ZBA Denies North Street Variance

            Applicants Deborah Smiley and Sam Ogle, 13 North Street, pled their case before the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals for a Variance to reconfigure an existing driveway for safety reasons. The strongest argument they made during the ZBA’s November 19 meeting was that they wish to age in place and can no longer easily and safely navigate backing out of their driveway onto busy North Street.

            Several times throughout his presentation of the proposed project, which included changes to the driveway and a new garage only 15 feet from the rear setback, architect Steve Kelleher noted his clients’ ages as the primary reason changes were necessary. He said the garage’s second floor would be a studio and that the plan includes a first-floor master bedroom suite. But the fly in the ointment through the 45-minute hearing was the location of the garage that one ZBA member said was a self-induced hardship.

            Board members questioned why the applicant didn’t merely change the driveway configuration, which is possible without a Variance or Special Permit. That point brought the discussion back to the garage. Kelleher said that, too, was necessary due to the age of the applicants.

            Chairman Sue Akin commented, “To me, this isn’t a hardship.” ZBA member Mary Anne Brogan said, “They can drive around the home,” and further, “Building a garage, asking for a Variance, this isn’t a hardship.” Another member, Tony Tranfaglia, noted that backing onto North Street and the busy traffic experienced during the summer season were “an inherent part of living in the village.”

            Speaking for himself and his wife, Ogle said, “The hardship is because we are growing old and can’t back out of the driveway.” He said that safety should be a compelling reason to grant the Variance.

            ZBA member Colby Rottler approved of the project as presented, saying, “It makes sense, and it fits in the neighborhood.”

            In the end, the ZBA denied the Variance application, with Rottler voting to approve it. During a follow-up, Director of Inspectional Services Andy Bobola said the applicant would have to substantially change the plans and go before the Planning Board, where a favorable site plan review might be achieved.

            A proposal to construct a new home on an existing foundation in a flood zone posed more questions than answers when the Special Permit application filed by Stephen Goulston for property located at 27 Nashawena Road was opened.

            Representing the applicant was Danial Perry, who briefly explained the scope of the project, which included a finished home that would require bringing in fill to ensure the foundation height meets FEMA regulations.

            Representing several abutters was David Davignon of Schneider, Davignon, & Leone. He stated that, while the neighbors favored having the lot developed, they also wanted to ensure it meets all the construction requirements for a flood zone. Davignon noted two significant areas of concern. First was a concern about stormwater runoff, given that the area roadways already flood during heavy rain and that drainage is basically non-existent in the beach community. He said a simple solution of diverting roof runoff underground would be needed. Davignon said the second concern was whether the calculations for the elevated home’s finished height would meet the 35-foot bylaw requirement. He told the board, “There isn’t enough detail here for you to make a decision tonight.”

            The hearing was continued until the January meeting of the ZBA to give Davignon and the applicant’s engineer sufficient time to review the engineering.

            In other business, John and Tricia O’Reilly, 6 Pearl Street, received a Special Permit for renovation and additions to an existing home.

            Kathleen and William Sylvia, 41 Cove Street, also received a Special Permit to demolish the existing home and build a FEMA-compliant, single-family dwelling, which included accepting an overall building height of 38 feet.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals will be scheduled for January, the date and time TBA.

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