There are few buildings in the waterfront village neighborhood of Mattapoisett more iconic to the town’s past than the General Store situated at 10 Water Street. Although it cannot boast to be the oldest, the image of the structure has appeared in photographs from several centuries. But everything must change, even old buildings. Thus, as the needs of the current owners, Chris Demakis and Vince Cragin, have changed, they proposed changes to make the building better for modern living and commerce.
Seeking a Special Permit during the January 18 meeting of the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals, Demakis described their plans.
Stairs leading from the first floor to the second floor residential space are very steep, nearly ladder-like, Demakis said. He said their dog and visitors of all ages are finding the 11-inch spacing between the risers hard to scale. With this in mind, and a growing need for a bit more floor space in the first floor retail area, they requested a Special Permit. The permit would allow for a two-story addition measuring 10.6 feet by 16 feet on the eastside of the current structure.
“We’ll use the additional floor space in the store for coolers,” Demakis said, adding that those would be used for beer and wine products.
Demakis said that if the permit were approved, construction would take place during March at which time the store would be closed for the renovations.
Noting the fine job the partners have done on the building during their years of ownership, the ZBA members unanimously granted the request.
Also seeking a Special Permit for the construction of a new home located at 16 Cove Street was Donna McCaffery, represented by engineer Rich Charon.
Charon gave the ZBA members a history lesson on the vacant lot, explaining its complicated past from being part of a singular large parcel in the 1800s to becoming an unbuildable lot prior to public sewer extension into the beach community, and then to a buildable lot if older set-backs (those prior to 1973) were recognized by the ZBA now.
Charon said that through his research he was unable to find any time when the lot had been joined to another one situated across Cove Street, although the two lots had shared a common lot line.
Charon explained that in the 1920s a public right of way that still exists today was established; thus, the two lots – the leading characters in the deed story – could not be joined to make one larger lot.
McCaffery’s aunt had given her the lot in question and the other lot went to McCaffery’s cousin. Now with the availability of sewer, McCaffery sought to have the pre-1973 setbacks approved and build a new single family.
Charon said that the Conservation Commission had issued an Order of Conditions and that the Board of Health would allow the sewer tie-in upon approval of the Special Permit.
The ZBA members saw no problem with the project as presented, granting McCaffery a Special Permit.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals will be scheduled for February 15 at 6:00 pm in the town hall conference room if there are cases to be heard.
Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals
By Marilou Newell