ZBA Grants Three Special Permits

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted 5-0 to approve three different special permits at their October 3 meeting. The first was an application by Rebecca Anderson of 28 Willow Street to reconstruct a deck including moving a staircase. The existing deck has a non-conforming side set back. Anderson testified that the current staircase is too steep and unsafe. ZBA member Robert Redfern commented that the reconstructed deck would “not create any new nonconformity and no increased detriment to the neighborhood.”

The second was for an accessory apartment contained within a to-be-built house at the new six-lot development on Lenetta Lane. Steve Sawyer, speaking for S&L Homes, declared that the apartment meets all the criteria for a special permit with the apartment measuring 684 square feet, well under the 1,000 square feet allowed under the bylaw.

The final special permit allowed for owners of 10 Franklin Street to preserve and convert an existing finished space in a detached barn into an accessory apartment. The home and barn date to around 1917. Attorney Josh Latham, speaking for Maria Fodera, the owner of the property, stated that there would be no exterior or interior modifications to the space and that it would be owner-occupied. The main house will be occupied by a family. The apartment space is 739 square feet, under the 1,000 square foot bylaw requirement.

The ZBA heard two other cases, both potentially affected by a new state zoning law that states that any previously illegal non-conforming modifications to a property that exists for over ten years can be declared as legal non-conforming. Michael Welch wishes to demolish the non-conforming dwelling at 65 Longfellow Road and build a new house on the same footprint. Two additions to the house were made without permits. Neighbor Dan Ensminger stated that the additions were present when he moved into his home in 1978. Welch was seeking a finding that the new portions are older than ten years and declared legal non-conforming which would allow him to build on the increased footprint.

Thomas and Sarah Brukilacchio requested that the board allow a variance for a continued non-conforming use of their property at 28 Green Street as a three-family home. The building was completely remodeled in 1986, creating the three-family use, while being permitted as a two-family house. The Brukilacchios purchased the building as a three-family twenty-six years ago and the conflict only arose when they sought to replace the siding and the roof. Building Inspector Glen Redmond noticed the inconsistency and issued a cease and desist order. Chair John Jarema noted that the structure was not the issue in the case, but that the “use is the inconsistency.” The ZBA decided to refer both cases to Town Counsel to determine if the new law can be applied to them, as the board only has a summary of the statute and not the actual text. Both cases were continued to November 7, pending Town Counsel input.

Current ZBA chair John Jarema was elected by a vote of 5-0 to continue as chair until the end of his term in June 2019. Jarema commented that he normally would not want to serve twice in a row as chair, but he felt that consistency through the remaining 40B process was important. Member Damase Caouette was elected by a vote of 5-0 to be vice-chair until June 2019. ZBA will meet next on October 24 at the Pleasant Street Center to continue the Eaton/Lakeview 40B hearing.

ZBA adjourned at 10:05 pm.

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