TOWN OF ESOPUS ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
Minutes of the November 17, 2009 Meeting
Chairman, Don Cole called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Present: Vic Barranca, Joe Guido, Kathy Kiernan, Linda Smythe, Karl Wick, and Chairman,
Vic made a motion to approve the October 20, 2009 minutes as written. Karl seconded. All in favor.
Karl made a motion to approve the voucher for secretarial work. Vic seconded. All in favor.
411 Broadway Area Variance
David Zimmerman was present representing Mr. Whittaker. Chairman Cole asked Mr. Zimmerman to give an overview of his application.
Mr. Zimmerman stated that Mr. Whittaker is renting the house at 411 Broadway to a family with a handicapped child. Each day the child has to be lifted from a wheelchair, carried down steps and out to the school van that picks her up. By law she needs ramp access to the house. He further stated that it was Mr. Whittaker’s idea and the tenants came to the Hutterian Brethren and asked for their help. The Brothers wish to get the building of the ramp through zoning and also pay for the permit. They will use a contractor to actually build the ramp. He doesn’t know how long the family will live there, but they want to provide a safe environment for the child with a ramp that follows building requirements and code.
Mr. Zimmerman went on the describe some of the details of the construction of the ramp. It will be built off the front porch of the house. The pitch will be no more than 1” to 12” with one landing. He explained that there is a six inch drop off left and right of the front of the house and the driveways for the house and the neighbor are on each side of the house. Therefore, building to the side is not an option. He gave consideration to the distance of the ramp end to the front of the property so that there is adequate room for snow plowing. He said currently that is a problem-the snow gets piled up where they need to step off with the child. Don stated that it is the landlord’s responsibility for snow removal from the new town sidewalks. Mr. Zimmerman replied that there wasn’t a sidewalk in front of this house. Don asked the location of the house.
Mr. Zimmerman replied that it was two houses north of La Mirage Restaurant.
Don requested a side elevation drawing.
Joe asked why the ramp cannot be turned into the front yard? Mr. Zimmerman stated that they looked at it from all ways and it was just too tight to build it any other way. The neighbor’s drive is close and they did not want to infringe on that.
Rob asked why it couldn’t be run back down the driveway. Mr. Zimmerman replied that the driveway slopes more and more and they couldn’t fulfill the pitch requirement if they built that way. Rob stated that the proposed plan is a more direct way to the bus. Mr. Zimmerman said that is was-the bus stops on the road in front of the house.
Karl asked if the ramp was intended to be temporary and, if the tenants move out, will Mr. Whittaker be removing the ramp? Mr. Zimmerman replied that he was sure Mr. Whittaker would be willing to rent the apartment as handicapped-accessible. It was agreed that the ramp would be permanent.
Chairman Cole asked if there was anything the Board wanted Mr. Zimmerman to bring to the next meeting. Karl asked Mr. Zimmerman if he had contacted the Resource Center for Assessable Living and received their written recommendation. He mentioned that this would help justify the Board’s decision. Mr. Zimmerman will get a letter from this organization for the next ZBA meeting.
Mr. Zimmerman mentioned that they wanted to start this project before it got too cold and the ground froze. Chairman Cole noted that the next meeting will be the Public Hearing and possibly the vote on December 15. Joe stated that the Board of required by law to have a public hearing.
1196 Old Post Road Area Variance
Chairman Cole asked if there was anyone present to speak on this issue. There was not. Mr. Ippolito was in attendance.
Karl stated that, for the record, he disagreed with the Ulster County Planning Board’s recommendation on this project that the Town Planning Board make the decision on this case.
Karl said this is not a Planning Board issue. Don asked the Board if they wanted to vote on the U.C. Planning Board’s recommendation at this time. The consensus was that the Public Hearing should be closed and the Board would then discuss the recommendation.
Chairman Cole closed the Public Hearing.
Rob stated that the Board should review the Town Planning Board statement and the County Planning Board’s statement. Joe asked what section 123.21C(5)(d) of Town code referred to. Rob replied that the garage’s plan sits in front of the house. Discussion followed on the distance of the house and proposed garage from the road and from each other.
Mr. Ippolito stated that if he put the garage where he wants to, he will not have to cut down any trees. Kathy asked what can be seen from the road and Mr. Ippolito replied, “You won’t see anything, it’s all treed in.”
Joe and Linda had visited the property on separate occasions and Linda stated that the garage is far enough off the road, with no neighbors, that it is not a problem. Joe asked Mr. Ippolito if the garage was going to look like the house. Mr. Ippolito replied that the siding is going to match the house. Joe stated that the storage loft above the garage will only be for storage because site is in an R40 zone and there can be no apartments. Joe asked if applicant was thinking of putting an apartment there and Mr. Ippolito replied that they would never want an apartment on the property. His wife likes privacy. Joe asked if the garage was going to be built across from the leach field and applicant explained that the leach field was farther up the property.
Rob stated that in regard to the statement from County and Town Planning Boards, he believes this is a clear zoning issue, not a planning issue. They aren’t putting in an apartment, there is no subdivision.
Joe said as the Zoning Board of Appeals, they get to make that interpretation-that it’s a zoning issue.
Karl stated that the code says either board could grant this- the Planning Board as an exception to the law and the Zoning Board as a variance, and he feels that it should come before the ZBA.
He continued, “Miles Putnam (in his statement representing the Town Planning Board) sites the wrong section when he says its not a violation of the front yard setback. That is not the issue-the issue is its in front of the house and that is clearly a zoning issue. The code does say that the Planning Board can also consider this under topographical conditions; it doesn’t specify any restrictions on us. We have full authority to consider this.”
Chairman Cole stated that this was brought before the board by the Building Inspector. He referred this case to the board he felt was correct.
Joe made a motion that after reviewing this case, the ZBA feels that this is a zoning issue and should be addressed by the Zoning Board of Appeals. Seconded by Karl.
VOTE: Linda YES
1196 Old Post Road Area Variance
Chairman Cole asked if the Board was ready to vote on the garage placement. Discussion followed on the actual variance, in feet, that will be required. Members agreed that it cannot be vague, the Board has to grant a specific variance. Mr. Ippolito was unsure of the distance between his house and the proposed garage placement. Rob stated that the board is in favor of the project, but the variance needs to be clear in order to avoid problems in the future.
Don made a motion to grant a variance from Town of Esopus Zoning Ordinance Section 123.21 C(5)(d) to allow applicant to build a 20x24 detached garage nearer to the street than the principle building on the property. Garage not to be more than 35 feet in front of the house on the left front of the house. Seconded by Linda.
VOTE: Karl – I vote favor. I don’t think this changes the character of the neighborhood, the
benefit to the applicant far outweighs the lack of damage to the neighborhood. There
may be other solutions, but this is reasonable.
Vic – In favor for the same reasons as mentioned by Karl.
Rob – I’m in favor of the motion. The neighbors seem to have no problem with it and
I see no particular change to the neighborhood with the location of this garage.
Don – I vote in favor.
Kathy – Abstain. I didn’t see the property.
Joe – I vote in favor because of the size of the property, the fact that its so far off the
road, and the applicant has stated that the garage will be in character with the
Linda – I vote exactly like Joe (in favor).
Chairman Cole informed the applicant that he would be getting notification of a favorable decision.
Chairman Cole made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Seconded by Joe. All in favor.
Meeting adjourned at 8:06 p.m.
Joan BorisSecretary, Zoning Board of Appeals