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Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes 10/11/2012
Zoning Board of Appeals
Middleton, MA
MINUTES OF THE MEETING
October 11, 2012

The Middleton Zoning Board of Appeals met at a specially scheduled meeting
on October 11, 2012 at the Fuller Meadow School,
143 South Main Street, Middleton, Massachusetts at 7:00 PM.

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

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

Acting Chairperson, Craig Hartwell called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

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 (continued from 8/23/12 & 9/27/12)

Acting Chairperson Hartwell reviewed the voting members for the petition- James Fox, Anne Cote Nicholas Yebba, Robert Aldenberg, and Craig Hartwell.

Attorney Jill Mann, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, stated that Ms. Piselli had requested at the last meeting the modification criteria for the record.  She explained the criteria; “the modification solely does not contravene/is not contrary to the initial special permit, and will not cause harm to the abutters or disruption to the Golf Course.  The modification merely returns the property to its underlying zoning.”

Edward Leary, resident and member of the Board of Trustees for Ironwood, expressed concern that there was no plan presented for the future development of the property.  He also stated that there is already a problem with the sewage system that services the area and adding additional sewerage to that system would create more problems.  

Scott Downs of 16 Locust Street handed out a packet of information to the Board and to Attorney Mann that included copies of deeds, decisions for the property from both Middleton and Topsfield, mortgage documents, Middleton Assessor property cards, minutes and transcripts from past meetings, etc. (packet on file.)  He reviewed the information presented.  Mr. Downs felt that the area is already overcrowded and there are three large residential developments going in just down the street on East Street, all of which may lead to the overcrowding of the school system.  In 2004 there was a similar attempt to modify the special permit for an 11 acre parcel which was withdrawn.

Ira Krakow, Treasurer of the Ironwood Board of Trustees stated that there was a serious overflow of the septic system at Ironwood the weekend before the last meeting and felt it was critical to know what was going to be developed so that an accurate assessment on the abutting properties could be made.  Six people from Ironwood were present.

Anne Desmond of 38 Village Road, Unit #610 felt that the development of the property would be harmful to the abutters and that the Special Permit for the golf course should not be modified.  She also commented that there are problems with water in the area.

Kathy MacInnis of 12 Locust Street also stated her opposition.  A letter of opposition was previously sent to the Board (letter on file.)

Eric Stanley, Property Manager for Ironwood on the Green gave more detail to the sewer back up that occurred three weeks ago.  There are still ongoing issues with the system and he expressed concern over anything being added to the system.

Attorney Mann stated that the modification petition before the Board has nothing to do with the sewer system as they are not seeking a connection to it; the petition is only a request for a modification to the original 1967 Special Permit for the extraction of eight acres of land.  With regard to the future plans for the property, a petition would need to be filed through the Planning Board for ANR lots or a subdivision.  The underlying use of the property is R1-b, only residential dwellings could be constructed on the property.

Mr. Aldenberg added that the sewer system was approved by the State Legislature and that it is maxed out.  It would take years to add flow to that system through the State Legislature.  In addition, Mr. Aldenberg stated that the Town of Topsfield’s decision for the golf course was irrelevant to the requested modification.

Mr. Fox felt the abutters could be affected because when they purchased property they did so thinking that there wouldn’t be changes to the golf course.  He also felt that the sewer problems were an important issue.

Mr. Hartwell reiterated that the petition was not for a repeal of the Special Permit; the request is for a modification.  The golf course is 277 acres, only 77 of which are in Middleton.  Granting of the modification would result in a 269 acre golf course.  Mr. Hartwell added that if the owner(s) so decided, they could take all 77 acres located in Middleton and redevelop the land for residential purposes by right.

Mr. Downs pointed out that the 8 acres out of 77 acres is pretty substantial.  In addition, the shed that is to be relocated to Topsfield can be done without any modification to the Special Permit.

Mr. Aldenberg restated that the only thing before the Board of Appeals was the request for modification.  Any other changes would require approval by the Planning Board.

Acting Chairperson Hartwell called a five minute recess, back on record at 7:34 pm.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell that the Board make the following findings: The 1967 Permits do not restrict an owner of the Middleton Property from seeking modifications.  The 1967 Permits do not require that all of the Middleton Property, whether or not an area is incorporated into golf course or facilities for the country club, be maintained in perpetuity as open space.  The Land is not integral to the functioning of the golf course or country club.  The Petitioner intends to relocate the maintenance shed to another part of the Property.  The underlying zoning classification of the Land is R-1b (single-acre, residential zoning), which permits the construction of single family homes by right.  The extraction of the Land will have no adverse effect on the surrounding properties nor will it hinder the goal of the 1967 Permits, which is to provide for the proper design, development and operation of the golf course and country club.  Motion seconded by Robert Aldenberg.  Vote 4-0 in favor, James Fox abstained, motion carried.

MOTION Made by Craig Hartwell that based on the findings, the Board grant the Petitioner’s request to modify the 1967 Permits, under Section 9.4 of the Bylaw, to allow the extraction of the Land as shown on the Site Plan, dated July 25, 2012.  Motion seconded by Robert Aldenberg.  Vote 4-0 in favor, James Fox abstained, motion carried.

