Merkler-McAloon subdivision now before Zoning
After nine hearings before the town Planning Board over the past year, a proposal to subdivide a 23-acre property located off Payne Road and Mohegan Trail is now before the town Zoning Board.
William Merkler and Shannon McAloon have applied to subdivide their property (Plat 9, Lot 58) into six lots. However, the master plan for subdivision — which was approved by the Planning Board in August — requires a special variance from the Zoning Board.
Attorney Bill Landry, representing Merkler and McAloon, explained to the Zoning Board at its Wednesday, Sept. 25, meeting that town zoning regulations require this subdivision to include 50 percent “open space.” However, this subdivision plan only calls for 21 percent open space, and therefore it requires a variance.
Landry said the master plan approved by the Planning Board is a “flexible subdivision,” allowing the property to be divided in a way that would preserve a field and wetlands on the property. If the Zoning Board denied the variance, Merkler and McAloon would have to return to the Planning Board for a “conventional subdivision,” which would preserve no open space.
Some attendees at the meeting had questions about the subdivision, but the Zoning Board said most questions were more appropriate for the Planning Board. Two island residents, who are abutters to the Merkler/McAloon property, said that this was the first time they received notice of the proposed subdivision, despite the nine previous hearings.
The Zoning Board will issue a decision about whether or not to grant the variance at its Oct. 23 meeting. However, members discussed at the end of the meeting their thoughts on the matter, and they reached an informal consensus that they would be in favor of granting the variance.
In other matters, the Zoning Board denied an appeal of a notice of violation that was sent to Jane and Jorgen Emsbo. The Emsbos own property off Corn Neck Road (Plat 4, Lot 32). According to board member Susan Bush, the Emsbos have been renting out their main house and residing in their accessory structure. This is in violation of zoning ordinances, said Bush when denying the appeal.
The Zoning Board also granted a variance to Warden’s Pond of BI, LLC and Block Island Holdings, LLC., located on Cooneymus Road (Plat 13, Lots 14-1 and 14-2) for an administrative subdivision to adjust lot lines.
The board held a preliminary review on an application by Christopher Hiza, who is asking for a variance to construct a deck on his Beacon Hill Road property (Plat 18, Lot 73). There will be a hearing on this application on Oct. 23.
Two hearings were continued until the Oct. 23 meeting, both regarding Payne’s Harbor View Inn on Beach Avenue. One matter is an appeal of a notice of violation, and the other is an application for a special use permit. Town land-use attorney Don Packer said the Zoning Board is waiting for the Planning Board to make its decision on these issues.
Zoning Board Chair Elizabeth Connor was absent from this meeting.