P.O. Box 700

Port Ewen, NY 12466

Zoning Board of Appeals


                   845-331-8630                                                                    Fax 845-331-8634





                                   TOWN OF ESOPUS ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS

                                              Minutes of the September 20, 2011 Meeting





CALL TO ORDER:  Chairman, Don Cole, called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.





Present:  Vic Barranca, Joe Guido, Rob Hare, Karl Wick and Chairman, Don Cole

Excused:  Linda Smythe & Kathy Kiernan



Vic made a motion to accept the August 16 minutes as written.  Karl seconded the motion.    All in favor.



Joe made a motion to approve the voucher for secretarial work.  Seconded by Vic.   All in favor.



   09-20-11-01                                         Paul & Susan Houtkooper                       Area Variance

                                                                409 Swartekill Road                                71.4-2-21.200



Paul Houtkooper was present to address the Board.  He stated that they wanted to add an extension on to the downstairs of their cottage.  They bought it about 5 or 6 years ago and started living up here about half the time.  Applicant said the house is about 650 sq. feet downstairs and about 350 upstairs – and they would like to bump out the downstairs study/bedroom by 168 square feet, 12x14 feet.  He stated that he had listed in the building proposal that this seems to be the most natural location to put it on the house.  There is a deck off the back and a screened-in porch off the other side.  He consulted an architect who told him he would be three feet over the line, into the 20 foot side yard setback.   He is requesting a variance for this 3 feet.  Applicant stated that he is trying to get the addition built before a visit by his parents in the spring so that they will able to stay on the first floor instead of in one of the upstairs bedrooms.  Also, applicant has a friend in the area who will be helping him build the addition and he may not be available if the project gets pushed too far into the winter.  They are hoping to start the work by the end of October, if at all possible. 


Chairman Cole stated that applicant is asking for a variance to build 3 feet into the setback,  making the setback 17 feet.  Applicant agreed.


Joe asked if applicant was sure of where the property line is.  Mr. Houtkooper replied that there are four pins and all of them line up.  He has seen them on both sides of the property.  The architect used the pins and a survey to determine that the addition would put him 3 feet into the setback.  Joe asked if the pins would be out and if the addition could be marked if he went out to the property. Applicant agreed and answered that the addition is marked by flags.  Joe asked if applicant wanted a phone call if he went to look at the property.  Mr. Houtkooper replied that he is there Saturday, Sunday & Monday, goes back on Tuesday and comes up again on Friday night. 


Rob asked if it could be seen from the road and Mr. Houtkooper replied no because of the lay of the property.  Rob asked if he could call before going out to see the property and applicant agreed.  His phone number is on page one of his application, which each Board member has.


Karl asked if there was a street number by the driveway and Mr. Houtkooper replied that there is - on a tree and on his mailbox.  Karl complimented the applicant on his highlighting on the tax map and pointing out “this is my property.”  Karl asked how wide the property is.  Rob replied 100 feet.  Applicant stated that it is 1.25 acres and is a long strip.   Karl asked when Houtkoopers purchased the property or if they built it themselves.  Applicant answered that they bought the house about 5 or 6 years ago.  He added that previous owners had added a little bit onto the front of the house and repaired the foundation.


Rob asked if Mr. Houtkooper had a certified survey and applicant brought out his survey, which the Board reviewed.


Karl asked if Mr. Houtkooper had spoken with his neighbor to the south and applicant replied that he had and she has no problem with the addition.


Chairman Cole asked Mr. Houtkooper to return on October 18 for the public hearing.   Joe added that the Board has to legally notify the neighbors and give them a chance to voice their concerns.




 08-16-11-01                                      Robert & Kristy Nelson                    Area Variance

                                                          172 Lindorf Street                             56.83-1-22



Robert & Kristy Nelson were present.  No members of the public were present. 

Ms. Nelson stated that they wanted to build a garage in the front yard – they need a variance to the side and front yard setback. 


