Tuesday evening the Plymouth Board of Zoning Appeals approved two variance requests from the development of city standards.

The first request came from Grant and Gina Hierlmeire at 2490 Hillcrest Avenue in the Tall Oaks Suburban.  The property owners wanted to reduce the side yard setback from the required 10 feet to 5 feet to allow for an attached 1-stall garage.  They told the board the addition would match the existing home and would be used to store lawn equipment and a boat that is currently being stored off-site.  This would give the home a total of 4 garage bays. 

During the public hearing, the neighbor immediately adjacent to the additional spoke in favor of the request while another neighbor sent a letter in opposition saying allowing a 4-bay garage would set a precedent.

The Plymouth BZA unanimously approved the request.

The second variance of development standard came from Matt and Chelsea Smith at 6661 North Michigan Road.  Their request was to allow a total of 5 cows on their 6-acre property in the city’s 2-mile zoning district.  Mrs. Smith said the cows are for their family’s consumption and she plans to only have 3 at a time but with breeding and calves they could have as many as 5.

There were no comments during the public hearing except for the city attorney who shared that Mrs. Smith is a volunteer 2-mile representative on the city’s comprehensive plan update committee. 

BZA member Mark Gidley asked about manure and how it would be handled.  Smith said a lot depends on the diet of the cows.  They plan to allow these cows to grass-feed so most of the waste would be spread on the pasture.  If there was an excessive amount from having them penned up, they could spread it on the 40 acres they are purchasing from her father.

The Plymouth Board of Zoning Appeals granted the variance request as presented for 5 cows.  This variance joins one the Smiths already have that allows them to have 6 goats and 20 chickens on the hobby farm.