begins with reconsideration of Case #2017-01 by swearing in Dan Bishop, Building Contractor for applicant.  


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.

Dan Bishop with Bishop Construction introduced himself. I have updated mechanical plans for the new den & office area. I don’t know if that’s required right now.

Mr. Marrelli states, tonight is about the 5’ side yard variance request. One of the two issues passed. The front facing garage was approved at the Jan 17th meeting.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse said, I’ve read through the materials prior to the last meeting again before tonight and I also read through the minutes from that meeting. I hope that everyone else has read through that. If anyone has any additional questions. I don’t know if there’s anything else you want to add.

Mr. Marrelli said, there’s something I want to clarify. I mentioned it before. The reason that this garage has to be out as far as it is and why this room has to be that size is all predicated on this ramp being the proper slope. In order to get from the garage to the house, a ramp is required because the applicant is in a wheelchair. In order to get the proper slope, it had to be that long, which means the garage had to be where it is. If they didn’t have this den, then there would just be a hallway or a breezeway of sorts. Nevertheless, that garage still has to be out that far to accommodate that ramp. We didn’t really flush that out at the last meeting and maybe Joe didn’t catch it, I’m not sure. He was opposed to them being that close to the property line. I remember him mentioning; why can’t you squeeze it in 5 feet? The reason being, that ramp would not be legal if you did that. It would be too tall.

Mr. DiFranco asked, what’s on the other side of that property line, an abutting home?

Mr. Marrelli replied, it’s the back of the next house.

Dan Bishop replied, you have the side of the next house but it sits back another 20’. When I was called out to look this over with Mike Wildermuth and the homeowners, I said we have to be so far off of this line. We went over just about every option we could trying to find alternate plans to make this addition work. In the case of the placement of the driveway to the property line to the house as it sits, this is the best thing that we could work out. The applicant is permanently in a wheelchair. He’s had a never ending struggle with the placement of the garage as it is. He literally got in his van and showed us the best way he could pull in and operate his wheelchair. He put on at least three separate demonstrations on how just driving in it would work better and it literally laid out to the plans that you have in front of you.

Mr. DiFranco asked, are we still considering the issue of a front facing garage?

Mr. Marrelli replied no, just the 5’ setback. Look at the site plan on the third page of that drawing. It explains what happens here, how that garage and breezeway/den end up happening.

Mr. DiFranco said, it sounds like there’s no better alternative here?

Mr. Marrelli replied no, because you can’t squeeze the garage in, there’s no space to turn a vehicle 90 degrees into the side of it.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse states, I should have mentioned this before, Stivo to get back to your first question, the abutting property owners were notified. If anyone did have any issues with it being too close to the property line, they could have come to the last meeting or be present tonight to object to it. There is nobody here.

Mr. Marrelli said, there were no objections or phone calls from anybody.

Mr. Michalko said, being involved with ADA accessibility to buildings in my career, like John said, they need that proper slope.


Mr. DiFranco, seconded by Mr. Michalko made a motion to approve the variance 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: Mr. Syracuse, Mr. DiFranco, Mr. Michalko   
Nays: None                                        

Motion Carried. Variance Approved.





Mayfield City Schools
Mayfield High School
6116 Wilson Mills Road
Fence Options, LLC

  1. A request for a variance from Section 1157.08 (b) to allow for construction of a solid fence running along the north side of Lander Rd. driveway.

Abutting Property Owners

Lander Rd: 925, 929, 899, 891

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse said, our last item is consideration of Case #2017-02.

Kent Taylor, Supervisor Bldgs and Grounds with Mayfield City Schools introduced himself.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse swore in Kent Taylor at this point.

Kent Taylor states, we’re proposing to put a fence up along the neighbor’s driveway. I contacted the neighbor and talked to him about putting the fence in. They’re o.k. with us putting the fence up. I offered to remove their fence that’s there. They have a weaved fence, it’s very unsightly, but they don’t want me to remove it. I’m not sure why. He said something about their mortgage company wouldn’t let him remove it. The chain link fence in front of that which is ours would come down and we’d put the solid fence up in its place. John requested that we step down towards the end for site visibility. 

Mr. Marrelli said, that’s to make sure that there’s visibility when you pull up to the stop bar. They’re 20’ back from the sidewalk.

Mr. Michalko asked about the hedge at the end of the driveway.

Kent Taylor replied, that’s the neighbor’s.

Mr. Marrelli said, that has to stay trimmed so you could see over the top of it. 

Mr. Michalko said, it’s high right now. That hedge should go down at least another foot so as you’re pulling out with a car you could see any child running by. It’s at 38 inches right now.

