Friday, August 13, 2010
Zoning Board of Appeals shorts, July 28
• Benfield project passes hurdle. According to Town Clerk Charlene Hinton, the ZBA’s decision on the Benfield senior housing project was not challenged during the 20-day appeal period, which ended August 5. However, the Conservation Commission’s Order of Conditions on the project is being appealed.
• 303 Russell Street. A special permit request for reconstruction of a pre-existing, non-conforming garage was granted after review of its revised project description, three schematic drawings, a recommendation letter from Stamsky and McNary and letter of support from the project’s neighbor at 304 Russell Street. The garage is partially in the setback zone. Regulations allow a 50% cap on the expansion of an existing structure, or up to 889 square feet for the structure’s footprint. The proposed structure is at 41% at 825 square feet. The location of the footprint is moving forward and reducing non-conformity on the side. The driveway will not have to move, but will lose three feet in depth by moving the building forward. The project is within the 50% cap and the new building is deemed to be not more detrimental to the neighborhood than the non-conforming building already in use.
• Maple Street sheep sheds approved. A request for a variance for the location of sheep sheds on Maple Street near Bedford Road, was granted with the conditions that the variance will be tied to the lease currently in effect and will contain language to the effect that if the lease is not renewed, the sheds must be demolished, that the sheds must be used for raising and keeping sheep only and that it is contingent upon the continuing existence of the present structures. The applicants presented an aerial map of the property, a YouTube video link, and “walked” the board through the property to show the constraints that would make it impractical to place the sheds anywhere else but where they are. The difficulties of siting the sheds elsewhere on the property include spring flooding and puddles, wetlands, violation of the original agreement made with the landlord, moving boulders, possible ledge, moving electricals, and creating more intrusion on the neighbors than already exists. The three sheds, one of which is a tool shed/office, are appropriate in size for 17 sheep, the present population. They encroach 13 feet on the setback from Maple Street, the reason for the variance request.
All 44+ acres of the property on which they sit, owned by members of the Woodward family, is under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 61A agricultural protection and therefore may be used for grazing and raising sheep. One abutter family cited their concerns with parking, noise, portable toilets and the proximity of strangers and strange dogs to their own property. However, the applicants have already agreed to discontinue all sheepdog-training events (except training their own dogs) and use the property merely to raise and graze sheep. All Board of Health regulations are being observed.
• Officers. The board elected new officers as follows: Kevin Smith, Chair; Kent Gonzales, Vice Chair; Ed Rolfe, Clerk. ∆
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