- Obama downplays IRS scandal, blames Obamacare rollout on ‘outdated’ agencies
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Pentagon plans to destroy Syrian chemical arms on ship at sea
- Paris Metro issues ‘politeness manual’ to improve passengers’ behavior
- Justin Bieber, crew detained at Australian airport in drug search
- Lee Rigby trial: Muslim who machete-hacked soldier calls it ‘humane’ kill
- GM ending Chevy sales in Europe to focus on Opel and Vauxhall
- Putin’s diplomats to U.S. busted for living high life off $1.5M bilked from Medicaid
- Happy Meal: Couple goes to McDonald’s, leaves with bag packed with cash
- Boehner: It took me 3 to 4 hours to sign up for Obamacare
Couple told to raze Chevy Chase home
A couple who bought and renovated an 82-year-old house in Chevy Chase must tear it down because Montgomery County officials erred in approving the project.
Marianne and Marc Duffy said the oversight was pointed out by some high-powered neighbors who pressured the officials into rescinding approval, which will force the Duffys into bankruptcy and to demolish their $725,000 home in the 3700 block of Thornapple Street.
“Our neighbors complained, then county officials informed us that they issued our building permits in error and that we’d have to seek a variance,” Mrs. Duffy said. “This is after a county official testified under oath at hearings that we were truthful and forthcoming, and that they and the permitting office fully understood what it was approving.”
Robert Hubbard, director of the Department of Permitting Services, said that the Duffys were issued permits for a renovation but that officials later determined they needed additional approvals from the county Board of Appeals. The first permit was issued January 2005, and construction was stopped June 9, 2005, the Duffys said.
Mr. Hubbard also said the agency has worked with the Duffys throughout the process and “is prepared to continue to be of assistance.”
County officials deferred further inquiries — including a call to County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate — to the Department of Permitting Services.
The Duffys sold their Bethesda home for $707,000 in November 2004, then purchased the one in Chevy Chase for $725,000, according to records.
The couple received the renovation permits to put a two-story addition at the rear of the home. But problems quickly arose when crews found mold, wood rot and termite damage, making additional construction necessary.
The damage was so extensive that more than 50 percent of the existing walls were removed, which meant the building should have been classified as a new home and subject to different zoning regulations.
The county granted the couple new permits, then voided them and halted construction when neighbors pointed out the house was originally built seven feet too close to the street and two feet too close to the home of William Hamilton, an editor at the Washington Post, and his wife, Jane Mayer, a staff writer for the New Yorker.
Mr. Hamilton and Mrs. Mayer; ABC News reporter Jackie Judd; and prominent lawyer Michael Eig and his wife, Emily, are among those who have complained about the Duffys’ home.
Kristin Gerlach, owner of Gerlach Real Estate Inc., also testified against them.
The Duffys argued that the home would have the same dimensions as it had before construction. Still, they filed a request for a variance to continue the renovation. The Board of Appeals denied the request March 1.
“We’ve been paying mortgage and rent for over a year,” said Mrs. Duffy, who lives with her husband and their two young daughters in a nearby apartment. “If we have to tear it down and [start over], it will bankrupt us. We will lose everything.”
David W. Brown, the neighbors’ attorney, said the case is about enforcing zoning regulations.
Why such hatred toward America's freedom of religion?
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality: liberal group
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge
- Hack attack: 2 million Facebook, Twitter passwords stolen
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Russian diplomats busted bilking $1.5 million from Medicaid
- GOP launches candidate training: How to talk to women
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- 84 percent of the world population has faith; a third are Christian
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Understanding economic events with a free market explanation
John Wood illustrates a new American politics, and the path to get there.
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
White House pets gone wild!