ZBA Gives Boost to Aging in Place

            The ZBA Marion Zoning Board of Appeals awarded special permits to two applicants for residential expansion during its May 13 meeting.

            In Case No. 784, the ZBA heard a special permit application from Nicole Gotthold, filed under Section 230-8.6 of the zoning bylaw to allow construction of a 900 square-foot apartment for her parents to live with her at her 39 Ryder Lane address. Gotthold wishes to expand on her space that occupies the width of two of three garages to the full width.

            ZBA Chair Cynthia Callow established Gotthold’s intention to continue living at the address per requirements and asked about parking. Gotthold said she has one vehicle, while her parents have two. There is a two-car garage on the property and a newly paved area that can accommodate three more. The property is hooked into town sewer.

            ZBA member Ed Hoffer reiterated his strong stance in favor of this type of housing use. “I think Marion is very short of places for older people, either couples or singles, to live, and I strongly encourage this kind of project,” he said.

            Alternate board member Dana Nilson asked Marion Building Commissioner Scott Shippey if the plan meets the requirements of the building code, and Shippey confirmed it to be the plan of record. “If she was doing some sitework (expanding the footprint of the existing structure), it would be another story,” explained Shippey.

            Hoffer pointed out that the bylaws allow for one accessory apartment not exceeding 1,200 square feet and not significantly altering the appearance.

            Nilson estimates that, as submitted, the apartment will result in 1,436 square feet. Gotthold acknowledged that a pool room will factor to that total square footage, but the apartment itself will not. She said that the abutters have been notified and have only shared positive responses.

            Will Tifft, who was recently upgraded by the Select Board to full-member status with the ZBA, asked if approval of the project would open the door to any further extensions. Shippey said any further extension would need to go through the same process.

            Admitting concern with expansion from five bedrooms on the site to six and the potential impact on sewer infiltration/inflow (I/I), Shippey noted that four bedrooms are allowed by right and recommended the Department of Public Works be petitioned for approval.

            The board voted to issue the special permit pending DPW approval.

            In a similar case (No. 785), Antoinette Russell and Louis Bailey of 63 Pleasant Street applied for a special permit under Section 230-6.1c of the zoning bylaw to allow a second-floor addition, expanding the volume of their non-conforming village house while not expanding the footprint.

            Representing the applicant, architect Will Saltonstall, a member of the Planning Board, explained that the village home has been around a long time and is not compliant with the side yard setback requirement. “As a result of that, in order to expand the house vertically, we understand from Mr. Shippey that we have to request a special permit to extend this existing, non-conformity. In other words, we’re not making it any closer to the property line, but we’re just extending the non-conformity vertically,” said Saltonstall.

            The proposed addition measuring 297 square feet will allow construction of what Saltonstall called a modest master bedroom and bath that will be connected to the second floor of the existing house. Construction will add a bathroom but will technically only expand a bedroom.

            The house is hooked into town sewer, and Saltonstall said the architectural style is consistent with structures in the village area.

            Dr. John A. Conway, an abutter, spoke in support of the project, saying it will make the home more attractive and more valuable.

            Shippey clarified that, once construction is complete, the former location of the bedroom cannot go back to functioning as a bedroom because it would violate the building code prohibiting a bedroom leading to a bedroom.

            In other business, Callow recognized former member Jim Ryba’s service to the ZBA with a letter sent from the Select Board.

            Shippey noted that former Town Counsel Barbara Carbone has accepted a job on Cape Cod serving another town as town counsel and town planner. Shippey said he would like to conduct more training sessions for Marion boards.

            The next meeting of the Marion ZBA is scheduled for Thursday, June 10, at 7:00 pm., at which time the Heron Cove development will be on the agenda.

Marion Zoning Board of Appeals

By Mick Colageo

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