HARVARD — The Zoning Board of Appeals held a hearing June 10 on a special permit hearing requested by Maureen Pettirossi for 64 Warren Avenue.
The hearing was opened at 7:30 p.m. in the Hapgood Room at 7 Fairbank St. Members present were Steve Moeser, Robert Capobianco, Theodore Maxant, Mike Lawton and Orville Dodson.
Others Present: Liz Allard (LUB Admin.), Rob Oliva (Ross Assoc.), Joe Pettirossi, Maureen Pettirossi, Robert Hughes and Bruce Leicher.
The special permit was filed for the demolition and reconstruction of a pre-existing, nonconforming structure at 64 Warren Avenue, Harvard.
Rob Oliva, project manager from Ross Associates, explained that the existing structure is nonconforming in relation to the property line (26.3 feet, should be 40 feet) and the w-district (42.9 feet, should be 60 feet).
The lot sits askew to Bare Hill Pond. The applicant is proposing the removal of the existing one-level structure, which will be replaced by a new two-story structure in almost the same location.
As proposed, the new structure will have an increase in both footprint and floor area, of 47.5 percent and 125.6 percent, respectively, but meets the requirements of floor area ratio at 6.2 percent (less than 10 percent).
The old storage shed is no longer used, but is a conforming structure.
Oliva stated the proposed new structure will be no more nonconforming then the existing structure for both the side line and w-district setbacks. There are no plans to improve the existing driveway.
Oliva has met on site with the fire chief to address his concerns with the width of the driveway and the existing grades of the driveway; however, there is no way to improve what is there, Oliva said.
Oliva stated he is aware that the Conservation Commission views this as new construction that will need to meet the 75-foot setback for structures.
(But) Oliva does not consider this to be new construction, nor does the site allow for the structure to be moved back any further without cutting into the existing slope.
The Planning Board has similar comments and, too, views it new construction.
Oliva explained in the court case Gale v. the ZBA of Gloucester, a single-family residence can be demolished and replaced with a larger structure with either a finding under section 6 of the Zoning Act or by special permit.
Steve Moeser asked what the plan is to comply with the required 20-foot width of access along the driveway as stated by the fire chief.
Oliva said he is working with the chief to comply as best as they can. He feels confident he will be able to comply.
Robert Capobianco said he is embroiled with semantics here. If the existing structure was being altered he would be okay with it, but the whole house is being taken down and a new one built. He would like get town counsel’s advice on the matter before making any decisions.
Theodore Maxant said there is a deed restriction as a two-bedroom dwelling; however, it appears to be a design for a three-bedroom dwelling. The building commissioner typically would consider some of the spaces as bedrooms and may question the two-bedroom septic system.
The members were having a difficult time with an increase in size of this magnitude, and that a 6,000-plus square-foot house is only two-bedrooms.
Moeser cannot imagine how a structure of this size could not be a detrimental to the neighborhood, not to mention increased runoff to Bare Hill Pond, he said. He asked about the small cabin on the site.
Oliva said he is not certain when it was built. It does not have a foundation and the assessing department has found it to be a shed.
Moeser noted the structure has heat.
As for drainage on the site, Oliva said the property is primarily made up of ledge, which does not allow for the infiltration currently of runoff. The increase in runoff is marginal due to the ledge.
The applicant is proposing to remove a number of dead or diseased trees, which will be further discussed with the Conservation Commission.
Propane is currently used for cooking and hot water; the applicant is considering changing the heating system over to propane as well.
Existing downspouts are piped under the existing patio and out of the existing retaining wall. Oliva said, typically, Conservation Commission prefers dry wells or infiltration trenches around the house; with ledge and shallow depths of soil, it may not be suitable to do so. Plantings may help address runoff.
Asked about rain gardens, Oliva said that ledge again would be an issue.
Moeser is afraid by allowing houses of this size on the pond it may effect viewshed of others in the neighborhood.
Members discussed the retaining wall and if it is considered a structure, as it is closer to the pond.
Oliva explained as a blockwall rather than a poured concrete wall, it is not considered a structure.
Questions were raised about whether the structure is considered seasonal. It was previously purchased by occupants who resided there year-round.
In response to comments made by the Bare Hill Pond Watershed Management Committee, the applicant does not plan use any fertilizers on the site.
The members would like to review stormwater calculations, confirmation that the retaining wall is not considered a structure and advice from town counsel on the ability to reconstruct a large dwelling.
The hearing was continued.
(Information taken from meeting minutes written by Liz Allard.)