The Planning Board denied a couple’s application Monday to subdivide their Pines Lake property.
Frederick and Barbara Habeeb applied to subdivide their 30,000 square-foot lakefront property into two smaller lots. The couple recently built a house on part of the land. The rest of the lot remains vacant.
Members of the board said they were not satisfied that a good enough argument was made to justify deviating from the average lot size in the neighborhood.
Scott Okun said that the couple needed to show “that the benefits of the deviation substantially outweigh any determents and I personally haven’t heard that myself.”
The vote was unanimous.
Gerome Vogel, the lawyer representing the Habeebs, said the couple would sell the newly created lot. He said his clients pay taxes on two lots, not one, despite the fact that maps show the properties as being one lot.
Properties in Pines Lake average approximately 15,000 square feet in area. The neighborhood was created between 70 and 80 years ago. Many of the homes were originally hunting cabins.
“Nobody who came here to object to the application lives on even a 20,000 square-foot lot,” Vogel said. “It says that the reality of the circumstance is that the two proposed lots are consistent with the historical perspective that exists in Pines Lake and is consistent with what exists today.”
An ordinance approved in 1960 stipulates that new properties in Pines Lake must be at least 30,000 square feet in area.
Vogel argued that the larger lot that exists now “damages” the neighborhood more than the two proposed small lots would have. He said the subdivision would have been “fair, reasonable, and consistent” with what’s there now and what will always be there in that area.”
Residents who live near the property argued to the board at a previous meeting that the board would set a dangerous precedent should it approve the application.