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Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes 06/28/2012

Zoning Board of Appeals
Middleton, MA
June 28, 2012

The Middleton Zoning Board of Appeals met at a regularly scheduled meeting
on June 28, 2012 at the Fuller Meadow School,
143 South Main Street, Middleton, Massachusetts at 7:00 PM.

The following board members were in attendance:
Clerk Anne Cote, and members Barbara Piselli, Craig Hartwell, Nicholas Yebba, and James Fox
and alternate members Jeff Garber and Robert Aldenberg

Others present:
Richard Bienvenue, Building Commissioner, Karen Matsubara, Recording Secretary

Clerk Anne Cote called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.  She announced that long time Chair Lynn Murphy had resigned from the Board to become Town Moderator and thanked her for her many years on the Board.

Zoning Board Reorganization
Anne Cote stated that the five permanent members, Nicolas Yebba, Barbara Piselli, Craig Hartwell, James Fox and Anne Cote would be voting.  She then called for nominations for Chair.

Nicholas Yebba nominated Barbara Piselli.  Anne Cote seconded the nomination of Barbara Piselli for Chair.

James Fox nominated Craig Hartwell.  No one seconded the nomination of Craig Hartwell for Chair.

Vote for Barbara Piselli:
Anne Cote-Yes, James Fox-No, Craig Hartwell-Yes, Barbara Piselli-Yes, and Nicholas Yebba-Yes
Vote 4-1 in favor of Barbara Piselli for Chair.

Anne Cote called for nominations for Clerk.

James Fox nominated Anne Cote.  Barbara Piselli seconded the nomination of Anne Cote for Clerk.

Vote for Anne Cote:
Nicholas Yebba-Yes, Barbara Piselli-Yes, Craig Hartwell-Yes, James Fox-Yes and Anne Cote-Yes
Vote 5-0 in favor of Anne Cote for Clerk.

11 River Street, Map 33, Lot 30-GRH Realty LLC-Minor Modification-Application #932
Attorney Jill Mann appeared on behalf of the applicant.  The site plan that has been in effect for the property is from 1977, a copy of which was provided to the Board along with a copy of the 1977 decision.  Attorney Mann reviewed the changes believed to be minor in nature and therefore not requiring a public hearing.  The changes include the conversion of the existing courtyard into interior space and the installation of two overhead garage doors with loading ramps to the back of the building.  Four parking spaces will be lost in that location as a result of the loading ramp additions, but will be added in another location by paint striping on the existing impervious area which is proposed to remain the same.  In response to a question from Ms. Piselli on the area of the courtyard, Attorney Mann stated that the courtyard is approximately 1,200 sq ft and the overall square footage of the building is 56,000 sq ft.  

MOTION: Made by Barbara Piselli to allow the petitioners request for a minor modification of the site plan and waive any requirements for a public hearing.  Motion seconded by Nicholas Yebba.  Vote: James Fox-Yes, Craig Hartwell-No, Anne Cote-Yes, Nicholas Yebba-Yes, and Barbara Piselli-Yes.  Vote 4-1 in favor, motion carried.

Chairperson Piselli welcomed Robert Aldenberg as an alternate member of the Board and James Fox as a permanent member of the Board.

37 Maple Street, Map 25, Lot 113-Dana and Pauline Caldwell-Appeal of Building Commissioner’s Decision-Application #928
(Hearing continued from 1/26/12, 2/23/12, 3/22/12, 4/26/12 and 5/24/12, Site Walk conducted on 1/29/12)
Clerk Anne Cote stated that there was no new correspondence for the petition.

Attorney John Keilty appeared on behalf of the petitioners, Dana and Pauline Caldwell.  He reviewed the history of the petition.  A cease and desist order dated November 9, 2011 was issued by the Building Commissioner on the use of the subject property as a multi-family dwelling.  The Caldwells purchased the property in 1982.  Members of Mrs. Caldwell’s family had lived in the home at various times since the 1960s.  Mrs. Caldwell maintained that at all times the home was a three family.  The Building Department did not have any permit records indicating whether the home was multi-family or single-family.  Continuances were requested in order to try to obtain additional information to pre-date 1955 zoning.  A copy of a 1943 mortgage from Danvers Savings Bank to Earl Jones references multiple boilers, heaters, refrigerators, etc. which would appear to support a multi-family dwelling.  Efforts were made to locate older records through the Polk Directories but were unsuccessful as the records are kept in an unmanned warehouse in Boston.

Craig Hartwell commented that while he appreciated Attorney Keilty’s efforts, he did not feel that there was any compelling evidence in support of the dwelling as a multi-family home in existence prior to 1955.

Ms. Piselli agreed with Mr. Hartwell’s comments.

Mr. Bienvenue reviewed the classification summary of the property provided by the Middleton Assessor.  Exhibits provided show data record cards indicating the property as a 2 family in 1960, a single family in 1976, a 2 family in 1980, 1982, & 1983 and in 1994 as a 4 unit dwelling.

Attorney Keilty asked if they had at least established that minimally it was a two-family.

Ms. Cote commented that the records provided mentioned the dwelling as a two-family more consistently.

Pauline Caldwell stated that there are many multi-family dwellings in the neighborhood including the large condo development across the street from her home.  She also commented that she and her husband have not changed the home since they purchased it in 1982.

Mr. Garber remarked that he had gone on the site visit and from his observations and the evidence provided he felt that the home was a multi-family prior to 1955.

In response to Mr. Fox’s question of other multi-family dwellings in the area, Mr. Bienvenue stated that he did not research whether other homes in the area were legally established multi-family dwellings.  Mr. Bienvenue also explained that he did not single out this property; a fire at the property triggered the investigation of the use of the home as a multi-family dwelling.

After additional review of the previously presented evidence and testimony, Chairperson Piselli called for a motion.

MOTION: Made by James Fox to uphold the Building Commissioner’s decision that the dwelling at 37 Maple Street is a single-family home.  Motion seconded by Craig Hartwell.  Vote: James Fox-Yes, Craig Hartwell-Yes, Anne Cote-Yes, Nicholas Yebba-Yes, and Barbara Piselli-Yes.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

Approval of Minutes-April 26, 2012
MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell to accept the meeting minutes of April 26, 2012 as written.  Motion seconded by Anne Cote.  Vote unanimously in favor, motion carried.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell to adjourn at 7:48 PM.