DRAFT FILED: 1/28/04
FINAL APPROVAL: 2/11/04
VILLAGE OF CROTON-ON-HUDSON, NEW YORK ZONING BOARD OF APPLEALS MEETING MINUTES OF JANUARY 14, 2004
Members Present: Donald Sapir, Chairman
Also Present: Joseph Sperber, Code Enforcement Officer
Meeting came to order at 8:00 P.M.
Donald Sapir, Chairman of the Board announced the location of fire exits.
Joann Jackson, Morningside Drive. Section 79.09 block 6 Lot 32. Located in a RA-9 District. Request for the following variances: Area, Lot width, Side yard, total side yard and off-street parking (230-51D) variances with respect to a proposed dwelling. (Adj. on 12/10/03)
Maria Modica Snow Attorney for Joann Jackson To avoid repeating of what has already been said at the last meeting, I will keep it brief. At the last meeting the Board adjourned the hearing to revisit the site. Mr. Wegner, the architect is also here to answer any questions you may have. The benefit to the applicant; if these variances are not granted the property becomes worthless. In terms of detriment to the neighbors or undesirable change to the character of the neighborhood; I presented and Mr. Wegner presented drawings to show it does go with the character of the neighborhood and there are other houses in the neighborhood that are substandard. This property meets all of the requirements of an existing small lot. It was not until the property changed
title that this was discovered. We need variances only because the lot lost the status of “existing small lot”. I had an informal conversation with the Village Attorney and he stated that the lot line was not obliterated, she just lost the small lot status. If you look at Mr. Tully s letter that refers to Section 230-8C of the Village Code, which basically is talking about subdivisions, not lots already in existence. It always had separate tax lot numbers and
separated by a separate line. Is the variance substantial? In light of the neighborhood it is not. There is case law which states that you should not look only at the percentage of variance, but you need to look at all the facts and circumstances, look at the neighborhood and use common sense. When this house is built, someone can drive-by and never be able to tell there was a variance granted, it will fit in with the neighborhood. We are asking for variances to conform to the prevailing substandard character of the neighborhood. She is seeking variances to conform to the substandard character of other lots in the neighborhood. It will not be a physical detriment to the character of the neighborhood. The alleged difficulty was not self-created
Sapir You say that the hardship was not self-created. Wasn t the attorney granting the hardship her agent at the time of the closing? I am not saying this was on purpose, if it was done inadvertently.
Snow Yes. By the attorney putting it in her name she lost the “existing small lot” status. That is why we are here seeking a variance.
Sapir If it remained a small lot status you would not need to be here, that is your argument?
Snow Yes, if someone purchases a lot intending to keep it separate. In the alternative, if someone has a small lot and it does not meet the requirements and they purchase it now it is not an existing small lot.
Sapir So you think this is different because of the expectation the applicant had?
Sapir Someone else may have had the same type of lot owned together, why should your client be given different consideration?
Snow Because the intent was always to keep it separate. The attorney believed that by keeping the lots in two separate deeds he was keeping them separate. No one is coming up with any money to purchase it, so she is already losing money on it. It is now almost four years after the sale of her house.
Sapir Does your client have any recourse from the attorney?
Snow If anything, I think the statute of limitations is up. The most she could do is offer it to the neighbors. The contract vendees have spent $12,000.00 and they have spent nine months before the Planning Board. So, there is more money sunk into it over and above the sale price.
Rolnick There were neighbors interested in purchasing it?
Snow No. I spoke with Mr. Sheer, but my client would like to recoup their costs and the purchasers would like to recoup their cost. So far no one is interested. We have seen no offers.
Rolnick When did the transfer of title take place?
Snow 1991. I think it is three years for the statute of limitations.
Sapir - Anyone else like to be heard?
Joann Schilk 42 Morningside Drive. At the last meeting we talked about parking and I felt I did not make myself clear. I think it is important.
Sapir Before you continue; has everyone interested seen the photos that Cronin Engineering submitted?
Everyone interested stated yes.
Photos were made part of the record.
Schilk The home on the other side of the proposed building is a multi- family dwelling that has six or possibly eight families. Through the years, parking has been provided for the tenants. They have eight cars and they have extended their parking on to a lot that they created off the street. This house is on Morningside Drive on the right hand side coming up the hill and it is on the curve too. The proposed home is allowing for three cars. We park two cars at our home. The point I am making is esthetically, it begins to look like a mini parking lot in the middle of a beautiful block where you are looking at thirteen cars within 150 ft That is a lot of cars there. It is hazardous. You are blocking my house and my view. I already have to go half way out into the
street to see. Children live across the street and their mother is here tonight. She is also concerned. There are eight parking spots across the street and now we are looking at more. I do not know how that fits into the scope of a private neighborhood.
Rolnick To the Schilk s - Is there any kind of a structure you and your husband would be comfortable in having there?
Warren Schilk 42 Morningside Drive There is fifteen feet between the edge of my house. This house will be looking into all the windows of my house. It will impact my privacy everyday. It will affect the value of my property when I go to sell.
Barlow But, is there any kind of a structure you will accept?
Schilk - No it will impact me no matter what it is.
Rolnick What if it was positioned more to the back of the property?
Schilk - Then it would affect her ( referring to an unidentified neighbor attending the meeting).
Penny Sickenius 41 Morningside - I am in the house directly across from the lot in question. Parking as Joann Schilk mentioned is an issue. The apartment has many cars and they park in front of my house and Mrs. Schilk has difficulty coming out of the driveway and I do too. There are teenagers and there is no room for more parking and my children play there and if more cars are added it will make the blind spot worse. This proposed house is adding no value to the neighborhood It does nothing for us it just adds money in her pocket.
Sapir To Joseph Sperber, Code Enforcement Officer, is this a legal multi family dwelling?
Sperber I do not know. I would need to check our files.
Sapir Requested Mr. Sperber, Code Enforcement Officer, to check the village files and report back to the Board.
The hearing continued.
Patricia Barua 64 Morningside Drive I already submitted a letter, I will not take the time to repeat what is in it. The Jackson s needs are against the needs of the community.
I am against the application.
Bill Freeman - 23 Morningside Drive