Official’s permits approved

Jun 27, 2019

After a long discussion and heated debate, the Zoning Board of Appeals awarded a special permit to Chairman Nazih Elkallassi’s company Cedar Village, Inc., allowing two “duplexes” on Old Stage Coach Road to be separated into four single family homes.

The project has raised a number of questions, many of which were brought up by neighbor Heather Zine during the public hearing.

Elkallassi did not attend the meeting, and the hearing was led by clerk James Eacobacci, who frequently talked over the members of the public who had come to express their objections to the project.

“The issue that is before this board is really a very simple issue,” said Attorney Leonard Bello, who was representing the applicant. “But I clearly understand, because I’ve had a number of articles thrown on my desk, that there are people, who I’m sure are here tonight, that want to discuss things that surround this matter, that aren’t in front of you.”
As Bello explained, the board only had two options: They could deny the special permit, meaning that the “duplexes” would have to be connected by very long breezeways or trellises, or they could approve the special permit, and the four units could be independent.

At the center of the debate were questions about the frontage of the lots. Single family homes are required to be on lots with at least 150 feet of frontage, while duplexes must be on lots with at least 200 feet of frontage. 

One of the lots on which Elkallassi obtained permits for the project was deemed unbuildable in 2015 due to the lack of frontage.

The question of frontage also involves questions about the true location of Old Stage Coach Road. Because it is a private, dirt road, it is somewhat unclear where it is. The plans for the buildings show it continuing roughly straight to Zine’s house, but the assessor’s map shows it curving away, making the portion of road that goes to Zine’s house her driveway.

Each of the permits was approved 4-1-0. Board member Bob Haskel voted no, and explained that he had a number of questions about the initial permitting of the project. Haskel was particularly concerned about the frontage of one of the lots, for which building permits had been denied in the past because the frontage was determined to be less than the 150 feet required for a single family home.

Board member Jan Kendrick said that if people want to contest the buildings, they would have to have a lawyer appeal the building permits.