At the last ZBA meeting on March 21, the item prior to Murphy Lane involved a builder who had constructed a house that violated the zoning setback by four feet and was seeking a variance after the fact. Without the variance it would cloud any future sale of the property. It was interesting that some of the most conservative members of the ZBA went on about it. Keith Kaplan said “the sheer amount [of the violation] shocked me.” Chairman William Moore opined, “four feet is a big mess.” Gary Hasbrouck noted that his failure to have the property surveyed before he built was the root of the problem. He asked him how much he saved by not having the survey and the applicant told him the survey would have cost $1000.00. Mr. Hasbouck just shook his head.
This prompted Skip Carlson to offer the following devastating remarks:
“It seems like this is happening more and more to this board. People coming in asking for forgiveness rather than permission. I don’t know whether it goes to code enforcement. Whether we could do something with code enforcement and make sure this doesn’t happen. Maybe [we tell people] listen, you do this or there is going to be a fine. Whatever we can do to make people take notice ‘cause I’m only here for sixteen more meetings but I’ve been here seven years and I have seen this happening more and more often. Sooner or later this board is going to go nuclear and make someone rip something down that has already been built. I can see it’s going to happen sooner than later. (my emphasis) This board is going to have to set an example. This [is] happening way too much so here is what we are going to do. We are going to draw a line in the sand maybe when I’m not here. I can see that happening in the future and maybe that’s what this board’s got to do to make sure this doesn’t [keep] happening.”
For the many people who have attended the ZBA meetings and left in frustration, this statement by Mr. Carlson indicates that all the citizen effort may be starting to have a real impact.