MINUTES

Board of Adjustment Hearing

April 29, 2010

 

The Clarkson Valley Board of Adjustment, pursuant to notices posted, met at City Hall in the Fru-Con Building to consider three agenda items.

 

            Board of Adjustment members present were:

                        Darryl Brody, Chairperson

                        Walter DeGrendele

                        Jack Hauser

                        Paul Mercurio

                        Phyllis Newmark

 

The City Attorney, Mr. Patrick Butler attended and the City Clerk, Michele McMahon recorded the Minutes.  Board Member Tom Berkeley arrived late.  Board Members Karen Koshak and Terry Rosenstrauch were unable to attend.  The Chairman asked if everyone had an opportunity to view the properties to which all stated they did.  After the meeting was called to order and protocol established, Mr. and Mrs. Robson; Mr. Will Jones, Jr., representing his parents, William and Phyllis Jones; and Mr. Hood, who is the attorney for John Conboy and representing him were sworn in.

 

The Chairman asked if any of the petitioners or those representing the petitioners had objections to any of the Members of the Board of Adjustment comprising the quorum, to which they responded they did not.  Darryl Brody read the Notice of Public Hearing for the first agenda item to construct two retaining walls beyond the front building line. 

 

            Mr. Robson introduced himself and his wife, Kelley, and stated that he began construction of a driveway reconfiguration due to the steep grade.  He said it was for safety and function purposes because there is a major hillcrest at the top, which creates a hazard due to a blind spot.  He said that vehicles also have slid down the driveway and delivery trucks cannot make it up the hill.  It was even doubtful that emergency vehicles could make it up the hill, which becomes a liability issue.  Rain and leaves make it more treacherous.  Not to mention, people can’t walk up the driveway because of the pitch.  It is compounded by extreme erosion.

 

            He explained that his family has been there three years and attempted several things before reconfiguring the driveway.  The put a flint rock coating for traction on the pavement at a cost of $1,200, which lasted three months and it never really addressed the problem.

 

            They contracted for a new drive with a switchback to reduce the grade and help with erosion.  They called City Hall to see if permits were necessary and found since there would be no new pavement cut, one was not necessary.  While building the drive, the contractor felt that two retaining walls made of exposed aggregate blocks would also help keep everything in place.  They were unaware that a permit would be necessary for the walls since they were being constructed at less than 4’ in height and further, that a variance was necessary because they were beyond the front building line. 

 

            Discussion took place about the building lines as noted on the site plan and in the Building Commissioner’s memo.  For the record, the building lines remain 75’ front, 25’ side and 50’ rear and both the application and the Commissioner’s memo should reflect that.  The house, which is at a 50’ line, is grandfathered, but any future construction beyond the 75’ setback would also require a variance. 

 

            Through additional discussion, the retaining walls as shown on the exhibits should reflect they are no taller than 4’.

 

            At this point, Board Member Tom Berkeley came into the meeting.  The Chairman asked if there were any objections from the petitioners for this Board Member to which there were none.  It was also determined that because there was one more than the required quorum, Chairman Darryl Brody would refrain from voting. 

 

            Board Member Jack Hauser asked if the switchback is wide enough to make the turn-around to which Mr. Robson stated yes, that it was 18’ wide.  Board Member Paul Mercurio asked about the Land Disturbance Ordinance and also mentioned the tree is dying and should be removed.

 

A call for proponents and opponents was made, to which there were none.  There were no additional questions for the Robson’s.

 

The City Attorney, Patrick Butler explained to the Board Members the intent of the zoning code and read the merits and conclusion portion contained therein. 

 

Darryl Brody asked the Members for their factual determination of the proposal for the addition, to which: question (1) five are (2) five will not, (3) five will, (4) five will not, (5) five will not, (6) five will. 

