By Deb Patterson
SYRACUSE — An exemption request by Wawasee Community School Corporation was approved, with conditions, by the Syracuse Board of Zoning Thursday evening, April 21, at its monthly meeting. The conditions came at the request of neighbors, Brad and Lynette Jackson, through attorney Steve Snyder.
The corporation requested the exception to allow the Marine Mechanics class to have a fenced area in a public use district. The fenced area would be used to store boats, watercrafts and small engine projects as an accessory use to the school. The facility is located at 801 S. Sycamore St.
The petition was brought to the attention of the planning office staff after a complaint was filed. Matt Sandy, assistant planner, stated the property was originally zoned industrial, and was rezoned to public use after being purchased by the school corporation. As part of the class operation, boats began being stored on the property, which is not permitted in a public use district. The area plan commission recommended the BZA hear the matter as an exception.
James Flecker, counsel for the corporation, explained the program and goals, which included storing 20-25 boats students winterize and prepare for summer use. The storage area would be moved to the northwest portion of the property. An 8-foot fence with two swinging gates and a black vinyl wrap will be constructed.
Snyder said the Jacksons support and understand the purpose of the program, but don’t like looking at blue tarps all the time. Snyder brought up issues his clients expressed. “There are a couple issues that need to be resolved that Flecker didn’t talk about,” said Snyder. He noted acid washing of the boats, noise of working on the watercrafts/engines outside, how long the watercraft would be stored and placement of the fence.
Snyder stated working on items outside on a public use area is a stretch of the regulations, and items stored should only be in association with the class. Regarding the fence, while 8 feet is sufficient, he suggested the fence be moved back 3 feet and arborvitaes or other type of green screening be added. He noted it is anticipated that none of the 20-25 boats stored would be worked on during the summer months, and requested a condition that storage be limited to times when school is in session.
Flecker said the school wants to be very good neighbors and “is open to whatever is best suited to our neighbors. These are reasonable compromises,” he said. He added there would be limitations to the hours when outdoor work on engines would occur. Additionally he stated he did not anticipate boats being stored during the summer.
Regarding acid washing, as finance officer, he has never seen a purchase request for acid and could not imagine the liability of using acid. However, this raised a question for him and he would make sure it was not happening.
Cory Mast made a motion, which was approved, the exception be granted with the conditions the fence be installed within 60 days, all boats moved within the area, no boats stored or placed outside the delineated storage area, fabric screen installed on the fencing maintained, if the storage area is intended to be improved a revised drainage plan must be submitted and approved prior to work starting, only boats associated to the class be stored on the property and greenery added to the south corner as a barrier.
During other hearing matters, approvals for variances were given to:
Ashlee and Cory Kuhl to remove the existing deck on the east side of the home and replace it with new decking more rectangle and add an outdoor fireplace, 10 feet, 9 inches from the east road right-of-way, at 1023 S. Lake Dr.
Tim Frey to place a bay or bow window 16 feet, 5 inches from the right-of-way of Benton Street, at 501 N. Lake St.
Lawrence Winkler to allow the construction of a deck addition 22 inches high, 23 feet from the water’s edge at 416 E. Medusa St. A condition was added that it only be 22 inches or 1.8 feet above the existing grade and left completely open, uncovered or enclosed.
The next meeting of the local board of zoning will be 6 p.m. Thursday, May 19, in the Syracuse Town Hall.