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Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes 04/02/2013
Zoning Board of Appeals
Middleton, MA
April 2, 2013

The Middleton Zoning Board of Appeals met at a specially scheduled meeting
on April 2, 2013 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 James Fox, Jeff Garber and Robert Aldenberg

Others present:
Karen Matsubara, Recording Secretary

Acting Chairperson, Craig Hartwell called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.

236 South Main Street, Map 33, Lot 50-Anola Vaka-Use Variance (continued from March 28, 2013)
Acting Chair Hartwell explained that there is case law that supports granting a use variance in situations where the topography, lot conditions, and soil conditions of the lot make fewer legal uses available to the property.  An argument can be made that due to the topography of the subject property, specifically that it is below flood level, it creates a situation where by many of the uses that would be allowed by right in the zoning district such as an office would not be an appropriate use because of the risk of flooding and destruction of materials within the unit.  The specific proposed use as a grooming facility does not have the same risks.  There are conditions where there is financial hardship for the landlord because he is unable to get an “as of right” tenant for the space.  In addition, the Middleton Bylaw Review Committee and the Planning Board have both recommended an amendment to the Bylaw which will be voted on at the upcoming Town Meeting to allow the use of a dog grooming facility in the M-1 zoning district.  Therefore, granting of the use variance would not create a substantial detriment to the public nor nullify or substantially derogate from the intent and purpose of the zoning bylaw.

Mr. Aldenberg testified to the flooding issue at the property as he had been a tenant there for many years.

MOTION: Made by Robert Aldenberg that the Board make a finding that owing to the circumstances relating to the soil conditions, shape or topography of the subject lot specifically, and not other lots in the zoning district in general, a literal enforcement of the zoning bylaws would involve a substantial hardship to the petitioner and those aforementioned circumstances would include: The subject lot is below flood level creating a hardship where many of the uses allowed by right in the zoning district would not be appropriate because of the flooding potential.  There is also a financial hardship on the property owner because of the limited types of tenants that would be appropriate for the building.  Those conditions render the relief requested unique to the property and are not incongruous with other properties in the zoning district.  In addition, the Bylaw Review Committee has put forth a warrant article for the May 2013 Town Meeting which, if passed, would allow this use in the M-1 zoning district.  The requested relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and without nullifying or derogating from the intent or purpose of the zoning bylaws.  Motion seconded by Jeff Garber.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

Based on those findings, Mr. Hartwell moved to grant the petitioner’s request for a use variance pursuant to Section 3.1 of the Zoning Bylaws and Table of Use Regulations to allow a dog grooming facility at 236 South Main Street, Middleton, MA per application #952.  Motion seconded by Robert Aldenberg.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

Meeting adjourned at 7:07 pm.