Members of the Oak Bluffs zoning board of appeals made the right decision in upholding their town building inspector’s order that a series of illegal additions on the East Chop summer home owned by Dr. Leslie Hayling must come down.
Construction work on the Hayling home has been underway for the past ten years and has strayed well outside the boundaries set by a special permit eight years ago. In the latest series of violations, decks, terraces and a driveway were all put in without permission. In a letter last July at the time a cease and desist order was issued to Dr. Hayling, building inspector James Dunn called the project “unconscionable.” Neighbors are understandably up in arms.
Last week the board of appeals voted unanimously to allow Mr. Dunn to proceed with his enforcement order, despite requests from Dr. Hayling’s attorney, Robert J. McCarron of Edgartown, to delay the enforcement for another six months.
Enough is enough, the board and building inspector agreed. And the long-aggrieved East Chop neighbors can finally take some comfort in knowing that their town stands behind its zoning rules and is willing to vigorously defend them.
It appears that defense will be necessary; Mr. McCarron said following the decision at last week’s public hearing that he expects his client to appeal the matter in superior court.
The action by the Oak Bluffs zoning board sends a strong message that all property owners are expected to play by the same rules. Zoning bylaws are written for good reasons, including protection of the environment and to safeguard the interests of the whole community.
Beyond that of course lie the unwritten rules for being a good citizen and neighbor.
Dr. Hayling would be well-advised to stop the legal maneuvering and finish his home by complying with the terms of the special permit. There are already plenty of fences to mend with his neighbors.