Friday, July 15, 2005
BOA balks at septic system variance request
Terry Herndon, long-time member of the Board of Appeals (BOA), and keeper of the institutional memory for the relatively new Board of Appeals membership, warned the board that giving variances for septic systems is not in the board's book of rules. "We don't want to get into an area that's not within our swamp," said Herndon, warning the board that a ruling might establish an inappropriate precedent.
Variances for septic systems?
New River Road Realty Trust, owners of the business property at 1 River Road, came before the board on July 7 to request a variance to build a new septic system. They told the board they were attempting to bring the property into Title 5 compliance, as it currently has two old septic systems, one of which is entirely located in a wetlands buffer zone. Chip Orca, property manager for owner Lance Renfroe, told the board that the town's Building Inspector told him to come to the BOA, in addition to the Conservation Commission, for the necessary permission.
Abutter Dana Booth was present and voiced concern that the mounded septic system be screened by appropriate landscaping. However, this would be difficult because the mound, and accompanying retaining wall, runs within a foot of a stone wall bordering the property. The board listened, but did not act.
Herndon said, "It is becoming a ritual for the Building Inspector to send issues hereWe must be careful what we do when we represent the town. The Board of Appeals gives variances for structures; this is a septic system." Herndon suggested the board ask town counsel if this is an issue that should be before the board. The hearing was continued until Monday, August 1.
The board is undergoing substantial change in both personnel and schedules. Newly-appointed associate member Manuel Crespo was in attendance. Two additional new members will be appointed shortly. Cindy Nock was re-elected chair for another year.
Nock explained that there would be two different board meetings each month, with three sitting members on each committee. On the first Thursday of the month, the board will continue to hear routine applications for variances. However, acknowledging the additional workload brought by 40B applications, the board will also meet on the third Monday of the month for these hearings when necessary.
Nock reminded the board that this would be Terry Herndon's last year on the board, and that current members would have to absorb as much history of past practices and experiences as they could from Terry's long association with the board.
© 2005 The