GROTON — The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted to approve a pair of applications that would see the removal of existing structures on two separate lots in town and their eventual replacement by new homes.
In the first, Brian Logue applied to the board for a variance to the town’s zoning bylaw requiring a minimum area of two acres for a building lot.
Logue said he needed the variance to build a 2,800-square-foot house on the 1.5 acre lot he owns off Martins Pond Road.
To build on the lot, Logue proposed to remove an existing trailer home that he characterized as unsightly and even unsanitary with an open cesspool located to the rear.
Logue guessed that the trailer was at least 50-years-old and although currently occupied, the tenant living there was scheduled to move out.
In response to concerns by board members that the four-bedroom home planned for the lot would be too big, Logue’s attorney David Keele produced photos of other nearby homes that were clearly large and expansive.
“The project as proposed would only improve the neighborhood and enhance the value of other homes,” said Keele.
In addition, Keele said that as things currently exist at the site, the lot is nonconforming to local bylaws because the trailer home is set only 25 to 30 feet from the road. By removing it and replacing it with a new home set farther back on the property, Logue would, in fact, be decreasing the nonconformity of the lot.
“What we’re proposing is (the kind of building that is already) on Martins Pond Road,” said Keele. “We think it’s a worthy project.”
Although the board was not unfriendly to the application, member Chase Duffy still lamented the replacement of a long-standing structure with a new one, further eroding the character of “old Groton.”
“I don’t think a trailer is old Groton,” pointed out Keele.
“Oh, yes it is!” replied Duffy amiably.
With that, the board voted unanimously to approve the application.
The second approval by the board Wednesday was given to Marc Smith, the owner of a lot located on Park Drive in West Groton.
Smith said that an existing home on the property was old and that the cinder block construction of its foundation made it susceptible to the poor drainage on the lot.
For that reason, he planned to raze the current structure and replace it with a new home placed farther back on the property.
But to do that, said Jack Visniewski, Smith’s engineer, Smith would need a variant to the town’s zoning bylaws regarding frontage and area.
Visniewski said that at 25,000 square feet, the lot is well under the minimum 40,000- plus required by law. Also adding to the site’s nonconformity is a frontage of 125 feet instead of the 225 feet as required in the bylaws.
Smith’s proposal would install a new septic system, remove a structurally unsound home, and replace it with a newer one that was not any bigger and set farther back from the road.
“We’d be improving the property,” concluded Visniewski of the application. “This would solve all our problems.”
“It certainly looks like a better use for the property than it is now,” said board Chairman Stuart Shulman.
“It seems better to me,” agreed fellow board member Mark Mulligan. “It decreases the nonconformity.”
Approving the variances, the board voted 5-0 in favor of granting the application.