The Somerton Civic Association appointed new officers and rejected a local homeowner’s application to legalize an oversized shed in his yard during the civic group’s monthly meeting on June 10.
Under the SCA’s bylaws, the group must hold officer elections every two years. In advance of this month’s election, President Dolores Barbieri announced her resignation from the board, although she plans to remain active as a member.
With single nominees for each board position, members elected the group by acclimation. The new officers include Seth Kaplan (president), Lou DeCree (vice president), Mary Jane Roberts (recording secretary), Pat Cantwell (treasurer) and Natalie Sherman (membership chair). The zoning chair position remains vacant, but Kaplan and Barbieri plan to share the responsibility until a permanent replacement can be found.
The group voted on one zoning issue involving a single home at 15037 Endicott St. In 2012, the owner built a 400-square-foot storage shed in the backyard without obtaining a city permit.
The owner now seeks to legalize the building, but has been refused for a permit because the structure does not conform to the city’s zoning code. The code requires it to be at least 25 feet from the rear property line and 25 from the side property line. But the shed is three feet from the side and four feet from the rear. In addition, the square footage is larger than that allowed by the code.
An attorney representing the owner told meeting-goers that the code allows for a 375-foot area. The owner further reported that he initially applied for a building permit in 2012 and was turned down by the city. He did not file an appeal in time to challenge the refusal.
Neighbors complained that consenting to the shed would set a bad precedent and encourage other property owners to build similar structures in their yards and diminish open space. Other neighbors said that they have no problem with the shed, which they said can’t be seen from the street. City Councilman Brian O’Neill said that he is unaware of any provision in the zoning code that would allow a shed of more than 120 square feet at that location.
SCA members voted 27-1 not to support the legalization of the building. ••