WASHINGTON — A proposed zoning amendment, created to better enforce regulation of town codes, brought condemnation from a local lake association that says the new rules will allow for less regulation, not more.
The amendment would allow the Zoning Board to grant a “special permit for the enlargement or extension of a non-conforming use that has existed continuously for no less than fifty years.”
Zoning Board Chair Nicholas Solley argued at a meeting this week that homeowners who live in non-conforming buildings should be given the right to rebuild their home if, for example, it was destroyed by disaster or deterioration.
The amendment would “recognize that uses that have existed continuously for very long periods of time may.” Town officials had previously allowed for changes to non-conforming buildings — as long as the changes didn’t make buildings conform even less — without a regulation in place. The Zoning Board closed public comment on this issue after a two-hour meeting earlier this week.
But the Lake Waramaug Association, a 100-year-old group comprised of property owners around the lake, contends the proposal will undo years of zoning revisions created to protect the lake, the watershed and wetlands.
The amendment, the association contends, would allow builders to subvert 75 years of “revisions and improvements” to regulations including lot-size requirements, wetland and watercourse setbacks and storm water management rules. The existing rules would be “undermined by allowing residents to rebuild by choice in a location prohibited” by current regulations.
The amendment “contradicts the fundamental principle” of the…
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