Zoning Board Grants Variance on Green Space for Lot Division

Tony Basso of Keach Nordstrom and Attorney Andy Sullivan presented the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) with a request for a variance for 3 Garden Lane, which currently is the site of a car wash and an auto parts store. The variance would eliminate the green space between two properties.

“This property is currently a 2.59 acre that is fully developed, a car wash on the westerly side and a VIP Auto Parts,” Basso said, noting they are seeking to divide the lot into a 1-acre lot for the car wash and 1.59-acre lot for VIP.

Splitting the lot is for financing purposes.

“There is a buyer for the car wash, and the car wash is a number of years old,” he said. “In 1999 the VIP was permitted and constructed and then in 2005, the 2,376-square-foot car wash was constructed. Now at this point there is a purchaser for the car wash, which is a leased property. It is approximately 9 years old and it’s time to put some money into it, redo the equipment inside, and there’s a substantial investment.”

Basso said the prospective purchaser needs to own the land on which the car wash sits in order to finance the venture.

To put in a lot line requires having 15 feet on either side of the lot line be green space.

“So in the case of undeveloped lots, that green space would generally separate the two uses,” Basso told the ZBA at its meeting Wednesday, March 19. “In this case, the land is already developed and it doesn’t make sense to put a green space in. It’s good planning to have one driveway – they don’t need separate driveways, they don’t need separated sites. There’s shared stuff going on here. Unfortunately, it’s contrary to one of the requirements of the ordinance. We are looking for a variance for where that green space strip would be required.”

He added, “This is a line that is going to show up on the tax maps and the properties will be separated on the deed, but there would be no substantive change.”

As for the five points of law, Sullivan said that it was not contrary to public interest because nothing would be changing that would affect the public, and it would keep the character of the ordinance for the same reason. As far as justice being done, Sullivan said they were creating a situation where there would be more money to be put back as taxes and there would be a new lot and it doesn’t hurt anybody.

“The applicant can achieve his purpose and at the same time there is no detriment to the town, there is no detriment to the neighbors, there’s no detriment to the neighborhood,” Sullivan said.

He said surrounding property values would not be diminished because it is one lot now with two uses; it would change to two lots with two purposes, which he said would increase the value of both lots.

He said not granting the variance would create an unnecessary hardship because it is a dimensional requirement and they have a reasonable use and a permitted use, and it is consistent with the character of the neighborhood. Not granting the variance would create an unnecessary hardship, he said.

Board member Neil Dunn said that as far as he was concerned, the request satisfied all five points of law, and made the motion to grant the variance. It passed unanimously.

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