Town of Esopus Zoning Board of Appeals
Minutes
June 21, 2005

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chairman Don Cole. Salute to the Flag followed.

ROLL CALL

Present: Catherine Charuk, Don Cole, Darin DeKoskie, Richard Wenzel, and Karl Wick.
Absent: Joe Guido and Rob Hare.

Also present: Councilmen Ernie Germano and Gloria VanVliet and Building Inspector Tim Keefe.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

RICHARD WENZEL MADE A MOTION TO ACCEPT THE MINUTES AS SUBMITTED. KARL WICK SECONDED. ALL PRESENT VOTED IN FAVOR.

APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS

One voucher for secretarial work for 15.5 hours was submitted. KARL WICK MADE A MOTION TO APPROVE THE VOUCHER. DARIN DeKOSKIE SECONDED. ALL PRESENT VOTED IN FAVOR.

INFORMATIONAL MEETING

OTHUS, RICHARD  CASE #06-21-05-01

Dennis Suraci advised the Board that the applicant had called him from the airport stating that his plane was delayed in getting in and requesting that his case be postponed until later in the meeting. Mr. Cole agreed to the delay.

SIEGMAN, DONALD W. CASE #06-21-05-03

Mr. Siegman explained that what he would like to do is build a garage on his property. His house is approximately 300' off the road and he would like to put the garage 200' off the road, between his house and the road. Itís not in a front yard. His property is wooded and it is really the only place that he has to put it. He stated that his property is wet in back and wooded and rocky in the front. Mr. Cole asked about his nearest neighbor. Mr. Siegman pointed out on the tax map where his property is and directed the Board to the plot plan that was submitted with the application. Mr. Wick asked if it would be alright for the members of the Board to visit and the applicant advised that it would be fine and he gave his telephone number for any members of the Board who would like him to be there.

GOLDIN, REENI  CASE #06-21-05-04

Ms. Goldin advised that what they would like to do, as stated in their application, is turn five of
their six summer cottages into year round so they are asking for a variance for accessory apartments from one to five. She stated that she and Tim Keefe hashed around all kinds of possibilities and he came up with the idea of achieving what they want to do by asking for a variance from the one to five accessory apartments. Ultimately, they want to subdivide and sell the houses separately. In the meantime, they would like to have them as rentals to defray some of the costs.

Mr. Cole asked on what size pieces of property each rental was situated. Laurie Willow advised that it would be a cluster development situation at that point. She directed the Boardís attention to the map that was included with the application. She stated that it is 10.4 acres altogether and eventually they would look for a cluster development. They would keep most of it as open space. Right now while they are trying to get the money together to develop it they would like to rent the existing cottages year round instead of just as summer rentals which has been their use up until now. Mr. Cole asked what the septic system consists of. Ms. Goldin answered that they had an engineer who is going to go ahead with the Planning Board and he has designed septic systems that he thinks that will meet the Health Department. His name is Jim Luckner. This would all be contingent on the Board of Health, the water and septic. These have been in existence for some time as summer cottages.

Mr. Cole asked what the objection of the Building Department was to changing these cottages to year round use. The applicant advised that only one accessory apartment is allowed in this zoning district. He then asked how big the units are. The applicant advised that they are around 500 square feet and they have little electric heaters in them now and air conditioners. They can rent them now for the summer.

Mr. Wenzel asked what is in there now for septic and if there are individual septic systems for each cottage. They applicant advised that they were told that they have individual septic tanks for each cottage. Mr. Wenzel asked what they will be doing for water and if they will have a pump house or individual. Ms. Goldin answered that right now they have two wells, one up on the hill and one for the big house. Right now the plumbing is above ground and it would have to be buried if these are changed to winter use.

Mr. Wick asked where the sixth seasonal cottage is located. Ms. Goldin pointed it out on the site plan. The long, thin building by the pool is the sixth one and is not going to be winterized. It will be used as a game room and for changing. Ms. Charuk asked if they are planning to eventually build three new cottages and Ms. Goldin replied either that or expand. Mr. Cole asked for the applicantís telephone number if any members of the Board would like to contact her to see the property.

