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Morristown law aims to enable and regulate boathouse construction

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MORRISTOWN – The town council has approved legislation amending the zoning law to define and regulate boat houses.

The amendment was passed unanimously at the June 11 meeting.

The town’s zoning law, which was established in 2007, did not previously cover boat houses, Town Supervisor Frank L. Putman said.

The amended law defines boat houses as a “non-floating building” used for the non-commercial dockage or storage of watercraft.

Mr. Putman said the new law will help bring clarity to the town’s regulations and will give people a concrete understanding of what they can and can’t do if they want to build a boat house.

“[A]nd then everything can be looked at if they ask for a variance,” Mr. Putman added.

Code enforcement officer Valerie Harman said the omission in the zoning law was made apparent when someone approached her about building a boat house.

Without the law, it was unclear whether the structures could legally be built in the town, Mrs. Harman said.

Mrs. Harman’s knowledge that to her knowledge, there are no privately owned boathouses in the town, and any that do exist were built before the zoning law was in place.

“It just clarifies it and makes it easier to [build a boat house],” Town Clerk David J. Murray said.

The law prohibits constructing boat houses taller than 15 feet, longer than 35 feet or farther than eight feet from the high water mark. Floating boat houses are prohibited.

The law also requires that the structure be certified by an engineer or architect.

The full document is available for public inspection at Town Hall.

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