2012-11-29 / News

Board approves plan for new Fairview garage

Owners restricted from building toilet in structure

A plan to tear down an old garage at 14 Fairview St. and replace it with a new building on roughly the same footprint can go forward, the Zoning Board of Review decided Tuesday. The only stipulation is that the property owners “deep-six” a toilet, which they had intended to install.

Duncan Pendlebury, the architect, told the Zoning Board of Review that he believed the owner, Wallace Hendry, would agree to the restriction.

The toilet drew objections from the panel over suspicions the property owners might someday convert the garage into an apartment. Pendlebury said that was not the plan and doubted there was suffi- cient space to create an apartment in the garage. Chairman Thomas Ginnerty disagreed and said the apartment did seem like a possibility and should not be allowed, especially because the building was to stand only 2 feet away from a neighbor’s lot line.

No one objected to the request for a dimensional variance. Ken Boyle, a contractor who worked on the house several years ago, spoke in favor of the application.

Boyle said he made renovations inside the house six years ago and noted the applicants were “very interested in keeping the historic element.” He anticipated the plan for the garage was comparable.

“They went the extra mile to make this historical and make it real nice,” Boyle said.

Pendlebury said the new building will match the old garage in depth. It will measure 35 feet, but will be 15 feet wide – 3 feet wider than the original garage – to accommodate the size of contemporary automobiles. The old garage is nonconforming due to its location 2 feet from the westerly lot line; 20 feet is the required setback.

“The building is shown on a 1921 town map as a barn garage,” Pendlebury said. He then enlightened the board to the history of the garage, saying that it has essentially been owned by the same family over its roughly 90-year history. The current applicant and the prior owners were all related. Pendlebury also referred to a 1945 photograph, showing the garage located 2 feet from the hedgerow dividing the applicant’s land from the adjoining property.

The hedgerow, he said, divides the two properties, and he pointed out the 1945 picture also shows the adjoining property’s garage, which has since been demolished. That building was situated 5 feet west of the hedgerow, according to Pendlebury.

However, Ginnerty argued the applicant had sufficient land to build a new garage to the east of the house and would not require any zoning relief to do so.

Pendlebury gave several reasons why the location to the east of the house was not ideal. Building a new garage there would interfere with “mature plantings.” A stone wall was also in the way, he said, plus he cited a “topographical issue” because the topography slopes away from the house. Pendlebury said that would complicate siting a new garage there.

Board member Richard Boren said he could go along with using the footprint of the old garage.

“The existing garage has been on the property close to 100 years,” he said, adding that using the current footprint and moving it into the property line by the 3 extra feet was acceptable. Boren wanted the applicant to keep the garage dormers, which “go with the house” architecturally. But he also objected to the toilet.

“I likewise have a problem with putting a toilet in a freestanding garage,” Boren said.

Ultimately, the zoning panel voted 4-1, with Ginnerty opposed, to grant the dimensional variance.

In other business, the Zoning Board granted a dimensional variance to allow Enrico and Tracy DiGregorio to reduce their side lot from 20 feet to 10 feet to accommodate a 12-by-44-foot swimming pool on the property at 80 Orient Ave.

The vote was 4-1 with Ginnerty opposed.

Enrico DiGregorio said the pool was for his children, and he was forced to locate it in the side yard because the back yard was in a coastal-buffer zone. DiGregorio said he would not be able to obtain permission from the Coastal Resources Management Council to build a swimming pool, and so he was applying for a zoning variance instead. He also said the adjoining lot was “unbuildable.”

Ginnerty asked for evidence to prove the lot was unbuildable. Otherwise, he didn’t think it was fair to place a swimming pool 10 feet away from a neighbor’s property line. Nobody wants a pool close to their property line, he said, due to the noise.

DiGregorio said he couldn’t supply any proof the lot was unbuildable. Ginnerty offered to grant a continuance, but DiGregorio’s lawyer, Peter Petrarca, said he believed the applicant had met the standard and he did not want a continuance.

None of his neighbors objected to the variance, DiGregorio also pointed out.

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