PUBLIC HEARING

FISHER, ARTHUR  CASE # 05-17-05-01

Mr. Cole asked if there was anyone present who had anything to say about Mr. Fisherís proposal and there was no response. He then asked if any member of the Board had any questions and no one did. Mr. Fisher presented a drawing that members of the Board examined. They asked questions about the steps. Mr. Wick asked if the deck that the applicant already has in there is the one that he is looking for a variance on and he answered affirmatively.

Mr. Cole polled the Board to see if the members wanted to vote on the case at this meeting and it was decided that they would.

Carolyn Fisher, no relation, stated that with the way things are in Connelly and with the houses being right on the street, why is there such a big deal being made about this. Other people do additions and nothing is ever said. Mr. Cole explained that there is a Town zoning code and it applies no matter where you live in the Town. He stated that there wasnít any big deal being made but the applicant has to abide by the rules and go through the proper procedures.

Joe Riggins, who said he lives right up the street, commented on complaints he has made about junk in yards and buildings falling down. He stated that he was told that he has to fill out a paper and he wants to know why he has to do that. Mr. Cole advised that he has to follow the rules of the Town.

BANKS, DOROTHY CASE # 05-17-05-02

Mr. Cole stated that he received a call from a neighbor who could not be at the meeting saying that they had no complaints and he just wanted to make sure that went on record. He then asked if there were any comments for the public and there were none.

Mr. Banks showed a picture of what he is proposing. Mr. Cole asked if the Board wanted to vote at this meeting. Mr. Wenzel asked what the setback is and what the applicant is looking for. The carport is 21 by 20. Mr. Cole asked if this is a permanent building and if it will be on footings. Mr. Wenzel advised that it will be staked. The final determination was that the applicant would have to stake out where on his property the carport will be and take measurements on how far it would be from the road and be able to present that information at the next meeting. No decision could be made at this time.

JOHNSON, PHYLLIS & ROSEN, SUSAN  CASE # 06-21-05-02

Mr. Cole asked if Ms. Johnson had the paperwork available that showed the front setback. Mr.
Wenzel pointed out that the building is not parallel to the road so the addition is coming closer to the road than what is already there. Mr. Cole said that the main objective is to tell the Building Inspector that the setback is not being interfered with. He stated that the Board will vote on this tonight.

DECISIONAL MEETING

FISHER, ARTHUR  CASE # 05-17-05-01

KARL WICK MADE A MOTION TO ALLOW CONSTRUCTION OF A DECK WITH A FRONT YARD SETBACK OF 22'6" INSTEAD OF THE REQUIRED 30' . RICHARD WENZEL SECONDED. The vote was as follows:

KARL WICK - I vote in favor because I think it meets all the criteria specified. There is no detriment to the neighborhood. The benefit to the applicant outweighs the detriment to the neighborhood. It is not a detriment. There is no average front yard in that neighborhood. In fact, this place is much nicer than most of the others.

DARIN DeKOSKIE - In favor.

DON COLE - I approve also. There is no interference with the neighborhood whatsoever. There is no reason to deny it.

CATHERINE CHARUK - Iíll approve based upon the fact that it is consistent with the character of the neighborhood.

RICHARD WENZEL - I approve it. Thereís no undesirable changes in the neighborhood and I noticed the house above the hill. Actually, it was protruding out much further, not even close to what his deck was. So basically it fit in the neighborhood very good.

MOTION CARRIED 5-0.

JOHNSON, PHYLLIS and ROSEN, SUSAN D. CASE # 06-21-05-02

Mr. Cole asked Mr. Wick if he would make a motion. Mr. Wick asked what exactly motion was needed and Mr. Cole answered that the setback is within the limit of what is already there.
KARL WICK MADE A MOTION TO ACCEPT THIS PROPOSED ADDITION. IT IS LESS INTRUSIVE ON THE FRONT YARD SETBACK THAN THE EXISTING BUILDING, THEREFORE IT IS FINE. The secretary asked Mr. Wick to repeat the motion.