206 South Main Street, Map 26, Lot, 3-206 South Main Street LLC-Special Permit and Site Plan Approval-Application #938
Acting Chairperson Hartwell reviewed the voting members for the petition- James Fox, Anne Cote, Jeff Garber, Nicholas Yebba, and Craig Hartwell.

Attorney Jill Mann appeared on behalf of the petitioner.  She stated that the hearing had been continued from 9/27/12 to allow the Board members to view the property independently.  She reviewed the plans presented at the last hearing for the site changes, which included the addition of three overhead doors, two pedestrian doors, added landscaping and parking.  The petitioner has been before the ICDRC and the Planning Board and will be back for full site plan approval for the front space as soon as he has a tenant for that space to allow for any necessary site plan changes and ensure sufficient parking.  The two proposed tenants have 18 & 12 dedicated spaces at the rear of the building, after which there are 67 remaining spaces for use by other tenants.  There are only 15 spaces out front which limit the type of businesses that can occupy the front of the building.

Anne Cote mentioned that there had been a question regarding the storage in the middle of the building and the center overhead door at the side of the building.

Attorney Mann stated that the middle overhead door was removed because of concerns that there wasn’t adequate space for use by large delivery trucks within the paved portion of the right of way.  Depending on the future tenant’s needs, a new proposal may be sought for use for small truck deliveries.

Mr. Lafata stated that he was in negotiations with someone to use approximately 8,000 – 9,000 sq ft for storage and will not utilize any parking.  There is also a proposal expected for the front part of the building that will only need 10-12 parking spaces.

Building Commissioner Bienvenue stated that he had been on site and did not have any concerns with the current proposals.

MOTION Made by Craig Hartwell that the Board make the following findings: The Property consists of a 2.5 acre parcel of land located in the M-1 District.  The Building was constructed in 1973 in compliance with Middleton’s then existing zoning Bylaws; therefore, the Building is entitled to protection as a legally-existing nonconforming structure under M.G.L.A. ch. 40A, §6 and Section 3.3.1 of the Bylaws.  At the time of its construction through the date hereof, the Property has been used primarily as industrial and manufacturing space in compliance with the use requirements for the M-1 District.  The Proposed Uses are considered light industrial uses that are permitted within the M-1 District subject to the issuance of a special permit.  The Proposed Uses will blend in with the character of the area and are consonant with all of the abutting uses.  The Site Changes include the following: (a) the installation of three (3) overhead doors; (b) the addition of four (4) pedestrian exterior doors; (c) the creation of an outdoor storage area and indoor garage space; and (d) the creation of additional parking spaces (total number provided is ninety-seven (97) spaces) and modifications to the driveways and landscaped areas.  The footprint of the Building is not being altered and the Site Changes do not increase any nonconformity or decrease the total amount of open space.  The Site Changes conform to the development requirements of the M-1 District, as set forth in the Table of Dimensional Requirements and the site plan requirements under Section 9.5 of the Bylaws and when completed in accordance with the Site Plans will properly address septic system capacity, the need for waste disposal services, utilities and drainage.  The Building has been substantially vacant for years.  Petitioner is proposing to renovate and repurpose a currently underutilized building within Middleton’s business corridor, Route 114, and to lease the renovated space to new businesses and thereby create more jobs and enhance the vitality of Middleton’s business community.  The Site Changes will improve the appearance and utility of the Building.  It will be beneficial to the Town to have the Petitioner alter and redesign this Property and to improve its appearance.  By making improvements to the Building, the assessed value of the Property will increase and, therefore, there will be a corresponding rise in tax revenue to the Town. The traffic circulation throughout the parking lot has been designed to ensure safe pedestrian and vehicular travel within the Property and for traffic entering and exiting the Property.  The Property has access points off of both Route 114 and a sixty (60’) foot private right of way that runs along the easterly side of the Property.  There is sufficient parking available for the Proposed Uses at the Property that satisfies the parking requirements under Section 5.1.2 of the Bylaw.  While Petitioner has identified reserve parking for future tenants, compliance with Section 5.1.2 will be subject to further review based on such tenants’ use of the remaining space.  Motion seconded by Anne Cote.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell that based on the findings, the Board grant the Special Permit under Section 9.4 pursuant to Section 3.3.3 to allow the Site Changes to the legally-existing nonconforming 40,000 sq ft Building under Section 3.3.1 subject to the following conditions (i) installation and maintenance of all landscaping in accordance with the Site Plan, and (ii) Petitioner shall return to the Board, prior to leasing out space in the Building, in order to demonstrate sufficient parking and safe and adequate access to the Building and Property.  Motion seconded by James Fox.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell to grant the Petitioner’s request for Site Plan Approval as presented, Plan entitled 206 South Main Street, Middleton, MA 01949, dated 8/29/2012.  Motion seconded by Jeff Garber.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.


