Chilmark rejects Iscol claim that neighbor violates zoning rules


The Chilmark planning board last week rejected an appeal by Jill and Kenneth Iscol asking that the board rescind a building permit already issued by the town zoning officer allowing construction of an accessory structure on neighboring land owned by Adam and Elizabeth Zoia. Lenny Jason, the building and zoning officer had earlier rejected the Iscol request, and the planning board, on October 23, upheld Mr. Jason’s decision.

The Iscols live at 19 Inner Point Way, next to Mr. Zoia. Mr. Iscol has been vociferous in his objections to his neighbor’s house.

A wealthy telecommunications businessman, philanthropist, and Democratic fundraiser, Mr. Iscol has accused Mr. Zoia of violations of the Chilmark zoning regulations.

Last year, Mr. Zoia, founder of Glocap Industries in New York, bought the 4.9-acre lot on Quitsa Pond from the Harrison family.

The Iscols had charged that the Zoia construction, which would include a pool, gym, and spa, did not comply with town zoning and building rules. The Iscols also asked the board to have the Zoia buildings measured by an independent authority. Mr. Jason said the Zoia buildings total 10,000 square feet, including the pool-gym-spa, while the Iscols say they think the total is 20,000.

The planners also heard from town counsel Ron Rappaport on Monday, October 22. He advised them that rules now being considered by the planners and a group of volunteers concerned about new, large houses that may be built in town may not withstand court challenges if they include fixed limits on building size. Mr. Rappaport advised that regulations that triggered enhanced reviews of building plans for structures over a certain size and that were incorporated into town bylaws through the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s (MVC) super-zoning powers would have a better change of withstanding challenges.

In an OpED published at today, Chris Murphy of Chilmark, chairman of the MVC, and Doug Sederholm, chairman of the land use planning subcommittee, discuss the commission’s consideration of a suggestion from Chilmark for changes to the MVC’s developments of regional impact checklist, now under review, that would add big houses to the list of checklist thresholds.

“One suggestion made by the West Tisbury Planning Board, the Vineyard Conservation Society, and a few individuals at last year’s public meetings was that the Commission review very large houses,” Mr. Murphy and Mr. Sederholm wrote. “It was argued that such houses could have significant regional impacts with regard to issues such as community character and habitat disruption, and that these proposals are often beyond the purview of town board control. Others argued that these issues are best handled at the town level. The [MVC’s land use planning subcommittee] LUPC has recommended that the MVC not include a mandatory threshold for large residential buildings at this time. However, the LUPC recommends that the Commission indicate to town boards that it is receptive to reviewing discretionary referrals for large house proposals, if a town seeks MVC assistance, as the Commission has done on a few occasions in the past.”