Vol. II No. 14 7/15/2021
Notes from the Zoning Board of Appeals, June 29, in person at 7 p.m.
- The ZBA meets when there is a matter to consider.
- On June 29, there was a Public Hearing convened by the ZBA on the application filed by Aileen L. Bliss requesting variance from the Zoning Bylaw requirements with respect to dimensional variance of acreage and direct frontage under Section 7.2.2, to obtain a building permit on property at Train Hill Road/Averic Road, Map 212, Lot 25.1, Book 417Q, Page 71.
- The meeting was postponed to accommodate the attorney for Bliss who could not be present.
- The Public Hearing was continued. ZBA has 65 days from date of receipt to hold the Public Hearing and 100 days to render a decision. The Chair requested a letter from the attorney that the delay, as requested by the attorney, will not form basis for an objection.
- Before the meeting adjourned, letter from an abutter was read by a neighbor Paul Sundberg:
To the ZBA,
We understand that Aileen Bliss has requested a variance on the property she is trying to sell so that it becomes a buildable lot, which currently, we believe, it is not.
As we aren't able to be in Stockbridge for the hearing, we'd like to go on record as saying that we are opposed to granting this variance. For decades, the Averic-Train Hill area has maintained its aesthetic integrity and ease of passage based on the limited number of homes and their distance from one another. We'd like to see this sense of neighborhood maintained.
While we certainly respect private property rights, we also put high value on keeping an existing community intact for those who are its members, as we are.
In appreciation, Larry Ackerman
- Post meeting, the following communication was sent to the ZBA:
To the ZBA,
As you know from the meeting last Tuesday evening, I submitted a letter to you that was read and endorsed by Paul Sundberg, arguing against issuing a permit to turn a portion of Ms. Bliss's land into a buildable lot, which is currently, not in code.
I stand behind my objections. However, it has come to my attention that she may be seeking to generate cash so she can stay living in her current house. While I have no way of knowing if
selling her land will allow her to do that, I do not want to stand in the way of that outcome.
So, I am prepared to withdraw my objection if it gets in the way of that goal. That said, I am sure you will all let the law dictate your decision.
Thank you, Larry Ackerman
Editor's note: For a lot to be "buildable", zoning bylaws require a certain number of acres and a certain number of feet on a road (called frontage). The Bliss lot does not have the requisite acreage/frontage, therefore, she is asking for a variance, that is, relief from the requirement.
From article by Bob Jones in first issue of SU 8/6/20: "As zoning regulations cannot cover every conceivable situation that arises, the ZBA has the authority to allow minor exceptions to existing zoning bylaws...these small changes might allow a landowner to do what would generally be forbidden. Variances are not easy to acquire... [the owners] must show practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship...The ZBA, while not strictly a judiciary, acts as a judicial panel, issuing rulings, along with findings that clearly explain the rulings."
Photo: Lionel Delevingne