ZBA Approves Special Permits

Three different projects received Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) approval on March 6. The first, a two-story addition to 35 Chute Street is proposed by the property owners, Laura Doherty and Paul Reynolds. Architect Nancy Twomey explained that the house, which was built in 1861, currently has only four rooms and appears from the front to be larger than it actually is. The structure has non-conforming setbacks on both the north and south sides of the property. The proposed addition will not increase the non-conformity of those setbacks, nor will it change the view of the house from the street. A door and small porch on the south side of the house will also be removed during the project, giving the neighbor to the south additional privacy. ZBA member Damase Caouette stated, “You are making the best use of the space you have and are doing so within the rules.” The ZBA voted 5-0 to approve the special permit.

77 Summer Avenue

The second project was for two special permits at 77 Summer Avenue. Twomey, also the architect for this applicant, asked the ZBA for a special permit to raze the screened porch, extend an existing kitchen into four feet of the space, then reconstruct a new screened porch. The current porch is non-conforming and the new addition and porch will not add to the non-conformity.

The ZBA voted 5-0 to approve the special permit. The other special permit at the site is to add an 861 square foot accessory apartment to the house. ZBA member Erik Hagstrom walked the ZBA through the performance standards of accessory apartments as they applied to this application. He found that all the criteria were met and that the apartment would be conforming to the bylaw.

Associate ZBA member Kyle Tornow raised some questions about a proposed mud room entrance for the main house that could be misconstrued as a front entrance for the new apartment, which is not allowed. Twomey assured the ZBA that the mudroom entrance was recessed, and was simply a side entrance for the main house, as is seen on many houses in the neighborhood. ZBA chair Robert Redfern also raised questions regarding how Twomey calculated the gross square footage of the existing house, including the not-yet-built kitchen addition in her calculations. No one else on the ZBA took issue with this, but Redfern suggested that the bylaw that addresses the issue needs be assessed to determine if it could be amended at some point to reflect how the town prefers the calculations to be done. The ZBA voted 5-0 to approve the special permit for the apartment.

352 Summer Avenue

The final application was also for a new two-story addition to the house at 352 Summer Avenue. The applicants, Rich and Judy Swanson, were asking to remove an existing deck and construct the addition in its place to create a family room, mudroom and bathroom on the first floor, and extend a bedroom on the second floor. The addition would not increase the non-conformity of the structure on the lot and would only increase the house’s lot coverage to twenty-two percent, which is allowed by the bylaw. Building Commissioner Mark Dupell commented that it was, “A typical extension of a non-conforming structure.” The ZBA approved a special permit by a vote of 5-0.

The ZBA also formally signed and stamped the plans and decision for the Lakeview/Eaton Street 40B, officially closing that year-long process. There was also a brief discussion regarding receiving the assessor’s cards for properties on their docket. In the past, the ZBA received copies of the documents as part of their information packets. Redfern explained that the ZBA needed those cards to determine the history of properties when making decisions and that their need for them is “non-negotiable.”

The ZBA adjourned at 9:20 pm

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