OLD LYME ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
The Old Lyme Zoning Board of Appeals held a Regular Meeting on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. in the Auditorium of Memorial Town Hall. Those present and voting were: Judy McQuade, Chairman, Art Sibley, Vice Chairman, Mary Stone, regular member, Kip Kotzan, regular member and M. Hartmann, alternate.
Also present were Keith Rosenfeld, Land Use Coordinator, Nancy Hutchinson, alternate and Harry Plaut, alternate.
Chairman McQuade called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. and noted that Alternate M. Hartmann would be voting this evening.
1. Case 16-13C – Richard [Jr. & Sr.] & Michelle Frascarelli, 32 Massachusetts Road
Chairman McQuade noted that the applicants are seeking a variance to elevate their dwelling to meet FEMA standards and to reconstruct deck and stairs to access the elevated structure. Mr. DeMallie of Design Professionals was present to represent the applicants. He asked the Board to move their application further down on the agenda as they are waiting for the one of the applicant’s arrival.
A motion was made by Mary Stone, seconded by M. Hartmann and voted unanimously to hear Case 16-14 before Case 16-13C.
2. Case 16-14 – Chuck & Day Halsey, 98 Sill Lane variance to construct an 18’8”x30’8” addition with a covered front porch in the streetline setback
Harry Plaut, alternate, arrived at this time.
Joe Wren, professional engineer, was present to represent the applicants. The applicants were also present. Mr. Wren noted that the dwelling is a 1700’s farmhouse originally built close to what was probably a horse path and is now Sill Lane. He explained that they would like to construct an addition to the north side of the house as shown on the site plan. Mr. Wren stated that he is submitting and updated site plan which is virtually the same; the outside dimensions of the addition are the same but there are some interior edits. He explained that with the exception of a small corner at the back of the house, there is nowhere to construct an addition without it being in a setback.
Mr. Wren noted that the applicants are proposing an approximately 18’ x 30’ addition with a porch, with a quarter of the porch in the front setback and half the addition. He explained that the applicant has received Health approval and is currently before Inland Wetlands as there are some wetlands to the west and to the north there is a pond system and wetlands. Mr. Wren noted that they are installing a new septic system which will be within 100 feet of the wetlands area. He stated that they have had their site walk and met with the Commission and there are no outstanding issues; they expect approval at the Wetlands meeting next week.
Mr. Wren stated that their hardship is the position of the 250 +/- year old home well before Zoning Regulations and the fact that no addition can be made without extending into a setback. He noted that the southwest corner of the existing house is located approximately 11 feet from the property line and noted that the closest the proposed addition gets to the property line is almost triple that distance at 32.7 feet. Mr. Wren noted that the house is angled away from Sill Lane. He noted that the architecture is in keeping with the era style. Mr. Wren stated that the property is large and v-shaped. He noted that the variance request is 17.3 feet.
Ms. Stone questioned why the addition needs to be placed in the proposed location as opposed to another location on the property. Mr. Wren replied that the only other area to place an addition would be the rear east corner of the home in the patio area and it would extend into the setback.
Chairman McQuade noted that coverage on the property is minimal. Mr. Wren agreed and noted the zoning table on the site plan. Mr. Sibley questioned whether there is a basement. Mr. Wren stated that the main box of the house has a full basement and there will not be a basement, only a crawl space, under the addition.
No one present spoke in favor or against the application. Hearing no further comments Chairman McQuade closed this public hearing.
2. Case 16-13C – Richard [Jr. & Sr.] & Michelle Frascarelli, 32 Massachusetts Road
Mr. Peter DeMallie, President of Design Professionals, along with Jason Pitts, architect with Capitol City Architects, were present to represent the applicants. Mr. Pitts stated that Capitol City Architects was selected to represent 130 homes that were damaged in Hurricane Sandy. He noted that one project was previously before the Board. Mr. Pitts stated that the project is HUD funded.
Mr. DeMallie submitted 16 letters of support from neighbors. He stated that the applicant is requesting a 10.66’ foot height variance to allow for a 34.66 foot high structure where 24 feet is allowed. Mr. DeMallie stated that the house is located in Point ‘O Woods which was developed in the 1920’s, prior to Zoning. He explained that this home was built in 1922 and renovated in the mid 1970’s by Richard’s family. Mr. DeMallie stated that Richard has lived in the home for 40 years, currently residing there with his wife and three children. He noted that Richard is the beach/maintenance manager for Point ‘O Woods.
