ZBA Mourns Loss of Member David Bramley

            Members of the Marion Zoning Board of Appeals were shocked and saddened to learn that member David Bramley had passed away on September 2 at age 72.

            Chairperson Christina Frangos made a statement on behalf of the ZBA at the board’s September 10 Zoom meeting: “We’re saddened by his passing. I only knew David for the year or so that I’ve been on the board, but he was certainly very engaged, asked helpful, really probing questions, and really had the town’s best interests at heart at all times. He really was a wonderful member of this board and we’re going to miss him. I want to thank him publicly for his service and tell his family that we’re keeping them in our thoughts and prayers.”

            Originally from Woburn, Bramley was a graduate of Tufts University (1969) with an MBA from Babson College. According to his LinkedIn page, he most recently worked as a senior environmental engineer at Green Seal Environmental Inc. based in Sagamore Beach. Bramley was scheduled to serve until June 30, 2023.

            On a more positive note, Marion Building Commissioner/Zoning Officer Scott Shippey announced the birth of his granddaughter Harlow. “We wear our masks when we hold her and are all washed up,” he said of his visits to Plymouth, where Harlow lives.

            On another positive note, Jim Ryba made his first appearance as a member of the ZBA. Ryba, originally from the area, worked in law enforcement and lived in New Hampshire until retirement and his return to Marion. Ed Hoffer, the chairperson of the Marion Board of Health, was also approved by the Board of Selectmen to join the ZBA, but had yet to be sworn in as of the September 10 meeting and did not attend.

            Frangos said the ZBA would like Town Counsel to provide new members with a summary document to be a handy reference for common practice and procedural questions. Shippey assured Frangos that the effort is underway.

            Three cases were on the September 10 agenda, two of which were heard and both presented by engineer David Davignon from Schneider, Davignon & Leone on behalf of the applicants.

            In Case #778, applicants Patrick Fischoeder and Allison M. O’Neil sought a Special Permit to replace a home previously destroyed by fire with a new single-family dwelling at 498B Point Road. The property boarders Blankenship Cove to the west and residential properties in other directions. The former house and a cottage on the property have been demolished.

            The new structure will measure 35 feet high, and coverage of the lot will shrink from 4.4 percent to 3.2 percent. “We cannot meet the current zoning setbacks, but we can improve on the historical, non-complying setbacks,” said Davignon. “In a nutshell, we’re requesting a Special Permit to reconstruct a non-conforming structure to replace a non-conforming structure” outside the flood zone.

            Frangos cited the fact that the Board of Health had already approved the septic design on July 21 and offered no objection to granting the Special Permit.

            The new construction would sit slightly seaward of the former footprint, but remains a non-consequential 356 feet inland while being farther away from the property lines than the old structure.

            Shippey introduced 230.61G Catastrophe Bylaw 2 (house destroyed by fire), and relative to that bylaw Frangos noted that the proposal is well within the 24-month limit. “I don’t see any additional detriment to the town. Clearly, it’s in nobody’s interests to have a burned-down structure sitting there,” she said.

            The members agreed.

            When public comment was invited and none given, the applicant said the neighbors have been informed.

            “The site already looks better than when the fire hit,” said board member Cynthia Callow. “They have a lovely landscaping plan … It has already improved the neighborhood, I would say.”

            The ZBA voted to close the public hearing and voted to approve the Special Permit to the applicants.

            In Case #779, applicant Thomas C. Webster requested a Special Permit to tear down a 1930 house located at 34 Oakdale Avenue and construct a new, single-family dwelling that would bring the home into floodplain compliance. 

            “The proposal before you will improve existing conditions,” said Davignon, noting that the Marion Conservation Commission approved the project during its September 2 meeting.

            The old cottage falls within a flood zone on a lot 45 feet wide and is vertically non-compliant by 6 feet, according to Davignon, who plans to replace it with a two-story, 264 square-foot cottage with a drive-under garage and will connect to town sewer.

            The building will be 34.5 feet high, and the first floor will be raised 8 feet higher than the former house. Davignon said his company worked on a similar design just down the hill from the one proposed at 34 Oakdale Avenue.

            An abutter, Jim Crabtree, a 51-year resident, offered no objection to Davignon’s plan. Davignon said the new home will be in line with two other homes but its 34.5-foot height will block no neighbor’s view toward the water. Frangos noted that there is no Marion bylaw preventing the blocking of a neighbor’s view.

            “Mattapoisett has a flurry of neighborhoods. Unfortunately, it does happen that a neighbor builds up where it blocks a view, but the neighbor has no rights to that view,” said Davignon.

            The ZBA voted to close the public hearing, and then voted to award the Special Permit.

            Heron Cove LLC on Wareham Road requested to continue Case #775, and the ZBA continued the case to September 24 at 6:30 pm.

            The next meeting of the Marion Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled for Thursday, September 24.

Marion Zoning Board of Appeals

By Mick Colageo

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