South Down intramural squabble over how much land must be left as green space lands in Superior Court
Published DateLACONIA — The governing body of the South Down Recreation Association is asking a Belknap County judge to stop the paving of about 1,400 square feet in the Gables Village — one of the many individual villages that comprise the gated lakeside community accessed off Parade Road.
According to minutes of the Zoning Board of Adjustment that approved a variance for the project, the Gables received a variance in February to use an additional 10 percent of its open space for paving and private deck expansion.
The association's appeal of the ZBA decision also requests that the court issue a temporary restraining order against the Gables.
Residents from the Gables said they want to be able to expand some of their decks and pave a portion of a gravel lot that is used for overflow parking because it is safer for some of its residents. There are a few homes that have one parking space and this would allow those owners to increase their individual parking.
Those who spoke against the variance before the ZBA said it would allow all of the other villages in South Down to decrease their green space, that the people who bought homes in the Gables were aware of the green space restrictions before they purchased, and the runoff from additional paving would acerbate an already compromised storm water drainage problem in the villages that are below the Gables.
According to City Planner Shanna Saunders, the SDRA is the governing body of the entire South Down development that is comprised of numerous individual villages — each of which has its own name, identity, amenities and governing board. The Gables is one of those villages and has 31 single-family homes in it.
Typically, individual village residents vote internally on matters that are of interest to them and then takes their vote to the SDRA for approval.
The appeal states that the South Down Recreation Association denied the Gables' request to decrease its green space from 80 to 70 percent after which the Gables went to the ZBA for a zoning variance.
Lawyers for the SDRA say the Zoning Board has no jurisdiction because it cannot overturn a Planning Board condition of approval.
Minutes indicate that when South Down was approved for development in the 1980s, there was a 80 percent minimum green space requirement. While that particular planning ordinance has changed, the SDRA says it was a condition of approval and was included in the deed restrictions put in place at the time of development.
No reply has been filed by the city on behalf of the ZBA.