Mr. Marrelli said, that’s a separate issue. That’s something I’ll have to talk to the homeowner about trimming down.

Kent Taylor states, so that’s what we want to do. We’re getting complaints from Wildcat Sports Members and Staff that the neighbor’s unsightly yard is detracting from the School.

Mr. Michalko asked, is there a reason why you picked solid vs. board on board?

Kent Taylor replied, we figured you would see through the board on board.

Mr. Michalko said, we have a piece of the board on board back here around the generator here at the Civic Center and it’s very hard to see through it, but it’s aesthetically pleasing. This solid fence is going to look like 275’ of flat white wall.

Kent Taylor said, we did that in the Heights along the Board Office and the neighboring property and it seemed to really help.

Mr. Michalko said, I know Henry also has a fence that they call a Columbia Style which is similar to a board of board, but the board on board doesn’t have the top rail on it and the Columbia does.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse said, the variance request is for a solid fence. We don’t allow solid fences?

Mr. Marrelli replied, correct. 

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse states, we have in the past granted variances for homeowners who abut Mayfield High School. I think we’ve been able to establish that the reason being that there’s something unique about the property that it’s up against the High School. This being the only High School in our area that has residences next to it.

Mr. DiFranco asked, is there a code on how many fences you could have lined up next to each other?  

Mr. Marrelli replied, not really.

Dan Bishop said, if you get the new fencing up, the neighbor may be allowed to take his down.

Kent Taylor replied, maybe. He stated something about the mortgage company not allowing him to take it down.

Mr. Marrelli said, maybe it has something to do with it being an improvement that makes his house more valuable.

Kent Taylor said, I’m not sure. It was the Son I talked to that said they can’t remove the fence. 

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse said, we’re speculating here, but it is possible it’s for liability purposes with it being up against a High School, and the mortgage company is requiring that.

Mr. Michalko said, did you mention they got a variance for this once before?

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse replied, not for the High School, but to the property owners who are up against the School.

Mr. Marrelli said, it was behind by the parking lot by Wildcat Fitness because of the lights and kids coming in the neighbor’s yards. There’s a lot of activity back there by the gym.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse said, my main concern would be as John mentioned, visibility as you get near the main road.

Mr. Marrelli said, if they’re 20’ back from the sidewalk, that’s like the length of a vehicle.

Mr. DiFranco said, I would say that the practical difficulty would come from the homeowner and not from the High School. I can see the homeowner making an argument that the lights are shining onto their property versus the Mayfield High School coming here saying they want to put in a privacy fence. There’s no practical difficulty there, I don’t think. Why can’t they go with a board on board with an opening?

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse said, we can go through the factors in determining “practical difficulty”.

Note: For purposes of minute reading, answers were provided and submitted with application by Kent Taylor.

In determining “practical difficulty”, the Board of Zoning Appeals will consider the following factors:

1. Do special conditions and circumstances exist which are peculiar to the land or structure involved and which are not applicable generally to other lands or structures in the same zoning district?


Vetus asked John Marrelli, what else is in this zoning district?

John replied, it’s all residential.

2. Will the property in question yield a reasonable return or can there be any economical beneficial use of the property without the variance?


3. Is the variance substantial and is it the minimum necessary to make possible the economically reasonable use of the land or structures?


Vetus asked for any comments.

John Michalko replied, the length of it would be substantial.

4. Would the essential character of the neighborhood be substantially altered or would adjoining properties suffer substantial detriment as a result of the variance?

A: This will provide privacy for the neighbor and also screen drives from seeing the neighbor’s back yard.  

Vetus said, I think that is a good answer. Stivo, you mentioned this could have come from the homeowner. The fact that the School District will be putting this up instead, it kind of kills two birds with one stone. Coming from MHS, it’ll be put in a place where they’ll be in charge of the maintenance of it and will make sure they stay on top of it.

5. Would the variance adversely affect the delivery of governmental services, such as water, sewer, or trash pickup?


6. Can the property owner’s predicament feasibly be obviated through some method other than a variance?


Vetus said, board on board would do it, but that’s not what they’re asking for.

7. Would the spirit and intent behind the zoning requirement be observed and substantial justice done by granting a variance?


8. Will the granting of the variance requested confer on the applicant any special privilege that is denied by this regulation to other lands, structures, or buildings in the same district?


9. Would a literal interpretation of the provision of this Code deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same district under the terms of this Code?


Vetus said, if you consider the other variances we’ve granted, the answer could be yes.

10. The Applicant may submit evidence and the Board may also consider whether the property cannot be put to any economically viable use under any of the permitted uses in the zoning district in which the property is located.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse concludes, those are the factors we have to consider. Does anyone have any discussion on that?