Mr. DeMallie stated that when Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012 water was just beneath the finished floor elevation so it damaged the heating ductwork and everything below the finished floor. He noted that the Federal Government expects storm water to get higher in the future. Mr. DeMallie noted that this home is at the lowest elevation of all homes in Point ‘O Woods. He explained that this property is located in the VE Zone which is not only subject to flooding but also to wave action. He noted that the elevation of the VE 100 year flood zone is 14 feet, 3 feet higher than the normal 100 year flood zone.
Mr. DeMallie stated that they are elevating the house without increasing its size. They are decreasing the existing deck 1 foot in width and 3 feet in length. Mr. Pitts stated that they are adding a minimum to code stair to access the deck. Mr. DeMallie stated that there are two current entry points to the house, one along the Ridgewood side which they plan to eliminate which will eliminate the need for another deck and stairs to enter the house. Mr. Kotzan questioned whether one exit would be a fire code issue. Mr. DeMallie stated that only one means of egress is required from a single family home.
Mr. DeMallie stated that the flood zone requirement is 14 feet and with the required additional foot. He noted that the finished floor is currently at 8’4”. Mr. DeMallie stated that under the Federally funded Sandy program it is required that they construct to the 500 year flood level which is 1.25 times higher than the 100 year flood level. He noted that 14 feet times 1.25 is 17.5 feet plus the additional foot is 18.5 feet is the lowest point of design for what is supporting the first floor. Mr. Pitts noted that these are the requirements of the Department of Housing and anyone that has applied to this program must adhere to the requirements. Mr. DeMallie stated that the first floor will be at elevation 20’6” with two feet of floor supports. Mr. Pitts stated that the house will
be constructed on piers, which is a requirement in the VE zone and they do not anticipate putting full foundation walls around the property. Mr. DeMallie stated that they are effectively raising the finished floor of the house from 8’4” to 20’6”. He noted that the height of the structure, as defined by Zoning, is 22.7 feet and is being increased to 34.66 feet. He noted that the house is a two story cape/colonial with six rooms. Mr. DeMallie noted that even raising the structure to the VE zone requirements without the additional requirement of the Federal program would require a variance.
Mr. DeMallie stated that the power of wave action is far greater than imaginable. He explained that raising this structure will make surrounding homes safer. Mr. DeMallie. noted that the lot is undersized at 7,233 square feet where 10,000 square feet is required. He stated that the lot only has a 63’ square where a 75’ square is required. Mr. DeMallie reviewed the zoning table. Mr. Rosenfeld stated that his floor area and lot coverage ratios came out higher. He noted that it appears that they did not include the existing garage and shed in their figures. Mr. Rosenfeld stated that he figured 29.6 percent for floor area coverage and 45 percent for building coverage. He stated that if his figures are correct, the lot coverage increases with this proposal. Mr. DeMallie
stated that they are not increasing the size of the structure and they are reducing the size of the deck and adding stairs. Mr. Rosenfeld stated that that is why the floor area does not change between the existing and proposed conditions, but the lot coverage is increasing and will require a variance because it is over 25 percent.
Ms. Stone noted that the existing conditions do not show the setbacks for the garage and shed which makes it difficult to see the entire picture. Mr. DeMallie stated that all the structures, existing and proposed are on the site plan. He noted that they are asking for variances for the building height and as Mr. Rosenfeld pointed out they need one for lot coverage as well. He noted that they are not raising the other structures on the lot. Mr. Rosenfeld noted that lot coverage is increasing to 28.9 percent and floor area is 29.3 and will remain at 29.3 percent. It was noted that Mr. Rosenfeld is counting the outside shower which is being demolished when the house is raised. Mr. Kotzan questioned what aspect of the proposal is adding to the lot coverage. Mr. DeMallie stated that he
does not see how it is increasing when everything is remaining the same. It was agreed that the zoning table needs to be changed to correct the fact that the lot coverage is not increasing. Mr. DeMallie stated that he does not think it is increasing and if it is found in the future that they need a variance, they will come back to the Board.
Ms. Stone asked if the existing conditions on the site are legally existing. Chairman McQuade stated that the tax records would show when changes were made. Mr. DeMallie stated that a structure constructed without permits is legal after three years if the Town doesn’t take enforcement. Mr. Frascarelli stated that they extended their kitchen approximately 13 years ago.
