Homeowner Seeks After-the-Fact Variance for Pool


Saying a contractor inadvertently located an inground swimming pool about 18 inches into a setback, a local homeowner is seeking an exception under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations so that it can remain as it is.

278 Davenport Ridge

Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, the side yard setback for accessory structures in the two-acre zone is 35 feet (see page 60). The owners of 278 Davenport Ridge are seeking an after-the-fact variance to the regulation for an 800-square-foot pool built behind their house by Darien-based Swimm Pools Inc., according to a narrative that forms part of their application. 

“Swimm inadvertently measured the pool from the edge of the water to the setback while New Canaan regulations measure pools from the coping to the setback,” Christopher and Kimberly Pepe wrote in their narrative. “This created the current violation of 17 inches and 18 inches violation to both side yard setbacks.”

The Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to take up the application at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.

A presentation submitted to the ZBA (and available for viewing here) includes photos that show a narrow coping around the pool. No neighbors have filed objection letters to the variance, town records show.

The Pepes note in their application that the property initially was in the one-acre zone, is “pie shaped” with two side yards and that it’s still under coverage. They’re claiming a hardship on three fronts: “1. The irregular shape of the lot creates a triangular envelope to build; 2. The existence of the existing well in the rear yard; 3. The location of the septic fields.”

In her advisory memo to the ZBA, Town Planner Sarah Carey noted that “a contractor’s error is a financial hardship and cannot be the reason a variance is granted.”

“The Board must determine if the applicant truly has a hardship that prevented the pool from being constructed in the proposed location, and whether the omission of a steel location survey waives their right to an after the fact variance,” Carey wrote in the memo.

She added that P&Z never received a required “steel location survey” that is “which is essentially an interim as-built survey to confirm the pool is constructed in the approved location prior to the pouring of concrete.”

“Its purpose is to avoid a situation such as this,” Carey said.

The town received a Certificate of Occupancy request along with the final as-built for the pool in February, Carey said.

“It was found that the pool coping, which must meet setback requirements, was constructed over the setback line encroaching by 18 [inches],” Carey said. “While this is an after the fact request, the applicant is claiming that a variance could be granted due to the irregular shape of the lot, the location of the existing well in the rear yard, and the location of the septic fields.”

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