Erring on O’Shea vote

To the Editor:

It was a surprise to see the Town Board approve a special permit for the O’Shea house, especially after weeks of public discussion in which the board offered reasons as to why they should not grant the permit. When will the Town Board stand by the codes it is sworn to defend? After originally approving a permit to build a house that would not exceed 8,500 SFLA, the applicant proceeded to build a house that could exceed the maximum.

Evidence indicates that they anticipated exceeding the limit by installing mechanical infrastructure required for the expansion. In rationalizing the permit approval, the board shielded itself by stating that the owner would have to offer mitigation, but at the same time the board does not suggest how or when they will enforce the terms of mitigation. 

The terms for granting the permit are themselves hardly a justification of exceeding the 8,500 SFLA rule. During their discussion several board members offered the following commentary: “It’s like a ploy,” Councilwoman Chris Lewis said. “Owners have then come to the Town Board for a special permit after the residence is built to finish a basement that pushes the total square footage into five digits.”

“It’s hard for us to ask for any kind of mitigation” after the structure is built and the property is developed, Councilman Peter Reich said. 

Our Town Board is made up of diligent and hard working people. They established all the reasons why this special permit should have been denied. The Town Board, with the exception of Supervisor [Jim] Dougherty, the only nay vote, did not do the right thing by approving such a blatant abuse of town code as well as negating the spirit of our efforts to control reckless over-development.