Mr. DeMallie explained that the house needs a variance to meet FEMA and be livable. He noted that the program requires the additional increase in height for the safety of the homeowner and those around them. He stated that the hardship is unique because of its proximity to the Long Island Sound and because it needs to be done to meet government standards. Mr. DeMallie noted that this property is subject to more flooding because of its proximity to the Long Island Sound and Three Mile River. He noted that the only way to make the house viable is to raise it. Mr. DeMallie stated that the applicants were paying $1,800.00 a year for flood insurance and it is now $4,500.00 a year. He indicated that this amount should go down once the home is constructed to program standards.
Addressing the Coastal Area Application, Mr. DeMallie stated they have coastal resources in the area; he noted that the earthwork needed to raise this house is minimal. He explained that this property is not right next to the coastal resources as there are other homes between it and the Three Mile River and Long Island Sound. Mr. Pitts indicated that they will not be bringing in any additional fill and there will be no grade change. He added that there will be no breakaway panels, only concrete piers to support the structure. Mr. DeMallie stated that there will be no degradation of water resources or natural drainage patterns as a result of this project. He stated that there will be no increase in flooding but rather a decrease as they are taking the structure out of the water’s path.
Mr. DeMallie explained that the proposal is in compliance with CAM.
Mr. Pitts submitted photographs of the property depicting the water levels during Superstorm Sandy.
Ms. Stone stated that they have received Exhibits A through P which are letters in support of the application. She noted that Exhibits Q through S are maps of the area.
Ms. Stone stated that the neighboring home’s views will be altered as they will now be looking under the house and right at the house instead of looking around the house. She questioned whether this neighbor wrote a letter in support of the application. Mr. DeMallie stated that he did not believe so, but indicated that he is present this evening.
Mr. DeMallie noted that part of the reason the storm surge is greater is because of the wetlands that have been filled over the last 100 years.
Chairman McQuade noted that the home cannot be raised without the Board’s approval. Mr. Kotzan noted that the Town can be eliminated from the FEMA Program if they do not allow the raising of homes in the flood zone. Mr. DeMallie stated that he has no idea of the Town’s liability if they denied the application and there was flood damage.
Ms. Stone stated that every other home that the Board has granted a variance to has raised their structure to 14 feet. She asked Mr. DeMallie to again explain why this home needs to be raised to 18 feet. Mr. DeMallie stated that they are in the VE Zone and the elevation in this zone varies along the coast. He explained that this particular property is in VE Zone with an elevation requirement of 14 feet and homes farther back are 3 feet less. He noted that under the program, it is required that the structure be raised to the 500 year flood elevation and that is determined by multiplying the required elevation of 14 feet by 1.25. Mr. DeMallie stated that this is 17’6” and then 1’ of freeboard is required plus two feet of structure to the finished first floor.
Ms. Hutchinson questioned if there was some way to reduce the nonconformities that are existing. She noted that currently there are many nonconformities and questioned whether they could reduce the deck more or put the stairway closer to the house. Mr. DeMallie stated that they have reduced the size of the deck. He stated that a further reduction in the deck could be considered. Mr. Pitts stated that they could look into reconfiguring the stairs and reducing the deck further. Mr. Kotzan questioned how many square feet the project would need to be reduced to meet lot coverage. Mr. Rosenfeld stated that they would need to reduce it by two percent. Mr. DeMallie stated that if the deck is reduced to remove it further from the property at 30 Massachusetts Road and brings the coverage
to 25 percent it would eliminate the nonconformity.
Chairman McQuade suggested continuing the public hearing. Mr. DeMallie stated that they could move forward putting on conditions that these changes be incorporated. Mr. Pitts stated that using Mr. Rosenfeld’s calculations would require the removal of 285 square feet of coverage; he noted that the deck is 13’ by 31’4” or 407 square feet. Mr. DeMallie stated that he does not feel that the hearing needs to be continued. Several Board members voiced concern that they are not looking at final plans. Mr. DeMallie agreed to a continuance of the public hearing to the September 20, 2016 Regular Meeting.
Michelle Moore, 6 Massachusetts, stated that she is in favor of the proposal.
Steve, 8 West End Drive, stated that he is currently in construction of his Sandy recovery project after receiving approval from this Board and stated that he encourages this type of reconstruction and is in favor of the proposal.
Edward Reyes, 29 Massachusetts Road, stated that he and his wife Jennifer support this project.
Lorraine Gibson, 35 Connecticut Road, stated Michelle and Rick live at this property year round, it is their only home, and she hopes the Board takes this into consideration.
Mary Lennon, 48 Ridgewood Road, stated that the water level is on the property during extreme high tides and in the 1950’s there was a storm that brought the water up Ridgewood Road. She urged the Board to approve the application.
