Minutes: January 26th, 2010


The regular meeting of the Catawba Island Township Board of Trustees was called to order by chairman Gary Mortus at 7:30 p.m. in the conference room. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.

In attendance: Gary Mortus, William Rofkar, Matt Montowski, Pat Cerny, Paul Shaw, Jack DeVore, Reggie Langford, Brian Snyder, Bob Snyder, John Moore, Keith Fisher, Scott Leach, Tom Jagucki, Steve Smith, Dan Barlow, John Gangway, Jeff Scott, Karl Oreskovich, Lee Meihe, Tom Ervin, Scot Taylor, Rich Gillum, John Kocher, Jim Stouffer, Bill VanDerGiessen, Rob Rogers.

The minutes of the previous meeting were read aloud and approved as submitted with a clarification on the bids on the grinding that the contract was awarded to the lowest bidder, David Price Metal and all bids should be listed in the future.

Matt Montowski made a motion to approve and pay the bills in the amount of $12,110.36 seconded by William Rofkar. All voted aye.

Correspondence included invitation from Spoerr Precast Concrete Inc. for a Open House and catered lunch on February 10, 2010; 2009 Ottawa County Municipal Court Report; Notice from the Ottawa County Board of Elections regarding 2010 Election dates; Mark Mulligan, County Prosecutor requesting a contribution of funds for the Ottawa County Drug Task Force.

Paul Shaw, administrator for the The Vineyard on Catawba, stated he is here to talk about an expansion they would like to do to their assisted living building. Paul Shaw then gave a brief overview of The Vineyard on Catawba which was approved in 1995. The revised schemes have opted to do smaller incremental assisted living adding four additional suites that could accommodate two people each. Paul Shaw met with Pat Cerny and Todd Bickley from Regional Planning and they stated the plan appears to be a minor deviation from the existing Planned Unit Development. The Board of Trustees may hear and may approve such minor change at any public meeting as long as it meets the criteria for minor deviations. This arrangement will give The Vineyards more open space and does not increase the density of the Planned Unit Development. Matt Montowski made a motion to approve the minor deviation seconded by William Rofkar. Matt Montowski, aye; William Rofkar, aye; Gary Mortus, aye.
Attorney John Kocher stated he and Rich Gillium, Attorney are present to represent Marine Max and discuss issues.

Dan Barlow stated the containers for the salt will be here on Friday, January 29 and will be installed on the trucks and the beet juice will also arrive. Dan Barlow also stated the yard waste grinding has also started. Gary Mortus invited Dan Barlow to the permanent appropriations work session to talk about the compost facility.

John Moore spoke in regard to Marine Max not agreeing with the parking plan that was presented. It is suggested to park between the two buildings and have people walk 600 feet to their proposed office and when that is filled there will be put some 1300 feet from the office door in the mud at the east end. He also stated this fits none of the township zoning. Mr. Moore stated this is a sham. Gary Mortus stated before us is a parking plan and asked Mr. Kocher to explain. Mr. Kocher stated the plan was put together by Janotta and Herner, an engineering firm, based on physical dimensions. Mr. Kocher stated after reviewing the zoning resolution and talking with Pat Cerny, he feels they are in compliance with the zoning code. Mr. Kocher stated the fire lanes are open. Mr. Kocher presented a letter of good faith regarding Marine Max explaining the lawful position from the duly appointed Receiver having complete charge and control over the real property and Marine Max is lawfully occupying the premises and was authorized to permit the application for the building. Mr. Kocher stated parking has been calculated but according to the variance, they do not have to provide parking for the seasonal inside storage. Pat Cerny read the Decision & Order entered by Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas from the appointed Receiver Mr. Bernard Niehaus. Mr. John Moore would like to see a copy of a lease that he has with Marine Max. They are squatting on the property. Mr. Moore stated this property was zoned for a storage building and now it is a service facility illegally in a storage building and other illegal facilites.

William Rofkar stated his problem is not with zoning of the property
itself but the granting of the variance granted in 1997. William Rofkar then read a paragraph from the minutes of the variance meeting. The variance was granted for the winter storage of large boats. John Kocher stated the variance was based on the size of the building; all legal uses in the C-4 District. Rich Gillum stated there are two sides of the coin in Ohio when it comes to conditional variances. They are not permitted by the statute. ORC 519.14 only talks about conditional variances in the scope of mining operations. A BZA duly authorized to grant conditional variances may do so in Ohio, but the case law is very explicit, the BZA must have authority from the Township Zoning Resolution to issue a conditional variance. If they do not have the authority, the conditions placed on the variance are seen as illegal.
The BZA cannot make new laws. Rich Gillum stated the Township Zoning Code in 1997 it authorized them to grant and deny variances but it did not mention to place conditions on those variances. He also stated it was a setback variance. The parking variance was conditioned on the fact that it was for seasonal storage. The variance read “A variance on the parking requirement is granted based on the fact that storage is “for the season”, not rack or short term storage. If it was a conditional variance, under the law, it would read the variance was granted on the parking so long as it is used as or upon the condition that it is used as. This is the justification for the variance,
it is not conditioning that parking variance. In essence, even if Catawba was authorized to grant conditional variances, this is not a condition under the law. This is a justification. This may sound like double talk, but this is a legal distinction. This is not zoned as a storage building, it is zoned C-4. If the use changes the variance does not go away. Saying that it can only be used as a storage building is not a true statement if you look at the law. Mr. Kocher stated a large percentage is being used as seasonal boat storage, about 130 boats seasonally stored. There is a 25 foot section in the rear of one of the buildings where they are doing some service to some boats that are seasonally stored. This is incident to the seasonal storage. Those boats are already in the building to be stored for the season.