Mr. Michalko said, Henry Fence does have a couple board on boards.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse asked, would the board on board be permitted without a variance request?

Mr. Marrelli replied, yes.

Kent Taylor said, I figured the privacy fence would be a better solution for that particular spot.

Dan Bishop asked, with the board on board, if there’s traffic coming in after dark, do headlights get through that when they drive by?

Mr. Marrelli replied, light will go through a little bit with a board on board. This privacy is flat, solid like a wall, no overlap. My only issue with the solid fence is, and I brought it up a number of times, these things turn into sails because the air can’t get through when the wind is blowing.

Mr. DiFranco said, another thing to mention is that Police & Fire can’t see through it.

Mr. Marrelli said, you can hide behind it. They like to be able to sense that there’s something going on the other side. If they have a wall there, they have to wonder what’s on the other side if they’re going out on a call.

Mr. Michalko asked, is there a reason why you picked white? That’ll be one long white wall.

Kent Taylor replied, color wasn’t really a factor.

Mr. DiFranco asked, did you say that you would entertain the idea of doing the back side as well?

Kent Taylor replied, yes.

Mr. Marrelli said, one other thing I just thought of. There’s a lot of traffic going up and down Lander Rd. When residents see this fence, there’ll be a lot of people here asking for that for their yards. It’ll be all the way out by the sidewalk. With board on board, at least you could say we allow that, it’s in our code.

Mr. DiFranco states, our job here is to identify the practical difficulty associated with this. I’m not sure that I see it.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse asked, and the reason why board on board was not considered?

Kent Taylor replied, because you could still see through it, i.e. lights, traffic, neighbor’s unsightly yard.

Mr. DiFranco asked, whose argument is that to make? Wouldn’t it be the homeowner’s argument to say there’s a practical difficulty with putting this type of fence in because lights flash through their home and annoys them when they’re watching T.V.?   

Mr. Marrelli said, if you’re heading northbound on Lander and you turn into the driveway, for one-tenth of a second you’re going to flash across that fence before you start up the driveway. I don’t know how much that’s going to bother anybody.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse said Stivo, I tend to agree with you but as far as setting a precedent as you mentioned, it’s really setting a precedent for the School, not for the residential homeowner right next to them. There’s something unique about this property. If you look at the totality of circumstances, I think we all have to make our own decision at that point in time. Any further discussion or questions?

Mr. Michalko asked, what if there’s no other option?

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse replied, the other option is that if it doesn’t get three affirmative votes tonight, it would be denied. They could reapply as the Lew’s did for reconsideration. Then they’d have to put up board on board or not do anything at all.

Mr. DiFranco said, to understand your statement, you’re saying that because it’s a School property, it’s a different scenario?

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse replied, I’m saying it wouldn’t set a precedent for neighbor to neighbor because we deny these types of fences when it’s residential only. One fence was actually already halfway up when the homeowner came in and requested a variance, we denied it and he had to take it down. I just think it’s a different scenario. Whether or not it should be solid or board on board, that’s something we’ll have to decide here tonight.

Mr. Michalko said, but we do give variances for solid fences from residential to commercial?

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse replied, correct.

Mr. Michalko asked, is the School commercial?

Mr. Marrelli replied, it’s more commercial than residential if you could go by the use.

Chairman Pro Tem Syracuse said, we did it with residential to School as well.

Mr. DiFranco said, the difference is that the homeowner came in and put the fence up. The School did not put that fence up. 

Mr. Marrelli said, that’s correct. There’s been 2 or 3 variances I think on that east end by the shop that they came in and got the solid fence.

Mr. DiFranco said, essentially residential against Mayfield High School, there is that precedent set. 

Mr. Marrelli replied, correct. That’s separating the residences backyards to the School so they can enjoy their yards.

Mr. DiFranco said, I see your point. There is a precedent set up against the High School property with residential.


Mr. DiFranco, seconded by Mr. Michalko made a motion to approve the variance request from Section 1157.08 (b) to allow for construction of a solid fence running along the north side of Lander Rd. driveway.    


Ayes: Mr. Syracuse, Mr. DiFranco, Mr. Michalko   
Nays: None                                       

Motion Carried. Variance Approved.

  • Recommendation to change white color to something more subtle

Mr. Marrelli asked, can you do a different color? This thing is going to be like a movie screen out there. We need to make it subtle, so it’s not just white, maybe a light brown. I don’t want that thing to stick out from Ridgebury.

Kent Taylor replied yes, I see your point. I’ll send you another color option.


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


Ayes: All 
Nays: None                                      

Motion Carried. Meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.