Joe asked if they could put the garage in the back yard.  Ms. Nelson replied that there are retaining walls on both sides of the house and the property is hilly on both sides and there is no room to go back, there is a gas line, there would be no access to the back.  She stated that they could not get another driveway cut to put the garage on the other side.  Ms. Nelson brought photos which were given to each board member.  In answer to Joe’s question of last month concerning distance from other garages in front yards to the front property lines, she stated that there is one 27 feet from the road and another is 47 feet from the grass line.  There are additional photos of garages in front yards in the neighborhood.  Another reason for the garage is the recent break-ins into vehicles in the neighbor.  Mr. Nelson keeps all his tools for his livelihood in his work truck in front of their home. 


Joe asked if the garage was going to match the character of the house.  Ms. Nelson replied that the brick will match the house. 


Ms. Nelson stated that they had measured on an angle and they were informed by an architect that they have to measure perpendicular to the street.  This changes the distance from the front property line to 10 to 11 feet instead of the 12 feet previously stated in the application.   There is still 21 feet to the edge of the asphalt.


Karl stated that he was unclear as to where the gas line is.  Ms. Nelson showed him on the map.

Rob said that they would be driving over it and the Nelsons stated that they drive over it now.  Karl said that its not an issue driving over it but you can’t dig over a gas line.  Mr. Nelson stated that they wouldn’t be digging near the gas line.  Ms. Nelson stated that Central Hudson will come out and mark the gas line on the whole property. 


Karl said that he had looked at this property in detail and had printed aerial photos.  He noted that the stone block retaining wall is not on the property line and he wondered why it couldn’t be moved back 8 ft. to the property line.  Mr. Nelson stated that the earth that the wall is holding back is actually all stone, so he would have to blast in order to move the wall.  It would be very expensive to blast and then to replace the drainage system that is in place.  Ms. Nelson thought moving the wall would cause more drainage problems and there still would not be enough area to put the garage next to the house. 


Karl did a survey of the neighborhood – Clay, Lindorf, Rogers, Mountain View – and he came up with only 3 garages that were in front of the houses and one of those was commercial.  There are close to 95 houses in that area and only 3 had garages forward of the houses.  The character of the neighborhood definitely does not have garages in front of the house.  He stated that there are some things in applicants’ favor and some that are not.  Ms. Nelson mentioned that there is precedent in the neighborhood of garages in front of the house.


Joe noted that with the slope of that side of the property, the garage will not appear to be sticking out and will not be seen right away from the road.  Karl said that it would block the neighbor’s view of the mountains and the Nelsons stated that he is not interested in the view – his windows are blackened. 


Ms. Nelson stated that she did not want it to look like a parking lot, which it does right now with all the vehicles parked in the front. 


There was some discussion on how many votes were needed for approval, since two board members were absent tonight.  Consensus was that four “yes” votes were needed to grant the variance. 


Chairman Cole closed the public hearing at 7:50 pm and asked applicants to wait for the vote.



08-16-11-02                              Christopher Cuff & Danielle Doyle                   Area Variance

                                                  183 Horton Lane                                                56.59-2-16



Christopher Cuff and Danielle Doyle were present, as was Chuck Holtz, as their representative.

No members of the public were here for the public hearing.


Mr. Holtz stated that there was a pending lot line revision between Hamilton & Cuff/Doyle.

The reason for this revision is to clear an encroachment on an existing macadam driveway.

By moving the line over, they are within the rear line setback.  The required setback is 30.  The house is currently setback 19.4 feet and the lot line will reduce that to 14 feet from the rear property line.   A variance is needed for 16 feet.


Joe asked if the buildings were staying the same and Mr. Holtz replied that only the property line was changing to give Mr. Hamilton his driveway on his property. 


Rob stated that he thought it was exemplary that the neighbors were working together.

Karl asked if Mr. Hamilton was here and if he objected.  Mr. Holtz replied that Mr. Hamilton was not here.


