Cove Circle Garage Case Continued

            Don and Barbara Easterday’s January 12 proposal for a two-car garage on their pie-shaped lot at 52 Cove Circle was found lacking by the Marion Zoning Board of Appeals, which voted to continue the case to February 9.

            The Easterdays sought a variance from Section 230-5.1 of the Marion Zoning Bylaws for the construction of a 28×24-foot detached garage.

            Upon opening the public hearing, ZBA Chairperson Cynthia Callow read into the record a letter from Attorney Jillian Morton of Wareham-based Bello & Morton LLC, representing the applicants. Morton’s key points outlined the case, including encroachment on the side setback and the need for the garage to be placed on a particular side of the property.

            The required side setback is 30 feet; the proposed garage would sit 20 feet from the side lot line. At 110.93 feet, the lot’s frontage is less than half the 250-foot standard.

            Without the garage, the couple of “advancing age” would not be able to conveniently access their vehicles during the winter, explained Morton, who was in attendance alongside Don Easterday. The proposed garage location was also based on proximity to a utility pole and the ability to charge an electric vehicle.

            The other side of the lot includes landscaping, a generator and a septic tank. More than half of the parcel has been identified as wetland, making it unavailable for the construction.

            Referencing comments from the Board of Health dated December 22, ZBA member Dana Nilson confirmed with Don Easterday that there are no plans to upgrade the septic installment on the property.

            According to Callow, the Conservation Commission will also require a filing due to the wetlands on the property.

            Morton told the ZBA that an abutting neighbor has not yet replied to information shared about the proposal. Easterday said two other abutters had no objections to his plan.

            Asked by ZBA member Tucker Burr why the garage is greater than 20 feet wide, Easterday explained that a shed on his property line could be removed with the new storage space that the wider garage would create.

            After the public hearing was closed, Nilson questioned as to if the garage could be located elsewhere on the property that would not necessitate a zoning variance. He suggested that there are places on the opposite side of the house where the garage could sit and maintain the required 20-foot setback from the leaching field.

            “Moving propane lines might cost money, but those aren’t really zoning considerations for a variance,” said Nilson.

            ZBA member Will Tifft agreed. “My biggest concern is that the hardship is not clear to me,” he said.

            Upon hearing Nilson say that the applicant could have demonstrated alternate locations on the plan, Morton suggested the public hearing be reopened so she could provide more information. The ZBA then voted to reopen the hearing.

            ZBA member Dr. Ed Hoffer acknowledged the quandary facing the Easterdays, but he stated the board’s responsibility is to render decisions based on the requirements of applications, however harsh.

            At Morton’s request, the board agreed to continue the case to February 9 at 6:40 pm.

            The next meeting of the Marion ZBA is scheduled for Thursday, February 9, at 6:30 pm at the Marion Police Station, also accessible via Zoom.

Marion Zoning Board of Appeals

By Mick Colageo

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