ZBA: Owners must move woodshed
PETERBOROUGH — Mona Brooks and Mike Teitsch will have to figure out a new way to store their firewood, after the Zoning Board of Adjustment last week denied their request for a variance following a site visit to the couple’s Cheney Avenue home.
The ruling reaffirmed a decision made in November 2012, when the Zoning Board of Adjustment ruled that the approximately 100-square-foot shed Brooks and Teitsch had built at the side of their driveway would have to be moved because it violated setback requirements in the Family District. The couple’s neighbor, Richard Fernald, had appealed a ruling by Code Enforcement Officer Dario Carrara that the shed did not meet the town’s definition of a building and therefore could sit closer than 30 feet from the property line.
Enforcement of that ruling was delayed, with the agreement of Fernald, because the couple was using the shed to hold wood for the winter heating season.
On March 4, Brooks and Teitsch met with the ZBA asking for a variance to let them keep the shed in place. Because the shed was located just 12 feet from the front property line, the couple needed a variance from the 30-foot setback requirement for such structures in the Family District.
At the meeting, Teitsch said he would like to be able to put a roof on the shed, which has been covered with a green tarpaulin.
“We would like to have it look nice,” he said. “It would certainly look nicer that a pile of wood with a tarp.”
Brooks said there was no other good location for the shed and a large tree prevents it from being placed farther back from the front property line.
Fernald said the couple had not proven that moving the shed would be an unnecessary hardship.
“The only inconvenience or trouble here is that they would have to stack the wood in the back,” Fernald said.
Brooks said there is quite a slope at the back of the property and it was not possible for wood to be dropped off there.
“We use wood for 75 percent of our heat,” she said. “Placing the wood in the back would be a hardship. I want to stress that word.”
Fernald and Brooks both encouraged the board to visit the property and look at the shed, which the board did on March 11. Following that visit, the board issued a ruling denying the variance request.
“Placement of the structure within the setback would impact the view of the other neighbors and detract from the open feel of the neighborhood. In addition, the applicants have other possibilities for the placement and protection of wood on their property,” wrote ZBA Chair Jim Stewart.
The decision stated that the board found that the shed’s placement would affect the aesthetic appeal of the neighborhood but that they could not determine if property values would be diminished.
On Wednesday, Brooks said she and Teitsch would accept the ruling of the ZBA.
“We are going to comply with their decision,” Brooks said. “I don’t see any point in carrying this forward.”
She said she appreciated the time that Carrara had spent working on issues related to the shed.
“We felt that Dario Carrara handled the situation with a good deal of hard work and balance,” Brooks said. “We wish to thank him.”
Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.