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P&Z copes with nonconformities

SALISBURY — The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) held two public hearings Tuesday, Sept. 6, on special permit applications for vertical expansion of nonconforming structures.This is a hot topic in Salisbury. After a public hearing in July, the commission voted 3-2 to impose a six-month moratorium on such expansions within the lake Protection Overlay Zones. At a public hearing Aug. 9 on a proposed change in the town’s zoning regulations that would eliminate special permits for vertical expansion of nonconforming buildings in the entire town, public sentiment was against the idea.(That hearing was continued to Tuesday, Sept. 20.)The Sept. 6 hearings were free of controversy. The first application, from Peter and Kirsten Barron to add a second story to a garage at 24 River Road, generated no criticism, although attorney Mark Capecelatro, P&Z planning consultant Tom McGowan and members of the commission went back and forth on the precise meaning of section 502.7 of the town’s regulations regarding setbacks from lakes, ponds, and streams, and setbacks from inland wetlands.In this case, there are no lakes, ponds or streams in the area, but the site is within the Housatonic River Corridor Overlay District.The Barrons asked for a waiver of requirements for a soil erosion and sedimentation control plan, and a requirement for a landscape architect.Commissioner Dan Dwyer said, “I see no reason to deny this. The most convincing element is the assent and approval of the abutting neighbors. Nothing demonstrates any harm in granting the waivers.”Dwyer also noted that the Barrons are in the landscape business themselves.Capecelatro said the reason for the waivers is to keep costs down, and P&Z Chairman Michael Klemens said he was familiar with the property, which he described as “beautiful.”“I think they’ll carry through the same quality as the rest of the property.”The commission voted unanimously, first to grant the waivers, and then, after the hearing closed, to approve the special permit as noticed, conditional on the approval of the Housatonic River Commission.Capecelatro was the attorney for the applicants in the second hearing.Daniel and Kimberly Kadlec wish to expand a nonconforming house at 94 South Shore Road by adding a second floor to the existing footprint and expanding a partial basement to a full basement.The commission engaged in an inconclusive discussion about the same regulation, and Klemens suggested that the issue could be avoided by moving the house.“If we’re trying to reduce noncomformities wouldn’t it make sense to move the house?”Capecelatro agreed, saying moving the house — the footprint, really — would eliminate all nonconformities and create a new, conforming situation.“I think that’s a better result.”At Capecelatro’s suggestion, the commission continued the hearing to Nov. 1. In the meantime, the applicants will explore the possibility of moving the house.

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