At the end of the Lloyd re-organization meeting the Town Board was asked about the property at 26 Gabriety where owner John Fanelli has erected a second house on a single parcel, which is not allowed in the Town of Lloyd.
Councilman Joe Mazzetti said he discussed the matter with Building Department Director Dave Barton who said he had informed Mr. Fanelli that if he were to build a second house the first one would have to be taken down.
Mazzetti asked if there was anything in the file on this issue, with Barton saying he would look for documentation.
“He is assuring me that that was the agreement,” Mazzetti said. “I don’t understand where the confusion is but it would be interesting to see where it is in writing.”
Mazzetti said town attorney Sean Murphy would also check on this matter with the Building Department and report back to the Town Board.
Supervisor Fred Pizzuto said more information is needed.
“We’ll have to get some clarification so this board knows what’s going on,” he said.
In response to an email from this reporter, Barton said on his first visit to Fanelli’s home for a pre-certificate of occupancy inspection, he did point out some minor punch list items that had to be fixed, after which he would be ready for a Certificate of Occupancy. Barton said, “I questioned the front house at the time and said that my department would have to do some research on the matter.” Barton said back at his office he could not find any indication that Fanelli had ever applied for relief for two dwellings on a single property.
“I was informed that he had been told several times that the front building would have to be removed or he would have to apply for relief. It is true that the [building] permit does not spell out that the front building was to be removed,” Barton said. He added that his department also does not put on the document that a new single family dwelling must comply with the Bulk Table requirements.
Barton concluded that the violation must be remedied by the homeowner by either removing the offending violation or by seeking relief from the Zoning Board.
In an interview, Fanelli said when Barton came for the pre-certificate of occupancy meeting he asked what was the intent for the smaller house. He responded that he will keep it, with Barton saying, ‘Oh, OK and that was it.”
In response to Barton saying that Fanelli had been informed of the problem, Fanelli said, “There is nothing gray about it; I was never told that [and] if they really told me that through the whole process, it would have been on paper somewhere, especially with the whole building permit and especially with the conversations I had with Elaine [Harney]. Hey, what are you going to name the little house, will it be 26 A?”
Fanelli said he did not look into the town code that states two dwellings are not permitted on one property, pointing out that he is not the Code Enforcement Officer for the town.
“The buck’s got to stop somewhere; you can’t go on and keep saying it’s the builder. This is the first house I’m building and I am not an expert in the codes and zoning in the area, nor should I be. Theses are paid professionals and if they’re saying that it’s up to the individual then there should just be a Google kiosk in the building department and you type in what you want and then it will say what you need to look up, what you need to do...to say it’s up to the individual is a bunch of bull.”
Fanelli said he brought initial conceptual plans for the second house to the Building Department starting in 2014 but no objection was raised about the existing small house.
“Saying it is self-created is another cop-out; for them to say you were supposed to know, no, you guys are paid by the taxpayers to know these laws and what you’re allowed to grant, what you’re not allowed to grant,” he said. “When you mess up [and] you’re going to try to pin it on me makes no sense. It’s absurd.”
Fanelli stressed that all during the planning stages for his new home he went in person to the Building Department to make sure everything was out in the open.
“That was done on purpose because I was trying to avoid a moment like this,” he said.
Fanelli is on the Zoning Board of Appeals agenda for Thursday, January 9 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, 12 Church St., Highland.