SHELBY — Monday, the Shelby Village Council unanimously approved a use variance to remodel an existing detached accessory building into an accessory dwelling.

The unit is at 186 S. State St. in Shelby and is owned by resident Barbara Setlak. Setlak addressed the council saying, “I’m requesting this variance to hopefully be able to provide a place for my grandson, who is handicapped, to live and thrive. He requires a lot of special equipment and needs more space than my home has.”

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) reviewed all six standards of 14.08 of the zoning ordinance and determined that an unnecessary hardship exists, which prevents the reasonable use of the parcel as currently zoned. The use variance was approved with the following conditions: 1) Prior to issuance of any village permits, the applicant shall have paid all application, permit, reimbursable escrow and other fees related to the request. 2) The application and the site shall at all times comply with all other applicable ordinances, codes and requirements of the Village of Shelby. 3) The application shall receive approval and comply with any requirements from the Shelby-Benona Fire Department, Building Department or other village or county officials. 4) The ZBA may require that the applicant submit a site plan considered sufficient for review by the zoning administrator. 5) The deed restriction, or other similarly binding covenant, shall be created for the property which requires the principal dwelling to be occupied by the owner of the property. 6) The accessory building shall not be connected to separate sewer or water connections, and it shall not be assigned a separate address. 7) The accessory dwelling shall not accommodate transient occupants.

During the public hearing portion of the ZBA meeting, a letter of support was read from Larry Byl, member of Oceana Rentals, LLC. As well, Shelby Township resident Richard Raffaelli spoke in support of the variance, stating that housing continues to be a need in our area and anything the village can do to support more housing is positive for the area. Council member Damien Omness, who was fully in support of the variance, wondered if the council was setting precedent for future requests. Village President Paul Inglis and village Administrator Brady Selner assured the council that each request stands alone and is considered on a case by case basis. It was also stated that the variance stays with the property going forward. Following approval, Setlak thanked Selner and others for their help through the process.

The village also approved an ingress/egress easement for a parcel at 228 Deming St., which is in the process of being sold. While preparing for the sale, it was discovered that the driveway access to the house is on village property. Because no recorded easement could be found, an easement needs to be recorded so the sale can be completed.

“It’s historical in its use,” said Calvin Roskam, realtor for the transaction. “No one seems to know the reason behind it, but it has been like that since the mid-1970s.”

It was clarified that the easement was for ingress/egress only. The owner of said property will be responsible for any upkeep and repair of the driveway.

Shelby Township is currently in the process of developing a community park on 29.5 acres on Buchanan Road near 72nd Avenue. The township will be submitting a Michigan Department of Natural Resources Grant and asked the village for a letter of support. Numerous community stakeholders have already submitted letters and made financial contributions to the proposed project. Township Supervisor Raffaelli said, “The proposed plan includes six pickleball courts, two co-ed softball fields, two full-size soccer fields and two youth-sized soccer fields, a 1.2 mile walking trail, a picnic shelter, complete with bbq grills and a concession stand, which will be used mainly by groups holding athletic events and tournaments at the park. The main users of the park will be rec groups such as adult softball and youth soccer, but it will be available for everyone in the community as well as people coming off the rail trail. We surveyed the community, which helped us determine what facilities were most needed and wanted.”

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