Variance needed for lot surrounded by paper streets
With only four members present, the Planning Commission met Jan. 2 to discuss a short agenda following the holidays. The only item of business was revisiting an application by John Somyk of Seaside Drive to build on a piece of land off of Beacon Avenue.
Somyk applied to the panel in December and asked the commissioners to recommend the application to the Zoning Board of Review. However, even if the Planning Commission rules not to recommend the proposal, Somyk would still have the right to take the application to the Zoning Board.
Somyk’s application was continued from Dec. 19 in order to allow town staff to research two issues concerning the property: lot frontage and easements. The land in question is actually a combination of three lots that form an L-shaped parcel. None of the lots have access to an actual street, only paper streets.
In regards to the frontage issue, it was reported that a lot’s frontage could be declared on any public right-of-way. However, the rightof way the applicant wishes to use must actually exist, as opposed to a paper street. Therefore, the application would require Somyk to obtain a variance to build on the land because there is only access to paper streets.
As for the easement issue, the applicant needs to have an access easement prepared and recorded for his application to go forward.
There was also a concern about fertilizer. It was proposed that a fertilizer restriction be placed on the land out of concern for nearby wetlands. But town staff explained that there is no mechanism that the town could use to enforce such a restriction, so the issue was dropped.
The applicant spoke for himself throughout the discussion and noted several times that he was ready and willing to make any changes the commission felt were needed. He went so far as to say he would alter his building plans to satisfy the commission.
After discussion, the panel considered a report by town staff that said there are five pieces of information missing from the application.
Commissioner Michael Smith noted that the application seemed “dead on arrival” because of the omissions, but that since the applicant had paid property taxes “since Hector was a pup,” he was inclined to allow the application. Chairman Mike Swistak worried that voting in favor of the application would contradict the board’s directive “to be very careful” about density and water use.
Two of the members said they were ready to vote in favor, and two said they would vote against it. At that time the applicant said he was willing to come back after correcting several of the omissions. The commission voted to continue the application until February.