On Wednesday night, Colarusso's appeal of the Order to Remedy came before the Zoning Board of Appeals. The OTR was issued on January 27 by code enforcement officer Craig Haigh because work had been done by Colarusso on the dock without approval from the Planning Board, in violation of city code. A month later, on February 23, Colarusso, through their attorney John Privitera, appealed the OTR, arguing that what was done was a "minor action" which did not require review by the Planning Board.
City of Hudson Code Section 325.17.1D specifies that "no building shall be erected, moved, altered, rebuilt or enlarged, nor shall any land or improvement thereon be constructed, altered, paved, improved or rebuilt, in whole or in part, for any purpose in the Core Riverfront C-R District, except that the following conditional uses are permitted, subject to the approval of the Planning Board. . . ." On Wednesday, Privitera argued that Haigh had misinterpreted the law and made a factual error in issuing the OTR. He maintained that what had been done at the dock--stabilizing the shoreline south of the dock with riprap and replacing the bulkhead on the north side of the dock—constituted a "minor action" and was therefore exempt for the following three reasons: (1) it was maintenance and repair that involved no substantive change or improvement; (2) the replacement of the bulkhead was "in kind"—Privitera defined "in kind" as "similar" and claimed that replacing a wood and concrete bulkhead with a steel bulkhead was "in kind" because they replaced a bulkhead with a bulkhead; (3) the work involved fewer than 4,000 square feet. Privitera asked the ZBA to reverse the Order to Remedy, saying that "the project cannot be undone, because it was fully done and approved by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers."
To hear all of Privitera's argument, Haigh's response, and assistant city attorney Mitch Khosrova's comments, you can watch Dan Udell's video of the proceedings, which is now available online. A report on the meeting also appears today in the Register-Star: "Colarusso appeals bulkhead violation." This report includes information contained in an amicus brief submitted to the ZBA by the South Bay Coalition.
It is up to the ZBA to decide if the code enforcement officer's decision was legal and correct. Before making that judgment, they will conduct a public hearing on the issue, to take place on Tuesday, May 9, at 6 p.m.
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