Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Administrative Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of
Common Pleas Case No. CV-18-893247
Law Firm, L.L.C., Matthew M. Nee, and Leigh S. Prugh, for
Barbara A. Henry, Director of Law, and Carolyn M. Downey,
Assistant Director of Law, for appellee City of Cleveland.
Mansour Gavin, L.P.A., John W. Monroe, Tracey S. McGurk, and
Kathryn E. Webber, for appellee Dieter Sumerauer.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
LASTER MAYS, JUDGE
Defendant-appellant Jeanne Carney-Hagan
("Carney-Hagan") appeals the trial court's
decision to affirm the Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals'
("the BZA") decision to grant a variance to their
neighbor, plaintiff-appellee, Dieter Sumerauer
("Sumerauer"). Pursuant to App.R. 3(B), we have
consolidated the two appeals for the purpose of disposition,
as they contain the same facts and issues. We affirm the
trial court's decision in both appeals.
Facts and Procedural History
2} When Sumerauer purchased his home, it did not
include a garage on the property. Consequently, Sumerauer
applied for a zoning variance to permit construction of a new
building on his property that included a 3-car garage with a
second floor study and living suite. The new building would
consist of approximately 2, 100 additional square footage.
The previous garage did not violate any setback requirements
and did not require a variance. However, the proposed
structure required a variance due to its height. The new
structure required a setback of 31 feet. The additional
living space pushed the garage within five feet of the
3} The BZA held a hearing on Sumerauer's
variance request. Sumerauer argued that he needed approval
for the variance because it was difficult to comply with the
current building code due to the irregular shape of the lot.
Sumerauer acknowledged that he could build the garage on the
opposite side of the house within code regulations, but it
would block views of the lake on his street.
4} Several neighbors opposed the variance arguing:
1. The massive addition/suite was not consistent with
single-family residence zoning because it was the equivalent
of a new dwelling * * * a second dwelling, on a home that is
zoned for single family;
2. There was no practical difficulty requiring the
construction of such a large, multi-room addition with a
substantially larger, 3-car garage, rather than simply
re-building a smaller garage as originally configured;
3. There was no practical difficulty that required the new
addition to be located on the south side of the house, when
Sumerauer admitted it could be built on the north side
without violating any code restrictions;
4. There was no practical difficulty because current
conditions did not interfere with any beneficial use of the
house, which Sumerauer purchased and has been fully able to
5. Construction of a 2-story addition within 5 feet of the
property line would destroy the privacy in neighbors
backyards and interfere with their enjoyment of their own
6. Construction of a 2-story addition within 5 feet of the
property line would block lakeshore views of the neighbors,
interfering with enjoyment and reducing the value of the
7. Crowding a 6, 000-plus square foot residence into a 15,
000 square foot lot would interfere with the character and
beauty of that neighborhood, the large green spaces in the
back, that were not crowding people in there.
Sumeraurer's architectural drawings demonstrated that the
proposed addition would only be five feet away from
combustible materials, thus openly raising ...