The Marion Zoning Board of Appeals on June 7 went ahead and approved a garage the same night it closed the public hearing, which is something out of the ordinary for this particular ZBA.
Instead of closing the public hearing and taking the matter under advisement for at least two weeks as it usually does, the board granted the Special Permit to Richard Lucas of 6 Allen Street for the construction of a two-car garage to be constructed after a smaller, older garage has been demolished.
The proposed project did not expand upon the existing non-conformity of the footprint of the existing garage, as explained by architect Will Saltonstall.
Saltonstall, a member of the Marion Planning Board, said the Planning Board recently noted in a letter regarding the project that, during discussion (of which Saltonstall said he recused himself), the board concluded that the project would need to undergo Minor Site Plan Review with the Planning Board.
“The Planning Board response is incorrect I believe,” said Saltonstall. After further discussion, Saltonstall said, they determined that Site Plan Review does not apply to residential structures. “They realized their mistake but was too late to change their letter,” said Saltonstall.
The board deemed the proposed garage to be no more detrimental to the neighborhood than the garage that already stands.
Also during the meeting, the ZBA did close the public hearing for Augusta Rosenthal of 8 Quelle Lane, but after some discussion after the applicant left, decided it would take the matter under advisement so the board could consult with the building inspector.
Rosenthal proposes building a deck addition to the existing small cottage, but the board was unable to ascertain whether an existing garage in front of the house would account in any way towards the non-conformity of the house to which the deck is proposed.
The board was hesitant to take any vote on the matter, although after three meetings when the board had to continue Rosenthal’s public hearing due to a lack of quorum, Chairman Marc LeBlanc implied that the board would be as expedient as possible in rendering its decision.
Engineer Doug Schneider had explained that there was no plan to expand upon the house per se, simply allow for an addition of a deck.
“The only concern I don’t like is how close it is to the lot line on the other side,” remarked LeBlanc after the public hearing was closed and Schneider and Rosenthal had left.
LeBlanc and board members Betsy Dunn and Kate Mahoney questioned how the garage might affect the non-conformity of the house, and Dunn said she preferred to hear from Building Inspector Scott Shippey before rendering a decision.
The board wanted to know if it is the garage that makes the actual house non-conforming, or whether the house’s own non-conformity stands alone.
The board decided to hold a special meeting the next week on Thursday, June 15, at 5:30 pm in the Marion Town House to address the Rosenthal application only.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Marion Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for July 13 at 7:30 pm at the Marion Town House.
Marion Zoning Board of Appeals
By Jean Perry