Tri-Village News

New player joins dispute over Marble Cliff construction

Owner, neighbor are hashing out differences; new claim says house may be too tall

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While some progress apparently has been made regarding one neighbor's concerns about David Bell's request for a variance to allow a larger garage than planned on his Cambridge Boulevard property, another neighbor has raised another issue.

Wiley Elliott told members of Marble Cliff Village Council on Monday, March 17, that he and Bell have met and are "that close" to ironing out their issues.

"Some of it is semantics," Elliott said about the remaining issues to be resolved.

He said the pair have a set of recommendations they would like to submit to the village solicitor to review "to make sure we're not mistaking anything."

Bell has asked Village Council for an amendment to the lot split with variance it granted in 2010 for his parcel at 1123 Cambridge Blvd. He remodeled an existing home on the southern end of the lot and currently is building his own home on the northern end.

The amendment would allow Bell to build a three-car garage rather than the two-car structure originally planned.

Elliott, who opposed the original lot split, also objected to the proposed amendment because he said the garage would block sunlight from the backyard of his property, which abuts the northern end of Bell's lot.

Council agreed to hold a fourth reading of the ordinance to grant Bell's variance and to bring the matter up again at its April meeting, pending the suggestions that Bell and Elliott may submit.

But another neighbor, Sarah Myers, now has questioned whether the height of the house Bell is building violates the terms of the original variance and lot split council approved four years ago.

The legislation states the new home cannot be taller than the residence located to the south of the property.

Myers, acting on her belief that the new home will be taller, went to the Grandview Heights building department, which handles zoning issues for the village, to check on the height of the existing home and the proposed height of Bell's new home.

She said she found the department had two measurements listed for the home to the south: one determined by the building department and the other submitted by Bell.

The building department had determined a height of 24.5 feet; Bell submitted a measurement of 27 feet.

Bell has indicated a planned height of about 33 feet for the home he is building.

He told council he could reduce the height to 32 or 31 feet with ease, but if it has to be shorter, "we would have to make some drastic changes."

Bell said he had been operating "under a certain understanding of the height we could build."

Mayor Kent Studebaker said village staff will work with the building department to try to determine the actual height of the home to the south of Bell's property and decide what action council will need to take.

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