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ZBA sends message to applicants

JULIE LANE PHOTO Zach Vella listened to members of his team of architects and builders describe an ancillary project — this one in Shelter Island Heights — to his Herrmann’s Castle reconstruction at a recent ZBA hearing.

JULIE LANE PHOTO Zach Vella listened to members of his team of architects and builders describe an ancillary project — this one in Shelter Island Heights — to his Herrmann’s Castle reconstruction at a recent ZBA hearing.

Just when the Zoning Board of Appeals was set to approve an application May 17, a monkey wrench found its way into the works.

That caused the ZBA to put on notice all applicants: When seeking a variance with drawings representing what the changed site will look like, don’t change plans but start the process from the beginning with new drawings representing your changes and pay another fee to get that plan considered.

The ZBA was discussing Zach Vella’s plans for changes to a house at 12 Clinton Avenue in the Heights — a house he and his family want to use temporarily while work continues on the former Herrmann’s Castle property on Shore Road where the Vella family plans to live when that more extensive property is completed.

Once Mr. Vella and his wife and children move to the Shore Road property, Mr. Vella’s parents will continue to live in the Clinton Avenue house, he told the ZBA last month.

With minor stipulations, the ZBA was preparing to have Town Attorney Laury Dowd draft an opinion approving joining two structures on the Clinton Avenue property with a library and connecting hallways to both the main house and the guest quarters.

Stipulations revolved around limits when construction could occur — between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays during the summer months — and all construction vehicles would have to be parked on the grounds of the property to avoid interfering with the North Ferry line of traffic.

Then Building Permits Examiner Lori Beard Raymond tossed in the monkey wrench.

Ms. Raymond had received an email from Barbara Corwin, the architect on the project, asking if it would make any difference if the connecting structure is larger than what was originally pitched to the ZBA.

Yes, it makes a difference, Chairman Doug Matz said and was supported by his colleagues. They agreed that to be granted a certificate of occupancy, what is built must match the drawings of what was proposed.

The ZBA had been expected to formally approve the plan at its May 24 hearing, but if an approval is drafted, it will clearly apply only to the project originally outlined.

Sieni gets a no
John Sieni, who won approval for expansion of his storage business at 18 North Ferry Road, sought to legitimize five free-standing containers on the site through the Building Department. Ms. Raymond asked the ZBA whether the approval they rendered on the project would allow the containers.

The ZBA approval stipulated there were to be no outdoor storage units and said even if a rake or shovel were to be left outside the regular storage units approved, they would have to be removed.

The five containers were not on the map that showed what was approved and they have no certificate of occupancy, Mr. Matz said. There is to be no further expansion of the business on the property, the board said.

The project that allowed expansion by 36 units to the 50 existing units last summer was controversial with neighbors from the outset. They complained about noise and traffic speeding through the area at all hours. Steps were taken at the time of approval to mitigate the problems.

Ruggero application
Robert, Barbara and Joseph Ruggero and Edward and Judith Cummings will have to provide more information to the ZBA before a determination can be reached on allowing a project to go forward at 34 Dinah Rock Road.

The applicants had a variance to convert an unfinished second story to an accessory apartment in a garage on the site.

But now there are questions if the accessory structure includes a kitchen and full or half bathroom. An accessory apartment could be used by a family member, but not rented, according to the town code, Ms. Dowd said.

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