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Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes 04/16/2016

Tuesday, April 16, 2016
The Old Lyme Zoning Board of Appeals held a Regular Meeting on Tuesday, April 16, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. in the Auditorium of Memorial Town Hall.  Those present and voting were:  Art Sibley, Vice Chairman and Acting Chairman, Mary Stone, Kip Kotzan, regular member, Karen Conniff, regular member and Nancy Hutchinson, alternate.

Also present was Keith Rosenfeld, Land Use Coordinator

Acting Chairman Sibley called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. and noted that everyone present would be voting this evening.


1.      Case 16-11 – Paula & Anthony Schiavone, 57 Brightwater Road, variance to demolish an existing one car garage and construct 18’ x 24’ single car garage.

Paul Randazzo, builder, was present to represent the owners, Paula and Anthony Schiavone.  He explained that the application was before the Board a few months ago for a 24’ x 24’ garage and they have modified the request, reducing the size to 18’ x 24’.  Mr. Randazzo stated that this smaller size allows them to meet the rear, front and side Zoning setbacks, but they still do not meet the coverage regulation.  He noted that the hardship is that there was a 10’ x 80’ right-of-way given to a neighbor prior to them purchasing the property.  Mr. Randazzo explained that there is a shed on that right-of-way belonging to the neighbor but the coverage of the shed, approximately 100 square feet, is counted toward the Schiavone’s.  He indicated that this is their hardship as to why they cannot meet coverage.  Mr. Randazzo stated that if this was taken off the Schiavone’s coverage, they would not even be before the Board.

Ms. Stone questioned the size of the one-car garage being demolished.  Mr. Randazzo noted that they will not be demolishing anything.  He indicated that demolishing the single car garage was part of the original proposal two months ago.  Mr. Randazzo stated that because they are reducing the size of the proposed garage and meet all zoning regulations with the exception of coverage by 3 percent, they will not be removing that garage.

Ms. Hutchinson questioned whether the 80 square feet of land that constitutes the right-of-way is being counted in the Schiavone’s total land.  Mr. Rosenfeld indicated that it is included.  

Ms. Conniff stated that there is something in the file that states that the easement has been released.  Mr. Randazzo stated that Mr. Schiavone stated that when he purchased the house he was supposed to be able to have first right of refusal to purchase that land and he was not given the opportunity.  He explained that it is a mute point because the land will not be going back to the Schiavone’s.  Mr. Randazzo stated that if the shed was on the neighbor’s property and not the Schiavone’s, they would not be before the Board this evening.  Ms. Hutchinson noted that the coverage is going from 30.2 percent to 37.4 percent.  Mr. Rosenfeld explained that the house currently has 30.2 percent floor coverage and the proposal increases it to 37.4 percent, a 7.2 percent increase.  He noted that building coverage, which is the footprint, is currently 20.6 percent and the new garage will bring it to 27.8 percent.  He indicated that the footprint is over 2.8 percent.

Ms. Stone questioned whether the existing shed has a generator in it.  Mr. Randazzo stated that it contains a generator and an electrical panel for a solar system.  He noted that there are propane tanks on the outside of the shed.  Mr. Randazzo noted that it is not large enough to put a car in and houses those items for a solar system.  He stated that the shed on the south side of the property is the one that belongs to the neighbors.  He reiterated that if the 8’ x 12’ shed of the neighbors was not on the property, they would not need a variance for building coverage.

Ms. Hutchinson noted that reducing the size of the garage has eliminated the need for a side setback variance.  Mr. Randazzo agreed.  She questioned whether the patio is considered a structure now that part of it is raised higher.  Mr. Randazzo stated they are removing the existing blacktop but the patio will remain.  Mr. Rosenfeld stated that the patio will not be counted as coverage.  Ms. Hutchinson noted that the patio is quite high on one side and was not granted a zoning compliance permit.  Mr. Rosenfeld stated that the patio is not part of this application and he will look into it.  Mr. Randazzo stated height is based on average grade.  Ms. Hutchinson stated that there used to be a deck which is now gone and the patio in its place has been raised and enlarged with a retaining wall on one end.  Mr. Randazzo stated that three sides are at ground level and the retaining wall is holding up one side.  He noted that when he constructs the garage that will change.  

Ms. Stone questioned whether it is proper to have a generator enclosed in a building.  Mr. Rosenfeld stated that it would have to be approved by the building inspector.  He noted that there was concern as to whether there were fuel tanks inside.  Ms. Stone noted that removing that shed would decrease the need for a coverage variance.  

Mr. Randazzo questioned whether, if the new structure is reduced again, would he have to get a variance.  Ms. Hutchinson stated that if they are not increasing any nonconformity they would only need to go to the Zoning Commission for a Special Permit.  Mr. Randazzo stated that in the winter he would like to put both of his cars in a garage and he currently uses his brother’s garage down the street.  He indicated that they would like to have as large a garage as possible.  Mr. Randazzo questioned whether they would be conforming with a 14’ x 24’ garage.  He noted that the driveway would be stone for now.  Ms. Stone noted that reducing to that size will not solve the problem.  Mr. Randazzo stated that they are willing to make concessions.  Mr. Rosenfeld noted that it would be less than 25 percent coverage but the floor area would still be over.  Mr. Kotzan stated that although it counts as floor area but it is not useable for living space.  Ms. Stone questioned whether the height would be reduced if the structure were 14’ x 24’.  He noted that with a 12” pitch it would not have any useable second floor area.  Ms. Stone noted that the plans show a staircase.  Mr. Randazzo stated that there would not be enough rise to fit a staircase at 14’ x 24’.  

