This week, Facebook posted comments on a photo posted of a house under construction at 26 Sinawoy Rd in Cos Cob.
The home, which is in single-family area R7, was last sold by John and Sharon Vecchiola at 775 Atlantic Street LLC on October 26, 20210 for $625,000.
The owner, 775 Atlantic Street LLC, is registered with James Garbarino, Riverside, CT.
The plaintiff is Casey O’Donnell, a land use attorney who previously worked as a zoning enforcement officer for the City of Greenwich.
The application was approved at City Hall without going through Planning and Zoning or the Architectural Review Board. When a single-family house replaces a single-family house, appearance before these commissions is not required.
That said, the zoning permit was issued in error and a stop work order was issued by Zoning Enforcement Officer Jodi Couture.
On Friday, Mr. Couture explained why the stop order was issued.
First, the stop work order was not emitted for what appear to be tiny windows.
Couture said the building code has requirements for the size of bedroom windows, for example, but the openings cut through the greenhouse envelope are likely not their actual size.
The stop work order has also not been issued for the height of the first floor, which seems quite far from the ground. He explained that a first floor should not be more than 5 feet off the ground. In this case, it is within 1 inch of the maximum.
“They met the conditions for it not to be considered a story. If it goes more than 5 feet above, then the lower level is history,” Couture said, adding, “There may be a ledge there and they wanted to raise it to get a full basement.
The height of the house is also not a violation.
Couture said the maximum height allowed is 35 feet and the new home is 34.9 feet.
Why was the work stoppage issued?
Couture said there were two permits issued: one from the building department and one from the zoning department.
“A neighbor sent in a photo, and that’s when we emailed the building department to revoke the zoning approval. The problem is zoning. »
Couture said the top floor did not meet the definition of a “half floor”.
Part of the requirement is that the attic be within 40% FAR of the second floor.
The other requirement is for the roofline that intersects the second story.
Couture said one of the city inspectors focused on the floor area ratio (FAR) for the attic, which is just one factor.
“To be considered a half-storey, it must be under a hipped, gabled or mansard roof. This is where we ran into the problem.
“By our definition, this cannot be considered half a story. That’s the ultimate problem – the stories,” Couture said.
“Think of a normal sloped roof, where it goes down, it touches the walls – the second floor intersects. If it has a common intersection, you can exclude the FAR from the attic.
“This build doesn’t have that common intersection,” Couture said.
Since the stop work order, the plaintiff has done two things. One is to appeal Mr. Couture’s decision to revoke the zoning approval, which prompted the stop work order.
“If that doesn’t work, they apply for a waiver (from the Zoning Board of Appeals) for the number of stories,” he said.
When asked if the plaintiff could be required to deconstruct the attic, Mr. Couture said that was a possibility.
“It’s possible the Zoning Board of Appeals could deny it and say, ‘You have to change it.’
In this case, the applicant could appeal the decision to the Superior Court, even if this would delay the process in time. Couture said time delays aren’t usually beneficial to a construction project.
Couture said 26 Sinawoy is on the agenda for the Jan. 12, 2022 Zoning Appeal Board meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Zoom.
Meanwhile, residents are posting comments on social media, fearing that if a waiver is approved, it could set a precedent for three-story homes in the city.
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