Oops! (Heh Heh)

What would you or I think if we saw building plans for a new home with a 3-car garage, but no driveway?

Unbelievable oversight, right?

But here in Westport, architects and homeowners think differently.

They think: Gotcha!

Apparently, zoning regulations do not always require a driveway. And without a driveway, builders can gain hundreds of extra square feet of coverage.

Of course, no one builds a 3-car garage without planning to use it.

So the next step, after the home is built, is an appeal to the ZBA for a waiver. To build the driveway that was needed all along.

This is a true story. But now we’re on to the ruse.


Dude, where's my driveway?!

10 responses to “Oops! (Heh Heh)

  1. Similar situation at the beach with height restrictions. Folks would add a second story then apply to raise the house above flood levels. The joke was: First put on your hat, then stand up.
    Rules changed so that doesn’t work anymore.

    The ZBA is a great idea, but too often they approve variances that are just plain silly, like pools in a flood zone! And they often ignore neighbors who don’t want the zoning variance granted. Watch them on TV. It looks like “Desperately seeking approval” as they bend over backwards to say YES to just about anything.
    And the builders know this, which is why they come up with these apparently stupid construction plans. Just send a pretty face to the ZBA and plead for a variance. It works.

  2. I think this is an act that should not be rewarded. It is a way to trick the town into allowing bigger houses and less open land. A great example of this is currently being built on Burnham Hill. Walk on up and look at #35 now under construction. A classic 3 car garage with no approved driveway leading to it… wonder what mumbo jumbo they will pull to get a variance

    • yea I was curious about that particular house, and the coverage. It seemed as if it is HUGE for the lot size.

  3. Concerned citizen

    This is important…these zoning “variances” threaten property values for everyone in Westport. If you care about this is attend the ZBA hearing on March 27.

  4. Variances are allowed to be granted on a land hardship, not a financial or self-created hardship. If granted on those grounds, any citizen can sue to overturn the decison.

  5. Very simple…self imposed hardships must be denied. It erodes the integrity of the regulations that are currently in place…deny one of these attempts to ask forgiveness rather than permission…make them conform and watch how fast it stops when people have to spend a whole lot of money to fix their intentional mistake. OOPS….sorry but you are going to have to tear that nice new $ 500,000.00 addition to your house off. Choices and consequences…a quick and most certain fix for those trying to game the system.

  6. Yes you can sue. It is a very expensive process and the town leans heavily on their right to use discretion for whatever they want. But Jamie Walsh and Unvarying, I would say you are both very correct and wish you would show up at town hall @7:30pm on march 27th

  7. Concerned Citizen

    The ZBA shouldn’t approve these variances (which are only required when a homeowner puroposely tries to circumvent the zoning rules) — that leaves it up to neighbors to sue, imposing a burden on regular Westport residents. The ZBA should reject these requests and leave it up to the homeowner who wants the variance to sue. The burden should be on the individual who wants to break the rules, not thier neighbors.

  8. Longtime Westporter

    What good and thoughtful comments. I will be there on March 27th at 7:30 to hear what the ZBA proposes to fix these problems.

    It also is so apparent that the onus shouldn’t be on neighbors to sue, but the ZBA should go by the regulations and let the homeowner sue if he really “forgot” about including a driveway (or wants to get around the rules)!