Neighbor at 49 Ridgewood Road, stated that she is in favor of the proposal.
Jimmy Mountain, 110 Hillcrest Road, stated that the applicant has no choice in the matter as insurance rates continue to climb. He urged the Board’s approval.
Anne Fedus, 35 Massachusetts, stated she lives directly across the street. She indicated that she is in favor of the applicants raising their home but not to the extent they are raising it. She indicated that she had her engineer review the plans and read his letter consisting of review comments.
David Aldieri, 30 Massachusetts Road, asked for clarification of the hardship. He questioned whether it is for the financial funds. Chairman McQuade stated that it is to meet the requirements of the VE Zone. Mr. Aldieri stated that the FEMA requirement is 14 feet, not 20 feet. He noted that he will be looking at concrete pillars that are 16 feet tall on the east end and 15 feet tall on the west end. Mr. Aldieri stated that he will be looking under the house. He noted that he was just quoted flood insurance by The Hartford for $10,750.00 so their hardship, in that respect, is not unique. He noted that there are three houses in the area that have been raised and they were all raised to the FEMA standard plus one foot. He stated that the additional height request is for
financial reasons and is not a unique hardship. Mr. Aldieri stated that he is not sure there is a requirement to go the extra three feet and they may be doing that to have their air conditioning units under the house. He noted that the deck is being raised 12 feet and will be above his bedroom window. Mr. Aldieri stated that he is a certified real estate appraiser in the State of Connecticut and he is certain that his property value will drop. He reiterated that the only reason the applicant is requesting to build higher then FEMA requirements is to receive a grant. He noted that this application is beyond the minimum required. Mr. Aldieri noted that the courts have upheld this. He read from a FEMA document entitled “Variances and the National Flood Insurance Program 2014,” which states that a variance granted by a community must be the absolute minimum required to minimize or reduce future flood damage and still relieve the hardship.
Mr. Aldieri stated that if they are approved then they can be sure he will apply as will many others. He entered the FEMA document as an exhibit, as well as a letter signed by neighbors. Mr. Aldieri read the letter for the record.
Tamara Ward, 35 Massachusetts Road, stated that she lives directly across the street. She presented photographs depicting the proximity of the home to the water and other homes. Ms. Ward noted that there will be a 17 foot concrete pillar. She noted that on one side there is only a driveway separating the houses. Ms. Ward showed another photograph depicting homes directly on the water that were raised to meet FEMA standards. She indicated that she understands the need to raise the home and would be in agreement if they were raising to the minimum FEMA standard.
Tracy McCartney, 35 Massachusetts Road, stated that she had damage from Superstorm Sandy and agrees the house needs to be raised to keep them safe. She stated that the applicant shook her head no when her sister spoke and said they would be looking at 17 foot pillars. Ms. McCartney stated that the applicant told her that they would landscape the area and asked if they would continue to replace the landscaping after each storm. She indicated she is opposed to the proposal.
Lauren Peterson, 71 Connecticut Road, stated that the rear of her property abuts the Three Mile River. She stated that her property has never had flooding and she is in the VE Zone as well. Ms. Peterson stated that she does not object to the raising of homes, but only to minimum required standards.
Frank McCartney, 35 Massachusetts, stated that he lives directly across the street. He questioned whether there is another program that does not require construction to the 500 year flood level and questioned what the applicant will do to mitigate the height.
Mr. DeMallie stated that the applicant is requesting an 11.9’ change in the elevation of the structure and the approval at 28 West End Drive the home was lifted 11.8” and they too are in the VE Zone. He noted that this was a 9’ variance request. Mr. Pitts stated that they have never had one of their projects denied but he is not aware if the Department of Housing would reduce any requirements. He indicated that he has no knowledge as to whether there are any other programs.
Mr. DeMallie stated that the height increase is not the 500 year flood elevation plus 5 feet. He explained that the 500 year flood elevation is 17.5 feet plus 1 foot of freeboard which gets you to the elevation of the structure plus two feet of first floor components, which brings you to 20.5 feet for the first floor.
Mr. DeMallie stated that as part of the program, they are not adding breakaway panels. He noted that he does not know the requirements of the Town, but all requirements will have to be met if the applicant decides to add these in the future. Ms. Hutchinson stated that even if it is not funded by the program, it should be shown as part of the project if it is part of the project. She stated that people need to know what the final product will look like. Mr. DeMallie stated that they will take that into consideration.
