ZBA Supports Spring Street Project

            Marion Zoning Board of Appeals Chair Cynthia Callow told the membership during its June 10 Zoom meeting that the town’s Planning Board requested comments from the ZBA regarding the residential townhouse development that Sherman Briggs and Hamblin Homes are proposing for Spring Street at Mill Street. The case will come before the Planning Board at its Monday, June 21 meeting.

            Briggs recently withdrew his preexisting application without prejudice for the express purpose of allowing the Planning Board’s changing membership the full opportunity to participate in what had been a long vetting process. Now, the board’s full representation can start from square one.

            As for Planning’s request for comment, ZBA member Ed Hoffer said he would avoid areas outside his expertise, but he took the opportunity to reassert his belief about the timing of the project.

            “Based on the survey we did a year and a half or so ago, this is a real need for the Town of Marion,” said Hoffer, who also serves on the Board of Health. “We have an enormous vacuum when it comes to smaller housing suitable for older couples, widows, widowers, who have houses that are too big, don’t want to leave town, and have no good alternatives. So, I think in principle, having a development like this is a wonderful idea and I hope the details can be worked out and I would strongly support it.”

            ZBA member Dana Nilson sought clarification on the 24-hour window between receiving the Planning Board’s request and the ZBA’s June 10 meeting. Board Administrator Anne Marie Tobia explained that such requests are added to the next meeting agenda when they are received, but she also anticipates that the ZBA would know about projects with substantial concerns ahead of such a request.

            ZBA member Margie Baldwin and alternate member Danielle Engwert doubled down on Hoffer’s comments.

            The ZBA opened a continued public hearing only to continue the Heron Cove Estates c/o Steen Realty & Development Corporation development per the applicant’s request. The 40B housing project planned for the south side of Wareham Street (Route 6) on a Local Initiative Program (LIP) application and endorsed by the Marion Select Board was continued by ZBA vote to the board’s August 12 meeting at 6:30 pm.

            Tobia clarified at the bequest of Baldwin that the continuances in the Heron Cove case do not pose complications for the rapidly changing ZBA membership. “It’s not an issue because what they’re doing is they’re putting a bookmark in,” said Tobia. “They want to save that space, but they know that it’s a new board but it’s also a new case because it involves two extra lots now.”

            New alternate member Tucker Burr was welcomed by the board, and Callow clarified that Nilson is a full board member.

            Callow pointed out two Open Meeting Law considerations to the membership, one involving replying all as opposed to replying to an email from Tobia, and in social gatherings when ZBA matters must be avoided when three or members are present.

            The Marion ZBA will next meet on Thursday, June 24, via Zoom (provided the state legislature signs the anticipated extension allowing remote-access public meetings to September 1) and will return to an in-person meeting format on Thursday, August 12, at the Town House.

Marion Zoning Board of Appeals

By Mick Colageo

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