Neighbors to a large house that is now nearly built on Nashaquitsa Pond in Chilmark have asked the town zoning board of appeals to enforce what they claim are zoning violations on the property.
The 8,200-square-foot house being built by Adam Zoia on the former Harrison property has been the subject of widespread discussion in Chilmark during the last year, including at the town planning board over whether more rules need to be developed to regulate very large houses.
Early last month an attorney for Kenneth and Jill Iscol, who are abutters to the Zoia property, filed an appeal with the town zoning board requesting enforcement. The formal appeal follows an April 20 letter to the town building inspector from the attorney that saw no reply. The claimed violations include a detached bedroom the Iscols say is larger than allowed without a special permit, a barrier wall they say fails to meet the setback rules, and outdoor lighting they say meets the definition of “light trespass” by spilling onto their property.
“Construction on the Zoia property has continued and the zoning violations complained of in my letter . . . have not been addressed,” Diane Tillotson, an attorney with Hemenway & Barnes in Boston, wrote in the June 6 letter to the zoning board. “We believe that these violations should be immediately addressed by the zoning board of appeals.”
Ms. Tillotson is out of the office this week and could not be reached for comment.
A public hearing on the appeal is scheduled for July 25.
The Chilmark selectmen were notified of the matter at their regular meeting this week. Building inspector Leonard Jason Jr. attended the meeting and said the house is nearing completion. He said Mr. Zoia has not applied for a certificate of occupancy, but “they’re getting pretty close.”
Mr. Jason said he has addressed two of the complaints so far: the barrier wall around the property has been scaled back and a generator has been relocated.
Questions still remain about the detached bedroom and outdoor lighting. Mr. Zoia has built an indoor pool in the building that is called a detached bedroom, and the Iscols contend a special permit is required for the pool.
Partly at issue is a board of health approval for a one-bedroom accessory structure limited to 1,500 square feet.
“Despite the board of health’s [size] restriction, the building permit lists the total area as 2,320 square feet,” Ms. Tillotson wrote in the April 20 letter. “If the structure is intended to be a swimming pool, a special permit is required under [the town bylaw]. If the structure is intended to be a guest house, then a special permit is required.”
The light trespass complaint involves outdoor lighting that the Iscols claim is not properly shielded as down-lighting. A number of Massachusetts towns now have light trespass bylaws, including Chilmark, with special language to protect the rural quality of dark night skies.
Reached by telephone yesterday, Mr. Zoia said the appeal is a matter between the Iscols and the town.
“It doesn’t really have to do with us, we have all the building permits . . . they’re questioning whether or not they should have been issued, and that train has kind of left the station,” he said. “These issues are not new to us and those that were incorrect have been remedied.
“All of these things have been raised before. We’re comfortable there’s nothing here that hasn’t been addressed.”
Mr. Zoia said the generator has been moved twice upon request from the town and the barrier wall has been scaled back. He said it is also within his right to have a detached bedroom. As for the lighting plan, Mr. Zoia said outdoor lighting has not been turned on yet. The lights will be facing down with low voltage bulbs once the house is occupied, he said.
“How could they know that if they haven’t been turned on yet?” he asked.