Neighbor's zoning relief - should I be concerned?

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Just remember - you may have to sign in to "voice your opinion" before the meeting, and let them know which agenda item(s) you'd like to comment on.
Asking that the remaining side yard carry a "covenant" that it must forever be left "passive" is usually an easy one - when the nature of the variance and the people asking for it are honest.
We've done this here to prevent builders from building McMansions on what few small building lots are left in town, and speculators who are always seeking variances, not to build homes, but to maximize their profit.
Some have even tried to ammend therir setback request to allow a 2nd cesspool, electric meter, height restriction and lot coverage in the 11th hour. What was once a request to make a home slightly larger than the lot allowed, becomes a request for a 2-family or multiple family dwelling unit... 2 hours before the meeting.
Ana all it takes to thwart such underhandedness is a few neighbors ready to "discuss" the request(s) in a public forum.
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In Charleston SC, one is allowed to look at submissions before the public meeting. During the meeting, there is not time or place to carefully review the drawings. The one thing you and others have not mentioned is the possible disturbance of the soil next to your dreiveway. That would not be covered by the zoning hearing. I think it is worth looking at the submittal or having a person trained in reading such submittals look at it. You will know if something that was not in the approval is done. ( There was a "repair, no changes" approval within a block of me that resulted in a two story house being added where there was none. )
TB
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On 28 Dec 2003 07:45:13 -0800, in alt.home.repair you wrote (with possible editing):

Banty,
    I'm currently a Selectman in our town and have been either a member or the Chairman of our Planning Board for 20 years. That gives me the authority to say that Planning Board policies vary wildly from State to State and even from Town to Town! Without seeing a copy of your regulations, it's impossible to advise you technically, but keep these considerations in mind:
    1. ALWAYS attend a hearing. In most places, you cannot object later if you do not attend.
    2. It sounds like there will be no significant impact on your property. One fellow mentioned the possible chain of events which might ensue, but you can determine whether any of them can occur without a noticed hearing. In a lot of places, ANY action before a Board of Adjustment MUST be preceded by both public notices and certified letters to abutters.
    If you indeed have no objections, you should still attend. You should express your opinions both pro and con. If your neighbor were really a good neighbor, he should have discussed it with you prior to filing an application, but regardless, you need to go on the record with your opinion.
    3. In the event that you did object, (again, I don't know the regulations existing in your area) and the permit is granted, that is usually not the last appeal. You can usually challenge the ruling in court. In NH, the court is probably evenly divided in supporting ZBA's (Zoning Board of Appeals) and it depends rather significantly on the procedure they follow.
    Personally, I agree with the fellow who said that good neighbors are hard to find - if his garage doesn't affect you (and it certainly sounds like it doesn't), support him and you'll make an even better friend.
--
Larry
Email to rapp at lmr dot com
  Click to see the full signature.
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Update on the hearing - it was tonight and I attended. Our matter was first on the agenda (yay!) and I and the neighbor were the only ones there for this particular item. He showed me more of the plans from his contractor. Nice plan. $$$$$ But anyway, after the neighbor's presentation to the board, a board member called for any voice of support and opposition. I spoke up (my neighbor had already mentioned that I was the directly adjoining neighbor) about the two concerns: 1. That the remaning distance between our property line and his new addition be kept to passive use only. Result: no problem (I don't think it would have been a problem anyway, but nice to make it explicit). 2. That this not impact my future plans to build in that direction for a garage. Result: A town board member assured me that it would not impact that. The town secretary asked my name and address, and imput it into her record (I'll get a copy later - actually I think it's posted on the web.) All board members voted "yea", and the neighbor and I walked out. Total time - about 10 minutes.
Thanks, all, for your inputs. I came in feeling quite prepared and I think it was very wise to show up to support the neighbor to get a couple brownie points with him, but also to make my interest in my property visible to him.
Cheers, Banty
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Glad everything worked out for ya.
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Good for you. You did your homework, supported the neighbor and you feel good about it. What you don't know is the future. You may need the help of your neighbor some day and he will be inclined to return the favor. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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wrote:

Good point. So many property questions that come up here and in other groups result in suggestions, sarcastic or not, for malicious and destructive action. If you're going to be living side by side for the next 20-30 years, the value of friendly relations can't be exaggerated, even if sometimes difficult to achieve.
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Thanks for posting the followup. It is good to see that the Democratic process really does work for the benefit of all when the parties are cooperative. Des
Banty says...

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