One Hearing for ZBA – Five Thumbs Up

Mattapoisett’s Zoning Board of Appeals members Tony Tranfaglia, Gene DeSlandes, Susan Atkin, Coly Rottler, and Norman Lyonnais heard only one application on February 20th.   The parcel located at 14 Barstow Street is part of Bruce Rocha, Sr.’s plan to re-develop this site and the abutting now vacant site into two single-family dwellings. Rocha’s first application for the lot situated at the corner of Church and Barstow Streets sailed through various boards including the ZBA with no resistance. However, his plans for 14 Barstow met with negative responses from abutting neighbors south of the site on Barstow and north and south of the site on Mechanics Street.

The vacant building in question during this hearing was built in 1912, had been zoned for mixed use commercial enterprises and has been empty for several years. Rocha’s first site plan called for a dwelling that would front on Mechanics Street and have a long driveway on Barstow.  Neighbors voiced their concern that the plans were not only too large for the long narrow plot, but also not aesthetically appealing. ZBA sided with the neighbors during that hearing and sent Rocha back to the drawing board. After reducing the size of the dwelling and re-imaging the garage(s) and driveway options, Rocha returned to the Planning Board where the modified plans were accepted clearing the way for him to return to the zoning board of appeals. The need to receive a special permit given that the site has historically been zoned commercial versus residential also warranted the hearing.

The new plans call for a dwelling that will be 19’ wide (originally designed at 38’) with a 29’ ridgeline. The home will either be concrete slab on grade or a combination of slab on grade and a small crawl space. Taking into consideration that the location is within the flood plain the structures on the site are planned to be 18” above grade (no basement) and all utilities will be situated in the attic spaces of the two garages planned.  One garage will be attached to the dwelling and the other positioned beside it fronting on the Mechanics side of the parcel. Between the garages there is a proposed inner courtyard maximizing the ease of using the parking structures.

During his previous hearing neighbors had come out in force to voice their concern over the scope of the proposed design. On this there was an absence of resistance or pushback.  The board unanimously approved the project as submitted with a stipulation that the structure’s legal address remain 14 Barstow and that no living spaces be allowed in the garages unless vetted by the town’s departments for such use.

By Marilou Newell


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