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Welcome to the Town of Chilmark, MA
Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes 12/13/17
FINAL

Present for the Board of Appeals and attending the meeting were Chris Murphy, Chairman, Wendy Weldon, Vice Chairman, Frank LoRusso, Todd Christy, Allison Burger,                  Russell Maloney, Allen Healy and Chuck Hodgkinson.  Lenny Jason, Ron Rappaport, Chuck Sullivan, Nelson Giannakopoulos, Jim and Joan Malkin, Tom Pierce, Stephen Merkel, Robin Shanus, Candy and Rick Shweder, Dan Larkosh, Warren Doty, Jay Walsh, Patrick Lindsey, Doug Liman, Bart Thorpe, Maurice Wallerson, Doug Sederholm, Nina Harrison, Jack Shea, Mark Hurwitz and Reid Silva also attended.    

Mr. Murphy opened the meeting at 5:00 PM and appointed Alternate members Todd Christy and Allen Healy as voting members as may be needed.  

Chuck Sullivan for KLCK Nominee Trust; Article 6 Section 6.11B2; 6 Wakeman Rd.;      Map 24 Lot 165:  Mr. Murphy opened the public hearing at 5:05 PM.  Mr. Sullivan reviewed a plan to construct a detached bedroom above the existing garage.  This will add 384 sq. ft. of living space to the 4-acre parcel.  This additional space brings the total proposed living space to 4,307 sq. ft. which is + 369.5 sq. ft. above the amount requiring a Special permit of            3,937.5 sq. ft.  The total allowable living space on the parcel is 6,250 sq. ft.  The project is in the South Road Roadside District.  Mr. Sullivan added that the Board of Health has approved the plan.  The site visit was discussed and Mr. Sullivan confirmed the new roof ridge height will be 20’ 4” and the existing ridge is approximately 17 feet above the driveway.  The Site Review Committee report was read for the record.  The Board reviewed each of the 13 criteria for consideration under this bylaw as follows:  1a. N/A; 1b. complies; 1c. complies; 2-9 N/A; 10. to be conditioned;  11-13 N/A.  With no public comment a motion was made to close the hearing at 5:20 PM.  The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.  A subsequent motion was made to approve the site plan dated 2/28/17 and the floor plans A-05 dated 10/17/17 and the elevations A-06 dated 10/17/17 with the following condition:  To comply with bylaw specification # 10 the applicant shall submit a plan to the zoning administrator for adding a solar array on the roof of the main house before obtaining a Building Permit.  The motion was seconded and with no further discussion passed unanimously with five in favor.

Doug Sederholm for Stephen Merkel and Robin Shanus Trustees of the Magnolia Realty Trust and Trustees of the David Gabriel Realty Trust; Article 9 Section 9.9;                       14 Marjo’s Way; Map 27 Lot 2:  Mr. Murphy opened the public hearing at 5:21 PM.            Mr. Sederholm reviewed the history of this complaint and said the only reason they are before the Board is because Mr. Thorpe would not return repeated requests to meet to discuss this among neighbors. The applicant is seeking enforcement of a zoning violation of the minimum 25-foot setback distance from a lot line on a 1.3-acre parcel owned by Matthew Lichtenberg and Leonard Blum, Trustees of the Pasture Way Realty Trust and located at 14 Marjo’s Way; Map 27 Lot 2.  The structure is a garden fence that was erected by Mr. Thorpe over the past year.  His clients have been trying to speak with Mr. Thorpe on the matter since this past July which was to no avail.  Mr. Sederholm added that over the past 2 or so days Mr. Thorpe has apparently cut the fence posts that do not meet the minimum setback distance to a height of less than four feet above grade.  The wire mesh fencing however is still in place and approximately 8 feet above grade.  Mr. Jason added he spoke with Ms. Shanus and then Mr. Thorpe who said he would meet with his neighbors but, never did.  After a brief exchange of comments from both sides of the issue Chairman Murphy asked for a motion to close the hearing.  A motion was made and seconded to close the hearing at 5:57 PM.  The motion passed unanimously.  A subsequent motion was made to issue an Enforcement Order directing the owner of Map 27 Lot 2 to remove or modify said structure/fence in a manner that does not violate the minimum setback distance for a structure as defined in Article 2 Section 2.10 and to do so no later than December 20, 2017.  The motion was seconded and unanimously approved with five in favor.
  