Mr. Rosenfeld noted that the applicant has written a request to continue the public hearing.
A motion was made by Mary Stone, seconded by Kip Kotzan and voted unanimously to continue the public hearing on Case 16-13C, Frascarelli, 32 Massachusetts Road to the September 20, 2016 Regular Meeting.
OPEN VOTING SESSION
1. Case 16-14 – Chuck & Day Halsey, 98 Sill Lane
Chairman McQuade reviewed the facts of the case.
Mr. Sibley stated that the construction does not increase the one existing non-conformity on a very large lot and the house was built before the road was constructed. [Recorder malfunction]
Chairman Cable stated that the applicant’s building area is limited by wetlands in the rear.
A motion was made by M. Hartmann, seconded by Arthur Sibley and voted to grant the necessary variances to construct an18’8”x30’8” addition with a covered front porch which will encroach into the street line setback, as per plans submitted: Site Plan prepared for Charles H.C. Halsey and Charlotte Day Halsey 98 Sill Lane – Map 60 Lot 7 Old Lyme, Connecticut dated June 21, 2016, revised June 23, 2016 minor septic revisions, prepared by Indigo Land Design, Sheet 1 of 1 and Soil Test Data & Septic Design Criteria prepared for Charles H.C. Halsey and Charlotte Day Halsey 98 Sill Lane – Map 60 Lot 7 Old Lyme, Connecticut dated June 21, 2016, revised June 23, 2016 minor septic revisions, prepared by Indigo Land Design, Sheet 2 of 2. Motion carried 4:1:0, with Mary Stone voting against.
Reasons for granting:
- The construction does not increase the one existing non-conformity on a very large lot.
- The house was built before the road was constructed and the applicant’s building area is limited by wetlands in the rear.
2. Case 16-13C – Richard [Jr. & Sr.] & Michelle Frascarelli, 32 Massachusetts Road
No action taken. The Public Hearing for this item has been continued to the September Regular Meeting.
Request dated May 18, 2016, to grant a one year extension for the variance granted in June of 2015 to elevate the structure at 56 Meriden Road, Harry Gough, applicant.
Mr. Rosenfeld stated that the applicant needs an extension to the variance granted and he would see no objections.
A motion was made by Kip Kotzan, seconded by Judy McQuade and voted unanimously to grant a one year extension to June 16, 2017 in order to elevate the structure at 56 Meriden Road.
Request dated May 13, 2016, to grant a one year extension for a variance granted on May 19, 2015 for UMARS, LLC, 281 Shore Road.
Mr. Rosenfeld stated that there is a new set of engineers working on this project and again, he sees no objections.
A motion was made by Kip Kotzan, seconded by Arthur Sibley and voted unanimously to grant a one year extension to May 19, 2017 for a variance granted on May 19, 2015 for UMARS, LLC, 281 Shore Road.
A motion was made by Kip Kotzan, seconded by Arthur Sibley and voted unanimously to approve the minutes of the March 15, 2016 Regular Meeting with the following corrections: page 2, paragraph 3, where it says “Ms. Stone” it should be “Ms. Hutchinson”; page 4 paragraph 3 where it says “Ms. Conniff” it should be “Ms. Hutchinson”; page 6 “Jason ??” we do not have a last name since members of the audience to not enunciate clearly their names; page 8, paragraph 4 insert “Mr. Kotzan clarified that motion would not provide a
variance for meeting FEMA requirements.”
ZBA Special Meeting April 5, 2016
A motion was made by Mary Stone, seconded by M. Hartmann and voted unanimously to approve the minutes of the April 5, 2016 Special Meeting with the following correction on page 1, last paragraph to replace ?? with Mr. Gianquinto. Motion carried 3:0:2, with J. McQuade, K. Kotzan abstaining.
ZBA Regular Meeting April 16, 2016
A motion was made by Nancy Hutchinson, seconded by Kip Kotzan and voted unanimously to approve the minutes of the April 16, 2016 Regular Meeting with the following corrections: in the four places it says “Ms. Conniff” it should say “Ms. Hutchinson.”
Correspondence and Announcements
Petition to Amend the Zoning Regulations to repeal the provisions of Section 14.5.2(c) dated June 24, 2016.
Chairman McQuade noted that this amendment will be heard in September and asked the Board to submit comments to the Zoning Commission if they have any.
The meeting adjourned at 9:37 p.m. on a motion by Kip Kotzan and seconded by M. Hartmann; so voted unanimously
Susan J. Bartlett