William Rofkar read from the minutes of the BZA meeting, July 9, 1997, Williams moved that Request for Variance 6439 for boat storage buildings be granted to the following extent: William Rofkar stated they have stated that it is for boat storage buildings and they speak about the fire lanes being unencumbered, and setbacks, and a variance for parking requirement is granted based on the fact that
Storage is “for the season”, not rack storage or short term storage.
The entire project is for the storage of boats, not sales or commercial type activities like boat repair.

Rich Gillum stated what was granted was an area variance. It was not a use variance; it was not a variance, it was not a variance granted for
the use of boat storage. The property was already properly zoned for boat storage. It was a variance to grant two setbacks and to alter the parking requirements. It was a variance in the dimensions of the lot lines of the setbacks and the parking, you are not talking about a variance from the use of the zoning code which is entirely different.
William Rofkar stated you would have required a variance for working on boats because you also needed a 40 foot setback or side yard variance from the 40 foot requirement to work on boats, but on the first page they said they were going to give up working on boats. If they are still working on boats, the variance was for storage. Mr. Gillum stated the variance was for where the building could be located as it relates to the property line. Mr. Kocher stated the primary purpose is to service the boats that are inside in seasonal storage.
If you check the marinas in the area that have inside storage, they will be doing work on the boats in the winter. That is what keeps people employed and keeps jobs going. Mr. Kocher is suggesting what Marine Max is doing is not different from any other marina in Ottawa County and he also suspects that the prior owners sold boats from this facility.
William Rofkar stated there is not sufficient parking near the building and there are more sales offices. Mr. Kocher stated as soon as they can purchase the property, their intent is to take down the two small buildings and that should help with the parking and resolve some of these issues.

Mr. John Moore stated they are running a shop without a fire-wall with solvents and all the rest of it.

Steve Smith, neighbor across the street, stated what bothers him are the buildings brought in and what is the long term intent for this property.

Gary Mortus stated he is confused as we are jumping from the
parking issue to the building issue upfront and now elevated it to a use or what the variance actually was of 1997. He agrees it was a meets and bounds variance and there was some intention on the Board of Appeals what they intended to rule on but it was not very explicit.
Gary Mortus thinks we need to go back and talk to Mark Mulligan, put our thoughts down on paper and get some legal counsel because now with the change in Marine Max’s counsel there are all these issues that need to be resolved as we move forward.

William Rofkar stated we are not trying to hurt anyone just trying to
enforce the zoning agreements and the resolution and if all is legal then there will be no recourse. The service issue is his main concern.

John Moore stated his goal is to get Marine Max off of his property.

Gary Mortus stated a work session should be set up with Mark Mulligan
and who ever else wishes to come.
James Stouffer thanked Officer Stewart, Robert Rogers and John Gangway. Officer Stewart acted quickly and extinguished a fire in the CIC golf maintenance facility at his own risk. James Stouffer appreciates all the grief that was prevented.

Police Chief Robert Rogers stated the new police cruiser was delivered
and should be on the road soon. Officer Stewart is on medical leave
and Officer Jeffrey Hickman was sworn in and ready to go to work.

Matt Montowski passed out the Ottawa Regional Planning Commission Annual Report to the Trustees. There is also an interest to look into a new recording system for the recording the minutes. That will be checked out at the Winter Conference. Matt Montowski also stated there will not be a monthly Zoning Commission meeting for January as there is no business to discuss. Matt Montowski would also like to see a key box purchased and put in the administration building in case of an emergency. Matt Montowski also discussed pricing of cemetery plots and did a brief survey from other communities. This will be reviewed. Employee e-mail was also discussed.

Matt Montowski would also like to see the employee handbook updated. Matt Montowski said in the matter of promoting the participation of the Catawba Island Township residents and the census of 2010 he made a motion to whereas the census of population is required to be undertaken every ten years by the U.S. Constitution, and is whereas Catawba Island Township Trustees have been working with the Bureau of Census since 2007 to insure that all residents of Catawba Island Township will receive a census questionnaire and be counted and whereas the 2010 will begin on April 1, 2010 with the mailings of these questionnaires to all household units within Catawba Island Township, and whereas the 2010 is required by the U.S. Constitution apportion the 435 members of the House of Representatives of the United States Congress and whereas the Brooking Institute estimated that in 2007 there was $338 billion in federal funding that was allocated in part of whole based upon the data collected in the 2000 census and whereas the census in the 2010 data will be widely used by public agencies, non profit community based organizations and private sector for marketing operations and planning. Now, therefore be it resolved, the Catawba Island Township
Trustees encourage all Catawba Island Township residents to participate in the census of 2010 by promptly answering their census questionnaire correctly and completely or notifying the local census office that a questionnaire was not received at their housing unit. William Rofkar second. All voted aye.
Pat Cerny presented a quote from the DeAngelo Brothers, Inc. for Bareground and Ditch Spraying. The price will be a Lump Sum of $2,750.00 to do this work in 2010. This will be looked into.

Gary Mortus stated he attended a special meeting of the Health District to appoint a member to fill a vacancy and the person appointed was Bruce Moritz from the west end of the county.

The appropriations work session will be February 2nd at 7:00 p.m.

William Rofkar made a motion to adjourn seconded by Matt Montowski. All voted aye.

8:55 p.m.______________Chairman

_______________Fiscal Officer