206 South Main Street, Map 26, Lot 3-Allied Auto Body-Special Permit-Application #939
Attorney Jill Mann appeared on behalf of the petitioners who were also present.  At the last meeting there were concerns expressed over the storage of the vehicles being repaired as well as the parts to be disposed of.  The tenants and the property owner wish to keep a professional well maintained facility.  The Board can impose a condition that no work will be done outside the building and vehicles will not be allowed to be dropped off and left outside.  All vehicles will be kept indoors.

Mr. Fox asked about the interior paint facilities.

The tenant, Ron Patera, replied that approximately ¼ of the space will be used for two spray booths.

Mr. Yebba asked if there was a layout showing the indoor arrangement of the vehicles.

Mr. Hartwell commented that it has been the practice of the Board to limit the number of vehicles allowed inside.

The tenant demonstrated the basic layout of the space for the Board.

Attorney Mann asked if it would be acceptable to the Board to present a layout after review by the Fire Department.

Mr. Patera added that the paint company that he uses will take the basic floor plan and propose a layout for maximum efficiency of the space.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell that the Board make the following findings: The Property consists of a 2.5 acre parcel of land located in the M-1 District.  At the time of its construction through the date hereof, the Property has been used primarily as industrial and manufacturing space in compliance with the use requirements for the M-1 District. The proposed Use is consistent with other uses permitted within the M-1 District and is an appropriate use of the Property that will blend in with the character of the area and is consonant with all of the abutting uses.  The Property abuts industrial and retail uses to the east, west and north.   Accordingly, the types of vehicles accessing the Facility and the level of operation at the Facility will be consonant with the surrounding neighborhood properties.  The Building has been substantially vacant for years.  The Petitioner is proposing to move its Facility to Middleton, and thereby bring jobs and enhance the vitality of Middleton’s business community.  Sufficient parking for the Facility, in excess of the parking requirements under Section 5.1.2 of the Bylaw, has been allocated within the rear parking area and to the spaces directly in front of the Facility’s entrance.  Motion seconded by Jeff Garber.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell that based on the findings, the Board grant the requested Special Permit under Section 9.4 pursuant to 3.1.2 and the Table of Use Regulations – C. 11 Motor Vehicle General or Body Repair  to allow the Petitioner’s Proposed Use subject to the following conditions:

  • Petitioner shall conduct all work within the Facility.  
  • Petitioner shall not permit any outdoor storage of junk, inoperable or otherwise damaged vehicles.  
  • Petitioner shall not permit damaged vehicles to be parked overnight at the Property.  Petitioner shall make reasonable accommodations to ensure that noise and fumes generated while repairing vehicles do not negatively affect neighboring properties.
Motion seconded by Jeff Garber.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

206 South Main Street, Map 26. Lot 3-Nature’s Trees Inc.-Special Permit-Application #940
Attorney Jill Mann appeared on behalf of the petitioner.  She reviewed the proposal for the arborist facility.  The service vehicles will be parked outside within their 18 dedicated spaces.  The interior of the space will be used for storage of supplies & materials used for tree maintenance.  There will also be administrative offices at the front of the space.  This type of business typically does not have walk-in customers.

Mr. Fox asked where the tree limbs or other debris is disposed of.

The tenant Mr. Newman explained that there are multiple dump sites north of Middleton that the company has used for over twelve years.  Crews will arrive at 7:00-7:30 am, load up and go to the job sites and return to the office between 3:30-4:00 pm.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell that the Board make the following findings: The Property consists of a 2.5 acre parcel of land located in the M-1 District.  At the time of its construction through the date hereof, the Property has been used primarily as industrial and manufacturing space in compliance with the use requirements for the M-1 District. The Proposed Use is consistent with other uses permitted within the M-1 District and is an appropriate use of the Property that will blend in with the character of the area and is consonant with all of the abutting uses.  The Property abuts industrial and retail uses to the east, west and north.   Accordingly, the types of vehicles accessing the Facility and the level of operation at the Facility will be consonant with the surrounding neighborhood properties.  The Building has been substantially vacant for years.  The Petitioner is proposing to move its Facility to Middleton, and thereby bring jobs and enhance the vitality of Middleton’s business community.  Sufficient parking for the Facility, in excess of the parking requirements under Section 5.1.2 of the Bylaw, has been allocated within the rear parking area and to the spaces directly in front of the Facility’s entrance.  Motion seconded by Jeff Garber.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell that based on the findings the Board grant the Special Permit under Section 9.4 pursuant to pursuant to Section 3.1.2 and the Table of Use Regulations – C. 20 Contracting or Landscaping Business and Equipment Storage Yard and D.6 Wholesale, Warehouse, Distribution or Storage Facility to allow the Petitioner’s Proposed Use with the following condition: The outdoor storage area would be limited to the parking spaces leased exclusively to Petitioner and that only vehicles and equipment will be stored in the outside storage area.  Motion seconded by Jeff Garber. Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

Minutes-Approval of July 26, 2012 Meeting Minutes

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell to approve the July 26, 2012 Meeting Minutes as written.  Motion seconded by Jeff Garber.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

Craig Hartwell motioned to adjourn, meeting adjourned at 8:24 pm.