Shed setbacks enforced by ZBA

PETERBOROUGH — The Zoning Board of Adjustment ruled Monday that a woodshed built by Mona Adisa Brooks and Mike Teitsch at their Cheney Avenue home must be moved because it violates setback requirements in the Family District.

The couple’s neighbor, Richard Fernald, had appealed a ruling by Code Enforcement Officer Dario Carrara that the approximately 100-square-foot shed did not meet the town’s definition of a building and therefore could sit closer than 30 feet from the property line.

During Monday’s continuation of an earlier public hearing, board members heard from Fernald, Teitsch, Brooks and Carrara.

Fernald said the real issue is that the town defines a setback as an open space on the same lot as a building that is open and unoccupied. He said that clearly indicates that the woodshed shouldn’t be allowed, even if building inspectors have not previously objected to tarp covered structures, such as hoop garages.

“If someone hasn’t enforced it properly in the past, that’s not my fault,” Fernald said.

Teitsch said the couple had stored wood in the setback area, covered by a tarp, for years. He said that when Carrara visited them after Fernald complained about the shed, he asked Carrara if putting a tarp over it would enable it to meet the town rules. “The tarp was not Dario’s idea, it was my idea,” Teitsch said.

Board members were split during deliberations, with Chair Jim Stewart saying the town had consistently allowed structures like the shed. But David Sobe and Peter Leishman said it was inappropriate. “You have to use common sense,” said ZBA member Peter Leishman. “This is a substantial structure, even without a roof.”

The board voted 3-2 that because the shed’s construction is fixed and substantial, it must meet the front, side and rear setbacks. On Tuesday, Teitsch said he was disappointed with the decision. Teitsch and Brooks declined to comment on their next step.

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