Letter: A civics lesson

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
A civics lesson

I am writing to thank the city of Concord, particularly code administration and the zoning board of adjustment, for teaching me a valuable lesson in civics. It is important to know how my government functions.

A neighbor whose property abuts my backyard built a deck in April, without having first obtained a building permit, and in violation of the setback requirements of city ordinance. A variance is required for a structure that does not meet the setback requirements. Apparently, one can just apply for the building permit retroactively, as long as the project is already built. I had not known this.

Regarding the variance, I presented my arguments to the zoning board on June 7. The legitimacy of my concerns was summarily discounted, and the variance was granted immediately. This leaves me no reasonable possibility to appeal the decision.

Perhaps they had to consider the “hardship” it would present to the party seeking the variance and building permit. The “hardship” would be that he would have to take down the illegally sited deck, obtain a building permit and build within the required setback standards.

Lesson learned: Build whatever you wish on your property, without regard to ordinances. Once it is built, you can simply cry about what a “hardship” it would be to take it down and follow the rules. It is that simple.

The process is sadly flawed and obviously skewed in favor of one who violates the codes. As a taxpayer, I find this disturbing.