Zoning approves special-use permit
The Zoning Board of Review at its Tuesday meeting unanimously voted to approve the application of Eric Bell of Wakefield for a special-use permit to build a threebedroom home on a 7,200-squarefoot lot on Spindrift Street in Jamestown Shores.
Soil testing results on the Spindrift Street property made it subject to requirements under subdistrict A of the high groundwater ordinance. Any proposed development of a subdistrict-A property triggers Planning Commission review and Zoning Board approval of a special-use permit. The lots seasonal high groundwater table, at 24 inches, registered at the subdistrict B level.
The Planning Commission, at its April 18 meeting, voted recommendation of Zoning Board approval of the Bell application.
Civil engineer Jeffrey Hanson, who prepared the site plan and designed the septic system for the property, told the board that the planned Advantex sewage-disposal system and bottomless-filterleach field was the best technology available for this application. He also indicated that the home would have a slab foundation and that the grade of the existing property would not be changed.
Bell told the board that his purchase and sale agreement for the property, currently owned by Charles Barber, was contingent on Zoning Board approval of the special-use permit.
Spindrift Street resident and abutter Donna Cote spoke in opposition of the project.
“For over 35 years, my husband and I have lived at 82 Spindrift St., which abuts this property,” she read from her letter to the board. “When a new house went up behind us, our yard sustained such runoff during an especially rainy period that we repeatedly had to have our well-maintained septic system pumped at great financial cost. About five years ago, a new house, built by a spec builder, went up directly across the street from us. It was granted a variance, yet, even with all the special requirements met, at least twice a year during heavy rains I watch a pond develop.”
She asked if any variances are ever denied.
Before a final vote was taken, board member David Nardolillo asked Fred Brown, building and zoning official, what recourse homeowners have when flooding problems develop.
“It was brought up in this letter in opposition, once the contractor sells the house and walks away, and say a [flooding] problem comes up later, there’s no way to go back to the contractor. It becomes the responsibility of the homeowner to correct the problem.”
Brown contended that it is homes with basements and sump pumps running continually that contribute to the flooding. He noted that this home will have no basement and will have a state-of-the-art stormwater control system, which any future owners of the property will be required to maintain.
Brown said that Justin Jobin, the town’s environmental scientist, is checking on the systems to ensure that they are maintained and not overgrown or dismantled.
“From my knowledge, the hous- es that are being built today are appropriate to the size of the lot and they have a standard which exceeds the state, and perhaps one of the highest in the state,” said Brown.
The board, in its decision, noted the Planning Commission’s recommendation for approval and that the town engineer had reviewed the project’s specifications for groundwater control.
Board member Richard Allphin says the applicant met all of the town’s requirements. He said that unless someone can challenge the engineering, there is no grounds for denial. “It’s been approved by the town engineer. It’s been approved by the state. Planning has recommended that we approve it. From a zoning standpoint, I don’t see any basis we have to not approve it.”
In other action, the Zoning Board heard the application of Evelyn Hannigan of 24 Pierce Ave. for a variance to construct a 114-by-8-foot screened porch 17 1/2 feet from the property’s rear lot line when 30 feet is required. Hannigan told the board a deck which sat 19 feet from the property line was torn down in May and she wanted to build the porch.
Paulette Spardelle, who also resides at 24 Pierce Ave., spoke in support of the project. “I’ve been coming to Jamestown since I was 5 years old,” she said. “We have a big family. It would be wonderful if you say ‘yeah.’”
The Zoning Board did, with the condition that the porch could not be enclosed as living space in the future.