 

The Chairperson then called for a vote of approval/disapproval to grant the desired variance for the constructing two retaining walls beyond the front building line with the following results:  Yeas: Berkeley, DeGrendele, Hauser, Mercurio and Newmark.  There were no nays.

 

The Chairperson declared the Robson’s petition as being approved.  Darryl Brody then advised Mr. Robson that the variance granted by the Board is based upon what took place tonight and the amended submittals.  Any change will negate the variance that was granted at this meeting. 

 

Darryl Brody read the Notice of Public Hearing for the second agenda item to construct a cantilevered deck around the four season room addition (approved in December 2009) off the master bedroom at the southwest portion of a triangular lot, which would encroach 3’ beyond the original variance of 6’0” beyond the rear setback.

 

            Mr. Will Jones, Jr. introduced himself saying his parents were unable to attend.  He explained that Phyllis Jones is requesting a deck to be added to the sunroom.  There was a question regarding the engineer’s signature, to which Mr. Jones said he would verify that the engineer signed it.

 

A call for proponents and opponents was made, to which there were none.  There were no additional questions for Mr. Jones.

 

The City Attorney, Patrick Butler explained to the Board Members the intent of the zoning code and read the merits and conclusion portion contained therein. 

 

Darryl Brody asked the Members for their factual determination of the proposal for the addition, to which: question (1) four are, one are not, (2) five will not, (3) four will, one will not, (4) five will not, (5) five will not, (6) five will. 

 

The Chairperson then called for a vote of approval/disapproval to grant the desired variance for the constructing the deck beyond the approved four season room with the following results:  Yeas: Berkeley, DeGrendele, Hauser, Mercurio and Newmark.  There were no nays.

 

The Chairperson declared the Jones’s petition as being approved.  Darryl Brody then advised Mr. Jones that the variance granted by the Board is based upon what took place tonight and the submittals.  Any change will negate the variance that was granted at this meeting. 

 

            Mr. Brody read the last Agenda item.  A request from John Conboy to allow a water feature that encroaches 33’ into the rear 50’ setback and the pond 25’ into the rear 50’ setback.

 

            Mr. Don Hood introduced himself, stating he is from the firm and is co-council along with John Lynch, the legal representative of Mr. Conboy.  He gave a quick recap of the events that took place at last month’s Board of Adjustment Hearing. 

 

            He described the reasoning for the original French drain and waterfall/pond as stemming from storm water runoff affecting three lots 33, 30 and 29.  He asked the Board Members to review his exhibits and explained the drawing. 

 

            Mr. Butler asked Mr. Hood if Mr. Conboy is seeking approval of anything that is not on his property, to which Mr. Hood stated nothing but what is located on his own property is being asked for this Board’s consideration. 

 

            After several discussions, the question was brought around to just what Mr. Conboy was requesting and Mr. Butler reminded the Board they are only to consider what has been requested.  Further discussion ensued because it appears the water feature would have to be considered with rough estimates of the variance due to the nature of the stones placed in the ground and determining exactly where the structure begins and ends cannot be an exact science. 

 

A call for proponents and opponents was made, to which there were none.  There were no additional questions for Mr. Jones.

 

The City Attorney, Patrick Butler explained to the Board Members the intent of the zoning code and read the merits and conclusion portion contained therein.  He stated for the record, it should be clear to Mr. Conboy that this variance is for this project ONLY and NOT TO THE LAND.

 

Darryl Brody asked the Members for their factual determination of the proposal for the waterfall/pond, to which: question (1) four are, one are not, (2) two will, three will not, (3) five will, (4) three will, two will not, (5) five will not, (6) five will. 

 

The Chairperson then called for a vote of approval/disapproval to grant the desired variance for the waterfall/pond beyond the rear building line with the following results:  Yeas: Berkeley, DeGrendele, Hauser and Mercurio.  Nays: Newmark. 

 

The Chairperson declared the Mr. Conboy’s request as being approved. 

 

 

 

_________________________________________

Michele McMahon