TOWN OF FALMOUTH
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2008
These minutes are not verbatim
MEMBERS PRESENT: Rich Bayer (Acting Chair), Fred Jay Meyer, Dennis Keeler, Jim
Thibodeau, Willie Audet (Associate), Stan Given (Associate),
MEMBERS ABSENT: none
The meeting opened at 6:31 pm.
Willie Audet and Stan Given were designated as voting members for the meeting.
Administrative Agenda Items:
a) Discussion and adoption of the minutes of the previous Hearing.
Dennis Keeler moved to approve the September minutes; Stan Given seconded. Motion carried
4-0 (Meyer abstained).
b) Discussion and finding that all applications presented for this hearing are
Al Farris said all items were complete. Rich Bayer stated that two letters in respect to the
Russell application have been submitted to the Board tonight. The Board felt that the site plan
submitted for the Dolloff application could have been better, but that the applications were
The Board decided to move the remaining Administrative items to the end of the meeting.
1. Donald M. Russell, Jr.-Is requesting Conditional Use under Sections 8.3 to extend a garage
roof at 11 Maiden Lane. Parcel #U16-071, zoned â€śRA â€ś.
Willie Audet was a voting member for this item.
Donald Russell, applicant, presented his application. He was spurred to submit this application
due to the snowstorm on March 6 of this year. He had a concern that the roof would collapse
due to the accumulation of ice, as a friendâ€™s garage did this year. He would like to continue the
roofline of the front part of the garage all the way to the end of the garage. He has spoken with
all his neighbors, including Dave and Phyllis Brunner, who have submitted a letter in opposition
to his application. In response to the concern about the impact on water views, he took photos
from the top of Maiden Lane, one from the Brunnerâ€™s porch and one from their front yard, and he
felt it was an insignificant impact.
Public comment period opened.
Pamela Ryan, of 11 East Ramsdell Rd, addressed Section 8.3(e), the adverse impact on water
views. She submitted photos with her letter, indicating the location of the proposed addition.
She explained that the reason there was a lower roof on the back of the garage was because the
Town told the owners when they built it that they could not impact water views.
Public comment period closed.
Willie Audet asked about the statement in the Brunner letter about a previous agreement between
Mr. Russell and the prior owners of their property.
Mr. Russell explained that it was his father that originally put on the addition to the garage. At
the time there were no trees, just a fence. Mrs. Manning, the prior owner of the Brunner
property, agreed to the design of the lower roof because at that time it did impact her view. Now
the trees have grown up and it does not have an impact. It was a verbal agreement only.
Willie Audet asked Al Farris about the ordinance section protecting water views. He thought it
is a fairly new provision.
Al Farris confirmed that.
Willie Audet asked if Mr. Russell has had a chance to see the letters submitted to the Board.
Mr. Russell said he hasnâ€™t. He spoke with Mr. Brunner on the phone at one point. He spoke
with the Brunners this summer, as they live in Seattle and only live in this home for three weeks
a year, and it was a surprise to him that they objected. He was aware of Ms. Ryanâ€™s objections.
Willie Audet asked if the Brunnersâ€™ home is vacant.
Mr. Russell says they typically rent it, but havenâ€™t this year.
Willie Audet provided Mr. Russell with copies of the letters.
Mr. Russell said the picture in Ms. Ryanâ€™s letter was taken when the leaves were off the cherry
tree; the photos he provided where when the tree was in bloom.
Jay Meyer asked if he was the trustee of the trusts that own the land.
Mr. Russell said he is.
Jay Meyer asked about the sideline between Mr. Russell and the Yacht club. The garage is five
feet from that line, and 8 feet from the other line.
Mr. Russell said it is.
Jay Meyer asked if there would be useable interior space in the addition.
Mr. Russell said no; it would just follow the same roofline. There is a loft in the shed existing.
The shingles need to be replaced anyway, and he wants to do that after fixing the roof. He
doesnâ€™t want to have to re-shingle again.
Dennis Keeler asked Al Farris about the setbacks and the property line. With the garage being so
close to the property line, he wondered if this is an extension or enlargement.
Al Farris explained his discussions with the applicant regarding his application for a hearing
before the Board. His feeling is that since the building exists, and technically all he is doing is
maintenance to a roof, the only reason he needs to be here is the 8.3(e) â€“ significant impact on
water views. Other than that issue, essentially this is only a roof maintenance issue. As far as
the setbacks are concerned, the building has been there for 20 years.
Dennis Keeler said that they have looked at the enlargement in the past as including adding
volume. He is concerned that this is adding volume, despite the applicant not using it for a loft.
Al Farris explained that the Code Office uses a lot of guidance from the shoreland zoning rules.
