2009-08-29 / News

Multiple shed owners get reprieve

By Charles Prince

MILLERSPORT - Christmas came early for the 28 property owners in Fairfield Beach that have more than one storage shed. The Walnut Township zoning resolution limits residential properties to one storage shed per lot.

The issue came up at Tuesday night's trustee meeting when Robert Gierhart of Laurel Road, asked trustees to waive the $375 variance application fee. He was forced to seek the variance to keep his two storage sheds. Trustees had previously waived the variance application fee for Lee Pritchard when she claimed hardship. She added a second storage shed without initially getting a permit and then was rejected since it would be her second shed. She pointed to others in Fairfield Beach who had more than one shed which sent zoning inspector Ralph Reeb to Gierhart.

"There are five homes with two sheds on my street," Gierhart told trustees Tuesday night.

"This all started with Lee Pritchard," Reeb said. "We have 28 homes with two or more sheds." One home has four.

Reeb cautioned trustees to expect more fee waiver requests. "The zoning commission is still at one shed, one garage," he explained. "We're sending it to BZA (Board of Zoning Appeals)."

"I've got six more letters going out," Reeb said. He added that trustees should probably expect hardship claims if variance applications are rejected. If someone can't afford the application fee, they are likely to claim they can't afford to remove the shed as well, he added.

A resident suggested allowing those with more than one shed to keep them and to start anew enforcing the one shed rule. Reeb quickly agreed.

Trustee Ralph Zollinger moved to accept the 28 properties as they are today. It was unanimously approved.

In response to several questions, Reeb said if an extra shed is somehow destroyed or not usable, it can NOT be replaced. The restart date for enforcement is Sept. 1, but that doesn't mean residents can add an additional shed this weekend. Sheds require permits and none will be issued if a shed already exists on the property. As with all zoning regulations, residents can request a variance from the limitation by filing an application with the Board of Zoning Appeals. The application fee is $375.

Reeb also told trustees that he has now calculated the costs to remove a junk vehicle using the authority the General Assembly granted to trustees in HB50. Title searches are required on both the property and the vehicle along with at least six certified letters and a lein filing. His estimate is $350-450 per vehicle which doesn't include the towing cost. Trustees didn't comment.

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