Download File - Town of Dorset, VT

P. O Box 715
East Dorset, VT 05253-07145
Fax: 802-362-5156
July 14, 2014
Grigsby Markham
First Lot East of 25 Nichols Hill Road, Dorset
Variance based on ZBL §3.6.2 (20% slope limitation) & ZBL §4.2.4 (minimum
lot size in the A & RR District)
Board Members Present:
Board Members Absent:
Also, Present:
J. LaVecchia (Chairman), B. Bridges, T. Rawls, D. Wilson, S.
Jones, K. O’Toole, M. Connors, D. Baker
R. Stewart, T. Rawls
Tyler Yandow (ZA), John Whalen (Markham), Jane M. Bridges,
Pat Markham, Grigs Markham, Paul Greineder, Doug Kniffin, Bill
Meub (Knight, Sirak, Loudinslager), Gretehen Schmidt, Frank
Sirak, Art & Card Looney, Corinne Knight, Tim Barnes, Mary
J. LaVecchia, Chairman, stating the application is under §3.6.2 and §4.2.4 of the Zoning ByLaws for a variance to 20% slope limitations and minimum lot size in the A & RR District,
called the hearing to order at 8:08 p.m.
J. Whalen, representative for Grigsby Markham, explained the history of the lot off Nichols Hill
Road owned by the Markhams (copy attached). S. Albertson acquired 4.3 acres which was
subdivided in 1986 into two parcels of 2.3 acres adjacent to Nichols Hill Road and 2.0 acres
accessed by easement. The 2.3 acre lot was sold to S. Hoverkamp and the 2.0 acre lot was sold
to the Romano’s. The Romano’s purchased the 2 acre lot to the south as a “protection” area
adjacent to their existing residence and this was merged with their current acreage. In 2005, the
Markhams purchased 2.2 acres on Nichols Hill Road with a mortgage and in 2006 agreed to
purchase the 2 acre lot from the Romano’s. The lot was incorporated into the Markham’s
property by way of a boundary line adjustment with a metes and bounds description of the lot. It
was also noted by J. Whalen that in 2002 there was a mandatory merger of lots by State criteria
which was then dropped as mandatory in 2004-05 and left up to individual Towns to make a
decision about mergers. Dorset opted out of mandatory merger of lots in 2005.
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Zoning Administrator, Town Manager, Planning Commission, Town Clerk, Applicant
Due to the economic downturn, in 2010 the Markham’s filed for bankruptcy and the property at
585 Nichols Hill Road was foreclosed on and sold in July 2012. A tax bill for the “2 acre
merged lot” was received by the Markham’s in 2012 and they found out that the foreclosure sale
had only included the 2.2 acre lot and the 2 acre piece of land was still part of the bankruptcy
estate. The bankruptcy Trustee decided that the 2 acre lot was undesirable and ownership was
given back to the Markham’s.
K. O’Toole questioned the boundary line adjustment and acreage involved and J. Whalen
commented that the original Markham property was non-conforming and adding the 2 acres
made it more conforming (4.2 acres). K. O’Toole asked who owned the other two lots and J.
Whalen answered Corinne Knight and Donald Heft and that there is a right-of-way down to the
road. B. Meub suggested that numbers should be designated on the lots shown on the map. K.
O’Toole stated that the bankruptcy Trustee sold the property without a subdivision permit from
the Town and there are also title problems involved. He noted that a legal subdivision from the
PC would be needed before a variance is asked for as the lot is not recognized.
B. Meub, Attorney for Corrine Knight, Fran Sirak and Cindy Loudenslager (adjacent property
owners), noted that there were many mistakes regarding this issue that have compounded and
built on top of each other. There was a mortgage deed first on the 2.2 acres purchased and then a
home equity loan from the same bank was used in 2006 for the acquisition of the 2 acres from
Romano and the bank never added the parcel. The lawyer who did the foreclosure appeared not
to have done the title search and did not find the additional land owned by Markham’s created by
the boundary line adjustment. The bank could argue that a lot created by a boundary line
adjustment was a home lot and that the Markham’s were mortgaging a house and a home lot. The
foreclosure should have included the additional 2 acres as part of house lot. When the
foreclosure was done and the foreclosure decree issued, it only covered part of the lot as no
subdivision permit existed. The property has been sold without a subdivision permit which
created what is now a non-conforming parcel due to lack of any proper permits.
B. Meub
agreed that there cannot be a variance without a subdivision and fixing all the other defects. He
stated that clearly this piece of property should not be developed and he didn’t believe it should
have been developed in first place as it left two non-conforming lots. It was noted that there are
also other factors involved such as a well in middle of right-of-way now that have occurred
which have to be considered before issuing a subdivision permit. K. O’Toole noted that
subdivision was not a ZBA matter, but the Board had to talk about a variance for this lot. B.
Meub commented that he has not been able to determine if there ever was a subdivision permit
issued for the division of the two lots in the first place. K. O’Toole noted that the boundary line
adjustment creating a 4.2 acre lot made a conforming lot. J. Whalen stated he understood the
foreclosure and permit issues raised and he agrees with B. Meub that this is a collection of
mistakes, but said they are trying to find a solution to it. He commented that this independent lot
has title defects due to a lack of a Town subdivision permit, but it does have a legal metes and
bounds description and State subdivision permit. J. Whalen said that even though it is not a very
marketable lot, they are trying to cure the issue as they believe it is an orphan lot. K. O’Toole
said that the separate metes and bounds description was to be able to merge it with the other lot
and J. Whalen remarked that it was used to convey title to that area to the Markham’s.
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Zoning Administrator, Town Manager, Planning Commission, Town Clerk, Applicant
K. O’Toole suggested withdrawing the variance application and going to the PC for subdivision
permit. C. Knight also has the same title defect due to the lack of a subdivision and should seek
the same solution. T. Yandow questioned which year of zoning bylaws would be used to address
this situation and K. O’Toole felt that it would be during the time of the bank foreclosure sale so
that would be the current zoning bylaws.
After consultation with his client, G. Markham – owner of the First Lot East of 25 Nichols Hill
Road, Dorset, J. Whalen withdrew the application for a variance for this property.
Respectfully submitted,
Nancy Aversano, Secretary
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Zoning Administrator, Town Manager, Planning Commission, Town Clerk, Applicant
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Zoning Administrator, Town Manager, Planning Commission, Town Clerk, Applicant