Mohegan Lake Legal Defense Fund

History of this site

This site was originally set up to fight 3 of 5 zoning variances proposed by the FBC development at Sagamore Trail and Mohegan Ave that eliminates two single family homes while nearly quadrupling the parking and occupancy loads of the old Lakeland Jewish Center. That effort failed and the application is currently before the Planning Board.

While Save Mohegan Lake will continue to update you on that issue, we are moving on to all issues affecting the lake, such as Mohegan Lake Improvement District (MLID) meetings, agenda and budget. This site is not an official mouthpiece for MLID, but some updates will be provided on this site; the official site is located here.

We do it all here, so long as it's Mohegan Lake related. Feel free to submit comments, content, garage sale notices, police blotters, PSA's, essays on the virtues of our 105 acre ice rink, rants, raves, etc... We love it all.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Honey, I Eliminated The Required Front Yards

Unfortunately for Faith Bible Church, their design team has made what we in the profession refer to as a "colossal fuck up."  It's a highly technical term, but I think you understand it's not a good thing.  In short, the zoning code prohibits parking, for anything other than residences, in required front yards; 30 of the 63 parking spaces they are proposing are not permitted as of right and this is just now--over 4 years after the application was filed--coming to light.  It effectively reduces the occupant load the parking can support from 252 to 132.  Keep in mind they are proposing an occupant load of 344 on the first floor and 378 on the 1st floor. 

B. In any residence district, no required off-street parking facility shall be developed within the required front yard to serve other than residential uses, nor shall be developed within five feet of a side or rear lot line. 

I had a bit of a back and forth with the building inspector and he helpfully pointed out that in residential zoning districts, like where Faith Bible is, corner lots are required to provide side yards equivalent to the minimum front yard requirement in the prevalent zone  (30 feet in this case).  This means the wetland lot actually has a front yard requirement(indicated by yellow highlighter on plans below) not shown on my the plans; even worse than I initially thought.

G. Corner lots. On a corner lot in any residence district, there shall be provided a side yard on the side street equal in depth to the required front yard on said side street.

Since I wrote the attached letter (below, with exhibits) to the planning board, it has also come to light that the applicant is required to maintain a 35 foot front yard, not 30 feet as previously thought.  It's right there in Appendix A, footnote (1) of the Residence Zone Standards Duh!

On streets with less than a 50-foot right-of-way [Sagamore is 40 feet wide], the front yard setback shall be measured from the center line of the existing roadway and 25 feet shall be added to the required front yard setback.


There is actually additional required front yard on the Mohegan Ave frontage of the Wetland parking lot.  The code prohibites all this parking in our little residential zone.  Their engineer and architect totally overlooked (willfully or not) this provision.  It's kind of a bid deal since granting a variance for so much parking in that required front yard buffer would ruin the residential character of the neighborhood and devalue all of our homes. 

If I had made the same mistake they did (overlooking the front yard prohibition on parking), I would lose my job.  Shame on me for missing it for such a long time. Zoning can be sexy and thrilling.  I think I just proved that. 

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