Friday, March 30, 2001
Board of appeals rules on three resident applications
There is no rubber stamp at the board of appeals. Board members judge each case independently, looking to alleviate topographical hardship, improve safety, and accommodate residents' requests as long as the variances granted do not violate the intent of town bylaws. All the rulings from the most recent meeting on March 14 involved resident applications.
Nicholas and Ann Carr of 127 Sunset Road applied for a special permit to allow the addition of a family room and moving a garage forward. Although the construction plan conforms to all town requirements and guidelines, the lot itself does not as it covers only 1.5 acres and does not meet current two-acre zoning requirements. Therefore, any property alterations must go to the BOA for review. The board considered the application reasonable, and after brief discussion approved the special permit.
John and Joan Patterson applied for a 3.5-foot variance for an addition at 738 Maple Street. The applicants described how their existing driveway drops off treacherously, such that they cannot clean it nor use it in the winter. They want to fill and raise the level by six feet, and at the same time expand and finish basement space. The Pattersons had previously made an application in July 1999 to build a new garage, but the application required a much greater incursion into the setback and the board denied it.
The new plan will eliminate the existing garage while enhancing and expanding the basement storage area to house things typically found in a garage, such as rakes and bicycles. The laundry will move up a level, and be brought up to meet current code. The basement addition has outside access, and will improve access to the house via a stairwell to the kitchen.
The Pattersons had restricted the new design to meet all town bylaws to avoid application for a variance. Upon inspection of the plan, however, the town building inspector Bob Koning found the steep stairs prohibitive and recommended using standard risers, hence necessitating the minor incursion into the setback.
"The board felt comfortable approving the variance," said chairman Terry Herndon. "The addition improves safety in two ways." He referred to eliminating the necessity for the homeowners to park in the street during winter months and the building inspector's input.
Variance without hardship denied
A third application was for a three-car garage requiring two variances at 453 Bedford Road. Michael and Maureen Ruettgers, who own the property, purchased a lot across the street from their house. They wanted to build a garage on it, but in such a way as not to obstruct the current views from their home. This required situating the garage with a 20-foot incursion into the setback from Stearns Street, and a 30-foot incursion to town-owned land.
"We made a decision to deny," said Herndon. "We determined that there was another place on the lot that didn't need variances. Also there are several locations on the other side of the street near the dwelling that don't need variances."
The full board attended the meeting. In addition to Herndon, clerk Midge Eliassen, member Scott Batchelder, and associate members Hal Sauer and Shann Kerner were present. The board next meets on Thursday, April 5, and will continue the Nextel Communications application for construction of a monopole at 1 River Road.
© 2001 The Carlisle Mosquito