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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 1, 2009

Zoning board gives Landi incentive to build

By Jo E. Prout

NEW SCOTLAND — The New Scotland Zoning Board of Appeals last week granted a final temporary use permit to allow a 150-year-old barn to remain standing while a new home is built on the same lot. 

Peter Landi and his wife, Suli, own property at the intersection of Font Grove and Krumkill roads. The zoning board previously granted the Landis a temporary use permit, and a one-year extension, which recently expired. A further extension was not possible under town law, so the Landis applied for another temporary use permit.

Town law calls for an accessory structure, like a garage or barn, to be accompanied by a primary structure, or home.

Their property, formerly a 14-acre parcel, was subdivided in 2007 into two parcels, Landi said. One, a nine-acre parcel, has a house on it; the other, a five-acre lot, has the barn. The property with the barn also has a garage on it, in which Landi stores a car and tractor, and in which he hopes to store lumber when he begins building a home, he said.

Landi told the board that a well has been dug, but that he is behind schedule.

“We’re already $12,000 into a well,” Landi said, adding that his wife is expecting a child. “The cost is absolutely astronomical.” The high cost of gasoline and the poor economy have affected their ability to finish building, he said.

At board member Adam Greenberg’s behest, the board agreed to place a condition on the permit, limiting it to one year without extension. After that time, if a home has not been built, the Landis can apply for a building permit, which can be renewed three times, according to Zoning Administrator Paul Cantlin.

One neighbor wrote to the board, complaining about the barn, and another attended the public hearing last week and said that the building should be redone because of its deteriorated condition.

“It’s almost close to our bedroom,” he said.

Board member Lance Moore joked that, if the home has not been built by the time the permit expires, Landi can “put the shed on wheels and move it to the other lot.”

“I’m always apprehensive” to place restrictions on my property, Landi said. “The structure has been there 150 years, regardless of when the line” was placed there, he said.

“That scares the bejesus out of me,” Landi said of the restriction.

The condition will be an “incentive to finish” as Landi has said he wants to, Chairman William Hennessey said.

“We’re overlooking the restriction,” Greenberg clarified. “We’re allowing” the improper use, he said.

Resident Edie Abrams asked board member Robert Parmenter, who is also the town’s historian, if the barn had any historical value to the town.

“It’s just there. Some buildings aren’t of any special interest,” Parmenter said.

“What’s the big deal? Why do you want to limit the time?” Abrams said.

“We don’t want to have lots out there that become dilapidated,” Hennessey said. He said that barns or sheds must be associated with a building or residence.

“It’s a use that’s not allowed,” Cantlin said.

Other business

In other business, the zoning board of appeals:

— Granted a variance to Christopher and Joanna Bautista Ruddle for 14 feet of relief from a required lot width of 150 feet on Krumkill Road.

Greenberg said that, if the Ruddles had public water and sewer, they would not need to approach the board.

“It’s a fairly minor variance,” Greenberg said;

— Granted a 25-foot variance to the Ruddles for a property line change suggested by the planning board.

The property has a barn that sits 30 feet from the front of the property, in a zone where 50 feet is needed from the front. Rather than attach the barn to 13 acres behind the parcel, the Ruddles requested the variance so that the barn sits on a five-acre property that already has a home on it;

— Granted a variance to allow 15 feet of relief from the front of property in the residential hamlet district on North Road. David VanWie plans to construct an addition onto the home of Ellen Schwartz and Leslie Hatfield, and, because of the slope and the placement of the house, the addition must encroach on the front side of the property;

— Allowed 19 feet of relief to let Peter Pizurro renovate a front porch in the commercial hamlet on New Scotland Road.

“The house pre-dates zoning,” said board attorney Louis Neri.

“It’s a repair, not construction of a new addition,” Hennessey said;

— Granted a variance to Garry Guyette for 10 feet of relief from the 12 feet that are allowed for the size of a sign on a county road. Cantlin said that the sign, currently at 46 square feet, meets the setback standards, but not those for the size. Guyette agreed to remove a second section of the sign, which advertises heavy equipment, reducing it to 22 square feet; and

— Set a public hearing for a variance application for the senior residence proposal by New Scotland OPC, LLC, owned by Charles Carrow, for January. Lots in the district on New Scotland Road, where the residences for the elderly are proposed, must have a minimum of 10,000 square feet. Carrow’s proposal asks for the subdivision of a parcel into 30 lots with minimums between 4,700 and 8,100 square feet.

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