The town of Oak Bluffs has ordered an East Chop summer resident to remove a series of illegal additions from a large home building project on Dempster Park that has angered neighbors and sparked a protracted legal process.
At a meeting last week the Oak Bluffs zoning board of appeals voted to uphold building inspector James Dunn's enforcement order to Dr. Leslie Hayling, a New Jersey dentist and longtime summer resident who has been rebuilding a home and garage apartment on Dempster Park for the past 10 years. Last summer Mr. Dunn ordered the removal of three terraces, two decks, a driveway and a planter at the Hayling home that were not included in a 2005 special permit. He also ordered the homeowner to comply with a 2008 landscape plan for the property, calling the work that had been done on the property "unconscionable" in a letter to Dr. Hayling.
Dr. Hayling appealed the order, and last week the board of appeals voted unanimously to back the town building inspector.
At a public hearing Thursday night that was packed with neighbors who are unhappy about the project, Robert McCarron, an Edgartown attorney who represents Dr. Hayling, asked the board to at least delay enforcement for six months because his client is in the process of buying a piece of property from an abutter to satisfy a setback requirement.
"This house may not be the house we would build or the size we build, but size and architectural style are not the issues," Mr. McCarron said. "When conforming structures exist, the zoning board does not have jurisdiction . . . to many of the concerned neighbors it places this project on the same footing of every other conforming lot in the town of Oak Bluffs."
But Mr. Dunn urged the board to back his enforcement order. "This process has got to end. It has gone on for far too long. These people [in the neighborhood] deserve a break. This enforcement order should be upheld and I should be able to start enforcement of that order immediately," he said.
The original building permit for the project was issued in 2003 for a bathhouse and garage, but was rescinded by the town board of appeals in 2005 after it found the construction exceeded the scope of the special permit. Dr. Hayling later returned with a new special permit application that was approved and included rebuilding the main residence, altering and attaching the existing garage apartment as a single-family structure. Conditions called for a portion of the garage to be removed that violated setback requirements or purchase abutting land to meet the requirement.
At the time, the board said it would not consider any other alterations to the approved plan.
Mr. Dunn issued a cease and desist order in July, which he said the Haylings have complied with.
Dr. Hayling has owned the property since 1975. He did not attend the hearing.
Board of appeals chairman Kris Chvatal, who was not on the board at the time of the 2005 decision, said his predecessors were "quite clear" that "they couldn't do anything except what was exactly on the plan."
The board also voted to require the homeowner to post a $50,000 bond to ensure the work is completed.
"I'm just not convinced that they're going to do what they say they're going to do," Mr. Chvatal said. "There has been a long history of them not doing what they say they're going to do." Mr. McCarron said Dr. Hayling would likely appeal the board's decision in superior court.