Trailer illegally parked for 362 days

Zoning Board to render decision
Thu, 11/01/2018 - 7:00pm

The owner of two trailers that were parked in violation of the Town of New Shoreham’s zoning ordinance for 362 days at Old Harbor could be fined up to $500 per day for the violation. That’s according to Town of New Shoreham Building Official Marc Tillson.

Settler’s Rock Realty, LLC,  owned by Julian Costanzo, was noted on the Notice of Violation. Costanzo is the owner of the trailers, as well as the Inn at Old Harbor on Water Street and the Kai Kai sandal shop on the building’s first floor.

Tillson said he issued two Notices of Violation to Costanzo regarding the trailers, one on Aug. 25, 2017, and another on June 22, 2018. Per the Notices of Violation, the town ordered Costanzo to remove the trailers within 10 days of the Notice of Violation’s dates.

He did not comply with the removal until the end of August of 2018, according to Tillson.

Tillson told The Times that if the violation is upheld by the Zoning Board, the Washington County First District Court “would assess a reasonable fine.” He also said the New Shoreham Police Department is “keeping an eye out for the trailers,” the location of which is currently unknown.

If the trailers are stored somewhere on the island, Tillson said, “The property owner harboring Costanzo’s trailers will be furnished with a Notice of Violation that could be retroactive to August of 2018 with the same fine,” said Tillson, who added that, “The island’s business owners, who have small storage units, said they think it was unfair that Costanzo was able to use the storage trailers.” 

At the Zoning Board’s Oct. 24 meeting, Land Use Solicitor Don Packer started the discussion by stating that, “The town wants a decision from the Building Official, and the town wants a decision from the Zoning Board, establishing whether or not the use was legal or not.”

After Packer’s remarks, Costanzo told the Zoning Board that he had decided to withdraw his July 12 appeal of the violation.

Zoning Board Chair Elizabeth Connor explained to Costanzo that a withdrawal of his appeal means an acceptance of the Notice of Violation. “Since you’re not contesting it, then you’re agreeing to it,” she said.

“So what type of reply are we going to get?” asked Costanzo.

“You will get a written copy of what we decide” in the mail, said Connor.

Tillson submitted exhibits and a chronology of the issuance of the Notice of Violations relating to his investigation. After his 10-minute report, Tillson said, “I ask the board to uphold the Notice of Violation.”

Tillson said two trailers, one eight-foot four inches wide by 33-feet, 10 inches long, and another seven-foot wide by 14-feet long, were parked on lot 155 at Old Harbor for 362 days.

He said the town’s zoning ordinance, under section 111 of General Prohibitions, prohibits use or parking of trailers, shipping containers, or similar facilities in all zoning districts.

Tillson also noted the trailers had been moved to an “undisclosed location on the island.”

Tillson said a witness told him that Costanzo had been using the trailers to store clothing and other items. The witness “said the clothing was for the retail shop in the Inn at Old Harbor,” Tillson said.

“On July 12, my office received Mr. Costanzo’s application for appeal” of the Notice of Violation, he said. “The basis for the appeal reads in part; these trailers are essential to my retail business because the historic building has no functional basement or storage. One of the trailers has been there since the first year I purchased the building. I cannot do the volume of business needed to pay my mortgage without these storage trailers.”

Tillson said Costanzo sent an email on July 27 to the Building Department noting that he had made ferry reservations to remove the trailers. “On August 31, I investigated the property in preparation for this public hearing to investigate compliance,” said Tillson. “The 33-foot long trailer was still on the property.”

Tillson told the Zoning Board that the trailers have now been removed, but not by the ferry, and he has no knowledge of their location.

“What makes you think the trailers didn’t leave on the ferry?” asked Connor of Tillson.

Tillson said he “heard from people that the trailers are on the island. None of them told me where they were located, or put anything in writing, so I can’t confirm that they’re on the island.”

Packer addressed Costanzo directly: “Do you know where the trailers are on the island?”

“No,” said Costanzo.

“Do you know if the trailers are on the island?” asked Connor.

“I do not,” said Costanzo.

The Zoning Board’s next meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. when the board’s decision regarding Costanzo’s violation will be rendered.