"A grandma is just an antique little girl"...unknown
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Parking Lots and Permits
Above: In the summer of 2005, this was the view from our back yard taken from the deck. The lilac bush, so badly in need of a pruning, is the southwest corner of our property. Behind is about 260 acres of town land. It was once farm land. When the town bought it, they located the town garage there and there are cable company satellite dishes behind the trees. At one time, thirty years or so ago, the town's sanitary landfill (aka: the town dump) was located there. It has since been capped. Now there are mountain biking, horse riding, and some walking trails back there. There used to be four wheeler, dirt bike, and snow mobile trails as well, but those uses have fallen out of favor in recent years. You might think that with the other recreational uses, hunting would not be allowed here, but that is not the case. Stay out or wear bright orange during hunting season.
Three months after the picture above was taken, the town's conservation commission decided the have a parking lot installed. Actually, this was a plan "in the works" for several years with a proposed site at the end of town garage road but that never happened. So, it is town land and public property, plus there was the go ahead from the town selectboard...
Unfortunately, the conservation commission neglected to check zoning regulations and did not realize that they needed to go through a permitting process before installing this parking lot. It took two years to get the required permit which was issued with conditions, which included a gate at the main road and complete screening from the abutting landowners' view within three years. The town didn't like the gate condition in particular, so has made little attempt to meet it (other than appeals to the Developmental Review Board to change the condition). The parking lot has been closed for two years now.
Below is how it looks today. Can you see the crab apple trees that were planted to landscape and screen the parking lot? As far as I'm concerned, the town has had a five year temper tantrum going over this parking lot. They got caught not following the rules; they don't want to follow the rules; and they are just going to hold their collective breath until they turn blue.
I wonder... if I decided to turn my house into a tea room and my front yard into a parking lot to accommodate my multitude of potential customers without seeking the appropriate permits and meeting the appropriate zoning requirements, how long would it take town officials to demand fines and reparation?