CRISP COUNTY ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
April 16, 2013
The Crisp County Zoning Board of Appeals met at a regular meeting on the 16th day of April at 9:00 am. in the Crisp County Government Center.
The following members were present: J.C. Clark, Jerry Carney, Lucky Taylor and Wendy Peavy and Dale Mitchell. Also present, Connie Sangster, Crisp County Planning Director and Jimmy Mumphery, County Building Inspector. Also present were the following visitors: Joel Owens, Robert Powell, Brad Lamb, Stephen Ingram, John Basnar, Michael Smith, Mitchell Boyd, Jason & Joanna Evans.
Chairman, Jerry Carney asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of the February 19, 2013
VOTE: Motion was made by Jerry Carney with a second by Dale Mitchell to approve the minutes of the February 19, 2013 meeting. Carried unanimously.
Request from John P. Basnar for a variance to enclose an existing 40x60 (2400 sq. ft.) accessory structure on a parcel of property prior to or in lieu of a principal use on the property. Property is zoned RS2 (Single Family Residential) and is located at 158 S. Coney Road.
Chairman J.C. Clark called the hearing to order. Mr. Clark read aloud the criteria and procedures that the board considers when making decisions. At this time, Mr. Clark read aloud the variance request. Mr. Basnar along with his Attorney Stephen Ingram were present and spoke on behalf of the variance request. Mr. Basnar stated that the only thing he is doing with the building is to get a secured area to store personal property in. He stated that since he has owned this piece of property there has been some theft. He stated it was small stuff, but still theft, and he wants to secure the property and that is the only way he knows how to do it. He stated that all he was going to do is to enclose it and put lockable doors on it and store his personal property in it, and he feels by enclosing it and putting lockable doors on it that will help with the theft issue. Mr. Ingram introduced himself to the Board, he stated that he represented Mr. Basnar. Mr. Ingram stated that Mr. Basnar came into full ownership of this property approximately 6 months ago. He stated that he has cleaned up the property, hauled off 6-8 trailer loads of junk, pressure washed the buildings and got things looking a lot better than they were. Mr. Ingram stated that there was a building that was permitted in 2007 as an open shelter and it was constructed as a metal open shelter. Mr. Ingram stated that when Mr. Basnar applied for a permit to enclose this open shelter then it was discovered that the property is in the RS2 (Single Family residential) zone district and that is why we are here today. He stated that by enclosing this building it will hide whatever is in the building from view and aesthetically it will improve the view of what is there now, and it will make it secure, and just to give you an example, the office building that's out there had porch rockers on it and since he has owned the property the porch rockers disappeared. Mr. Ingram stated that for it to be useful as a storage building it needs to be locked, enclosed and secured. Mr. Ingram stated that he noted that last year the Board gave 2 similar type exceptions to Herbert D. White and Sheila Southerland for an accessory structure on property on Ray Road, that is right in Mr. Basnar's farm neighborhood. Mr. Basnar stated across the road from property that he owns - 500 acres. Mr. Ingram stated that request was for a pole barn and they are asking for the same type of exception and also last year in May the Board granted a similar exception to Andy Murdock for a 30x50 accessory structure in lieu of the principle use on the property. Mr. Ingram stated that Mr. Basnar was not asking for something that hasn't been done before and they are asking for this Board's consideration of this request and hopefully they can proceed to enclose the building. Ms. Peavy asked by securing the area does that mean you will be installing some kind of alarm system in the building since you are going to be putting some of your personal property in there. Mr. Basnar replied that until he secures the building he doesn't have any plans to do that. He stated that the stuff that he will be putting in there, which chances are, will probably be some of his antique cars and he will secure them individually. He stated that most of what they have is pilfering, some theft, but mostly pilfering. People drive by and are curious and want to see what is in the buildings, and they go in and out. Mr. Basnar stated that he feels if he can put a lock on the doors he can stop some of that. Mr. Clark asked if the swing gate is open - he stated he went out there, but did not go in and that he looked from the road to see the building. Mr. Basnar stated the gate should not be open unless someone that works for him or himself is in there. Mr. Basnar stated that people are not going through the swinging gates which are never locked, there closed, but people were driving around the building so they put a block up which pretty well stopped it for now. Mr. Basnar stated that sight value and security is all that he is trying to do. Mr. Taylor asked if there was power to the pole barn or sewage. Mr. Basnar replied no. Mr. Taylor asked if he was planning on going all the way out to the sides of the 40x60 or just the pole structure. Mr. Basnar stated only the pole structure would be enclosed and the overhang will be left as is. Mr. Clark asked if other board members had any questions. Mr. Mitchell stated that he goes by there all the time and had never seen the building and actually had to go around and look for it. He stated that he understands what Mr. Basnar is trying to do and has no further questions. Mr. Carney stated that he would like to get additional input from the ones in attendance, and since it is a residential zoning, and there are residents here from the area. Joel Owens stated that he was not necessarily here to oppose a storage building if the building is to store furniture or something that would not be harmful to the area, and that sometimes rumors and things you hear on the street are true and sometimes they're not, but if some of the rumors he has heard are true, then he is here to absolutely oppose what the usage of the building is for. He stated that the word on the street is that this is to be permitted to hopefully get through this committee to be enclosed as a building and that later on the usage is suppose to house pesticides and/or chemicals, insecticides and things used for that type purpose, and if that's the case he is extremely opposed to it. He stated that he owns most of the property around this land on two different sides, and that is own personal home is there, his wife and children live there. He stated that himself, and others in the area that he is very good friends with, are all on deep wells which could be greatly harmed if there is chemical/insecticide