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 October 18, 2011 Meeting





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





Present:  Vic Barranca, Joe Guido, Rob Hare, Kathy Kiernan, Linda Smythe, Karl Wick, and Chairman, Don Cole



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



Joe made a motion to approve the vouchers for secretarial work and the Daily Freeman legal notice.   Seconded by Vic.   All in favor.



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

                                                                409 Swartekill Road                                71.4-2-21.200



Applicant, Paul Houtkooper, was present as well as Joan Lee and Margaret Keane, neighbors of applicant.  


Chairman Cole read a letter from another neighbor into the record.  Francis Wiest wrote that he was opposed to “any encroachment on that property at 415 Swartekill.”   Chairman Cole stated that there was no proposed encroachment on Mr. Wiest’s property.  Karl asked what side the Wiest property was on.  It is the flag lot next to applicant on the opposite side of the proposed addition.


Mr. Houtkooper explained that he proposed to expand his downstairs bedroom off one side of the house.  His architect explained that the addition would encroach three feet into the side yard setback, which is 20 feet.  The addition, as designed,  satisfies all of their size requirements and also gives his elderly parents a good size guest bedroom downstairs with close proximity to the bathroom.   He explained that the encroachment will be 3 feet at one end and about 2 feet at the other end because the house is not parallel with the property line.


Kathy asked if there was a driveway on the property and Joe showed her where it was.


Joan Lee, 407 Swartekill Road, next door neighbor of the applicant, addressed the Board.  She is nervous about how this proposed variance will effect her heirs when they attempt to sell the property.  Her issue is with the “posts” which mark property lines.  She explained that they seem to be “wandering”.   She believes that they do not look “true”.  It seems to her that there should be a professional survey done.  Ms. Lee stated that she has no problem with the Houtkoopers building the addition, but  “to set a new boundary into the deal makes me quite uncomfortable”.


Chairman Cole stated that it had nothing to do with Ms. Lee, it is three feet on applicant’s property.  Ms. Lee stated that it is the area between the houses which is supposed to be a certain amount. 


Joe asked Ms. Lee if she thought that the flags were not showing an accurate property line and she replied that this was correct. 


Chairman Cole asked Ms. Lee if she had a survey of her property and she replied she had a map.

Mr. Houtkooper opened his survey and showed Ms. Lee.  He explained that the survey was originally done in 1968 and revised in 1973.  He stated that there are “set bars on the perimeter of the two properties, but the line down the middle of them is not as dark as the perimeter, and there aren’t any indicated set bars marked on the survey”.   The architect identified bars that were along this line – they start between the two mailboxes.   Ms. Lee stated that the placement of these “posts” does not make sense.  Mr. Houtkooper explained that there are four set bars and just beyond the last set bar is another post that “is a little bit over” that looks as if it was attached to a fence at one time.  It is different from the rest of the bars.  He stated that all four bars appear to be in line, especially when they are painted.  He doesn’t know why they are not on the survey, but they have been on the property since his arrival. 


Rob asked Ms. Lee if she sees the row of hemlock trees, which seems to divide the properties, as the property line.  She replied that there is also a fence and “it would make sense that the trees were put there to mark the property line”.   Rob asked if Ms. Lee thought these trees were on her property and she stated that they are on applicant’s property.  He asked where the markers were in relation to the trees and she replied, “on my side of the trees”. 


Joe added that where he lives scrub pines were often planted along the border line.  Rob stated that he was trying to come up with an “understood  property line” instead of arguing about the pins, because at least one of them is out of line.  He asked Joe what distance he thought it was from the back of the hemlocks to the corner of the proposed addition.  Joe answered, “three feet more.”  Vic added that the hemlocks may not be the true property line.  Rob stated, “I’m guessing we’re 15-18 feet to Mrs. Lee’s side of those trees.”  He is trying to get a sense of where Ms. Lee sees the property line and trying to avoid the hiring of a surveyor to mark the lines exactly.  Mr. Houtkooper stated that he was willing to run a tape from each of the bars to the side of his property – it is supposed to be 100 feet.  He said that the four bars looked to be in line, so he didn’t question the line.


Joe asked if he knew where the property line was on the other side. Applicant replied that he had seen the same kind of bars on that side which seem to correspond with a fence that runs from the

top of the property about half way down. 


Joe told Ms. Lee that this addition was not going to be on her property, the issue is how far it is going to be from her property line.  She said that she was aware of this.  She stated that she has noticed that Mr. Houtkooper “has the posts, that are usually marking the boundaries, in his workout of his room”.   Mr. Houtkooper replied that he had staked out his addition.  Rob asked Ms. Lee what her concern was with the stakes and she replied, “where they came from.”  Rob stated that it was his understanding that applicant and his architect laid out the addition to show the Board the footprint, how much of the ground the addition would cover.


Mr. Houtkooper said that he was asked by the Board at the last meeting to stake out the addition.

He also noted that he had told Ms. Lee that he was spraying the markers with day glow so they were noticeable.


Rob explained to Ms. Lee the process of excavating the property to lay out the foundation for the addition, if the variance is granted, and how it would appear to be much closer to her property than it actually was.  She thanked him and added that she knew that whatever decision the Board came to she knew that it would be fair and just.


Karl asked applicant if he or his architect owned a transit.  He suggested that they set it up to get an accurate line.  Karl explained how it would be done. 


Kathy asked Ms. Lee if her main concern was maintaining the property line and if she had a concern about where the addition is on the property.  Ms. Lee replied that she had no concern about the addition – she would not see it as it would be behind her shed.  She is concerned with the posts being moved around so much that when she dies her children will not be able to sell the property.  She has heard about people who move posts for their own benefit.


Karl stated, “As long as that line is a straight line on an approved map and there is a front and a rear post, intermediate things really don’t change where the boundary is.”


Chairman Cole asked if the Board was ready to vote on this request and they answered affirmatively.  He closed the Public Hearing at 7:55 p.m.


MOTION:  Karl made a motion to grant a variance from Article V Section 123-20 in the amount of three feet for a side yard setback on the southwest side of the property.  Variance is subject to an accurate determination of that property line.


Discussion followed concerning what determines an “accurate property line.”  The consensus was that it would be to the applicant’s benefit to have the property line professionally drawn and it cannot be accurate unless it is done with an instrument.  Mr. Houtkooper asked how much difference in the line would constitute a cause for concern.  Karl stated that 6 inches would be too far off, 1/10 of an inch would be fine.


Motion was seconded by Vic, all in favor.



Karl – I vote in favor.  I think this meets the criteria established by law.  We’ve also  

            granted similar variances in the past and I haven’t heard any feedback that any  

            problems were created.

Rob – I’m going to vote in favor.  The neighbor’s main concern is being answered by the

           request for a properly laid down line on the property line between the two and it’s a

           minimal variance and the neighbor is not objecting to the addition.

Vic – I’m in favor.  I don’t think it is going to jeopardize the character of the

          neighborhood.  As long as applicant covers himself and gets those lines shot, I don’t

          see a problem.

Don – I vote in favor.

Kathy – I vote in favor for all the reasons previously stated.

Joe – I vote in favor because the addition isn’t in line with the neighbor’s house.  It is set

          back away from it.  As long as the property line issue is rectified, there is no problem.

Linda – I’m in favor because of all the reasons here at the table.


Chairman Cole stated that Ulster County Planning Board had sent back a “no impact” statement on Houtkooper application.


The next meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals is November 15, 2011.


Joe made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Kathy seconded.  All in favor.    


 Meeting  adjourned at 8:05 p.m.



Respectfully submitted,



Joan Boris, Secretary

Zoning Board of Appeals