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Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes 08/23/2012
Zoning Board of Appeals
Middleton, MA
August 23, 2012

The Middleton Zoning Board of Appeals met at a regularly scheduled meeting
on August 23, 2012 at the Fuller Meadow School,
143 South Main Street, Middleton, Massachusetts at 7:00 PM.

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

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

Chairperson, Barbara Piselli called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.

49 Village Road, Map 21, Lot 15-Ferncroft Townhouse Development LLC- Request for Modification of Age Restriction Condition
Jeff Garber recused himself.

Chairperson Piselli stated that the petition had been continued from July 26, 2012 and announced the voting members-James Fox, Craig Hartwell, Robert Aldenberg, Anne Cote and Barbara Piselli.

Anne Cote read correspondence from abutter Mr. Hinchey dated July 30, 2012 (letter on file.)

The developer of the project, Dana Lopez presented the following information to the Board: a signed petition from the current residents of the development in support of petition, the listings and brochures of the property from 2008, and a demographic analysis of similar projects which are not age restricted showing the average age of the residents range from 58 to 61 at three different developments in Town.

Edward O’Leary a resident of the Villas at Ironwood spoke in favor of the petition.

Mr. Aldenberg commented that he had gone by the development and was appalled at the condition of the site.  He revisited the site today and noticed a marked improvement.  Ms. Piselli and Ms. Cote had also visited the site and agreed that there was a big improvement.

Chairperson Piselli called a five-minute recess; back on record at 7:31 pm.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell that the Board make a finding that the relief requested is unique and distinguishable to this property for reasons including but not limited to its location in the I-H Zoning District, the fact that the age restriction condition that was imposed was ordered by the Zoning Board in 2006 and that the nature of the age restriction was agreed to without any corresponding zoning relief, including financial incentives or bonus units.  Motion seconded by Anne Cote.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell that the Board approve the modification to the 2009 ZBA decision which allowed a change to the restriction to be 80% age restricted and 20% non-age restricted to now be 100% non-age restricted.  Barbara Piselli noted that the Board has a petition signed by the current residents indicating that they are in agreement with the petition to lift the age restriction and the Master Deed and all Condo Documents will be amended to reflect the change.  Motion seconded by Robert Aldenberg.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

30 Logbridge Road, Map 33, Lots 41 & 41B-North Shore Vocational/Technical High School-Determination of Modification to previously approved Site Plan

John Locke, Transportation Manager presented the requested modification.  The North Shore Tech and Essex Aggie will be merging when the new construction is complete and the transportation departments are merging next week.  Site plan changes are needed to accommodate the storage/parking of the ten additional buses as shown on the plan.

Mr. Bienvenue gave a brief explanation of the changes to the current parking plan.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell that the requested modifications to the previously approved site plan are minor in nature and do not require a public hearing by the Board.  Motion seconded by Robert Aldenberg.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

10 Village Road, Map 20, Lot 23, Map 21, Lot 16 and Map14, Lots 46 & 51-Ferncroft Holdings LLC & Knoll Holdings LLC-Special Permit Modification-Application #935
Jeff Garber is recused from the hearing.

Clerk Anne Cote read the legal notice and confirmed that the abutters had been notified.

Chairperson Piselli announced that the voting members for the petition-Craig Hartwell, Robert Aldenberg, James Fox, Anne Cote and Barbara Piselli.

Attorney Jill Mann appeared on behalf of the petitioners.  She explained that there is an eight acre parcel of land that is unused and proposed to be removed from the existing Special Permit.  The aerial photo presented as part of the application package best shows the location of the parcel which is between the tennis courts and new town homes.  There is an old maintenance building on the parcel that will be relocated on the Topsfield side of the golf course.  The property did go before the Planning Board and received approval of an ANR to subdivide the parcel from the rest of the golf course but the parcel does still remain subject to the Special Permit.  Attorney Mann reviewed the original Special Permits issued in 1967 which granted permission for the country club and operation of a function facility, outdoor pool and tennis courts.  Those operations granted under the special permit will not be affected by the removal of the eight acre parcel.  The front area will be cleaned of the materials used for maintenance of the golf course.  The proposed redevelopment of the property will be residential which is the underlying residential use and is consonant with the surrounding area.  The development would be for, at most, an eight lot subdivision and would have to go before the Planning Board for approval.  

Scott Downs of Locust Street stated that while on the surface the proposal appears to have little impact, it is changing a project that has kept open space since 1967.  He felt that by allowing the exclusion of the eight acres it would have a domino effect and set precedent.  In 2004 another corporation had tried to develop the area but was unsuccessful and did not pursue the development.  Mr. Downs expressed concern about the overburdening of the school system due to the lifting of the age restriction of the Village Estates development and the multiple new subdivisions currently being developed in Town.  Other areas of concern included area density, wetlands, septic needs, and adequate infrastructure.

