Whoa, Nelly! ZBA Talks About The Nuclear Option


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.


15 thoughts on “Whoa, Nelly! ZBA Talks About The Nuclear Option”

  1. Interesting that they blow up over a variance in setback of 4 ft, but the Jumel project is asking for a variance in setback of 19 ft and the board approved it the first time around and have been ready to re-approve it this time around. This board has double standards and clear bias when it comes to who is sitting in that chair before them asking either forgiveness or permission.


    1. While I agree with you about the problems of double standards, the issue here is different in that the ZBA might have approved the four foot set back if it had been properly applied for. In this case, they built the house first and then asked for the variance when the construction had been completed. As in “Act Now; Ask For Forgiveness Later”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The ZBA stands for the Zoning Board of Adjustment. They are supposed to adjust the zoning ordinance for specific cases that are non-conforming and not applicant created, so that the use can be the highest and best use of that specific property. The ZBA is not supposed to legalize existing or applicant created violations. That is not part of the ZBA’s authorized powers and violates the guarantees of due process that all applicants are treated equally.
        In the two case you have posted, Murphy Lane and the 4 foot case, both are applicant created, the board should make them tear it out. Your logic here is like arguing a speeding ticket on the basis that the city is going to raise the speed limit in the future so I should not have gotten a ticket.


  2. you are idiots…saying it is going up 4ft is not the same as a “set back”…the height makes the addition of 2 steps necessary. the building is not moving and intruding on any more than it had originally. A few steps intrudes on no one. What is your true agenda? Oh forget it I see it for what it is, just like anyone else on the outside of this issue. Thanks you neighbor nasty!


  3. Some slight changes are inevitable…this is not significant…the building did not move from the original footprint. Code enforcement is spotty that is why there is always a controversy….How about the sign enforcement on Gilbert and Union…the megamansion has his builder’s signs advertising their companys without Design Review. .That is unenforced as well as the Belmonte new sign on his property before Ragatta View on Union Ave. Advertising his business not the property for sale, Sneaky huh? No wonder people get upset with the city. That is in code enforcement and regulated as an entry to the city and must go thru DRC approval. I can just put up a sign why can they? and keep getting away with it, makes one wonder who the code enforcer works for? I don’t think they are inept. so which is it? Looking the other way or inept? Either way they still get paid.


  4. Good for Skip Carlson for speaking up about a problem that has become obvious to the many neighbors who have watched buildings go up (or in the case of Murphy Lane come down) in flagrant violation of what has been approved by the ZBA. But why does Mr. Carlson say the “line in the sand” will be drawn “maybe when [he’s] not there” which is 16 meetings away. Having forcefully identified this issue he should now work to draw that line sooner rather than later.


  5. Are you people all drinking the Koolaid? and believing what is written on the internet as gospel? You are not looking at it the right way…the house did not increase the footprint. FACT it was repaired and the floors are the same FACT…this means they are original. It has new materials ( sheathing) and will have the same style siding…FACT… so it is not substantially larger, just a little taller and current code allows that…So an old building has new life… this is a city where real people work and live not just people with attitudes like “I got my piece but no one else can change anything because I don’t want it” this city is not a museum.


  6. How much taxes did these neighbors pay on this property? Oh… You mean they did not pay anything on the neighbors property?…maybe that’s the point. If they wanted to control it they should have bought it, otherwise shut up. You sound like a bunch of children trying to get the city to fight in their place. Clue..it ain’t going to happen you schoolyard bullys. Ok… everybody all together WHAAA
    I want my way.


    1. I thought you were trying to stop the hate, or does that apply only to other NIMBY’s. You sound like a spoiled child unwilling to tolerate or listen to different opinions.

      John, can you do something about Stop the hate? They do not belong on your blog. There are other blogs that allow this type of abuse but I did not think yours did.


      1. Paula:
        I try to be tolerant of critics. I actually do not post everything I receive. I do not allow any personal attacks on people who post other than myself. I have sympathy for your concerns over Stop TheHate which is just on the boarder of what I tolerate. I think it is important to try to keep the tone of this site so that people feel comfortable posting.


      2. NIMBY Means “not in my backyard” Blogs are for opinions, everybody’s not just yours. I see no abuse here, just different opinions.


  7. isn’t the opposite of in-fill called sprawl? isn’t that what a “city” is? as compared to a town like Clifton park.


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