KARL WICK - I think the footprint of this proposed addition is less intrusive on the front line than the existing building. Therefore I approve it. Personally, I donít think it even requires a variance.

DARIN DeKOSKIE - Iím in favor of it as well for the same reasons.

DON COLE - Iím in favor of it. Send a notification to the Building Department on this that everything in fine as far as the setback line is concerned.

CATHERINE CHARUK - I have a question. Iím a little concerned, Ms. Johnson. You were here last meeting and you had not at that time filed an application and I noticed that your application was dated June 1, which was after our last meeting. But yet, this is listed as a public hearing this evening. Was the notice published? (Secretary answered yes.) Okay, good. Iím just a little concerned about that. I really would like to see our procedures followed properly. I just want to note that for the record. Would somebody read the motion for me? (Secretary - I believe it was a motion to approve the setback because the footprint is less intrusive than the existing building.) Okay, so weíre actually giving a variance for the setback. Weíre not directing the Building Inspector that no variance is necessary.

Mr. Wick at this point stated that maybe the motion should be reworded to say that no variance is necessary. Ms. Charuk stated that that is what she would like clarified. MR. WICK STATED THAT HE IS AMENDING HIS MOTION TO NOTIFY THE BUILDING INSPECTOR THAT THE BOARD FEELS NO VARIANCE IS NECESSARY BECAUSE THIS ADDITION IS LESS INTRUSIVE ON THE FRONT LINE BOUNDARY THAN THE EXISTING BUILDING. CATHERINE CHARUK SECONDED.

CATHERINE CHARUK - I vote in favor of that motion. It doesnít create unnecessary work or unnecessary applications. It takes into account the fact that a lot of the older buildings in the Town donít conform with the new rules.

RICHARD WENZEL - Iíll go on record as approving simply because it was only extended out 7 ½í and itís not intrusive enough to be in any kind of violation.

KARL WICK - I vote in favor of my amended motion.

DARIN DeKOSKIE - Iíll vote in favor.

DON COLE - Iíll vote in favor.

MOTION CARRIED 5-0.

INFORMATIONAL MEETING

OTHUS, RICHARD  CASE # 06-21-05-01

Roxanne Pecora and Chuck Snyder from the Town Planning Board were present. Ms. Pecora explained that Mr. Othus came before their Board because the Building Inspector referred him to the Planning Board for a conditional use permit. In 1987, he filed for a building permit and was issued one to convert a one-family to a two-family residence. He followed all the procedures and did everything he was told to do and received a Certificate of Compliance in 1992. Now when he wants to sell this parcel, the abstract was done and he went back to the Building Inspector. In 1985 the Town code clearly stated that he needed a conditional use permit. This was an error on the part of the Building Department. They should not ask the applicant to come before the Planning Board 18 years later to request a conditional use permit. Their Board understands that the Building Inspector cannot interpret regulations. The Planning Board talked to Tim (Keefe, the Building Inspector), and he is comfortable with what they are asking - that the Zoning Board  overrule the Building Inspector and issue this applicant a document stating that he doesnít need a conditional use permit so he can proceed and sell his property. Ms. Pecora stated that they donít feel that the applicant needs to go back to the Planning Board. She understands that the Zoning Board has the authority to overrule the Building Inspector and that is what they are requesting.

Mr. Cole stated that he is not happy about overruling the Building Inspector because he has legitimate concerns about what is there. The first one is going from an R-12 to an R-40. The second is it being a hazard because there is no escape route from the third floor. Mr. Cole stated that he personally would like an opinion from the Town Attorney as to whether the Zoning Board is opening itself up to a problem before they make a decision. Ms. Pecora stated that there are two separate, distinct issues. The only issue that can be addressed by these two Boards is the conditional use permit issue. The other issue is New York State Fire Code. It does not deal with either of these two Boards and the Planning Board is aware of that. Mr. Cole just wants to make sure that this Board is not opening up the Town to any problems that may occur in the future for this house at this location.