Robert Champaign of 14 Locust Street spoke in opposition of the proposal mainly on principal.  He felt that granting the modification would have a severe impact on the neighborhood.

Ira Krakow, of 36 Village Road and Treasurer of the Board of Trustees for Ironwood, was also opposed to the proposal.  His main concern was that there was no proposal for the future development of the eight acres.  He mentioned problems the Ironwood homes are having with the sewer system that many of the homes in the area are connected to.

Attorney Mann explained that the stress on the sewer system has been found to be caused by faulty elbow connections; the amount of flow is not the issue.  She further explained that there are no deed restrictions on the subject property and no open space limitation.  In order to develop the eight acre parcel, a proposal would have to be submitted and go through a litany of review.  All that is being sought this evening is a finding that removal of the eight acres will not otherwise impact the special permit that was granted to operate the private golf course and allow the modification of the special permit.  Attorney Mann added that the underlying zoning for the entire 289 acre golf course is residential.

Robert Aldenberg commented that the golf course is not part of the I-H district; it is R-1b zoning.  The owner’s could eliminate the golf course and develop the entire parcel for residences if they wished.

Craig Hartwell explained that the 1967 special permit allowed the property owners to develop the golf course on the property which they would not have not been able to otherwise because it is residentially zoned.  Removal of the eight acres from that special permit simply allows the owners to do what is allowed by right in that zoning district.

In response to a question from Ms. Piselli regarding the wording on one of the special permits, Mr. Aldenberg explained that one special permit was given for the establishment of the golf course and a second special permit was given for the structures to be built upon the golf course.

Ms. Mann, in response to a question from Mr. Fox, explained that an affordable housing development (40B) could be developed on the site without any relief at all but insisted that she was not proposing a 40B development.  She also explained that the existing maintenance shed would be moved to the same location of the maintenance shed on the Topsfield side which is in the middle of the golf course.  

Chairperson Piselli called a recess; back on record at 8:38 pm.

Chairperson Piselli stated that this was a unique case and raises some legal issues about how to approach a potential motion and decision on the requested special permit modification and motioned to continue the hearing to the next meeting and asked Attorney Mann to draft something for the Board’s consideration in supplement to the memo provided based on some of the concerns voiced this evening.

MOTION: Made by Barbara Piselli to continue the hearing to the next ZBA meeting.  Motion seconded by Robert Aldenberg.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried to continue the hearing to September 27, 2012.

189 North Main Street, Map 18, Lot 81,-Mutual Realty, LLC-Special Permit (s) and Site Plan Approval-Application #934
Robert Aldenberg is recused from the hearing.

Clerk Anne Cote read the legal notice and confirmed that the abutters had been notified.

Chairperson Piselli announced that the voting members for the petition-James Fox, Jeff Garber, Craig Hartwell, Anne Cote and Barbara Piselli.

Attorney Jill Mann appeared on behalf of the petitioner.  She reviewed the proposal to redevelop the property located on North Main Street in front of the DPW building.  The building is pre-existing nonconforming because it does not meet the required set back from the street centerline.  All proposed additions to the property will comply with the current zoning requirements.  The petition has gotten recommendations from the ICDRC and the Planning Board.  Some plan changes were made based on ICDRC recommendations and revised plans were distributed to the Board.

Paul Richardson stated that the ICDRC were in favor of the petition.  The changes requested by the ICDRC included adding grass in the location of the old house, the addition of street trees, landscaping at the base of the wall and the addition of colonial lights. There is an island at the front which is on state property, it needs to be expanded and widened.  Another requested change was removal of the pavement between the subject property and the Town property and adding landscaping in its place and matching the exterior elevations with the overhead doors.  Mr. Richardson also requested that the weekly landscape maintenance requirement be added to the decision.

Attorney Mann reviewed the sign rendering which will be in compliance with the set back regulations.  The building is proposed to be renovated inside and out which will be less expensive than a full reconstruction.  The building was constructed in the early 70s and is structurally sound.  All the electrical and plumbing will be redone to meet current code.  A large garage space is being added at the rear of the building.  There will be office space as well as indoor storage and fenced outdoor storage.  This project does require approval from the Conservation Commission and will be before them on September 4, 2012.

Robert Dempsey of 12 Dixey Drive stated that he was impacted by the Middleton Industrial Park on DeBush Avenue which abuts his development and when he received a notice on this proposal was concerned about how this may further impact his property.  

Ms. Cote pointed out that the DPW property was located between the petition property and Mr. Dempsey’s property.

Mr. Hartwell added that based on the plans presented the proposed development of the property will extend no further back than the area that is already disturbed.

MOTION: Made by Anne Cote to schedule a site walk.  Motion seconded by James Fox.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.  Site walk scheduled for September 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell to continue the hearing to September 27, 2012.  Motion seconded by Anne Cote.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

Craig Hartwell motioned to adjourn, meeting adjourned at 9:12 pm.