Fair Haven Zoning Board Approves Drywell-Dependent Variance

At the latest Fair Haven Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting, a application for a property on Hance Road was approved with the condition of installing a drywell system for efficient water management. The approval, contingent on the feasibility of the drywell based on engineering analysis, stood out as the most notable item discussed. The board unanimously agreed to the condition that the applicant must demonstrate the impracticality of the drywell installation before considering its removal.

The application for a property on Hance Road involved a resident’s proposal for a covered front porch and facade overhaul of their property, which is situated on an undersized lot and exhibits existing nonconformity with zoning regulations. The variances requested included a reduction in front yard setback and a minor increase in impervious coverage.

The board addressed the lot coverage issue, recognizing that the proposed changes were related to the existing lot size. The discussion delved into the driveway’s dimensions and the potential for reducing its width to conform to coverage requirements. Further deliberation led to the consideration of removing a portion of the driveway, backyard pool patio, or walkway to decrease lot coverage. The applicant was amenable to the idea of reducing impervious coverage post-approval by 500 square feet as per the board’s preference.

Particular attention was given to the installation of dry wells as part of the new construction. The board discussed the benefits of directing roof water into the ground and considered requiring the installation of dry wells to offset the impact of lot coverage. The applicant demonstrated a willingness to comply.


The board also engaged in discussions regarding the property’s design details. The architectural changes included creating symmetry by relocating the front door, replacing existing windows, and constructing a masonry porch with decorative columns. The board inquired about the historical design of the house and noted that the property’s floor area ratio was well below the cap, which might have negated the need for a variance for past additions.

The board contemplated the balance between zoning ordinance compliance and the practicality of proposed changes, including environmental measures such as dry wells. The dialogue continued with the resident outlining preferences for addressing the impervious coverage and drainage issues. The board sought clarification on the resident’s priorities, confirming that installing the drywell and connecting it to the north side of the property was preferred, even though it would still necessitate a variance due to a slight increase in lot coverage.

In terms of the proposed construction project’s impact on lot coverage and front yard setback variances, the board requested additional materials for the record, including a photo showing the positioning of neighboring houses. The front yard setback variances were a point of discussion, with the board examining the irregularity in front yard setbacks in the surrounding area and seeking to maintain consistency with the neighborhood character.


The board’s deliberations focused on the conditions for approving the variances, weighing the practicality of installing a drywell against the property’s conformity with zoning requirements based on its size.

Aside from the application deliberations, the meeting also addressed other business, including the management of the board’s busy agenda. Concerns were raised about the ability to accommodate all applications, with a packed schedule of hearings in the coming months. The board considered the possibility of some applicants dropping off, which could relieve the scheduling pressure.

The availability of board members for upcoming meetings was discussed, considering personal commitments and the importance of their participation given the busy agenda. The board debated setting a special meeting for a particular application known as the River Road matter, working around scheduling conflicts and other community events.


Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Josh Halpern
Zoning Board Officials:
Todd Lehder, Peter Neczesny, John Ridgeway, Martin Ryan, Sheri D’Angelo, Frank Forte, Sam Laufer, Paul Kinsella, Al Schiavetti, Douglas Kovats, Esq. (Board Attorney), Jordan Rizzo (Board Engineer)

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