Of Variances and Standing

Two interesting cases on the same property, the first one dealt with an innovative way of measuring lot depth (we do not directly dictate lot depth in Dennis), the second one deals with standing to appeal.

The first case, basically, found that we should not be too creative in how we interpret zoning code. It there is a simple, generally understood principle, it should be followed. Thus lot depth would be measured by a direct line from front to back, not a diagonal line looking at far corners.

The second case deals with standing. Far more interesting from the point of view of Dennis Boards. I address this below.

The case is just a Land Court ruling and is yet precedent setting. But, it provides guidance on the thinking of the courts.

Lawn cutting, oil deliveries, trash collection and mail deliveries were all considered as normal and outside of the special impacts that confer standing. Vehicle headlights were dealt with differently. Headlights shining into the house was felt to be a special impact that provides harm and therefore standing.

In the case above, the judge found that, without the house granted the variance, the appellant would not have the impact of the headlights. Therefore, the appellant was found to be harmed and had standing to challenge the variance.


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