Planning and zoning updates in Rhinebeck, Milan, and Clinton

Town of Rhinebeck Zoning Board of Appeals

Two-car garage expansion hearing closed
The public hearing for Paul Beichert’s area variance application took place April 2 but no neighbors attended. Beichert seeks to increase the sqare footage of a two-car garage from 1,500 sq. ft. to 2,536 s. ft. on his property at 33 Cedar Heights Rd. The existing carport is about half the requested size. He needs the variance because a two-story barn on the property puts the entire sqare footage over the limit for the lot. The board voted to close the public hearing and scheduled a site visit; they have 60 days to issue a finding on the project.

Hearing closed for three-parcel Rhinecliff project
The public hearing for Carolyn Blackwood’s application for a major home renovation and garage replacement project at 64 Grinnell St., in Rhinecliff was held April 2. Several members of the public, all neighbors, spoke of their concern about river views being impeded by the project, which would enlarge the current house, replace a one-story garage with a two-story one, add a small studio, and keep one parcel free of development. The project exceeds the 2,300 sq. ft. maximum per lot for Rhinecliff, so variances are required. At the end, the board voted to close the public hearing; it will have 60 days to issue a finding.

New credit union receives sign variance
The board approved a variance doubling the allowed square footage of the sign for Hudson Valley Credit Union, the new bank being constructed on Route 9 next to the Stop&Shop plaza. The variance will allow a sign of 25 sq. ft, where 12.5 sq. ft. is allowed based on the building’s 75-foot road frontage. The decision passed easily, despite the abstention of one member for business reasons.

Church gets variance for new baseball field
The application by Grace Bible Church of 6959 Route 9 to install a regulation-size Little League field was unanimously approved by the board. The field requires an area variance because 100 ft setbacks are required from every property line for a field of this type, but in order to avoid wetlands and other features, the designer said the field must be sited in a way that does not allow for the full setback. The board decided that as long as there will not be any lighting to disturb neighbors, the field will be a good addition to the community.

Garage area variance approved
The board unanimously approved an application by Sally Culpeck and Kathryn Clark for an area variance to build a 952 sq. ft. addition for a two-car garage with studio/storage space at 60 Lemon Lane. The addition will bring the building to 2,100 sq. ft, where 1,500 sq. ft. is allowed, so an area variance is required. The board approved the plans on the condition that no bathroom, kitchen or bedroom be added to the 2-story building in order to keep it as storage and not an accessory dwelling.

Town of Milan Zoning Board of Appeals

Deer fence property on Sawmill Road wins variance approval
On March 26, the Zoning Board of Appeals approved an application by Craig Leavitt, represented by his builder, for a front yard area variance of 50 ft. where 85 ft. is required, at his 55.25-acre property at 250 Sawmill Road. Leavitt’s plan to erect a deer fence and a driveway gate required the variance, which was originally requested for 35 feet, as well as a side yard setback of zero feet instead of the required 35 ft.

However, in response to concerns voiced by his neighbors at public hearings since his original application in October, Leavitt altered his requested front yard setback from 35 to 50 ft. The planning board’s March 5 approval of a 1.19-acre lot line adjustment with Leavitt’s neighbor, Francisco Pujol, eliminated the need for a side yard variance on the eastern border of the property. According to the planning office, Leavitt may now obtain a building permit to begin construction.

Hearing on Hammock Hill Road variance ends
A public hearing was opened and closed with no comments on Robin Smith’s request for an area variance to build a 24 by 30 ft. storage shed on his 15.9-acre property at 60 Hammock Hill Road. Smith said the rocky, sloped, heavily wooded rear portion of the lot renders the flat area in front of the house the only viable location for the proposed shed, in spite of zoning regulations requiring that accessory structures be constructed behind primary dwellings. The ZBA unanimously approved Smith’s area variance.

Town of Milan Planning Board

Hearing set on lot line adjustment on Hicks Hill Road
At the April 2 planning meeting, Wilfred Beam, represented by his surveyor, applied for a lot line adjustment on his 93.5-acre property at 129-153 Hicks Hill Road. The change would mean a boundary adjustment between two parcels that he owns; no new tax parcels or building lots will be created. The board requested that several items be added to the submitted maps, including a before-and-after acreage chart. The public hearing will take place at the board’s May 7 meeting.

Town of Clinton Zoning Board of Appeals

Area variance on Stissing View Dr. approved
At its March 27 meeting, the Zoning Board of Appeals approved an area variance for Nancy Packes, represented by John Andrews, of 27–37 Stissing View Drive. The planning board’s Feb. 18 approval of Packes’ subdivision of a 26.1-acre parcel into two lots of 10.02 acres and 16.08 acres was conditional on securing this variance.

The 10.02-acre lot includes a 1,748 sq. ft. primary dwelling and a pre-existing, non-conforming caretaker’s residence of 752 sq. ft. The zoning code requires that an accessory dwelling be less than 35 percent of the habitable space of the primary dwelling or 1,000 sq. ft., whichever is smaller, so the area variance of 140 ft. brought the accessory dwelling into compliance.

One neighbor spoke at the public hearing to note the tidy appearance of Packes’ property and urge the ZBA to grant the variance. The board approved the area variance, agreeing that it was straightforward and preferable to obtaining the four variances that would have been required if Packes had proceeded with her original plan to convert an existing barn into her primary residence without subdividing her property.

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