spills and with those types of chemicals and products if there was ever a fire, they would have to vacate their homes for a long period of time. He stated that he almost purchased the property behind this property, for those of you that are familiar with the property. There is a field behind this property between Coney Road and Hwy. 280 that Mr. Larry Perlis owns, he stated that he ended up not buying the property because almost the entire parcel is a flood zone and what that simply means that it is obvious that when the time comes that it does flood and it may not happen for a hundred years, and it may happen 6 months from now. But if you have flood waters that come up to the height that they could, then if you had chemicals and things such as that stored there it could be extremely hazardous to the environment, to Gum Creek, the other neighborhood that is just on the other side of Gum Creek, to our wildlife and to Lake Blackshear that almost every citizen of Crisp County enjoys. He stated that he would like for it to be stated extremely clear by Mr. Basnar exactly, not just personal use, but exactly what the usage is for and if that usage is violated, he would like to know there is some repercussion that can be done to prevent it or stop it, or a cease and desist order be place. He stated that he could say for his own personal point of view, but that he would absolutely spare no expense to stop that from happening, and if the usage is going to be something harmless he has no problem with it, but at any point and time down the road if the usage is going to be to house chemicals, fertilizer or pesticides, he is highly opposed to it. Robert Powell, stated that he represents some of the homeowners around the lake, which is comprised of some 438 residential members of the homeowners association and naturally they are very concerned about the lake. He stated that Mr. Owens has expressed what they have heard on the street, but that is not why he is here, and he wants it to be on record that should this go further in any type or movement in the direction to rezone this property to any use that would be detrimental to the lake that they would vigorously oppose it and the other thing that Gum Creek is there, and everyone is aware of the problems they have had over the years, EPA and EPD has been involved with it and just the slightest bit of contamination can cause things and that flows directly into Lake Blackshear. Mr. Powell stated that the variance as intended and represented for personal use is fine, but any further intention would be vigorously opposed by the homeowners at the lake and they are very concerned about Lake Blackshear. Mr. Clark asked if there were anyone else that would like to speak. Mr. Ingram stated that Mr. Basnar is a retired farmer and he still has cattle but he rents his farm out so he does not regularly handle insecticides or pesticides, but the farm is not that close to this building and there are other buildings close to where those things are handled on the farm. Mr. Basnar stated that he could vigorously defend himself in this. He stated that Mr. Owens lives in the middle of a pecan orchard which has large machines spraying chemicals to control insects, they are filling chemical tanks from a deep well that is in front of his house, just dug a new one in front of his house and he doesn't seem to have any problem with that and he is not doing anything except restoring a piece of property. He stated that being a soil steward that he is, and also a licensed pesticide applicator, he abides by the rules, and if you look back at his record you would find that he is unblemished, he stated that he does take exception to the picture that is being painted and that we have to play by the rules and that EPA and EPD do not allow some of the stuff that Mr. Joel is worried about. Mr. Ingram stated that the point is that Mr. Basnar does not plan to use it for chemicals and such. Mr. Basnar stated that he was not, but is being painted as the bad guy. Jason Evans, adjacent property owner, stated that he feels like everyone here would be fine with Mr. John putting a shed there and that no one is painting a bad picture of him, and he thinks everyone is for him being able to use that for personal for old cars but as far as storing chemicals and stuff from farming equipment that has chemicals and stuff like that, he thinks everyone would be opposed to that and no one is saying that he is, but if he is they would like to know now. Mr. Owens stated that for the record, he said it may or may not be true and that he didn't paint anybody in any picture and that is for him to tell them. Mr. Ingram replied that Mr. Basnar does not plan on using it for any chemical storage. Mr. Clark stated that this Board is just to make a decision on whether or not to allow the building to be used for personal storage and unless they have anything concrete, everything else is just hearsay. Mr. Carney stated that Johnny Floyd was grandfathered in with his wood yard and once that business closed the property is zoned RS2. He stated that Gum Creek is very close to the property and anything that lands on that property will wash into Gum Creek and that is a concern. He stated they have 2 issues - one issue, and to stay on point, is whether they should allow that building to be enclosed or not, however, a serious issue is being raised in regards to the concern of the environment and a concern of the area. Mr. Carney stated that if this is going to be in any shape or form used for any kind of commercial application, then a rezoning would be in order. He stated the property looks commercial but is zoned residential. Mr. Carney asked Ms. Sangster that if it became apparent that the building was being used as commercial, if a cease and desist order could be issued? Ms. Sangster replied correct. Mr. Carney stated that the property would be watched very closely based upon the input received this morning. Mr. Carney also stated that in reference to enclosing the building, personally, looking at the situation he did not have a problem with that for personal storage - normal and customary use of a residential unit, cars are fine. Mr. Basnar stated that he could assure him that would not happen. Mr. Carney stated that he wanted to address the concerns of the neighborhood, but at the same time he wanted to address the request. Mr. Clark asked if there were other comments. There were none. Mr. Clark stated that this concluded the public hearing portion of the meeting and now they would go into discussion and vote.
After discussion, the vice chairman asked for a motion.
VOTE: A motion was made by Jerry Carney, seconded by Dale Mitchell to approve the variance to enclose an existing 40x60 (2400 sq. ft.) accessory structure on a parcel of property prior to, or in lieu of a principal use with the condition that the structure is used for only normal and customary residential storage. Carried unanimously.