Zoning Board prefers new fee hike schedule

A fee hike for filing an appeal regarding the city’s zoning code now rests with Wapakoneta City Council.
Unable to reach an agreement on a fee hike, Wapakoneta City Zoning Board of Appeals members agreed the issue would best be decided by city councilors. A notification change, from adjacent homeowners to those within 250 feet of the property, this year has increased costs to the city by as much as four times. Notifications are sent out regarding a filing for a variance or a non-conforming use.
“We have received so many complaints from residents who receive letters on variances they don’t care about and they feel it is a waste of city money, so we decided to let council determine if they want us to continue to notify people in a 250-foot radius from the filer’s property or do they just want us to notify the adjoining property owners,” Zoning Board of Appeals President Dale Thomas said after Monday’s board meeting. “I agreed with the proposal made by Engineering Supervisor Mary Ruck that we maintain the 250-foot radius for non-conforming use and limit to adjoining property owners for a building variance. Non-conforming use will affect a lot more people than a variance.”
Board members considered raising the fee to $275 from $200 because of increases in workload and certified mailing costs. Ruck reported two variances were applied for in the past month with $400 collected, but expenses for certified mailing alone cost the city $800. The city sends out an average of 40 letters when a variance request is made.
A change in the notification process went into affect Jan. 1, so more people are aware of requested changes.
During Monday’s meeting board members rejected a variance request after several residence objected to a variance to allow a carport be installed by Brenda and David Ward for a residence at 310 Liberty Drive. The proposed carport, which would be 12-feet wide and 21-feet long, would require a 35-foot variance if the carport was installed over the driveway at the front of the house and at least a 6-foot side yard variance if it was placed on the side of the house.
Two residents, who were notified, voiced concerns regarding a precedent being set for the subdivision if the carport is allowed. Another resident complained the house already has a garage and the resident could use the garage for his vehicle.
Ruck said she received as many as four calls voicing displeasure with the carport.
Board members suggested putting the carport in the back yard where no variance would be needed.
Board members approved a variance for Netty and Chad Poe, 1 W. Silver St., to tear down an existing porch and to build a new porch that is 2 feet closer to the street. The porch would extend the full length of the house, which is 32 feet, 6 inches.
“Everything is going to be new so we can build it to the specifications of the variance,” Chad Poe said.
He received a 25-foot front yard variance and was instructed to work with Ruck regarding the proper permits for demolition and construction.