The Block Island Times

Planning Board hears two applications

By Judy Tierney | May 15, 2013

Two applications were reviewed at the Planning Board meeting Wednesday evening. Warden’s Pond of BI, LLC and Block Island Holdings, LLC, (plat 13, lots 14-1 and 14-2) was sent on to the Zoning Board and the other, from Lewis Gaffett and Nathaniel Gaffett, was scheduled for a public hearing.

The Warden’s Pond application, consisting of two lots off Cooneymus Road, underwent an administrative subdivision several months ago when the owners requested lot line changes to allow both lots access to the pond. A small finger of land to the pond was created at that time on lot 14-1, and the access to the lots was altered. The owners, represented by attorney Joseph Priestley and architect Tracey Dillon, returned Wednesday to redo that change because they said they realized the plan did not work because of the way the property was laid out.

They asked to alter access to the lots with an easement so that the driveway and parking could be used as they were before the recent change. Planning board members had no problem with that, however, in order to make the lot sizes more equal, the applicants also extended the finger to the pond, drawing it in a long tail underneath the water.

Priestley asked for the board to approve the changes so the applicant would not have to go to the zoning board. Planning board member Sven Risom asked, “What’s so bad about going to zoning?”

Risom called the new plan, with one highly irregularly shaped lot, “convoluted. You are creating a nightmare,” he said. “Instead of going to zoning you are going underwater.” Board members Sam Byrd and John Spier agreed with Risom. Spier said, “I can’t imagine there is not a simpler way to do this.”

Risom then made an advisory motion to the zoning board that the applicants could combine the entrance and create a finger to the water but not extend the finger all the way to Cooneymus Road through the water. The vote on the motion was unanimous.

The Gaffetts proposed right of way changes to their land on Plat 10, lot 68-6 and Plat 7, lot 159-1 and Plat 68-7, known as Ebbets Hollow, off High Street. No new lots would be created. Two rights of way would be eliminated and a new one created. The owners plan to develop one lot where there is now a right of way.

Abutter Tracey Dillon, who was present for the previous application, objected. She said that the right of way was one of the constraints in the subdivision that was agreed to at the time she purchased her lot. “It was created by Lew and has not changed hands,” she said. “He’s asking for relief from something he created.”

A public hearing was schedule for the June meeting.

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