Board tables cases; sets special meeting

SIDNEY — The Sidney Zoning Board of Appeals tabled both cases that were before it Monday and scheduled a special meeting in two weeks to consider them again.

The city staff had recommended that the board deny both variance requests. The applicants decided to return at the next meeting with modified requests. Monday’s meeting also was complicated by the fact that two board members were absent, which meant an affirmative vote of the three remaining members would have been needed to approve the variances.

“This is the most complicated meeting I have been in in a very long time,” Dave Fleming, board chairman, said at the end of the meeting.

On the first case, the board denied a variance sought by Brian and Nikki Jutte for a reduced rear-yard setback at 292 W. Pinehurst St. The Juttes wanted to build a 1,222-square-foot garage.

Community Services Director Barbara Dulworth said the city staff recommended denial of the variance. The staff found the request did not meet any of the four circumstances listed in city regulations that would justify a variance.

Prior to the vote, Fleming said he disagreed with the staff recommendation. “I feel the lot is exceptional” because of its irregular shape, he said.

Fleming made a motion to grant the variance. He and Richard Sommer voted in favor of the variance; Thomas Ehler voted no. Absent from the meeting were Jim Weaver and Carrie Riedel.

The second case was a request by Ratermann Custom Home Builders, on behalf of Darren and Deborah Wildermuth, for a variance for accessory structure square footage over 1,000 square feet at 2440 Wells Drive. The Wildermuths want to erect a 660-square-foot building near their swimming pool.

The city staff found no exceptional circumstances to justify granting the variance. However, Dulworth said it had been determined that this request would be eligible for consideration as a conditional-use permit.

Fleming told Wildermuth he had the option of waiting until the regular October board meeting when all five members might be present. In response to an earlier question from the board, Wildermuth said he also might be willing to reduce the size of the building in an effort to get variance approval. However, Wildermuth said he was concerned that waiting another month could make it difficult for construction to be completed before the weather turns bad.

The board voted to have an emergency meeting in two weeks — Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. — and also voted to table the Wildermuth case until that time. Dulworth said the two weeks would be needed to allow for the required newspaper notice of a public hearing. Frank Ratermann of Ratermann Custom Home Builders told the board he would submit the modified application to the city.

Tabling of the Wildermuth request prompted Councilman Steve Wagner to address the board and point out that the board had not given the Juttes the option of asking that their case be tabled. Wagner was attending the meeting as the Sidney City Council liaison to the board.

Dulworth said the conditional-use option was not available in the Jutte case, but the application could be resubmitted with a revised building size. City Law Director Jeff Amick also told the board that the Juttes could resubmit.

During the earlier discussion, Brian Jutte told the board he could change his building. “I guess I could make it a little smaller,” he said. His property is on a cul-de-sac and he said he wanted to have a place for his cars to prevent traffic congestion on the street.

By Michael Seffrin

The writer may be contacted at 937-538-4823 and on Twitter @MikeSeffrinSDN.