Zoning Board tightens rules for application paperwork

Shelter Island’s Zoning Board of Appeals on April 25 tightened up its requirements for applicants to assure that all necessary paperwork is in order before the board reviews their requests.

As of the ZBA’s April 25 meeting, applicants must now submit a full set of plans drawn to scale that clearly outline the building envelope in red. The plans must show exact dimensions pertaining to elevations and setbacks and provide complete details on any extra features such as air conditioning and/or heating units.

In past deliberations, the ZBA hasn’t always had clearly marked plans. That has led to confusion later about exactly what the ZBA had intended in granting approvals for variances, according to chairman Doug Matz.

Still pending before the Town Board is a request from the ZBA for clearer guidelines to clarify what changes to pre-existing, non-conforming commercial properties constitute expansions that are subject to ZBA review. Mr. Matz has told the Town Board there’s a need to define whether an increase in seating at restaurants, for instance, should trigger action by his members. It’s all part of the Town Board’s consideration of non-conforming uses by businesses in residential areas.

Councilwoman Christine Lewis said on Tuesday, May 1, at the Town Board’s work session, that she will be putting on the board’s May 8 work session agenda the board’s long-debated proposed amendment to the town code to clarify the rules for pre-existing, non-conforming businesses. She said she’s ask for the board to vote on May 18 to set a public hearing on it.

Robert and Nina Ronzoni won unanimous approval at the April 25 ZBA meeting to have a patio and air conditioner/heat pump installed on their property at 5 Clinton Avenue. The Ronzonis needed a setback variance to allow for the air conditioning unit/heat pump that would be 25 feet from the front yard line instead of the required 40 feet. They also got approval for a seven to nine foot side setback, instead of the required 25 feet. The board added a caveat providing that if neighbors have any complaints within a year about noise from the HVAC unit, the Ronzonis would have to take action to remedy the problem.

Neighbors Bruce and Susan Brewer, who live on Grand Avenue, told the ZBA they support the application because Mr. Ronzoni promised that a noise muffling blanket would be put over the unit. But ZBA members wanted to assure that the Brewers would have additional recourse within the first year should the blanket prove insufficient.

If a complaint is ever made, the Ronzonis would be required to hire an acoustical engineer to develop a plan for noise abatement and if that proved insufficient the Ronzonis could be required to remove the unit. The Brewers would have to submit their complaint to the Ronzonis in writing and copy the letter to the ZBA.

“I want the Brewers to have relief if they have a problem,” ZBA member Patricia Shillingburg said.

With Ms. Shillingburg recusing herself because of her son’s relationship with the architectural firm on the project, the board voted 4-0 to approve the application from Peter and Barbara Lane of 84 Peconic Avenue to build an addition to their non-conforming house. The Lanes can add two bedrooms in the second story and a stairwell that would lead to those rooms. The rooms and stairwell would be in dormer formation so from the front of the house, the structure would still appear to be a single story, according to their architect, Russell Glover. The approval carries a restriction that would prohibit the Lanes from creating any living quarters above their garage.