Nelson Giannakopoulos for Daniel Elias; Article 8 Section 8.3; 4 Pitch Pine Lane; Map 21 Lot 25:  Mr. Murphy opened the public hearing at 5:42 PM.  Mr. Giannakopoulos reviewed the plan to alter a pre-existing, non-conforming main house by installing a new roof with a steeper 11 pitch and a new dormer with a 4 pitch roof.  The ridge height of the new 11 pitch roof will be 22 feet 6 ¾ inches above mean natural grade or, 2 feet, 11 ¼ inches higher than the current roof.  The existing deck on the north and west sides of the house will be re-built in its existing footprint.  An abutter letter of support was read for the record.  With no public comment a motion was made to close the hearing at 5:49 PM.  The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.  A second motion was made to approve the site plan dated 10/19/17 and the floor plan A-01 dated 11/13/17 as presented.  The motion was seconded and with no further discussion passed unanimously with five in favor.

Joan Malkin; Article 6 Section 6.6; 10 Tilton Cove Way; Map 25 Lots 124, 125:  Mr. Murphy opened the public hearing at 5:50 PM.  Mr. LoRusso mentioned he is an abutter as he owns the road but will not need to recuse himself because the decision will have no financial impact.  Ms. Malkin explained she would like to obtain setback relief from a proposed new east lot line for the existing guesthouse.  The guesthouse will be approximately 39 feet from the new lot line—less than the standard minimum 50-foot setback distance.  Mr. LoRusso asked why his right of way is not shown on the plan which he thought went through the current guesthouse.  Ms. Malkin said they will relocate the ROW and add this to the site plan before meeting with the Planning Board to review the Form A subdivision.  Mr. LoRusso thought this would be fine.  The required letter of consent from the abutter whose property is within 100 feet of the guesthouse was read for the record.  With no further comment a motion was made to close the hearing at 5:55 PM.  The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.  A second motion was made to approve the site plan dated 10/21/17 as presented.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously with five in favor.

Squibnocket Appeal filed by Larkosh & Jackson, LLP for Douglas Liman and David Stork: Mr. Murphy opened the public hearing at 5:56 PM.  Ms. Weldon recused herself from the proceeding and the Chair appointed Mr. Christy as the fifth voting member.  Mr. Larkosh explained that this appeal is under M.G.L. Chapter 40A, Section 7 of the Commonwealth’s Zoning Act, and that Mr. Stork and Mr. Liman are appealing the Chilmark Zoning Enforcement Officer’s response and letter dated September 14, 2017.  The appeal is for the causeway project on Assessor’s Map 35 Lots 1.30, 1.31, 17.3, 17.4, 21, 22 and 23.

Mr. Murphy asked Mr. Larkosh to explain what he is asking of the Board.  Mr. Larkosh said what is being built is significantly different from the concept approved at town meeting and permitted by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.  Specifically, the bridge under construction is 380 feet long and 13 feet high.  The Board pointed out the appeal is based upon the Building Inspector’s letter dated 9/14/17, which does not address any specific dimensions of the causeway.  The Building Inspector’s letter essentially says that no Building Permit is required for the causeway and that it complies with the Town’s zoning bylaws.  Mr. Larkosh proceeded to read several sections of the International Building Code (IBC) and the definition of structures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Zoning Act.  He added that the causeway contradicts Article 9, Section 9.2, and Article 11, Section 11.5, of the zoning bylaws.  Mr. Murphy reiterated that he is still not clear on what is being asked of the Board.   Mr. Larkosh said that he is seeking an immediate cease and desist of all work on the bridge, and that he would like the Building Inspector to enforce Town zoning bylaws and to issue a Building Permit for the bridge.  

Mr. Jason, the Building Inspector, addressed the Board.  He said that in his over 30 years as the Town’s Building Inspector, he has never issued Building Permits for bridges.  Mr. Murphy added the will of the Town has been clearly indicated through several town meeting votes of its agreement to have the bridge built.  He added if the project were halted it would create a serious hardship.

Town Counsel Ron Rappaport referred to his letter to the Board dated December 13, 2017, which he summarized by stating these issues raised by the petitioners have already been adjudicated by the Land Court.  Mr. Rappaport stated that a judgment from the Land Court, approved by Judge Piper, dated 9/6/17 held that Mr. Liman had no standing, that the causeway was in full compliance with Town zoning, and that the arguments advanced by the plaintiffs Liman and Stork that the Court should declare that the Town’s Building Inspector must issue a Building Permit were unconvincing.  Judge Piper dismissed the case “with prejudice”, which means the decision constitutes a judgment on the merits and that the decision is binding on Messrs. Liman and Stork.  Mr. Rappaport added that the claim that the former VOLF property constitutes “conservation land” - and that the causeway should not be allowed to be constructed on that property - was also correctly determined by Mr. Jason because that issue is not under his jurisdiction as a Building Inspector or Zoning Enforcement Officer.  The question is not a “zoning” issue with rights to appeal to the ZBA.  Mr. Rappaport concluded by saying that Mr. Jason’s 9/14/17 decision is correct and should be affirmed.

