BZA denies appeal of pier demolition permit

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jul 17, 2013 - 01:21 PM

The Mathews Board of Zoning Appeals, on a 3-2 vote last Wednesday, July 10, denied an appeal by a Mathews couple asking for revocation of a permit the adjoining property owners had obtained to demolish and rebuild a pier on Callis Creek.

The appeal was filed by Brian and Dee Russell of Crab Neck, who asserted that they had joint ownership of the pier and that the project had been permitted without their consent. After losing the appeal, they vowed to pursue the matter in circuit court.

In defending his issuance of the permit, Mathews County Planning and Zoning Director John Shaw said that disputed ownership needs to be adjudicated in court, and that the planning and zoning office is only required to resolve three issues before approving a permit—whether the proposed use is allowed in the zoning district where the property is located, whether the structure conforms to setback and yard requirements, and whether it can be placed in the 100-foot resource protection area. The application appeared to meet those requirements, he said.

Further, said Shaw, demolition and rebuilding must receive building permits from the building official, so issuance of a zoning permit is not the final permission for the work to be done.

Shaw said that a pier is a by-right use so the adjoining property owner does not receive notification when such a permit is pending, and adjoining property owners aren’t given an opportunity to comment on them as long as the permits conform.