As hot as it was last July 20 when Verizon’s construction manager, John Dement, and architect, Dan Ollila of Jones Architecture, came seeking a Special Permit for equipment upgrades to property located at 32 Mechanic Street, on December 21 it was equally as cool. As winter’s grip began to take hold on the area, members of the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals would again hear Verizon’s plans and whether or not abutters’ concerns had been taken into consideration.
Abutters during the July hearing had bitterly complained to the ZBA that Verizon was not a good neighbor and had for decades not only neglected the property’s landscape needs, but had also neglected the needs of the residents living in close proximity.
Neighbors said that exterior lighting shone into bedroom windows and that Verizon didn’t have a valid contact number when problems occurred at the site. Furthermore, air conditioning units assaulted the nighttime ambient atmosphere making restful sleep impossible.
The July plan to upgrade air conditioning units as outlined by Ollila failed to assuage the residents concerns that “obnoxious” nuisances created by motors would be abated by new equipment planned for the structure.
At that July hearing, long-time board member Paul Millott, who for many years had heard all manners of appeal requests, said, “We seem to be at an impasse.” He said one option for the applicant would be to withdraw the application without prejudice, go back to the drawing board, and return with options.
Dement, though clearly not pleased by the tone of the board, followed Millott’s suggestion.
As Ollila explained the plan modifications now being offered by Verizon – modifications that included the installation of buffering panels for noise mitigation, landscape maintenance, contact information for emergency situations, and exterior lighting changes – abutters were ready to remove the coal from Dement’s stocking.
When asked by the abutters if promises made now would be in writing, he responded quietly, “Yes.”
The Special Permit was granted with the stipulation that all concerns as noted would be addressed.
Also receiving a Special Permit was Dos Amigos, LLC for property located at 53 and 59 Dupont Drive for the construction of a single-family home on two adjoining lots. Represented by John Churchill, Jr. of J.C. Engineering, the developer plans to join the two lots and build the single structure; however, a Special Permit was still needed since the total square footage of the two lots combined did not meet current zoning bylaws.
The board unanimously approved the plan as proposed, noting that it fit in with the neighborhood with an approximate 10% lot coverage.
A third hearing for an ownership name change for 51 County Road, the 7-Eleven, was continued when the applicant failed to have a representative in attendance.
After closing the meeting, Chairman Sue Akin read a letter the board had received in October from Paul Millott who was regretfully resigning from the ZBA. She said that shortly after receiving the letter, Millott passed away unexpectedly. All in attendance paused for a moment of silence in remembrance of Millott and his many years of dedicated service to the community.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals is tentatively scheduled for January 18 at 6:00 pm in the town hall conference room.
Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals
By Marilou Newell