Ocean View deals with signage dilemma

With a wave of new development ongoing in many of the area’s towns, local Realtors and municipal officials are, in some cases, discovering that their town codes don’t allow for some increasingly frequent situations. One such case involves the planned Fairway Village community in Ocean View, where a sizeable advertising sign has run afoul of the town’s signage allowances.

Members of the Ocean View Board of Adjustments met on Jan. 17 to consider whether to make an allowance for a sales sign at the community being constructed on Central Avenue near Beaver Dam Road.

Existing town rules allow only a 2-by-3-foot sign per parcel, and with the entire community still listed only as a single parcel, that’s technically all the community of 166 single-family homes and 166 condominium units is allowed.

But Realtors from Ryan Homes who are getting ready to sell units in the community have already erected a large, double-sided sales sign at the community’s entrance, drawing the attention of town officials by bumping its size up well over the 12 square foot total area of the allowed sign — to 32 square feet per side — with a 4-by-8-foot double-sided sign.

Building Official Charles McMullen said town code held no allowance for the kind of sign being proposed, where one large parcel exists and where multiple homes will be sold.

The original request from Ryan Homes had been to allow the existing sign to remain, but at the Jan. 17 BoA hearing, that request was reduced to a 3-by-4-foot double-sided sign with an attached “starburst” that will vary in its contents from “Coming soon” to “Now selling,” and so on through the process of selling the units.

Representatives of Ryan Homes said the reduced size of the sign was the smallest that could really be seen from the road.

With two of its three members present and voting the Board last week approved a variance for the 3-by-4-foot sign.

(For more on development of the Fairway Village community, see page 7 of this week’s Coastal Point.)

Wetlands buffer decision deferred

Board members tabled a second application heard on Jan. 17, saying they needed more time to consider the issue of allowing a home owned by Robert Kaufman of Dirickson Landing Associates to encroach 7 feet on a 25-foot wetlands setback at 6 Tingle Drive.

The property in question was purchased in 2003, at a location near wetlands and with plans to build a home and a dock for boating in the nearby canal. The town did not adopt its wetlands buffer ordinance until 2004, but doing so rendered some 60 to 70 percent of Kaufman’s lot as unbuildable, according to attorney Rebecca Trifillis.

Ocean View’s Board of Adjustments had granted a variance for the neighboring property, at 4 Tingle Drive, though they had enforced a portion of the buffer and thus required that the house be smaller than had originally been proposed.

The size of the proposed house in Jan. 17’s hearing also proved to be an issue for the board members, who questioned whether the 44-by-65-foot structure could be scaled back to fit within the buildable area outside the wetlands buffer.

“We’ve cut 3 feet off already,” Kaufman told the board, saying that the four-bedroom, 3.5 bath, three-story home with its two-car garage and proposed dock were typical for a waterfront home in the area and that the buildable area was already subject to large setbacks.

Board Chairman Dick Logue noted that the town code allows the board to grant a variance only “if there is no alternative.” One alternative, he said, would be for Kaufman to scale back the home, especially since it has three levels.

“If they had built it a year ahead, it would have been allowed,” Trifillis countered.

While Kaufman brought with him two letters of support for his application from neighbors, neighbor Jack McMillan offered a unique viewpoint. “I don’t oppose his application,” he said. “But when I applied for my variance, I was restricted to a 40-by-55-foot footprint. We moved the house closer to the street. I don’t want see him get any advantage we weren’t given.”

Board Member Tom Silvia considered formally restricting Kaufman’s footprint to 44 by 50 feet in granting a variance, but at Town Solicitor Dennis Schraeder’s recommendation focused instead on the issue of the variance Kaufman had requested and whether to grant or deny it, or some variation thereupon.

Logue said he favored deferring on the issue and letting Kaufman return at a future board meeting, after he had had time to consider other possible solutions to the issue. In the meantime, he warned, “He will risk being turned down without a new proposal.”

The board did not comment on the issue of the requested variance to build a dock on the property, leaving that issue also to be decided at a future meeting.