The Sasco Hill Neighborhood Association contends that a plan to subdivide the property at 893 Sasco Hill Road would violate town zoning regulations.
Bernard and Cynthia McDonald want to subdivide their 4.57 acres on Sasco Hill, which currently has two dwellings. Under the proposed subdivision, one lot would encompass the two homes, while the new lot would be for an as-yet-unbuilt new home. A previous subdivision application was denied in April and the current application is awaiting a public hearing.
Meanwhile, the neighborhood association's appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals regarding alleged violations is slated for an Oct. 3 meeting.
According to Joel Green, the neighborhood association's lawyer, property in the AAA zone, like the lot owned by the McDonalds, is limited to a single, detached one-family dwelling on two acres. He said that in recent times there have been as many as five separate dwelling units on the property, including the main house, the so-called "Onion Barn," which Green said had two rental units, and an accessory apartment in the main house.
A July 8 letter from Zoning Director Joseph Devonshuk said a review of the McDonald property found no zoning violations.
"Please be advised that we have evidence which includes field cards that confirm the `onion barn' has been in existence since 1928 as a residential dwelling unit," Devonshuk's letter states. "It has been brought to our attention that any use of this unit for two apartments has been discontinued. It will remain as a single residential dwelling unit."
The accessory apartment has the proper zoning certificates.
Green maintains that there is no basis where a property owner can have a one-family house with an accessory apartment, and a separate, detached residential rental structure in a AAA zone, "nor is there any basis upon which such a use may be maintained as a legally existing, nonconforming use."
"It's an existing nonconforming use since 1928," Assistant Zoning Director James Wendt said. "It's not uncommon for older, larger properties and estates to have accessory dwellings as part of the estate."
Both the seven-bedroom main house and the four-bedroom "onion barn" were built in 1928. Wendt said the smaller structure may have been built as a barn, but became a residential dwelling in 1928.
The property is assessed at $4.58 million, and was purchased by the McDonalds in 2012 for $2.9 million.