Town to Ferris Hill Road Homeowner: Screen or Move Winterized Boat in Driveway by Thursday

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A Ferris Hill Road homeowner has until Thursday to move, screen or otherwise make less conspicuous a winterized boat now parked in his driveway in violation of local regulations, officials say.

The boat in the driveway at 42 Ferris Hill Road. Credit: Michael Dinan

After that, New Canaan’s zoning enforcement officer will kickstart “the process toward compliance” with a formal notice of violation, according to email correspondence obtained by through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The wrapped boat at 42 Ferris Hill Road first came onto the radar of Planning & Zoning staff last December after a neighbor complained about its location, prompting the town to issue a municipal notice of violation.

Ultimately, last year, it was moved to a boatyard, but was flagged again last week by a zoning enforcement officer with the town, according to an email sent to the Ferris Hill homeowner, Geoffrey Marshall.

Marshall’s initial response to the town’s question of whether it would return to the boatyard, according to the FOIA’d emails, was: “Yes as soon a my son returns from Puerto Rico he is a ER dr. He will either move it or put up a screen. Please thank our neighbor for his patience regarding this matter.”

The following day, Marshall said he woul put up a screen “which will prevent our neighbor in the back from seeing the boat from his legal property.”

“His driveway is an easement from the New Canaan Land Trust and is not considered his property,” Marshall said in his email to the town. “My understanding of this is [that] he cannot complain if he sees the boat from this easement. I will try the screen solution and will send a picture when complete tomorrow [Nov. 11]. If this is not a satisfactory solution we understand we will need to move the boat.”

As of Tuesday, the boat still had not been moved, prompting the town’s zoning enforcement officer to contact Marshall again, with a Thursday deadline. Marshall responded he could move the boat on Saturday at the earliest.

Under the New Canaan Zoning Regulations, a “recreational vehicle” is defined as “any type of vehicle used primarily for recreational pleasure including but not limited to motor homes, travel trailers, campers, camping trailers, boats, snowmobiles and associated trailers.”

Under the regulations, up to two such vehicles may be parked in a residential lot under a zoning permit, though they must either be parked or in a “fully enclosed structure” or else, if parked outside, must “not be located in the front yard of the existing dwelling or other principal building on the same lot,” must “not be located within any required accessory building yard space” and must “be effectively screened from view of adjacent premises to the satisfaction of the Zoning Inspector” (see page 48 here).

Last year, Marshall received approval from the town to build a screening structure that would be covered by a 40-by-30-foot tarp.

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