An increasing number of applicants whose projects land at the Zoning Board of Appeals only after property owners receive stop work orders are testing the patience of some ZBA members.
They’re tired, they said, of the attitude that it’s easier to take a slap on the wrist for proceeding illegally than to file proper applications for needed variances.
For the second month in a row, the ZBA asked at its May 18 meeting that the Building Department issue summonses against homeowners and their contractors who they said failed to ensure that proper permits were in place. And they’re referring complaints to the town’s Contractors Review Board for possible punitive action.
The latest issue on the subject concerns Greg and Virginia Anderson of 1 Bayview Avenue in Shelter Island Heights. The Andersons have a pool and patio on their property that needed variances, but they never applied for them, according to the ZBA.
Heights Property Owners Corporation General Manager Stella Lagudis told the ZBA months ago that violations had occurred on the property that were troubling to neighbors and plantings on the property weren’t positioned to hold an embankment.
Forced to come before the ZBA, the Andersons were granted multiple delays over a period of many months.
Now the ZBA is poised to approve the variances at its May 25 meeting if a number of conditions are met. These include a requirement that plantings that affect the embankment and all aspects of the project are complete and ready for a Building Department inspection on July 1.
Failure to meet that deadline would terminate a lengthy process and a requirement that the pool and patio could not be used by renters this summer.
Building Permits Coordinator Mary Wilson said she could arrange for a July 1 inspection, but noted that with her retirement and the retirement of her brother, Building Inspector Bill Banks, at the end of June, the department would be short staffed.
No one has the time verify that the pool and patio aren’t being used, Ms. Wilson said. She also asked for a planting plan, noting that the Building Department typically doesn’t get involved in inspecting landscaping.
Scott Murphy can expect approval of an application to enlarge his house at 8 Chequit Avenue. He has a separate application pending on a wetlands permit, but that’s not the purview of the ZBA.
Roberta and Paul Martin want a tennis court on their property at 48 Prospect Avenue in the Heights and appealed a previous request that they be required to have drywells installed prior to construction.
Before the ZBA gives approval, it wants the Martins to submit a plan that would pitch the court toward their house instead of the roadway and provide an engineer’s report for a drainage system to ensure there would be no problems with rainwater runoff.