Haslett Resident Requests a Variance on Her Property

Haslett Resident Requests a Variance on Her Property

HASLETT - The Meridian Township Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) met on March 11 to discuss a variance request from a Haslett resident. Marsha Lommel expressed interest in converting her unclosed second-story deck into an enclosed three season room.

Due to the size of Lommel’s house and property, the Township requires the edge of the house to be at least 30 feet away from the rear end of the property. Currently, the existing porch encroaches into this rear yard setback by 2.2 feet.

For unenclosed porches, the Township allows an encroachment range of up to eight feet, however, Lommel’s enclosed three season room would not meet the same qualifications. She hoped the ZBA would grant her a variance to still go through with the construction.

According to the Zoning Board’s policies, a variance can be granted if certain criteria are met. The particular standard that the Board struggled with was as follows, “That the alleged practical difficulties which will result from a failure to grant the variance would unreasonably prevent the owner from using the property for a permitted purpose.” The Board believed that although the enclosed deck would be a great addition to Lommel’s home, she would still have full use of her existing deck.

Ms. Lommel expressed to the ZBA that the three season room is crucial to her well-being and happiness.

“I’m new to Michigan, relatively new, I moved here from Nebraska,” she said. “I have always had a three season room, but it’s even more important now, as I’ve gotten older and have some limitations, for me to have some outside space and outside air.”

After significant debate, the ZBA had a majority vote to grant the variance with some exceptions. For example, no new or existing owners can enclose the area beneath the upper deck, and the three season room can not be upgraded to a four season room.

Even with some restrictions, Ms. Lommel is grateful to be able to have her desired space.

“I would just like to thank you all,” she said. “I have no problem with the exceptions; I do not intend to build under this and I did not intend for it to be a four season room. I just want to be away from the mosquitos and to enjoy life.”

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