Chairman Cole asked how wide the driveway was and Mr. Holtz answered, “eight feet.”  Chairman Cole asked how many feet were being taken.  Mr. Holtz replied that they were moving it over about four feet.  Chairman Cole asked how much wider is the driveway going to be with the lot line adjustment.  Mr. Holtz replied that it was going from 4.5 to 10 feet, so Hamilton is picking up five and a half feet.  Chairman Cole asked how far back it was going, if it was all the way to the back of the property.  Mr. Holtz answered that it was pie-shaped.  The survey was reviewed by the Board and Mr. Holtz explained the existing property line and the revision.  He said that .02 acres were being transferred to Hamilton.


Joe stated that if the Board approved this variance it would be contingent upon Mr. Hamilton signing an acknowledgement of receiving this additional property so he will not have an issue when he starts getting taxed for it.  Mr. Holtz commented that they are before the Planning Board with the lot line revision and the new maps must be signed by all parties before the maps are filed in the County Clerk’s office.


Chairman Cole closed the Public Hearing for Cuff and Doyle at 8:00 pm.



Rob stated that this is a front yard setback adjustment for property belonging to Robert and

Kristy Nelson, 172 Lindorf Street, Port Ewen.  It allows a setback from the front property line of 10 feet to the corner of a new garage.  In addition, it is a variance for an accessory building, in this case a garage, in front of the home.

Rob made a motion to allow these variances.  Seconded by Vic.



Karl – Abstain.  This one is literally tough because the law constrains me a lot.  I think this is

            going to make a change to the character of the neighborhood.  I don’t think it is going to

            be a detriment to the neighboring property.  For your sake maybe it will get a different

            owner at some point.  I can’t vote in favor of this.  On the other hand, I understand your

            issues, your plight, and I think you’ve proposed a great solution except for the location. 

            I’m not convinced that there aren’t other solutions so I’m going to abstain.  I really can’t

            approve it in good conscience.


Rob -  In favor.  I understand Karl’s concerns, but in this case a garage behind the house would

            be almost impossible.  A little bit of diversity in the neighborhood is not such a bad thing.


Vic In favor for some of the reasons Rob mentioned.  I pass by this property every day and

          because of the layout and the water issue, I don’t think this is going to jeopardize the

          character of the neighborhood.


Don – In favor for all the reason discussed here.


Joe -  In favor for the following reasons:  1.  I believe that it would be difficult to get the garage

           in the back.  2.  Because of way the property is sloped, the garage is only going to be seen

           from the one side coming up the hill.  3.  The petitioner has agreed that the garage is going

           to match the character of the house so it will blend in. 


Chairman Cole announced that the applicants’ variance request has been granted.


MOTION:             Christopher Cuff and Danielle Doyle, 183 Horton Lane, Port Ewen

Rob stated that is a variance for a rear lot line adjustment where the code calls for a 30 foot setback from the building.  In this situation there is a pre-existing non-conforming lot line where- in the two parties on either side of the lot line have agreed to adjust the rear setback to 14 feet, which is 5.4 feet from the pre-existing non-conforming line. 

Rob made a motion to approve the 14 foot rear setback.  Seconded by Karl.



Joe – In favor.  Nothing is changing with the actual buildings that are there.  All they are doing is

          making sure that the driveway is on the owner’s property.  I would say that this is to go

          back before the Planning Board.


Don – In favor.


Vic – In favor.  I think it’s a win/win situation.


Rob – In favor.  I am absolutely amazed that these two adjoining property owners have worked

          out a settlement this easily.


Karl – In favor.  I see no adverse effects.  I see benefits to both parties. Its rectifying an existing

             bad situation.


Chairman Cole announced that the variance request was granted.


Joe made a motion to adjourn.  Seconded by Vic.  All in favor.

Chairman Cole adjourned the meeting at 8:10 pm.


The next meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals will be October 18, 2011


Respectfully submitted,



Joan Boris, Secretary

Zoning Board of Appeals