When an addition doesnâ€™t add living space, like filling in a broken back roof to match the gable
roof, he wouldnâ€™t consider that an enlargement under shoreland zoning when calculating the 30%
expansion limit, and he felt that approach also applied to this scenario.
Dennis Keeler asked Mr. Russell if he had explored other alternatives.
Mr. Russell said that he could put posts in, but that would impact the use of the structure.
Dennis Keeler asked if they had looked larger joists, additional joists, more of a slope.
Mr. Russell said his son in law and his cousins are both builders, and they agree that this is the
Dennis Keeler asked if he had asked any realtors if there would be an impact on property values.
Mr. Russell said no, he hasnâ€™t.
Jim Thibodeau asked how big the garage is.
Mr. Russell said it is two cars wide; 22 feet 6 inches wide, and 41 feet long.
Jim Thibodeau felt it was pretty compelling to him that this would be a fairly significant impact
on the view. As a structural engineer, he thought that Mr. Richards could use other means to
protect the roof without this addition. He didnâ€™t feel that he could support the application as it is.
Mr. Russell disagreed with Jimâ€™s assessment. He is trying to correct this problem the easiest,
most straightforward way. He referred to the pictures he submitted, and said that he felt there
was no impact to water views.
Stan Given asked how long the added section of the roof would be.
Mr. Russell thought it was about a third of the 41 foot building.
Stan Given asked if it is a flat roof.
Mr. Russell said it has a slight pitch. The end wall is all exposed.
Stan Given agreed with Jim Thibodeau that there should be a structural method to correct the ice
concerns without the addition. Even with the leaves on the cherry tree, he felt that there would
be an adverse impact on Ms. Ryanâ€™s water view
Rich Bayer asked Ms. Ryan about the photos she provided.
Ms. Ryan said she inked in lines to indicate where the roof addition would be.
Rich Bayer asked when they were taken. Ms. Ryan said they were taken on October 23, 2008.
Rich Bayer asked about her location when she took the photos.
Ms. Ryan said the picture from the front lawn is a ground level view; the others are about five
feet higher due to being taken from within the house. Maiden Lane slopes down.
Rich Bayer referred to section 6.2â€™s prohibition on enlargement and asked if that applied here.
Al Farris said that the applicant is not here under 6.2, just under 8.3.
Jim Thibodeau moved to deny the application as presented. Jay Meyer seconded.
Dennis Keeler commented that the question here is the significant adverse impact on water
views, as all here have discussed. He felt that the loss of view to Ms. Ryan, as indicated in the
pictures she presented, was significant. He wasnâ€™t sure that other alternatives, that wouldnâ€™t
cause such an impact, had been fully explored. He said it is a difficult balancing act, but he felt
that there were other ways for Mr. Russell to achieve his goals, without as much of an impact.
Mr. Russell asked if any of the board members had visited the site.
Rich Bayer said that they would only do that if all the Board members went together. Individual
Board members are not allowed to do that singly.
Jim Thibodeau explained that they are limited to the evidence before them, and Ms. Ryanâ€™s
evidence in this case is compelling.
Rich Bayer wondered if this should be under 8.3 only, he wondered if they can even hear an
application as just a section 8.3 without considering section 6 with it.
Jay Meyer agreed; he felt that Alâ€™s explanation was reasonable, but he disagreed with it. He felt
that this should come under section 6.2d, and it could not meet those requirements.
Dennis Keeler didnâ€™t feel a need, when he made his comments, to refer to section 6 due to the
application not getting past 8.3 in his mind, but he agreed with Richâ€™s opinion.
Bert Russell, Mr. Russellâ€™s son, asked if the Board could clarify their comments. He wondered if
they should have applied under section 6 instead of 8.3.
Rich Bayer explained that yes, it would seem to fall more naturally under section 6, but it still
could not have met the requirements of section 6. They could also apply for a variance.
Al Farris said that it isnâ€™t unusual for the Board to consider items under 8.3 for those items that
donâ€™t fit very neatly under section 6.
Rich Bayer restated his feeling that Ms. Ryanâ€™s submission and testimony were compelling.
Dennis Keeler said that he would be willing to consider it under section 6 if it seemed to fit those
requirements, but since he felt it wouldnâ€™t be any different under a different ordinance section, it
was fine to vote it under section 8.
Mr. Russell made the argument that the impact of his roof on Ms. Ryanâ€™s view was not
significant. He felt the Boardâ€™s interpretation of significant impact was being stretched to mean
Motion carried 5-0. Application denied.
2. Amy Dolloff-Is requesting Conditional Use under Section 8.3 to Change the Use from an
auto repair garage to a dog grooming business at 361 Gray Rd. Parcel # R06-067-A, zoned
Stan Given was a voting member for this application.
