Changes in the city’s notification policy prompted Wapakoneta City Zoning Board of Appeals members to seek a hike in the variance request fee.
Board members voted to raise the fee to $275 from $200 to cover the cost to notify more people as required by a change in the city ordinance and for more work by Engineering Department workers because of the larger radius of people to be notified. The recommendation to raise the fee is to be forwarded to Wapakoneta City Council for their approval.
“We need to increase the fees because we are losing $57.75 each application,” board President Dale Thomas told the Wapakoneta Daily News after Monday’s meeting. “The increase is basically because of the increased number of residents or property owners that must be notified. They (Engineering Department personnel) have to notify people 250 feet from the edge of your property of any variance request applied for through the Engineering Department.”
Property owners are notified by certified mail, which also continues to increase. On the most recent variance request, Engineering Department personnel notified more than 40 property owners.
Under the former rules, typically four property owners were notified, Thomas said.
Thomas explained previously Engineering Department personnel notified only adjacent property owners of a variance request. The new policy went into effect Jan. 1.
Other aspects of a request has increased the cost to the city for a variance request.
“There also are costs associated with Engineering Department personnel researching property deeds to ensure the rightful property owners are notified,” Thomas said. “There also are additional costs associated with the process of an application for a variance request.”
A person requesting a variance must do so by 3:30 p.m. the 12th day of the month so that the proper notification can be sent out and a hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals can be scheduled for the last Monday of the month.
Thomas explained if the board approves a variance request, the person making the request must wait 30 days for the next meeting so it can be read into the minutes and become official and then another five days for anyone to contest the variance. The board also can waive the 30-day waiting period, but not the five days for a person to contest the variance’s approval.
Board members did not know the exact date of the last increase, but they knew it had been quite a while since they requested an increase in the fee.
During Monday’s meeting, board members approved a 15-foot variance for a pool to be constructed 7 feet from the property line. A 4-foot deep pool must be 20 feet from the property line and must be encircled by a fence.
The variance request was filed by Keith Edwards, 804 Murray St.