Cooneymus Road beach access rerun
The Town of New Shoreham went before the Zoning Board of Appeals last Thursday, Sept. 27, for what they hope will be the final round of a two-year struggle over the siting of beach access on Cooneymus Road and the subsequent subdivision of property owned by James and Elizabeth Lee, Plat 14, lot 39, which includes the access.
In June, the Lees’ neighbors Bruce and Peggy Montgomery won an appeal of the Planning Board’s decision to allow that subdivision decision. The Zoning Board of Appeals ruled that the Planning Board had made an error in granting approval for a subdivision of that property in which they created a substandard lot without gaining a dimensional variance to do so. It also granted conditional approval to the administrative subdivision with the provision that the town and the Lees return to obtain a variance.
The dispute over the Cooneymus access property began when Bruce and Peggy Montgomery complained that a hedge planted by the Lees encroached on the public access to the beach. The town had given permission for the hedge, but subsequent to the complaint ordered it removed. The town and the Lees then attempted to reset boundaries for the public access by subdividing the Lees’ lot into three portions, the 33-foot beach access, a lot with their house, and a small triangular non-conforming lot (39-1) that would be deeded as non-buildable.
At the zoning meeting last week, Bruce Montgomery read a letter from attorney Evan Leviss in which Leviss alleged the application for the variance was incomplete. One of the points was lack of a location for a septic system on the map, but town attorney Don Packer and Town Manager Nancy Dodge produced the maps, noting that the utility would not be in an area of concern.
Montgomery pointed out that town Building Official Marc Tillson has a conflict in weighing in on this application as he works for the Lees as a house watcher. No one responded to this complaint.
To obtain a variance, hardship has to be shown. Leviss’ letter alleged the Lees created their own hardship, and the subdivision is not consistent with the ordinance. Chair Elizabeth Connor said this and several other points will be addressed at the public hearing, which she scheduled for Wednesday, Oct 24 at 5 p.m.
Shed, residential conversion
A public hearing for an application to construct a shed on Plat 6, lot 31 on Ocean Avenue, owned by James Brouillard, was met with some objection from neighbor and abutter Walter Shanley on lot 32.
Brouillard, represented by John Spier, wants to tear down a deteriorating 12-foot by 16-foot shed and replace it with a one-and-a-half story building that is slightly larger, at 12 by 20 feet. The existing building is on the property line, and Spier asked to place it four feet from the line instead.
Shanley said he is not objecting to the project but would like the building to be 15 feet from the property line. After some discussion, Spier thought he could go to 10 or 12 feet at most.
The public hearing on the application was closed and the board took up a discussion on it. They agreed the shed should go 10 feet from the property line. Attorney Packer advised them to put in the neighbor’s objections and that there should be no plumbing and no one living in it. Board member David Morris will write the decision to be voted on at the next meeting.
Attorney Joseph Priestley represented Alexander and Karan Taylor, who asked for a special use permit and a variance to construct an addition to a dwelling and to convert three accessory buildings into two accessory residential structures on Plat 15, lot 30-1 on West Side Road across from the old Baptist church. The extra room is needed, Taylor said, to accommodate a large family and their friends in summer.
The main residence, a historic building, has two bedrooms and no additional ones will be added there. One accessory building will become a two bedroom and the other will have an open bunk room on the second floor. The applicant testified that there is a septic system for each building and one will get added septic capability. Town waste water inspector Don Thimble testified they needed new septic systems under ordinance 506, but Priestley disagreed that they fall under those guidelines. The board, under guidance from Packer, seemed to think the septic was adequate as planned.
After closing the public hearing, the board took up a discussion and Connor said it was “nice to see things not amassing and getting bigger.” The board appeared to be leaning in favor of the application. Board member Judith Cyronak expressed concerns that the applicants are using their garage and storage spaces for residences and said she “would hate to see it come back for a garage because there is no place to put their vehicles.” Though Priestley interjected that there is no lot coverage left for that, Packer advised the board to include something about it in their decision.
Three other applications were accepted and public hearings scheduled, one for the John Cotter Trust (Plat 7, lot 58) for a shed, one for a property line adjustment for Edward Phillips and the estate of Dawn Phillips (Plat 8, lots 13-1 and 13-2) and one for a deck over a porch with a spiral staircase to access it, by Nancy Ziomek (Plat 8, lot 33) at a two-story residence on Spring Street. Though the hearings were scheduled for October 24, Connor forewarned the applicants that they might not have time to get to them.
An appeal of a notice of violation (Payne’s 1614 Realty, LLC. Plat 5, lot 111) was continued for lack of quorum of unrecused board members.