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Here’s The Scoop …Board Of Adjustment Meeting 12/17/08…

LBTS BOA MEETING 12/17/08…previous posts for background…under public notices/Boards…November…

They met a 11 am in Jarvis Hall with 4 members sitting on the dais…George Crossman…Carol Dickman…Tom Carr-Chair….Joe Couriel-Vice Chair…the Development Secretary…Director of Development Jeff Bowman and an associate of the Town Attorney…from Weiss, Serota, Helfman, Pastoriza, Cole and Beniske…

First up was Beach Hardware who came before the board requesting a variance to put in a fire escape from the 2nd floor of their building as required by the Fire Marshall and to be fire code compliant….

It has been going on for 2 years according to the business owner …who came to speak for the owner of the building….

The fire alarm system required is already installed and this will complete the project…

The building can only put the escape on the back side…due to constrictions …with town property on the alleyway…neighboring property to the west and of course it could not be in the front…

It will impact 2 parking space behind the store…with the inability to walk in front of the cars to enter the building as is allowable at the present time. Along with the fire escape will be bollards http://www.bigbollards.com/faq.htm to protect the stairway and the cars…

A door to the outside is already in place…

Joe Couriel wanted to know about the building addition that already encroached on the setback…and if it had been permitted …done legally at the time…which would be the only way he would approve this request…

WOW!…you mean if it is not legal or permitted…it will be denied and we could possibly kiss this landmark store goodbye?…YIKES!…

Director Bowman did not know the status…not having done any research into the property…as it should have been included in the board’s package…in this writer’s opinion….

The lawyer sitting in…described for member Dickman the legal definitions of a non- conforming structures …stating a building permit would have been necessary…..

A vote was taken after the condition was made for the Town to assist the applicant in providing proof the building was added onto properly…passes 4-0…

Proof will be done administratively with no need for the applicant to reappear in front of the board….

Beach Hardware will go in front of the Commission on Jan 13,2009…7 pm Jarvis Hall…already posted in the Nov. public notice…

Next up…. the return of the single family residence going up next door to Oriana…currently the Courtyard Hotel….Previous post…. BOA Nov. meeting …in the boards category and in the Oct. public notices….

They were asked to reduce their setbacks…comply with the correct zoning…for the RM-25 area of the project’s location…30-241…and tweak a few things…

They did all of the above…with the help of staff to significantly comply with what they were asked to produce…while maintaining a first rate addition to the oceanfront property and the El Mar streetscape….

They reduced the north setback from…10.5-12.5 ft…to 5-7 ft…(the additional 2 ft. is for roof overhang)

They reduced the south setback from….6.5-8.5 ft….to 1-3 ft….(the additional 2 ft is for roof overhang)

They no longer require the 3rd variance previously  submitted…

Chair Tom Carr was concerned with the side driveway…being 10 ft with foliage…after input from the VFD Chief …who said the requirement was 12 ft….the owner will comply…

Tom, a VFD Engine Driver… said he wanted to “get back without breaking the mirrors”…on the truck…should there be a need…

Most of the back and forth exchanges happened between the applicants…and Joe Couriel….and some of it was really over the top…in this writer’s opinion….these applicants were asking for a 1 foot variance on the south side for a stairway that would be 4 ft wide and have a unique shape …Mr Couriel incredibly wanted everything from moving the entire house to the south…to taking 2.8 ft off the interior size of the living room and master bedroom…insisting on making the stairway 3 feet instead of allowing for the 1 ft. variance!…He even had the gall to tell the property owner he could always have a smaller chandelier…to save 1 ft…on the south side!…No one on the dais countered his assertions…and in the end the owner agreed to make the stairway smaller…withdrew the 1 ft setback on the south side and kept the other variances as requested…one caveat to this ridiculous stipulation …comes at the close of the meeting..before the final vote….(no peeking)

There was much talk also about the height of the new home…which according to the Director of Development was not in play for this board to decide this day…although it seemed they could not wrap their heads around the Director’s direction…and kept discussing it…anyhow….

It will come before the department when the site plan is submitted and before it is approved…the underlying problems that are lurking for both the Town and the applicant…what height is allowable…under the Town Charter and the code…and FEMA…using grade…which according to the applicant and the Director starts at the highest of all 3… clearly in our code and in the Town  Charter…This should be fun….(a little sarcasm)……

After Joe Couriel made the motion with removal of the 1 ft south side setback…member George Crossman asked to speak to tie it all together…

BCbythesea…I continue to be impressed with Mr Crossman and what he brings to this board in the time he has been up there…and this time was no exception….

George spoke of the property…the street…the present code …with the 10 ft  side setbacks required…in this area as compared to 5 ft in other areas in the town……Speaking about the intended purpose for combining lots under the past Overlay Districts…and what the real look will be as we walk El Mar Drive with this property and others like it…He used the example of a 65 ft stretch…thus leaving 30 ft of view of the ocean…saying he looks forward to encouraging more such projects like this ….mansions leaving the views ….

Tom Carr liked this project but added his concern with it setting a precedent which could impact the County with a loss of hotel revenue…

Here’s the kicker…the one that set this writer over the edge with disbelief…Joe Couriel…the member who made these applicant jump through hoops…denied them 1 ft on the south side of the property…finished up …after concurring with Mr Carr on “preserving the Hospitality District as much as  possible”…spoke of the zoning 30-241 being too restrictive …and they need to “revisit that much of a side setback.”….

After all the trouble this Vice Chair gave these applicants over a 1 foot variance on the south side set back…he finishes this meeting …before the final vote…by saying the 10 ft. side setbacks currently in place ….are too much!…YIKES!…

Passes 4-0…

Note to Applicants…get a transcript and ask the Commission to reinstate your 1 ft. variance to have the 4 ft. stairway you desire….

This will project will come before the Commission on Jan.13,2008….7pm Jarvis Hall….

more to come….

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