Dennis Suraci, an architect and engineer, stated that he has met with Tim and the NYS regional rep Mark Anderson and they have come to an amenable solution to provide a secondary means of egress from the third floor. He stated that he has a copy of the petition although he hasnít gotten a number yet. They have to sign and file it that Mark Anderson will grant a routine variance to allow the building. Mr. Cole expressed his apprehension about approving something that wasnít taken care of legally. Mr. Suraci stated that no C/O would be issued without that variance.

Mr. Cole stated that the applicant should get all his paperwork together and come back next month. Mr. Suraci and Ms. Pecora asked that this Board override the letter from the Building Inspector. Ms. Charuk asked if the buyer had gotten a title search. Mr. Othus stated that he had a title search done and no problem showed up because he had a C/C. Ms. Charuk stated that her opinion is that Mr. Othus relied in good faith on an official act of the Town. This is not a case the Building Inspector should pursue. Mr. Wick stated that he understands that Mr. Keefe does not object to the Board waiving the requirements for the conditional use permit. Mr. Keefe stated that the applicant is looking for a Certificate of Occupancy and he canít give it without either the overriding or the Planning Board giving one.

CATHERINE CHARUK MADE A MOTION THAT THE TOWN WITHDRAW THE BUILDING INSPECTORíS LETTER OF MAY 24, 2005 CONCERNING ALLEGED NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE CODE IN RESPECT TO THE THREE STORY WOOD FRAME STRUCTURE ON THE BASIS THAT THE PERMIT WAS ISSUED AT THE TIME AND THE HOMEOWNER RELIED UPON THE ISSUANCE OF THE BUILDING PERMIT IN CONSTRUCTING AND OPERATING THE BUILDING. KARL WICK SECONDED. The vote was as follows:

KARL WICK - I vote in favor of the motion. I do believe the applicant did rely in good faith on the advise and the judgement of the Town official. He believed he was in compliance.

DARIN DeKOSKIE - I vote in favor of the motion.

DON COLE - I vote in favor of the motion for all the same reasons.

CATHERINE CHARUK - I vote in favor of the motion based upon the property ownerís relying upon an official act of the Town.

RICHARD WENZEL - I vote in favor of the motion simply because it was 18 years ago which was already established. Everything was in order and any problems that we had now with the escape route or the fire code or whatever, should be or is going to be corrected. I feel good with that.

MOTION CARRIED 5-0.

OTHER BUSINESS

The application procedure was again brought up. There seems to be a problem which has already been addressed. Two memos were sent out, one to the Building Department and one to the Town Clerk. The new form which the Building Department revised is providing more information about how much of a variance is required. Mr. Keefe stated that there is still a problem because the applications have no information with them and itís coming back to the Building Department. After somebody comes before the Zoning Board and they are told there is no information, they go back to the Building Department because they think the Building Department is responsible for forwarding all the information given at the time of the application for the building permit. The applicants think that everything they give the Building Department comes to the Zoning Board. They donít know that it doesnít and nobody tells them that it doesnít. The application states five items of information that are required. Mrs. VanVliet asked if the applicants get the list. It is part of the application. Mr. Keefe stated that his department gives a list of what is required and if the applicant doesnít have everything, it goes back with them until they have everything thatís needed. He suggested that the people in the office have the check list and if the applicant doesnít have all five of the things, they donít accept the application.
 
The Planning Board receives referrals from this Board and if they do not have plot plans the Planning Board cannot comment on them. It was suggested that a list be made up and the person accepting the application initial next to each item to show that it is included. Roxanne suggested that the applications be put into a file to be reviewed by the Zoning Board secretary before they are accepted. Mr. Germano and Mrs. VanVliet will present the matter to the Town Board to see how to resolve this matter.

ADJOURN

RICHARD WENZEL MADE A MOTION TO ADJOURN. KARL WICK SECONDED. ALL PRESENT VOTED IN FAVOR. Meeting adjourned 8:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathleen Kiernan
Secretary