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Town Seal
Board of Appeals Minutes 03/01/11
Town of Buxton  
Board of Appeals
Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Member in attendance:  Stephen Heroux, Charlene Libby, Jack Hanna and Peter Leavitt.

Members not in attendance:  Penny Booker

Call to Order
Chairman Stephen Heroux explained the procedure of the meeting.
"       Motion Stephen to open the public hearing for Dennis & Pam Doyle, seconded by Charlene, the motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.

Public Hearing:  Dennis & Pamela Doyle are requesting a sideline variance for a garage addition at 70 Town Farm Road. The property is located in the Residential district.  Tax Map 10, Lots 40D.

        Dennis Doyle said they would like to put a 24 x 24 garage attached to the house.  Asking for a 12-foot variance to allow for the garage.  

The 40-foot strip of land is separating the next parcel.  Stephen asked if the strip of land is a deeded right- of-way.  Do you have any ownership to the strip of land?  Dennis said no they do not.  Presently your house sits 36-feet from the property line and you want take 24-feet of that build a garage, leaving 12-feet to the property line.
Jack - that ROW is 40 x 200, the applicant was not sure how long it is.  Charlene asks if it is part of Jewett property. Dennis confirmed it was.

Public comment:  The son in law of abutters Howard and Kate Thomas, who have passed away, stated the strip of land is a ROW for the fire dept to get down back of the property.  He has no objection on the garage.  He has walked down to the applicant's house a few times to discuss the water waste system, which his father in-law thought that Mr. Doyle's septic was on his property.   Other than that, he has no problem with them building a garage.  

Krystal stated two abutters did contact her and they had no problem with the Doyle's having a garage.

"       Stephen motioned to close this portion of the public hearing, seconded by Jack the motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.
Stephen explains that article 6.2.b.2 applies.  The Board is only allowed to reduce up to 20% of the setback.  Twenty percent of a thirty-foot side setback allows the Board to reduce it down 6-feet, leaving a 24-feet set back from the property line.  In order for a variance to be granted, the Board will vote on the four cases of hardships.  

Charlene clarifies what the maximum variance allowed would be 6-feet.  Charlene explains that they are a grandfathered lot and why the Board has limits to what they are allowed to do.  She suggests possibly moving the garage out back further attaching to the back of the house.  She explains the lot is in Residential zone requiring 3 acres, making your lot a grandfathered lot and there are standards and limits on what the Board can do.

Peter said he has been on this Board for many of years. He has seen cases like this in the past and has been part of granting variances like this before.  There are members of the board who don't think they can approve this type of variance.  Peter feels, if there is nobody in the audience against it and the town is not against it than we can grant this variance, but that is why the Board votes.  Charlene said it's not a personal issue; we have tried to find ways to approve what people want done.  This is just one of those hard situations where the code clearly states we are only allowed to relax the setback 20-feet.  It is not our job to re-write the code but to interpret and enforce it consistently across the town.  She does not disagree with Peter, but feels they, as a board cannot be inconsistent.
"       Motioned by Stephen to open public hearing, seconded by Charlene.  The motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.

Stephen explained that as a board they would vote on the application.  Like to give you the opportunity to amend your application, by reducing your request down to a six-foot variance reducing your side setback down to 24-feet.  Dennis confirmed that this would give me a 12- foot garage.  

Jack suggested purchasing land off the abutter.  This 40-foot strip of land is a deeded ROW to two back lots; the deed would have to be rewritten.  At the time, the town's tax maps did not indicate the 40-foot ROW until Krystal recently researched the deeds and submitted the corrections to the mapper.  The land has been sitting there and nothing has ever been done to it.   Mr. Doyle stated he will not go with a 12-foot garage.  
"       Motion by Stephen to close the public hearing, seconded by Charlene, the motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.

1.       The land in question cannot yield a reasonable return under the requirements of this ordinance;
        The applicant states they are planning to build a 24 x 24 two-car garage.  The neighboring property is a 40" wide strip of land that has no dwelling or buildings on it.  
"       All those who feel the land in question cannot yield a reasonable return unless the variance is granted.  The condition is not met with 1 vote in favor and 3 against.  The motion did not pass.

2.       The need for a variance is due to the unique circumstances of the property and not the general condition in the neighborhood;
        The applicant stated the need for the variance is due to the lot size 100 x 200.
"       All those who feel the applicant has met the 2nd circumstance being due to the unique lot size.  The motion passed with a     = 4 - 0 vote

3.       The granting of a variance will not alter the essential character of the locality;
        The applicant stated the addition of a garage to our home would not change the residential character of our neighborhood; many homes on Town Farm Rd. have garages.
"       Stephen asked for a show of hand for those who feel the applicant has met the third case of hardship and not alter the character.  The motion 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.
        The applicant states the reason for the hardship is due to our lot size being 100 x 200.  
"       All those who feel the applicant have made the fourth hardship raise your hand.  One vote in favor, three votes against.  ( 1 - 3 vote in the negative).  The motion did not pass.

Stephen stated the applicant fails on the first and fourth hardship so the Board cannot grant a variance for the Doyle's side setback.

Approval of Minutes:    
December 7, 2011 - Stephen motion to approve as written, seconded by Charlene; the motion passed with a 3 - 1 vote with Jack abstaining.

CEO Report: not in attendance

Approval of bills:  none.

Jan, Feb & March issues of the Main Townsman

Other Business:
Election of Officers
"       Charlene nominated Stephen for chair, seconded by Jack, the motion passed with a   4 - 0 vote.
Vice Chairman   
"       Motioned by Stephen seconded by Jack to nominate Charlene.  The motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.

2011/2012 Budget request approved for $250

            Review Town Report Submission
"       Motioned by Stephen, seconded by Charlene to approve the proposed Town report submission as written  4 - 0

"       Stephen moved to adjourn at 7:27 pm, seconded by Charlene, the motion was unanimous.   

Respectfully submitted by Krystal Dyer

________________________________                Date ___________________
Stephen Heroux, Chairman

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