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Town Seal
Board of Appeals Minutes 02/03/09
Town of Buxton
Appeals Board Meeting
February 3, 2009

Members in attendance:  Charlene Libby, Stephen Heroux, Dennis Sweatt and Jack Hanna.

Members absent:  Peter Leavitt

Others in attendance:  Lawrence & Doreen Parlin, Fred Farnham, Code Enforcement Officer.

Chairman Stephen Heroux opened the meeting at 7:01 pm by announcing that they do have quorum and decisions are based on the zoning ordinance and state stautes.
"       Charlene motioned to open the public hearing for the variance review for the Parlin's, seconded by Jack Hanna the motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.
Lawrence and Doreen Parlin are requesting a variance for a doghouse style entrance vs. a bulkhead to the left side of their basement.  November of 2005 the Parlin's were granted a 6-foot variance to the right side of the garage for a breezeway addition to attach to the garage.  After a fire in September of 2008, their intention was to build a new house off the same footprint of the original house.   There is 26 feet from the left sideline to the bulkhead foundation, with a 30 feet sideline requirement in the residential zone.  The contractors intention was to build off the corner of the original house a doghouse entrance so it wouldn't take away from the back of the pool area.  There are French style door coming of the back of the kitchen to a deck, which leads to the pool area.  They are requesting the doghouse to come off the left side of the dwelling with a walk way around back to the pool area.  

The request is for a doghouse style entrance into the basement vs. a bulkhead  
Not sure if the excavator dug to far on the left side or what happened.

Fred Farnham, Code Enforcement Officer explained the sequence of events starting with the lot being non-conforming.  The Board can reduce the side set back 20% of the road frontage.  Fred cannot reduce any further than 30% in the residential zone.  Under definition of structure the doghouse has a vertical wall and is considered part of the structure, the bulkhead style is not.  The bulkhead would not require a variance.  The proximity to the neighbor's house to the Parlin's dwelling is 47 feet; Fire Chief Mullen stated he was okay with the placement of the buildings and would not have a problem with either type of entrance.  When the application was submitted the plot plan shows the dwelling sitting perpendicular to Seavey Drive, with 68 feet on one side and 32 feet on the other property lines.  The mortgage survey indicated the bulkhead was 26 feet from the left side property line.  The bulkhead was not indicated on the plan when the application was submitted for the building permit.  Fred state the only other consideration is weather this variance is needed?  

Charlene asked what the distance to the right side of structure to the property?  Fred indicated it was approximately 45 feet.  The drawing submitted by the builder on the application was incorrect.

Dennis clarifies the building is 70 feet long, the required setback are 60 feet (30 feet on each side) and the lot is 150 feet wide, this leaves 20 extra feet to play with.

Stephen summarized the application and asked if the building had 30 foot on the left side. Mr. Parlin said the original house and the new building is sitting in the same place.  The building permit was submitted with a drawing showing 50 feet on one side and 32 feet on the other, having no setback violations.  The mortgage survey indicated a bulkhead at the end of the building would bring it four (4) feet into the side set back restrictions.   

There were no abutters in attendance.

The builder took about 30 feet of leeway on the left side from the original building plans.  Mr. Parlin state the new house vs. the old house is not much difference with the way it sits on the lot.  There is a 24- foot shift form the original submission for the building permit.  He notified of the error by the bank.
They need to meet three of the four hardships:
Hardships answered by the applicant:
1.      The land in question cannot yield a reasonable return under the requirements of this ordinance unless the variance is granted; True, We intend to put a family room/bonus room in the basement with access to pool & patio from the doghouse entrance.  Without easy access the investment would be worthless.

2.  The need for a variance is due to the unique circumstances of the property and not the general condition in the neighborhood; Yes, due to a non-conforming lot, the setbacks are different for bulkhead doors vs. a doghouse entrance.   

3.      The granting of a variance will not alter the essential character of the locality; and
No it would only enhance a very well kept neighborhood.  This would give the next door neighbors a nicer visual appearance and an easy access for the kids to entrance through.

4. These conditions are not the result of action taken by the applicant for a variance or a prior owner; no, the contractor was aware they were close on one side and was granted a variance before the fire, so the new foundation was placed were the old one was.  So when looking out the kitchen window, you would not look out over the doghouse roof.

"       Dennis motioned to close the public hearing, seconded by Charlene, all four voted in favor.

Stephen stated the case exists under 6.2.B.2 being a single family/single existence which allows the board to determine the last 3 forms of hardship.   Stephan understands that the applicant put to much control into the contractor, and was aware of the setbacks and the request is a step up from what is available they could put a bulkhead on it.  

Dennis said the previous appeal was granted and the applicant was well aware of the strictness for the setbacks, knowing they had 20 feet of leeway.  I sounds like it is caused by the applicant and its for convenience of the pool area.  The bulkhead should be on the back if its for easy access to the pool area.  It looks like a lack of communication between the contractor and the applicant.

Charlene stated she can't support the request except for the fourth question, a mistake was made by the contractor.  The rules don't allow the board to support what they are asking.

Jack doesn't see the difference, if they are allowed to put a bulkhead why not the doghouse.  If being a neighbor, I would rather see a doghouse than a bulkhead.  
"       Charlene motioned to re-open the public hearing, seconded by Dennis, the motion passed with 4 in favor.

Mrs. Parlin said that the mortgage appraiser measured to a pin over a pile of dirt, the accuracy of the measurement is unsure.  She states the action is not the fault of them they did not dig the hole for the foundation.  The Parlin's do not feel it is the action taken by them.  Stephen said they paid the contractor to do the job they should be overseeing the contractor.  Mrs. Parlin said the Fire department did not have an issue with the distance to the abutting structure; the issue is with the contractor.
"       Motioned by Dennis, seconded by Charlene to close the public hearing.  The motion passed with 4 in favor.

The Parlin's are requesting a 4-foot variance on the left side of the property to allow a doghouse style entrance to the basement vs. a bulkhead opening.   
Section 6.2.B.2 would allow the board to reduce the setback up to 6 feet is they meet the following requirements.

Stephan stated they must meet all three hardships under 6.2.B.2 -
2.  The need for a variance is due to the unique circumstances of the property and not the general condition in the neighborhood; it is definitely unique to the property - with the fire and the location of the prior foundation the vote passed with a 3 - 1 vote. Dennis opposed.
3.The granting of a variance will not alter the essential character of the locality; and Dennis said it will not alter the essential character of the locality, the vote passed with a 4 - 0 vote.  

4. These conditions are not the result of action taken by the applicant for a variance or a prior owner; due to the action taken by the applicant and having an alternate option (bulkhead) meeting hardship voted 1 - 3 Jack voted in favor.  The vote was did not pass and the applicant was denied.  

Minutes of September 2, 2008:
"       Dennis motioned to accept the minutes of September 2, 2008, seconded by Stephan the motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.

"       Dennis motioned to approve the 2009/2010 budget for $300, seconded by Charlene the motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.

CEO Report: none

Nomination of officers:
Chairman - Charlene nominated Stephen, seconded by Dennis, the vote passed with a unanimous vote.
Vice Chairman - Dennis was nominated by Stephan, seconded by Charlene the vote passed with a 4 - 0 vote.

"       Charlene motions to close the meeting at 7:50 pm, seconded by Stephen with a unanimous vote.

Respectfully submitted,

                                                        Krystal L. Dyer
Approval Date:          

____________________________________________            __________________
Stephen Heroux, Chairman                                        Signature Date

Town of Buxton
  185 Portland Road, Buxton, ME 04093 (207) 929-5191
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