In a 4-1 vote during its April 22 meeting, the Marion Zoning Board of Appeals granted a special permit to Lars and Patricia McKim, who filed as the Eight Kabeyun Road Nominee Trust in the public hearing for the demolition of a single-family home and construction of a replacement on almost the same footprint.
The permit granted under bylaw Sections 230.6.1a and 230.6.1c would not have come before the board had the owners wished to rebuild in the middle of their 9,292 square-foot lot. Wishing to maintain their larger side yard to the west rendered the lot still, albeit though less, nonconforming.
Citing what he and member Will Tifft considered an unnecessary positioning of the new house so that it will sit substantially closer to the abutting Dion residence than is desired, member Jim Ryba issued the dissenting vote.
Member Ed Hoffer’s motion for approval came with the proviso that there be no change in the grade so that storm runoff would not flow into the neighboring property.
Given the vast amount of deliberation and commentary from David Dion, whose mother lives on the abutting property, ZBA Chairperson Cynthia Callow considered recommending a continuance but thought it better to conclude the case because ZBA membership is down and a quorum is not guaranteed in future meetings.
Represented by Dave Davignon of Schneider, Davignon, & Leone, Inc., the McKims own a unique lot that was created as two lots in 1926 with a house built on one of those lots in 1939. Regardless of where on the combined lot the new house is built, it will fall within two zoning districts as the lot is divided down the middle by Residence A and B zones. The present house is mostly in Residence A.
The new house will measure 2,230 square feet, 1,186 of which is on the first floor and 1,042 on the second floor. Building Commissioner Scott Shippey noted that the addition of bedrooms requires that the McKims apply for an increase in sewer.
According to Davignon, the project will not create any new nonconformities but will improve the nonconforming setback on the east sideline. The other three setbacks will meet the bylaw for Residence A.
Dion’s objection was primarily related to the proposed height of the new house with its second floor. “So, we will essentially be looking into each other’s bedrooms and things like that,” he said.
Davignon said his map showed substantial trees screening those views.
Donna Hemphill, 6 Wianno Road, also a town employee, commented as an abutter who lives within 300 feet of the project. “I’m in support,” she said, calling the McKims “friends” and “wonderful neighbors.”
Shippey said the plan meets the setback requirements for Residence A, 10 feet to the sides and rear, and the average frontage allowed by the bylaw.
Tifft asked what is to stop another owner from adding to the house toward the west and creating more mass. Shippey said it still would have to stay within the 40-percent rule for lot coverage (the project will cover less than 33 percent).
Along with the ZBA’s quest to bring Tifft to full membership, potential new members Danielle Engwert and Dana Nilson are being considered. Nilson appeared before the ZBA at the April 22 meeting.
A Tabor Academy graduate who sailed to campus as a teen, the 60-year-old is a lifelong Marion resident and runs a small business dealing in modular homes. Hoffer asked Nilson if he anticipates situations in conflict as a builder. “I do have projects in Marion on occasion, none presently…. I would have to recuse myself,” Nilson said.
Member Margie Baldwin described the ZBA’s limited role. “We don’t have much leeway as far as interpretation. Really, it’s about special permits and variances…. We don’t have discretionary powers,” she said, asking if Nilson hopes to influence the board. “This is a very careful, deliberative board that has to look at tricky situations – sometimes we ask for Town Counsel.”
Nilson said he understands the ZBA’s role. “I’m not looking to stretch the bylaws and find loopholes. It’s a matter of following the regulations and making sure that we do that,” he said.
On May 18, the Board of Selectmen are scheduled to take up the matter of ZBA membership. Callow said she will ask them to move it up to May 4.
Baldwin noted that her brother’s project is on the ZBA’s May 13 agenda and will recuse herself from participation.
The next meeting of the Marion ZBA is scheduled for Thursday, May 13, at 6:30 pm.
Marion Zoning Board of Appeals
By Mick Colageo