Public comment period opened:
Ron Kimble, of 362 Gray Road, thought this would be a great improvement over what has been
there in the past, and doesnâ€™t see why it shouldnâ€™t be approved.
Dennis Keeler asked him where exactly his property is in relation to the property.
Mr. Kimble explained the location of his property.
Public comment period closed.
Stan Given asked if this was previously approved for a home business.
Al Farris explained that this building was built in the 1950â€™s for a small body shop. Over the
years it built up to a full-service 3 bay garage with 4+ employees. The Town went to court with
the prior owner and tenant to force them into compliance. This application is not for a home
occupation; it is strictly a change of use, due to estoppel issues. It became a legally existing nonconforming
use. When they first came to the Board 4-5 years ago regarding the buildingâ€™s
history the Board allowed the business to continue with certain restrictions, which lead to it
being a legitimate use. With the change of use, this would be a less intense use of the site.
Stan Given asked if there would be any dogs outside. Mrs. Dolloff said no.
Stan Given asked if they have looked at the impact on the septic of water usage, washing the
dogs etc, and also about signage.
Al Farris said they would probably be allowed a site sign and a wall sign, as a legally existing
non-conforming use they are entitled to the same signage as found on Route 1, for example.
Stan Given felt it was a better use of the area. One concern he had was the driveway. He asked
how many animals they would have.
Mr. Dolloff said six a day at the most, usually four.
Jim Thibodeau asked if they were strictly dog grooming, and were not kenneling at all.
Mr. Dolloff said there would be no kenneling at all.
Jim Thibodeau asked if Mr. Farris would require some kind of floor plan, and if Mr. Dolloff
would be making any alterations.
Mr. Dolloff said they removed one bay door, and replaced it was a door and a window. They
also installed a suspended ceiling in one of the bays.
Mrs. Dolloff said they have done improvements indoors.
Jim Thibodeau asked if that needed a construction permit.
Al Farris said that since it is not structural, no building permit was required. They may require a
plumbing permit, and he will need to look at the drainage and whether the septic can handle the
additional water. Those issues havenâ€™t been addressed yet.
Jim Thibodeau asked about fire code.
Al Farris said there is no real public safety issue here, other than the site distance coming out of
Dennis Keeler asked if they were the property owners. Mrs. Dolloff said no, they are renting it.
They have a lease.
Dennis Keeler asked if this was just dogs, or other animals, and Mrs. Dolloff said it was
primarily dogs and cats.
Rich Bayer asked if this was a 6.4. Al Farris said it was.
Jay Meyer asked Mr. Farris what he would call this use. Al Farris said it was a retail use.
Willie Audet asked about review of the criteria of 8.7.
Al Farris explained that those are review criteria for the Board and donâ€™t require a written
submission from the applicants.
Rich asked about the hours of operation. Mrs. Dolloff said they would be open 8 am to 5 pm,
Monday to Friday.
Rich Bayer asked if they are using just one bay.
Mr. Dolloff said they are using all three: one is an office, one for clients, one for the grooming.
Dennis Keeler moved to approve the application under 8.3 and 6.4. Jim seconded. AMENDED
TO ADD a condition that a floor plan be submitted to the CEO prior to issuance of a certificate
of use for purposes of completing the application.
Stan Given asked about adding a condition that a floor plan be submitted to the CEO.
The Board discussed the need for a floor plan; Stan Given explained that his concern was
predominantly about the plumbing.
The Board added a condition that a floor plan be submitted to the CEO prior to issuance of a
certificate of use.
Motion carried 5-0. Application approved.
3. Jean Nishiyama represented by Cuyler Feagles- Is requesting Conditional Use under
Sections 6.2c to extend a door stoop at 53 Foreside Common, Parcel# R02-006-53C, zoned
Willie Audet was a voting member for this item.
Cuyler Feagles presented the application. He explained that this is a very small addition to
enlarge the entrance to the condominium. He said that even though this isnâ€™t a true ADA
application, its purpose is to allow Ms. Nishiyamaâ€™s elderly mother to enter the house and
properly maneuver once inside. It has been before the condo association and was approved.
Public comment period opened; no public comment.
The Board thanked Mr. Feagles for submitting an excellent application.
Dennis Keeler asked for a more complete narrative of the changes that are being made.
Mr. Feagles explained that they are pushing out three feet to the bay window, the increase is 33
sq feet total. The new elevation is almost indistinguishable; they are also pushing the roof line
up just enough to allow for the new front door.
Willie Audet asked if this required any action by the Planning Board due to its being in a planned
Al Farris said it was fully allowed under 6.2c.
Jim Thibodeau wondered if it would require a change to a recording plat.