Error leads to dispute over deck NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

August 05, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

When one man's deck became another man's dilemma in Taneytown, the city government realized it had made a small mistake.

Emory Barnhouse was told he couldn't build a deck on his Musket Court property because it would violate city setback requirements. He asked Councilman Henry C. Heine why the city had allowed his neighbor, David Bubel, to build one on the same size lot.

"He [Mr. Barnhouse] informed us that there was already a deck built on an identical lot, and sure enough there was one," said City Manager Joseph A. Mangini Jr. "There was an administrative error, and the deck was allowed to be built."

That deck was added to the house on the corner of Tuscarora Trail and Roth Avenue.

The original plans for the house called for it to be facing Roth Avenue, Mr. Mangini said. But Mr. Bubel requested that the house be turned to face Tuscarora Trail so a garage could be built.

Mr. Mangini said the same was probably done with Mr. Barnhouse's home.

"With the original plans, you could put in an addition and still meet the rear setback requirements," Mr. Mangini said. "When the house was turned around, the rear yard space was eliminated."

According to city records, Wyatt Investment Corp. co-owner Vincent Fiocco, the builder, applied for a building permit from the city and from the county in April to build a 12-foot by 14-foot deck onto Mr. Bubel's house.

The permit never should have been issued, Mr. Mangini said. The city requires additions to be set back 25 feet from the property line, and there was only 28 feet behind the house.

"We missed it here [at the city level], and then it went to the county and they missed it, too," Mr. Mangini said. "My view is that this is not the fault of the homeowner."

The Taneytown Board of Zoning Appeals will decide next month the fate of the Tuscarora Trail deck, said Linda M. Hess, secretary to the board.

"Mr. Fiocco submitted his $300 for the board fees and requested a variance for a deck that is already on the house," said Ms. Hess, who also is the city clerk/treasurer.

"The request has to be discussed by the Planning and Zoning Commission and the mayor and council before it goes to the board," she said.

Mr. Mangini said some council members believe there may be many more illegal decks, but he said he disagreed.

There are no plans to amend Taneytown's zoning requirements, Mr. Mangini said.

The variance request for Mr. Bubel's deck will be discussed at the city's Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Aug. 30, the City Council meeting Sept. 13 and the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Sept. 15, Ms. Hess said.

Mr. Fiocco is on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Bubel and Mr. Barnhouse also could not be reached.

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