Friday, May 13, 2005
Board of Appeals supports old barns
Preserving the old barns in town was the theme at the May 5 meeting of the Board of Appeals (BOA). Instead of their traditional approach to granting special permits — giving a permit for a very limited time period — the board granted two permits, under the Distinctive Structures bylaw, for unusually long times. One permit was extended for an additional ten years, and another granted for five years on projects that involve old historic barns, both on Bedford Road. Acknowledging the need for rethinking their usual approach, board member Terry Herndon said, "The economics of renovations have changed, and lenders need a longer termThe town wants to keep big barns to maintain the rural character of the town."
Bedford Road barns
The board granted a ten-year special permit to John Kyprianos to carry out extensive renovation of his barns at 549 Bedford Road. Kyprianos operates the Carlisle Antique Shop, and in an effort to refurbish both barns on his property, heat them, and expand his business, Kyprianos told the board that he requires bank financing. "We need to show the bank we have a sensible plan for this business."
Kyprianos has been operating the business for eight years from the same spot. He has support from his neighbors, and the board Chair Cindy Nock commented on how much better the property looked. Kyprianos said, "I hope I have shown a commitment to the propertyI haven't turned it into a modern structure," and he went on to tell the board that he has no intent to run a flea market. "I don't want a circus therethis is my home too."
Although board member Hal Sauer was concerned about granting a permit for such a long period of time, in the end there was general agreement that banks now required a longer time commitment before they give loans, and the hope is that, "These barns will be used for years to come."
The other barn special permit was a request by Francene Amari-Faulkner who was granted a special permit two years ago under the "distinctive structure" bylaw to renovate her barn on Bedford Road, at the corner of East Street, turning the interior into rentable space. She told the board that she would need another five years before she could realize the project. She said, "I intend to do the projectbut it will take me longer to execute." She also told the board that there was an issue of financing. The bank was concerned that the Board of Appeals had given her only a two-year permit, but she was applying for a twenty-year note.
Amari-Faulkner told the board that in her opinion the Distinctive Structure bylaws had major flaws. She said that she had been required by the Selectmen to go through a site plan, involve the planning board, and had spent a considerable amount of time and money already. "It asks people to preserve the rural landscape, but the process doesn't help people preserve these barns before they disappear." She said that the barn is a 215-year-old English barn, and the center would be changed without it. "I feel a responsibility to take care of it."
The board granted the five-year extension, with Chair Nock commenting, "With the distinctive structure and the spirit of the bylaws, we should listen to issues about maintaining these barns, leaning toward being helpful."
43 Rockland Road
Geoffrey Freeman of 43 Rockland Road asked for a special permit to renovate and add a second story to a small existing house on Rockland Road, near his present property. It requires a special permit, because the house is on only 0.8 acres of land, a non-conforming lot. Freeman, an architect himself, told the board the addition would be less than 50% of the original size of the house, which is a condition that the board requires, adding 900 square feet, to a house of approximately 2,000 square feet.
Asked by the board whether the house would be sold or rented once finished, Freeman said he had not decided, but his aim seemed to be the preservation of the site, commenting, "Rockland Road is a lovely road."
Laurel Hollow 40B
There was an update on the 40B development on Lowell Street, now also known as Rocky Road. Last month the board was asked to approve some changes to the development that involved downsizing the affordable housing units. The board could vote for these changes if they were deemed insignificant, without formally opening a hearing on the development. At the time, everyone seemed agreeable to the changes because they involved making building four a bit smaller, and pulling the unit away from a concerned abutter.
However, before voting, board member Shann Kerner raised an old issue: if the two affordable units were made smaller, would their condominium voting rights be reduced? She thought that in these situations voting rights were related to square-footage of ownership. The board put off making a decision last month until they could consult Town Counsel. Hal Sauer reported that Town Counsel confirmed that in Massachusetts voting rights are dependent on square footage, but that the small differences here would be inconsequential.
The board decided to consider this a non-substantial change, and agreed to the size change, favoring the conditions that would help the abutters.
© 2005 The