Morenci zoning appeals board rejects variance request 2009.09.23

Written by David Green.

Morenci’s Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously Monday against a variance request regarding property line setbacks.

Property owner Joel Morrison of Addison sought a variance for property he owns at the corner of N. Summit and Wilson streets where a house burned several years ago.

The 51 by 120 foot lot fails to meet the minimum size of 7,500 square feet and the minimum width of 66 feet for residential construction.

The board’s vote will leave the property as a non-conforming lot unsuitable for construction of a house.

Four members of the public spoke against the variance.

Esther Gilbert and her sister, Barb Vallieu—co-owners with their brother of the Hart property north of the lot—both stated that building on the vacant property would not improve the neighborhood.

“I think the lot is way too small,” Gilbert said. “I don’t think anything could be built there that would make the neighborhood look good.”

Vallieu also mentioned a problem at the lot where a portion of the old foundation caved in last summer following a heavy rain.

Michael Miller, who lives south of the property, said he wants to see the community grow, but he questions the ability to build on such a small lot.

Wilson Street resident Steve Clegg also questioned whether a house could be built on such narrow property.

Board member Greg Braun said it would take a shotgun-style house like those in New Orleans, and that wouldn’t conform with the neighborhood.

Morrison told the board he isn’t planning to build on the lot, but he wants to sell it as a buildable lot. He said he was encouraged by an opinion from the late residential zoning administrator Jack Baird who gave a suggestion on how it might work with a variance.

“If it’s deemed unbuildable,” he said, “I guess it’s going to have a ‘for sale’ sign forever. I don’t mean to upset the community, but if it’s not buildable, I guess I just wasted 10 years of footwork.”

Board member Ernie Schultz asked the owners of the Hart property if they were interested in buying the lot and also if they were interest in selling a portion of their lot to make Morrison’s property larger. Gilbert said she wasn’t interested in either proposition.

Braun and Schultz were joined by Al Acuña, Don Merillat and Art Erbskorn in opposing the variance request.

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017