To the Editor:
I have owned property in Milford for thirty-one years. Throughout these years residents have continued to construct every conceivable addition to their houses: Patios, decks, driveways, fences, outbuildings, etc. — without seeking a permit.
There has too often been no penalty to the resident who by-passed the city zoning and permitting process unless the offense was so outrageous that it had to be curtailed or removed.
In nearly all cases the resident, usually an abutting property owner acted as the enforcer of policy by default. It is wholly understandable that the city cannot by itself enforce zoning and permitting codes.
However, it remains regretful that the law and code abiding party and resident who reports the violation must deal with the fallout from the and code violator.
One of the principal reasons I sold my former home in Point Beach was due to ongoing unlawful and code violations. As clerk of the Point Beach Association for nearly two decades I dealt with every conceivable complaint by association members who were terrified of reporting construction without permits for fear of reprisal.
I then assumed the responsibility of reporting these violations. By 1998 I was weary of reprisals, calls, and violators coming to my door. In not one single instance did the code violators recognize that they had done anything wrong.
In fact everyone who had violated Milford zoning and had by-passed the permit process was completely convinced that I had willfully and wrongly reported them.
Now that I have lived in the Bay View Beach Association for the past fourteen years I have again witnessed the continued practice by property owners to construct whatever they wish without a permit.
Again the resident who reports this activity or addresses the property owner’s construction without a permit is perceived as the ‘violator’ and the resident who actually ignores the permit process feels he or she is the one violated.
This does great harm to the proper zoning code within our city as the zoning enforcers cannot possibly keep track of those who ignore zoning and the permit process unless lawful code abiding residents continue to report violations.
As I live and have always lived on the highly populated shoreline I do understand the need for variances as the properties are so tightly packed together and the needs of property owners require some latitude.
However, this latitude needs to be addressed by the proper channels available within the zoning and permitting structure of the city and those who seek special consideration must go through the proper review.
Too often the city has been generous with the violator only to see continued violations arise by the same property owner. Such behavior diminishes the quality of life among those property owners who abide by the many laws and codes of our city, federal and state codes.
Especially as the flood plains are extended and will continue to be so due to ever rising sea levels, the need for enforcement becomes ever more necessary.
Again I do not fault local zoning, land use or permit approval processes, I fault the property owner who ignores all laws and codes.
I sincerely hope that those who report violators, or who inform those who would violate our city requirements be supported rather than castigated. All actions which change property need to adhere to all laws and codes.