ZBA Hearings Cause Debate

With a fairly heavy agenda, the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals held their December 15 meeting at Old Hammondtown School.

One case experiencing some pushback from abutters came for Scott Boucher’s application for a special permit to operate a used car sales lot at the former Gail’s Goodies Bakery on Route 6. Boucher, a Mattapoisett resident, has been working his way through various boards in town for several months before finally advancing to the ZBA for a special permit.

Boucher explained that he operates an automobile repair shop in Acushnet and wants to use the Mattapoisett location for “higher end cars” and cars for young adults. He said that no repair work would take place in Mattapoisett and that hours of operation would be reasonable.

But even with those assurances, folks living on Reservation Road took exception.

A letter read into the minutes from Ken and Martha Schmidt, 6 Reservation Road, said that to allow the used car lot to operate in Mattapoisett would be tantamount to diminishing the quaintness of the community and that there were other towns where people could purchase cars.

Also objecting was Mary Kelleher, 4 Reservation Road, who echoed those sentiments in her presentation, in which she pointed out that the ZBA did not have to allow the special permit saying, “This is not in keeping with the character of the town…”

Boucher countered that a gas station was situated next door to the property in question, that the entire area was zoned general business, and that the lot would only be used to display cars without the visual noise of balloons or flagging.

The ZBA members saw no problem with the business plan as presented by Boucher and unanimously approved the special permit with the following restrictions: hours of operations set at Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday by appointment only; lighted signage will be turned off when business is closed; total number of units for sale may not exceed 12; and no repair service would be offered at the location.

Another case causing a bit of dialogue was a special permit sought by Mattacarm, LLC, 1 Macneill Drive, Southboro, for property located at Shawmut Road for construction of a two-story single-family home. The applicant was represented by David Davignon of N. Douglas Schneider & Associates.

Davignon gave a historical run down on the decades old sub-division plan for the Antassawamock coastal neighborhood including the fact that an earlier cottage had come down during the 1938 hurricane and was never re-built. He said that a study of housing units in the area showed that all lots were approximately 7,000 square feet and that the DEP had previously approved building on the lot in question with environmental remediation planned near the proposed home.

Nils Johnson of 23 Sagamore Road, an abutter to the Shawmut lot, objected to the location of the remediation, saying it might jeopardize the dry basement he currently has and asking why the remediation couldn’t take place on an adjacent lot also owned by the applicant.

ZBA member Mary Anne Brogan asked Davignon, “So you are creating wetlands in his backyard?” Davignon explained that, yes, a wetlands could be wet, but that it didn’t mean there would be standing water; simply that original soils would be exposed and wetland bushes and grasses would be introduced. He said that the remediation project would not change the water table.

“We aren’t bringing water in,” he told Brogan. He also pointed out that the house would only cover 17 percent of the lot size.

Brogan said, “But the ConCom didn’t approve this project.”

Chairman Susan Atkin replied, “That’s not our area.”

Brogan said, “But we should look at the whole picture.”

Andy Bobola, director of inspectional services, explained that the DEP allowed the building.

Brogan held fast, “It isn’t fair.” Bobola said the ZBA decision could be appealed if the abutters objected.

In the end, the other board members voted to grant the special permit with Brogan casting a negative vote.

In other business, Michael Finch received a special permit to store and sell firewood from his 112 Acushnet Road residence. Also, Main Street Realty Trust, William Cantor, 4 Prospect Road, received a special permit to construct a 496 square-foot addition to an existing home.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals will be scheduled for January 19 at 6:00 pm in the town hall conference room if there are any hearings.

By Marilou Newell


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