With a short agenda long on discussion, the Marion Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday night approved a $2 million performance guarantee for Bay Watch Realty’s 40B affordable housing project – finally set to break ground this summer – and heard a variance request from Sean and Lisa Sweeney of 307 Converse Rd.
Ken Steen presented for members’ approval a $2 million construction bond for the decade-in-the-making Bay Watch multifamily development on Route 105. The bond is a pre-construction condition for work to begin in July after “monumental paperwork,” according to Steen. The ZBA passed the item after each member questioned the realtor.
Meanwhile, the Sweeneys seek a permit to build a new, non-conforming garage that would occupy roughly the same spot that the current one does, but reach 23 and a half feet high at its tallest point – an increase of 7 and a half feet.
Non-abutting neighbor Annie Hayes expressed some concern about the height.
“When we spoke, I got the impression that the height would stay essentially the same,” she said to Sean Sweeney. “I’m just visualizing it: Seven feet is substantially higher than I thought.”
Sweeney responded that the spike would result from the continuation of an A-frame incline in select spots, as opposed to a level height for the structure all the way around.
Board Member Bob Alves asked Hayes if she was satisfied with the explanation.
“I can’t say I’m satisfied,” Hayes said, “but that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to it.”
Abutters of the lot voiced approval ranging from tepid to unreserved.
“We’re basically OK with it,” said Charlie Duane, sitting next to the mural he painted in the Town House Conference Room. “As Sean has planned it, it would be kind of a shock at first.” Neighbor Davis Sanford said he had no problem with the proposed structure. Vicki Aubrecht, after a question about how much closer the new garage would be to the property line, also assented.
But the ZBA, resuming discussion after public testimony, was skeptical about whether the project would fulfill the requirements for a variance. In addition, members were underwhelmed by the support of the neighbors.
“They seemed surprised by the scope of it,” member Anne Marie Tobia said. “I found that interesting.”
The ZBA has 60 days to decide on the Sweeneys’ request. The couple purchased the property in 2007.
The board’s next meeting is scheduled for April 25.
By Shawn Badgley