SHIRLEY -- An unpermitted and thus technically illegal half-bath installed over a decade ago in the heated barn/garage of a Townsend Road home, where the owner repairs cars, must be removed, the Board of Health said at a recent meeting. Otherwise, the owners, Donald and Loretta Paquet, must upgrade their septic system for the added bathroom.
The septic system was designed for a four-bedroom house and with the added bath, that limit would be exceeded, health board members explained.
The Paquets said they're selling the house because the stairs are too much for Donald's 99-year-old mother, who lives with them.
Reviewing the Real Estate listing, member Jackie Esielionis also noted that the home has a finished basement, which, like the half bathroom, was done without obtaining a permit.
The owners said they didn't know they needed a permit to build a basement playroom for their 14 grandchildren. The health board didn't tell them to dismantle it, however.
Now, the property is on the market, but in order to sell it, the owners must ensure it conforms to the four-bedroom limit. A relatively simple way to accomplish that is for the Paquets to add a restriction to the deed, Chairman Joseph Howlett advised, legally limiting the house to four bedrooms no matter who owns it.
The restriction would remain with the property, Howlett said, protecting both buyer and seller. "Septic systems are only designed for the size of the house, " he said. Since a finished basement raises the issue of future bedroom expansion, the deed restriction is an inexpensive solution, he said.
After discussing possible alternatives, such as pulling a permit after the fact and/or getting an engineer to inspect the bathroom, which could be pricey if digging is involved, the Paquets also agreed to remove the extra half-bath in the barn.
In other business, a potential buyer came with her father to talk about the bank-owned property at 34 Garrison Road that she and her husband plan to buy. Anticipating a closing, the couple, who are expecting a baby, relocated here from Texas and hired Greenhill Engineering to design a new septic system, apparently to satisfy terms of the loan. They're living with relatives right now.
The engineer was supposed to show up, too, but a death in the family prevented it.
The town's sanitarian, Ira Grossman, of the Nashoba Associated Boards of Health, "has problems" with the galley-type design the engineer submitted. "He wants a more conventional system," Howlett said.
Hopefully, the engineer already has another plan on the drawing board that Grossman can review later in the week, the health board said, and if so, they'll schedule a meeting to approve it. As for the zoning variance needed to move forward, that won't be a problem, they said.