Mr. Larkosh countered by stating he is seeking zoning enforcement of what’s being built.        Mr. Rappaport stated that the claim that what is being built is not what was approved is not before this Board.  Mr. Liman said he will go back to land court.  Selectman Doty said what is being built is what was approved and permitted by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, the Conservation Commission and the DEP.  After brief comments that were repetitive the Chair asked for a motion to close the hearing.  A motion was made to close the hearing at 6:35 PM.  The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.  A second motion was made to deny the appeal and affirm the Building Inspector’s decision.  The motion was seconded.  In discussion the Board added the issues raised in this appeal have already been adjudicated.  The Board adopts the facts and reasoning contained in counsel’s letter as findings here.  The motion came to a vote and passed unanimously with five in favor.
  
Nina Harrison for Persephone’s Island, LLC; Article 8 Section 8.3; 13 Cemetery Rd.;     Map 8 Lot 16:  After a brief recess Mr. Murphy opened the continued public hearing at 6:38 PM and confirmed the eligible voters are present.  Ms. Harrison reviewed her revised plans to alter a pre-existing, non-conforming structure as follows:
  • The existing elevated deck on the northwest side of the house is in disrepair, will be re-built and the corner will be squared of as originally planned.  The deck is approximately 43 feet from the lot line.
  • The existing smaller deck on the southeast side of the house will also be re-built within the same footprint.  An outdoor shower will be installed on deck.  This deck is approximately 26 feet from the lot line.
  • Existing master suite that is supported by posts on the north side will have the open lower space below it closed in for living space.
  • A 21’ X 8’ addition is proposed on the south side to provide an entry way and expand the kitchen.  Approximately 32 sq. ft. of this addition is approximately 46 feet from the lot line.
Chuck H. read an abutter letter seeking evergreen screening to help mitigate noise from the expanded elevated deck that does not meet the minimum setback distance from their lot line.  The Board asked the applicant if she is agreeable to added screening.  She said yes.  With no public comment a motion was made to close the hearing at 6:45 PM.  The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.  A subsequent motion was made to approve the site plan dated 11/8/17 and plans A1.0, A1.1, A2.0, A2.1, A2.2, A2.3 dated 10/8/17 as presented with the following condition:  Before obtaining a Building Permit the applicant shall return to the Zoning Administrator to review and approve a plan to plant evergreen screening between the squared off section of elevated decking as described in # 1 and the lot line.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously with five in favor.  

Reid Silva for Lisa and Richard Zabel; Article 6 Section 6.6; 225 State Road; Map 33          Lot 122:   Mr. Murphy opened the public hearing at 6:46 PM.  Mr. Silva reviewed the plan to add a covered deck to an existing garage.  The deck is 33 feet from the west lot line and less than the minimum 50-foot setback distance.  The garage will also be converted into a conditioned and finished studio.  The project is in the State Road Roadside District.  The Board asked if the old garage is coming down why not build it in a location that meets the minimum setback distance from the lot line.  Mr. Silva said the garage is not being demolished.  Chuck H. read the required letter of consent from the neighbor whose property line is within 100 feet of the structure.  The Site Review Committee report was also read for the record.  With no public comment a motion was made to close the hearing at 6:55 PM.  The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.  A second motion was made to approve the site plan dated 11/15/17 and elevations    A-2 dated 11/14/17 as presented.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously with five in favor.

ADMINISTRATION:  The draft November 15, 2017 meeting minutes were reviewed and approved as presented by consensus.

The Board agreed that all future meetings beginning with January 2018 will continue to take place on the fourth Wednesday of each month but, start at 4:00 instead of 5:00 as the median age of the Board has increased over the years and it’s lights out much earlier these days.

The next meeting will be:  January 24, 2018 @ 4:00 PM

With no further business to conduct the meeting adjourned at 7:10 PM as everyone wished everyone a wonderful holiday season.  

Respectfully submitted by Chuck Hodgkinson, CAS.


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