Barbara Deal, 58 Billow Road, stated that she feels the proposal is reasonable and would like to see the project go forward.

Hearing no further comments, Acting Chairman Sibley closed this Public Hearing.

2.      Case 16-12 – Richard Hyne, 45 Gorton Avenue, variance to elevated dwelling to comply with FEMA and Old Lyme Flood Requirements

Katie Scanlon, Point One Architects, and Sabrina Foulke, Point One Architects, were present to represent the applicant.  Ms. Scanlon stated that the hardship is that the property is a pre-existing, nonconforming lot and there is no buildable area that is not within the setbacks.  She explained that FEMA requires that there height regulations be met if improvements totaling more than 50 percent of the value of the home are made.

Ms. Scanlon noted that the proposal does not change the square footage of the dwelling and eliminates the basement which reduces total living area.  She noted that the Old Lyme Zoning Regulations require 2 feet additional height above the FEMA requirement.  She noted that they are a few inches over this because of an existing 8” sill plate around the current structure that will be lifted.  It was noted that the home is increasing from four bedrooms to five bedrooms and that the existing shed will remain on the property.

Ms. Conniff noted that the proposal only requires two variances; one for height and one for coverage.  Ms. Scanlon noted that the porch is being enclosed and made living area but that does not require a variance; the additional coverage variance is required for the stairs, three steps because the home has been lifted.  Ms. Scanlon stated that there will be no change to the outside of the structure.  

Ms. Scanlon read a letter from the neighbor located diagonally across from the Hyne Property.

Ms. Hutchinson questioned whether the applicant would consider removing the shed if there was a question on coverage.  The applicant indicated that they would not consider that.
No one present spoke in favor of or against this application.  Hearing no further comments, Acting Chairman Sibley closed this Public Hearing.


1.      Case 16-11 – Paula & Anthony Schiavone, 57 Brightwater Road

Acting Chairman Sibley reviewed the facts of the case.

Mr. Kotzan suggested a condition that the current impervious driveway be replaced with a pervious driveway.   Ms. Conniff stated that there has been no A-2 survey submitted.  Mr. Sibley stated that the applicant indicated that they will submit an A-2 survey and it should be submitted and approved.  He noted that the Zoning Department will determine whether or not the applicant needs a Special Permit from the Zoning Commission.  The Board agreed to include in the motion that the only variance being granted is for floor area coverage, as the building coverage was calculated as under 25 percent with the reduced size garage of 14’ x 24’.

Mr. Kotzan stated that a one-car garage is a reasonable request and the applicant has done everything they can to minimize the size and locate the structure without violating setbacks.  He noted that the intent of the regulations they are varying are not offended by the proposal.  Ms. Conniff noted there is no additional living space.  It was also pointed out that there is a hardship to floor area by the existence of the neighbors shed on their property.

A motion was made by Mary Stone, seconded by Karen Conniff and voted unanimously to grant a variance to construct a new 14’ x 24’ single car garage with a variance for floor area coverage with the following conditions:  An A-2 survey and elevation drawings must be submitted and approved, the existing blacktop driveway to existing garage is removed, a new driveway to the new garage is of pervious material and the new structure will never be converted into habitable space.  

Reasons for granting:

  • Applicant has made efforts to reduce impact of structure on lot.
  • Hardship is caused by presence of neighbor’s shed on applicant’s property, affecting coverage ratios.
2.      Case 16-12 – Richard Hyne, 45 Gorton Avenue

Acting Chairman Sibley reviewed the facts of the case.  

Ms. Conniff stated that she feels they should indicate that they are granting variances for the height and lot coverage only.  It was noted that the Zoning Commission’s review could change the plan.  Mr. Kotzan stated that if the Zoning Commission amends the plans, he is not sure that the ZBA plan is still valid.  Ms. Conniff noted that because there have been some issues in this regard.  Mr. Rosenfeld stated that Attorney Royston has offered to meet with the Board to discuss this and that’s where they will find their answers.  He noted that the Board should be specific with the variances they are granting.  Ms. Conniff stated that the variance is being granted to meet FEMA Regulations and to allow additional stairs to reach dwelling due to increased height.  Mr. Kotzan stated that he feels it is important to note that the approval is based on the plans submitted.  There was extensive discussion regarding this and the Board ultimately agreed to state that the variance is being granted as per the plot plan and elevation plan submitted and within the existing footprint.

A motion was made by Mary Stone, seconded by Karen Conniff and voted unanimously to grant variances of the following Zoning Regulations:  Section 8.8.6 for the height and Section 8.8.11 for lot coverage in order to elevate the dwelling to comply with FEMA and Old Lyme flood requirements, with the following conditions:  The structure is to be built per the plot plan and elevation plan submitted within the existing footprint.

Reasons for granting:

  • Existing building is being made FEMA compliant.  
New Business





Mr. Rosenfeld suggested the Board consider having Mr. Royston come in the near future.  He asked everyone to check their calendars for a good date.   


The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m. on a motion by Kip Kotzan and seconded by Nancy Hutchinson; so voted unanimously

Respectfully submitted,

Susan J. Bartlett
Recording Secretary

52 Lyme St, Old Lyme, CT 06371  (860) 434-1605

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