The former Presto Press property that is situated on Barstow Street and the adjacent defunct commercial garage on the corner of Church Street are slated for two new homes. But not before several issues are resolved to the satisfaction of abutters and the members of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Coming before the board was Bruce Rocha with his representatives, Richard Charon, engineer, and Cary Lablanc, attorney giving the board and the public a full presentation of the proposed structures.
One home would be positioned at the corner of Church and Barstow with a three-car garage facing Barstow. The second home would have a 113-foot driveway leading to the home that would “face” Mechanic Street, presently an empty lot. The two lots make an “L” shape. The proposal has both driveways on the Barstow side alarming some of the abutters.
The Stellatos of 12 Barstow expressed their concern that they would be looking at a parking lot with that amount of footage dedicated to driveway space covered in asphalt. They added that mature trees and other vegetation between their property and #14 gives them privacy, which would be sacrificed with the new home construction and subsequent driveway installation.
Mr. Hudson of 13 Mechanic Street said, “I object to the house being set almost on top of my home.” He felt that the size of the home shown in the presentation was too large for the lot and the scale of other homes in the neighborhood.
Holly Nadeau of 30 Church Street had questions about the setbacks allowed since from the presentation it appeared as if the house would be too close to her garage.There was also considerable discussion about house numbers and legal addresses for these two new homes because both are planned to have front doors not on Barstow. The home scheduled for #16 Barstow will have a side entrance on Barstow but the appearance of a main entrance on Church Street. A similar situation is present for the home planned for #14 Barstow. That home will be set deep into the lot and actually face Mechanic but have an address of Barstow. Charon asked if the Town Clerk had legal jurisdiction over street address. Building Inspector Andy Bobola indicated that she did and she was not predisposed to adding new street numbers or changing the legal addresses of lots historical recorded.
After a lengthy public hearing and board deliberation it was decided that Rocha could move ahead with plans for #16 Barstow with the following conditions: 1) crushed stone or other aesthetically pleasing materials would be used for the driveway versus asphalt, 2) Barstow Street address would be maintained, 3) curb cut out would not exceed 15 feet.
Regarding the proposed home for #14 Barstow, things did not go as smoothly. The Board determined that the size of the home was too large for the space and would negatively impact the abutters. They asked the applicant to return with a modified plan that would include a smaller home.
Also coming before the Board was Richard and Debra Cantwell of 41 Acushnet Rd. requesting a special permit to rebuild and expand a garage. They questioned Cantwell as to whether or not there would be a room above the garage as seemed to be noted in the plans. Bobola stated that such a space could not be used as a bedroom unless he came before the Board requesting a “guest house” permit. Cantwell seemed surprised that no one would be allowed to sleep in the space even though he could have a full bathroom there as well as lounge furnishings. After making it clear to the applicant that the space could be used as a family room but not as a sleeping area his request was approved with that condition.
Finally John and Elaine Malcolm came before the Board to request a special permit to continue the operation of a boat repair business at 22 Ocean View Avenue in Brandt Island Beach. The business has been in operation since 1961 but in recent years had received a cease and desist order. With pending litigation in Superior Court, Malcolm’s attorney, David Perry, pleaded his case for the special permit. Noting the length of time the business has been in operation, the service it provides to the boating community in the beach area, and the residents overall desire to have these services readily available to them was provided in defense of the petition.
After hearing directly from some of the abutting neighbors who threw their support behind Malcolm and after reviewing improvements Malcolm had made to screening maintenance activities that took place on his property, the board approved the special permit. This approval will now negate the need for Malcolm to move forward with the court case.