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Attorney launches appeal to Country Club’s housing project

The Zoning Board of Appeals has slated a hearing on an appeal to the Gardiner’s Bay Country Club application seeking to have staff housing constructed on its site. But James Lynch, the attorney representing the Hay Beach Property Owners Association and himself and his wife, is not pleased with the date.

The ZBA has scheduled the appeal to be heard the same night as the application, Wednesday, Sept. 22.

Mr. Lynch maintains the Country Club’s application is defective, that if decided in favor of those who oppose the project, it would negate the need for the Sept. 22 hearing on the application, eliminating the need to hire expert witnesses.

The application for a special permit is in error, the attorney said. Building Permit Examiner Lori Beard Raymond classified the application as an extension to an existing nonconforming use and requires a use variance. Use variances require that the applicant show a hardship that would be caused by failure to grant the request.

If it’s determined a use variance is needed, it would fall to the Zoning Board of Appeals to apply the various tests to determine whether or not the application merits relief.

In his appeal, Mr. Lynch said the pending application for a special permit has procedural, legal and factual errors that would place a ZBA decision in jeopardy.

He cites other issues, including:

• Failure of the Building Department to provide neighbors and GBCC members of the decision to refer the application to the ZBA for a special permit.

• Errors in the stated square footage of the proposed buildings.

• Failure to conduct a State Environmental Quality Review of the project.

Unless it finds fault with the appeal, the ZBA will have to hear from representatives of both sides and rule on it before it could act on the application. Only if it rules against the appeal, could it act on the pending application. Even if the decision was positive for the GBCC applicants, a site plan review would have to occur before the Town Board could act to recommend that a building permit be issued.

One factor brought forward was a 2019 United States Geological Survey Report showing the site suggested for the housing was in an area where the nitrate level of water is considered high. Whether that would result in any changes to the application or not is unknown.

Club President Doug Sandberg, in a telephone interview, said he had not expected the opposition to the plan. He and his Board of Directors wanted a delay to assess the situation.