The Board of Zoning Appeals met on Monday, September 19, 2005 at
7:30 p.m. In attendance were Mr. Monnett, Mr. Blevins, Mr. Cavanaugh
and Mr. Matrana.
ROLL CALL/DETERMINATION OF QUORUM
Mr. Carlucci administered the Roll Call.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mr. Cavanaugh made a motion to approve the July 18, 2005 minutes
of the Plainfield Board of zoning Appeals as submitted. Second by Mr.
Monnett. Motion carried.
OATH OF TESTIMONY
Mr. Carlucci administered the Oath of Testimony.
Mr. Matrana reviewed the Guidelines Governing the Conduct of
Public Hearings. The first matter before the board tonight is BZA-05-
014 concerning Matthew Smith.
Mr. Carlucci said the Smiths live at 923 Brendon Drive in
Plainfield. You have a photo of the site. At the southeast corner of
the property is where they previously had a 10’ x 12’ storage building.
That was removed and a 14’ x 20’ storage building was constructed.
They are here to need variances tonight for the side yard setbacks,
side and rear setbacks. Specifically at the south and east corners
require six feet off the property line on the south and east sides.
And they are encroaching on those setbacks. They are approximately one
foot off the south property line and four to five feet off the east
property line. There is also a drainage utility easement that they are
encroaching on that site. It is a 7.5-foot easement. Their neighbors
have the other 7.5 feet on the opposite side. The BZA can do nothing
at this point on that drainage easement. The Town Council will have to
approve the encroachment to that utility easement because it was the
Town Council that approved that or approved the subdivision. So, they
have provided with notices certified letters and also certification
sent to the adjoining property owners and I believe Mr. and Mrs. Smith
are here tonight. You also have a motion at the end of page 2, a
suggested motion and, of course, you can add or delete as you see fit.
Mr. Matthew Smith at 923 Brendon Drive, Plainfield, Indiana said
pretty much what he said is about what it is. We had built this
building to replace a storage shed that we had. We didn’t know about
the building permit until after we had already started building the
building. We had an issue like this in 1998 where we built an addition
onto the back of our house. We applied for the variance and we were
told because it was in our back yard we did not need a variance for
that particular piece of part that we added onto the house. We have a
copy of a check that was returned to us with the Board of Zoning
authority number on it. So, we just request that we get the variance
for this building that we built.
Mr. Matrana asked, do you call it a utility shed?
Mr. Smith said yes.
Mr. Matrana asked, is it already built and on your land?
Mr. Smith said it has been up for almost a year now.
Mr. Matrana asked, is it on some sort of a permanent foundation?
Mr. Smith said yes it is, it is concrete.
Mr. Matrana asked, would it be kind of hard to move? Could you
Mr. Smith said no. It has a block foundation with a concrete
slab. Actually, the drainage was not ever maintained in any way. When
we put the footer in, we were the ones actually that dug up the grate
for the drain.
Mr. Matrana said so you knew it was a utility easement when you
first put it in.
Mr. Smith said yes.
Mr. Matrana asked, did you contact anybody from the Town?
Mr. Smith said we contacted Indiana Underground, which was the
law and we were told to call the Department of Utilities here in
Plainfield. We contacted them and no one came out to tell us about the
Mr. Carlucci said typically utility easements are on the plats.
The one that is encroaching is the one that runs east and west and
maybe the one north and south on that property too. But Mr. Suther is
the one who developed that subdivision years ago. He went bankrupt for
a while and became un-bankrupt but the responsibility to maintain those
easements is the property owner.
Mr. Smith said we mow back there and everything.
Mr. Carlucci said it is your property. An easement only allows
the drainage or the utility companies to come in there but you still
pay taxes on it.
Mrs. Smith at 923 Brendon Drive said all of that is outside of
the fence where they have access.
Mr. Matrana said so if the workers needed to get in there, they
Mrs. Smith said it is all outside of our fence. We mow outside of
that and take care of that. The building is near it but there is still
probably two feet to where the drainage ditch actually is in that area.
Mr. Smith said there are telephone cables out there.
Mrs. Smith said you can drive down between our yard and the next
Mr. Cavanaugh asked, are all of the utilities that you are aware
of outside of the fence?
Mr. Smith said yes. They are closer to our neighbor’s fence.
They are about seven feet from our fence.
Mr. Cavanaugh said the primary issue being in the easement is
that the utility company has the right to be in there and maintain
anything. So, if your fence or building or something is in there and
they need to get through that particular area, you may be at a loss.
Mrs. Smith said prior to building this building the other
building was at this end area. It is just that it is bigger into our
yard but sitting in the same area and the fence came to the exact same
place to where it was.
Mr. Cavanaugh said that was the question that I had actually.
Would it be fair to say that the back corner, the back outside corner
of the new building is in about the same place?
Mr. Smith said it is in the same place as the old one was yes.
Mr. Cavanaugh said so you are not encroaching any farther in any
direction into the easement.
Mr. Smith said no.
Mr. Cavanaugh said you just moved the structure farther into your
Mrs. Smith said yes because we have a bigger building.
Mr. Carlucci said I lived on the other side of that subdivision
at one time and if you had a 10’ x 12’ that you bought at Old Bob’s and
they were technically on skids, they are not considered permanent so
that they could be moved. But you took your chance to put fences up
and the utility had to get in there. Typically, the water and sewer
aren’t served from the back of yards, they are served from the front
but then you have cable, electrical and maybe gas in there.
Mr. Smith said we have had the cable company come out. As a
matter of fact, they just replaced our cable system and we had the
phone company out and they replaced a phone line to the house without
Mr. Carlucci said when you get up to the size of 14’ x 20’, I
think the ordinance requires that it actually be on a slab because it
is just the size of that. But when they are 10’ x 20’, it doesn’t
Mr. Matrana said although there is nobody in the audience this is
a public hearing so if anybody was here, now would be the time to step
forward and give us your opinion either for or against. With no one
coming forward the public portion is now closed and I would like to
open this petition up to the board for discussion and a possible
motion. Even if we passed this motion, it would still go to the Town
Mr. Carlucci said yes because they would have to agree to allow
that encroachment of that drainage easement. Usually on those maps on
the plats it’s UD&E, utility and drainage easements. I’m just assuming
that you and your neighbors are not having problems with any water
because the building has been there for a year.
Mr. Smith said right and since they built back farther behind us
they have filled in so the drainage ditch is not even there anymore.
The only two yards that drain into that drainage ditch are the neighbor
directly behind us and my house and the neighbor to the east of us.
The others have filled in dirt so the drainage ditch doesn’t do
anything. Now if it is a matter of finding a waiver for that easement,
I would be willing to do that too because I know that is an option that
Mr. Monnett asked, did you answer your own question Mr. Matrana?
Mr. Matrana said yes. I was just stating that whether or not we
approve this it still has to go before the Town Council to get their
Mr. Monnett said, which I assume is not uncommon.
Mr. Carlucci said no we have done it before.
Substantial compliance with the plans file dated August 19,