ZBA Denies Special Permit

            On October 17, the Special Permit application filed by Robert Kirkland, 53 Main Street, appeared to be a rather routine application for a Special Permit to build a single stall garage; however, the public hearing resulted in the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals denying the request.

            Kirkland’s contractor, David Cabeceiras, explained that it was not really an application for the construction of a new single-stall garage, but instead a request to extend an existing shed by 25 feet. The extension would give Kirkland a place to put his new truck, especially during the winter. Cabeceiras said that given Kirkland’s advancing age and mobility issues, having the garage space would relieve the homeowner from having to clean snow off his truck.

            The existing structure is situated near a door to the residence, further granting Kirkland easy access to his truck.

            Cabeceiras noted that the application, if granted, would not make the shed structure or extension “less compliant.”

            But the plan brought out abutter Sarah Storer whose home is located in close proximity to Kirkland’s property.

            Storer said that Kirkland had not shared his plans with her prior to the filing, so she had not had time to discuss the matter outside the hearing. She said the extension as described would block sunlight from entering her kitchen.

            “The kitchen is the heart of our home,” Storer said, where her family spent all their time. She feared not only the blocking of sunlight through her kitchen windows, but a view that would now be the exterior wall of the garage. “Can’t we come up with an alternative?” she asked. Storer would ask for compromises several times during the hearing, while expressing her desire not to stop Kirkland from having a garage.

            ZBA members Mary Anne Borgan and Tony Tranfaglia reviewed the drawings and wondered if the garage could be placed somewhere else on the property, as ZBA member Colby Rottler wondered aloud if decreasing the length by five feet would work.

            Cabeceiras said that placing a garage somewhere else on the property would cost more than the plan he presented, but that he could “cut off five feet” of the extension. 

            ZBA member Kenneth Pacheco said, “He’s basically kind of handicapped… We have to weigh both sides.”

            Yet, Storer insisted that the shed extension would be detrimental to her family’s enjoyment of their kitchen and continued to ask for compromises.

            Tranfaglia suggested a continuance to give the two parties time to discuss matters privately and try to work out a plan that would satisfy both. He also said he was willing to make a site visit and help with that process if Kirkland would agree.

            But Cabeceiras said time was of the essence, given the coming winter season, prompting Brogan to respond, “You should have started sooner.”

            Andy Bobola, building inspector, asked the board to explain the ramifications of voting on the application versus continuing the hearing.

            After explaining that the denial of the Special Permit would mean that Kirkland could not return for two years, there was a silence; but he could file a Repetitive Petition with the Planning Board if he came up with a new plan.

            If the Planning Board agreed that the new plan was “substantially changed” from the original filing, Kirkland could return to the ZBA. Otherwise, it would be two years before the ZBA would entertain another filing.

            Kirkland, shook his head ‘no’ when asked if he wanted a continuance. The vote was called.

            Rottler voted to grant the Special Permit, contingent upon a 20-percent reduction in the extension, as requested. Akin and Pacheco also voted to approve. Brogan and Tranfaglia voted ‘no’. 

            There ensued some question as to whether or not the Special Permit had been approved with Akin asking, “So it passed, right?”

            Bobola said it had not, since it required at 4-1 vote to pass.

            As Storer left the meeting, she said to Kirkland, “I’m sorry, Bob.”

            Kirkland appeared stunned as he followed Cabeceiras out of the meeting room.

            The other hearing coming before the ZBA was for a Special Permit for the construction of a family-related apartment, filed by Craig and Julie Letourneau of 21 Driscoll Lane.

            After a brief description of the project, and with the stipulations that the addition be used solely by family members and that the Special Permit could not be conveyed to future new owners, the ZBA granted the Special Permit.

            The hearing for the Special Permit for the proposed construction of a solar array off Bowman Road filed by Next Grid Bowman of San Francisco, California was continued until November 21 at the applicant’s request

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for November 21 at 6:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room.

Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals

By Marilou Newell

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