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Double Whammy

southold town symbolCurrent Southold Town code defines a bluff or a bulkhead and a lot line so an owner needs to go to both the Trustees and the ZBA to be granted relief from setbacks for waterfront properties. The problem with this duel jurisdiction is not just time and money but, receiving two different answers. There should be no reason to include the ZBA in this process since the setbacks are for environmental reasons, not balancing interests between owners and neighbors like side-yard setbacks; Inconsistent decisions and “ping-pong” applications are the effect of the dual Trustee/ZBA jurisdiction. The Trustees already incorporate the rule that if your neighbors are further back on the bluff/wetlands then you cannot extend toward the water to the detriment of your neighbors. This protects the views of neighbors…”protects the character of the neighborhood” which comes directly from the standard of “area variances” (ZBA).

The Town Code currently requires in the zoning ordinance [Section 280] that all structures must be set back 100 feet from Top of Bluff on LI Sound and 75 feet from Bulkhead (if not on LI Sound). This requires property owners to obtain “setback” variances if the house is less than 100 feet/75 feet. The Trustees in 275 (section of Trustees 275-wetlands) require wetland permits if the house is within 100 feet of wetland or top of bluff. This is not a variance but a wetland permit. Confusing?

We feel that eliminating the ZBA from setback to water issues when this jurisdiction was granted to the Trustees would definitely be an improvement to the regulatory process and maybe no longer that “double whammy” that applicants get. Think about it.

About "Janet Deluca"

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