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Callaci v. Zoning Board of Review of Town of Exeter

Superior Court of Rhode Island

April 4, 2018

CHRISTOPHER CALLACI Plaintiff/Appellant
v.
ZONING BOARD OF REVIEW OF THE TOWN OF EXETER, TRADE WIND INVESTMENTS, LLC AND CAROL J. MANN Defendants/Appellees

          Washington County Superior Court

          For Plaintiff: Kelly M. Fracassa, Esq.

          For Defendant: Stephen J. Sypole, Esq.

          DECISION

          TAFT-CARTER, J.

         Christopher Callaci (hereinafter Mr. Callaci)-an abutting landowner- appeals the March 24, 2017 decision of the Zoning Board of Review of the Town of Exeter (Zoning Board) granting Trade Wind Investments, LLC's petition for dimensional variances to construct a house on property located at 350 William Reynolds Road, Exeter, Rhode Island. The Zoning Board objects. Jurisdiction is pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 45-24-69. For the reasons set forth herein, this Court remands this matter to the Zoning Board to make written findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         I Facts and Travel

         Trade Wind Investments, LLC (Trade Wind) of 567 South County Trail, Suite 111, Exeter, Rhode Island submitted an application to the Town of Exeter for dimensional relief for property located at 350 William Reynolds Road, Exeter, Rhode Island (the Property) on January 18, 2017. (Zoning Appl.) The Property, owned by Carol J. Mann, consists of .65 acres or 28, 314 square feet. (Zoning Appl.; Tr. at 11.) It is situated in Zoning District CR-5 and is a preexisting, nonconforming plot of land. (Zoning Appl.; Tr. at 11-12.) Trade Wind sought to construct a 1600 square foot, three-bedroom, single-family dwelling on the Property. (Decision; Zoning Appl.; Tr. at 4.) The zoning application requested dimensional relief "under Exeter Zoning Ordinance, Article II, Section 2.4.2.1 (acreage); 2.4.2.2 (street frontage); 2.4.2.4 (front setback); 2.4.2.6 (left and right side setback)[;] and 2.4.2.7 (rear setback) to construct a 3 bedroom single family dwelling." (Decision; Zoning Appl.) Trade Wind specifically requested the following dimensional relief:

Ordinance Requirement

Variance Requested

(1)

Min. lot area .................................... 5

acres ....................................... 4.35 acres

(2)

Min. frontage ................................... 350

ft. . ......................................... 220 ft.

(3)

Min. front yard setback .................. 100

ft. . .......................................... 14 ft.

(4)

Min. right side yard setback ........... 100

ft. . .......................................... 62 ft.

(5)

Min. left side yard setback ............. 100

ft. . .......................................... 59 ft.

(6)

Min. rear yard setback ..................... 150

ft. . .......................................... 49 ft.

(Zoning Appl.)

         A public hearing was held by the Zoning Board on March 9, 2017. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Zoning Board granted Trade Wind's application by a vote of four to one with Board Member McMillan opposing Trade Wind's application. (Tr. at 74.) However, the decision granted the application by a vote of five to zero. (Decision.) The approval was conditioned on the building of the proposed dwelling in accordance with the plans submitted to this Zoning Board on the hearing date. (Tr. at 72-74.)

         The Zoning Board recorded its written decision on March 24, 2017. (Decision.) Mr. Callaci filed a timely appeal on April 12, 2017. (Complaint.) The Zoning Board filed its objection on December 6, 2017. (Zoning Board Objection.)

         II Standard of Review

         Rhode Island General Law § 45-24-69 provides the Superior Court with the specific authority to review zoning board decisions. The statute sets forth that:

"The court shall not substitute its judgment for that of the zoning board of review as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact. The court may affirm the decision of the zoning board of review or remand the case for further proceedings, or may reverse or modify the decision if substantial rights of the appellant have been ...

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