NORTH HARMONY - If everything continues to go as planned, cheese will be produced on Wall Street in North Harmony in the near future.
Kristen Wolcott, a representative from Wall Street Dairy, approached the North Harmony Zoning Board at a recent meeting to present a case for a special permit to operate a cheese production facility, Farmstead Cheese, in an existing building at 3353 Wall St. in the agricultural district.
According to Wolcott, her plan is to make cheese three days per week.
Wall Street Dairy, located at 3353 Wall St., North Harmony, was recently issued a special permit by the North Harmony Zoning Board to begin producing cheese.
P-J photo by Daniel Swanson
"I plan to make cheese curds, mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, gouda, cheddar and sharp cheddar," she said.
As a small cheese retailer, Farmstead Cheese would be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wolcott plans to sell her cheese to local restaurants, markets and wineries.
The Zoning Board unanimously approved Wall Street Dairy's application. The approval is contingent upon all other applicable permits being obtained.
The Zoning Board also considered other proposals during the meeting.
Kevin and Susan Cashdollar presented an application for an area variance to construct an inground salt water swimming pool closer to the lakeside setback than allowed in the R-1 District. The swimming pool would also require a special permit to be constructed in an R-1 District, according to James Levesque, Zoning Board chairperson.
"We're not here to cause problems with neighbors or fight," Kevin Cashdollar said. "We just wanted a pool for our grandkids."
The Zoning Board noted that although the Cashdollars presented detailed maps of their property and a basic outline of what type of pool and fence they hope to install, there were no details specified regarding an apron to surround the pool, fencing measurements, drainage plan or pump location in the proposal.
Kevin Cashdollar said that he wanted to see if building the pool was a possibility before gathering the specific details of the project.
Levesque noted that the details - specifically the apron and fencing - were important factors in deciding whether the permit application would be approved.
Roughly 10 area residents with properties surrounding the Cashdollars' cottage attended the meeting and voiced concerns. Levesque read through four letters sent to the board by area residents, many of whom attended the meeting, regarding the permit application.
The letters shared common concerns about the project: impacts on property values, and the character in the neighborhood and setting a precedent of being flexible with current zoning laws.
One neighbor had issues with the proximity of the pool to her family's property.
"We feel like we're going to be sitting right there with the pool," she said. "It will be constructed right where we set up our patio table and chairs."
She also raised concern for the unidentified amount of noise the pool pump would make.
Another neighbor questioned if the nonporous surface created by the pool and apron would cause drainage issues for his surrounding property.
Levesque provided the Cashdollars with the option of having the board vote directly on the incomplete application or tabling the discussion and allowing the Cashdollars to bring a complete application in front of the board at an upcoming meeting. The board tabled discussion of the permit until further details were provided, as per Kevin Cashdollar's request.
Kevin and Keri Ash, of Ohio, presented to the board a request for an area variance to demolish two existing homes and build a single home closer to side and lakeside setbacks than allowed in the R-1 District.
According to Keri Ash, the couple plans to level everything on their property once they purchase the lakeside property. She noted that the purchase contract dictates the couple tear down one of the two buildings on the property after they purchase the land - both buildings on the property are currently in questionable shape.
Kevin Ash stated that he and his wife plan to vacation in the cottage that is livable until construction of the new home begins. At that time, the livable cottage will also be demolished.
The Zoning Board noted that the plans for the new cottage detail that the new property will have a smaller footprint than the two current structures combined.
Levesque said that pending board approval, the variances cannot be sold as future plans to potential buyers and are only applicable if the couple continues with the exact plan that was presented to the board. He requested that pending any changes to the housing plan, the couple present the updates to the board, free of charge. Levesque also requested that regardless of whether their plans change, if construction has not been completed by 2020, the couple update the board on their situation.
Unanimously, the board approved the variance permit. The couple's offer on the property was contingent upon receiving approval by the board for the variance permit, according to Keri Ash. They plan to begin building on the property in 2017.
The Ash property is located at 3698 Lakeland Ave., North Harmony.
Benjamin Ludwig presented his case for an area variance to the board.
Ludwig recently purchased a property at auction, only to find out that the "roughly 1-acre" he purchased was actually surveyed at 0.991 acres, making the lot a substandard size.
Ludwig requested the board consider a variance to consider his lot a conforming lot size after multiple failed negotiation attempts with the bordering property owner, who purchased his "roughly 16.5-acre" lot at the same auction.
"I can't come to an agreement with the other buyer," Ludwig said.
The board noted that if the property was considered a conforming lot size, Ludwig would be able to apply for variances in the future without his lot size being an issue.
Unanimously, the board approved Ludwig's proposal to consider his property a conforming lot size.
The property is located at 2843 Route 394, North Harmony.
Paul Stenger proposed the final case of the night, requesting an area variance to construct a porch on his lakeside property, closer to the side setbacks than allowed in the R-1 district.
According to Stenger, he is constructing a porch that will encroach over the side setback by 3 feet.
"You can't change the roofline, so there really isn't any other way to do it and make it look right," Levesque noted.
The zoning board unanimously approved the area variance.
Stenger's property is located at 3108 Chautauqua Ave., North Harmony.
The next North Harmony Zoning Board meeting is planned for March 26 at 7:30 p.m.