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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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‘Major consequences’

To The Editor:

The voters of Waitsfield have chosen to participate in planning and zoning as prescribed by the statutes from the state of Vermont. Most Vermont towns similarly participate in like activity thereby requiring permits for development of land and structures. All zoning activity is strictly regulated by certain standards within the laws from the state.

Susan B. Lee Living Trust submitted application #3380 which needed conditions approved before construction of a single-family residence as a requirement from the subdivision in 2005. A hearing was held on August 28, 2011, by the Waitsfield Development Review Board where the conclusion reads as follows: “Application #3380 is hereby APPROVED.” This notice of decision was signed by Brian Shupe, the chair of the Waitsfield DRB.

Moving forward, that permit has been amended twice by the Waitsfield Zoning Administrator, although we and the DRB do agree the Waitsfield bylaws do not allow the ZA to amend permits issued by the DRB. The reason for the second amendment was to correct the violations from a 27-foot permitted height and a 35-foot permitted side setback to an actual 35-foot height and 30.9-foot side setback. The violations were issued in a “Notice of Violation” signed by the ZA. This second amendment occurred despite the Waitsfield bylaw that reads as follows: ARTICLE VI. ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT 2. “A zoning permit shall not be issued for a development that is in violation of a previously issued permit.”

Also it may be noteworthy to consider that since the beginning of construction the house has not been legally permitted due to the violations. Additionally, we have appealed the ZA’s authority to amend. And any permit under appeal is “not in effect.” Therefore, any decisions by the governing authorities shall be considered “without prejudice” or, in this case, the structure shall not create any bias in the final outcome. Building “at your own risk” could have major consequences.


Bill and Susan Shafer

Mike and Donna Smith





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