LIVERMORE — The Appeals Board voted 2-1 Wednesday to deny two variance requests from Alan and Wendy Castonguay, who want to construct a building within 87 feet of Round Pond and 14 feet from Carpenter Point Road.

The Castonguays’ lot has a building about 12 by 18 feet that is 35 feet from the pond. They would like to tear it down and build one that is 32 by 28 feet and insulate it.

To build 100 feet back from the pond, as required by the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, the building would be within 25 feet of the road, which is not allowed. Topography and the shape of the lot prohibit putting the building elsewhere.

Four criteria must be met before the Appeals Board can find that a hardship exists: They are:

• The land cannot yield a reasonable return unless a variance is granted;

• The variance is needed because of the unique circumstances of the property and not the general condition of the neighborhood;


• The variance will not alter the essential character of the locality; and

• The hardship is not the result of action taken by the applicant or a prior owner.

The Castonguays own land on both sides of the road.

Code Enforcement Officer Richard Marble had suggested moving the road to make the lot conforming.

Alan Castonguay said a contractor estimated it would cost over $10,000 to move the road.

He said the lot is unusable as is. When he bought it from his parents in 2010, he didn’t realize there was a road setback requirement.


Appeals Board member Peggy Dwyer said it is hard to make a lot more nonconforming.

“We’re very limited unless the Planning Board made a factual error or interpreted the rule incorrectly,” Dwyer said.

Castonguay said there are five other dwellings on the road, which is not plowed in winter.

Dwyer said the road setback is in place as a safety consideration and to provide access in case of an emergency.

“I don’t find the Planning Board having made an error,” Dwyer said.

Appeals Board member David Lovewell said he had to agree.


“It’s very reasonable to wish for a bigger camp,” Dwyer said. “I just don’t think this is the lot for it.” 

Appeals Board member Lester Donahue said moving the road is a hardship for the Castonguays. 

Dwyer said that’s not what the hardship rule is about. 

Dwyer and Lovewell voted to deny the requests; Donahue voted against the motion.

Castonguay said he plans to meet with the Planning Board about moving the road.

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