ZBA Approves Tinkham Road Solar Array

            The Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals held their second meeting of the month on Thursday, September 20, 2012.  The first hearing of the night was regarding an application by the Town of Mattapoisett for a special permit that would allow for municipal use of a solar panel array on Tinkham Road.

                  Town Administrator Mike Gagne spoke to the ZBA, along with Tyler Macallister of the Board of Selectmen.

                  Gagne cited the up-coming increases in cost to process the town’s solid waste disposal.

                  “We’re going from spending about $90,000 a year to $450,000,” Gagne said.  He said the issue inspired the Board of Selectmen to entertain proposals for a solar panel array that would generate electricity that would be used to offset the increase in solid waste cost.

                  “It sits a mile off of North Street.  There is not a residence within a mile of the site.  The top of it lends itself very favorably to the installation of these panels,” said Gagne.

                  There are no wetlands in the area, nor are there plans to remove any vegetation from the proposed site.  The area will be fenced in and secure from potential trespassers.  Since the land would be leased by the Town of Mattapoisett, maintenance and security would be the responsibility of the final applicant company.

                  “The revenue that will come in will go into that [stabilization] account, and then be taken out and used for the offset,” Gagne said in response to a question by ZBA member Paul Milott.

                  According to Macallister, the winning application will have to work with the NSTAR utility company and conduct a study in order to determine the maximum amount of electricity the existing power lines could carry.  The process could take up to a year due to the large influx of such applications to NSTAR.

                  “It seems like a good proposal, especially if we can keep those costs down,” said ZBA Chairman Jeffrey Chase.  “I think it’s a good deal.”

                  “It’s not like anyone is going to see it,” said member Susan Akin.

                  The Zoning Board of Appeals voted in favor of the solar project.

                  Then the ZBA held a hearing for the application of Edward Hebert, who is seeking a special permit to construct a barn measuring 18’ X 20’ at 7 Ned’s Point Road that will not meet setbacks requirements.

                  Jamie McGrath from Pine Harbor Wood Products was present at the meeting on behalf of the Heberts.

                  “This is a pre-existing non-conforming lot in a panhandle type shape.  There is no basement in the current home, and with the expanding family and addition of a couple boats, we’re proposing the building of this storage facility,” he said.

                  “This is lawfully a non-conforming lot.  The proposed structure fails to meet the rear and sideline setbacks,” said Andrew Bobola, Inspector of Buildings.

                  McGrath said that the building would be used as a garage, but is listing it as a barn on the application due to the overall style of the structure.  There would be no living space within the building, and it will be serviced by electricity but no plumbing.

                  The ZBA then voted in favor of the project as presented by McGrath.

                  The ZBA then held the first of two hearings for engineer Doug Schneider of Schneider and Associates on behalf of Lisa Clark, who would like to build a single-family home at the corner of Mattapoisett Neck Road and Starboard Way.  The second hearing was in regard to another home she would like to build on a nearby lot.

                  “Currently it’s all lawn from Shore View down the Mattapoisett Neck.  There’s a minimal amount of trees,” Schneider said.  The house would also be located in a velocity zone, requiring the structure be built on stilts.  “It’s a pretty straight-forward project.”

                  “My concern is the drainage of these lots,” said Walter Wordell of Mattapoisett Neck Road.  “I’ve watched these lots for about 55 years.  When you get rain, it becomes a big pond.”  He distributed photos of the ponding to the ZBA for their consideration.  “What’s going to happen to the water if they build these two houses?”

                  “We have the same issue.  We back up agains the same lot,” said Barbara Rommelfanger of Windward Way.  “If there’s any building that goes on, it would displace the water and it would impact our property,” she said.

                  Bobola said that if the projects are approved, Clark would need to file for a Notice of Intent, which would require storm water run-off calculations as part of that process.

                  “Basically what’s being proposed is consistent with the neighborhood. It’s not detrimental.  It meets the definitions in the two sections that were called out,” said Milott.

                  The Zoning Board of Appeals then voted in favor of the project.

                  The ZBA held the second hearing for Clark, who was again represented by Schneider, regarding an application to build a single-family home at the corner of Shore View Avenue and Starboard Way.

                  “The houses are almost identical,” said Chase.

                  “The houses are essentially the same. We’re trying not to go overboard on the lots for the projects,” said Schneider, who concurred that the drainage issue was something that needed to be addressed.

                  “I’ve seen some of these houses are inundated with water.  It sounds like we have a significant neighborhood problem that needs to be addressed, whether we build on these lots of not.”

                  “It’s a flood plain and the water table is so high, it never sinks in,” said Rommelfanger.

                  “I lived near there and it’s like a pond there, it’s terrible.  I can remember trying to get emergency vehicles down there and it was tough,” said ZBA member Ken Pacheco.

                  While the flooding concern is legitimate, Bobola said that the Conservation Commission would have address it if the projects are approved by the ZBA.

                  The ZBA then voted in favor of the second project.

                  Then, the Zoning Board of Appeals heard from Steve Mach on behalf of Kempton Terminal, LLC.  The applicant is seeking a special permit to construct a temporary building at Nicky’s Lane storage of boats for a non-profit boating organization.

                  “We have a number of small capris that are on trailers.  We usually put those four inside, with the trailers.  We have half a dozen or ten 420’s.  The number of boats changes from time to time.  But we can get 10 or 12 small boats inside along with a couple of their trailers,” said Mach.

                  One abutting business owner was worried that the approval of the temporary building may set a questionable precedent regarding how temporary structures adhere to setback requirements.  He was also concerned that the label of “temporary” would be inappropriate, as the law stipulates a temporary structure can be erected for up to 180 days.

                  “We can put a condition in there to require a review of it after 180 days,” suggested Chairman Chase.

                  “Personally, I think that’s a very short window,” said Bobola.  “I don’t know that I’d really like to take that firm a stand on it.  I’m not sure where practicality ends in this case.”

                  “You could condition this as a special permit to cover the abutter’s concerns and to give the ability of Mattapoisett Sailing to have a home again,” Bobola said.

                  The ZBA voted in favor of the project, with conditions that the project will be reviewed after one year, rather than 180 days, and that the building will be used only for the sailing organization.

                  The Zoning Board of Appeals then held a hearing regarding property at 7 Pine Island Road.  Cindy L. Pemberton, trustee of the property, is proposing to demolish the current house in order to construct a new single-family dwelling.

                  “There is an existing, unoccupied building which we propose to knock down and reconstruct a new dwelling which would maintain the existing non-conformity on the sides.  There’d be a single-car garage in front and the house to the rear,” said engineer Bob Field, who represented Pemberton.

                  Due to the shape of the lot, the proposed home would be long and narrow, but the exterior would be designed to be congruent with the architecture of the current neighborhood.

                  “It has sewer and water service and we’re outside the Conservation Commission’s jurisdiction,” he said.

                  “I think it’s an improvement on what’s there,” said Akin.

                  “There are no height issues, no lot coverage issues,” Milott said.

                  “The ZBA then voted in favor of the project as presented.

                  The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals will be on Thursday, October 4, 2012, at 6:00 pm at the Town Hall.

By Eric Tripoli

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