A Chestnut Street publisher will be able to construct additional office space, but will not be allowed to use it to lodge employees, under a Board of Appeals decision voted last Thursday. The appeals board voted, 5-0, to grant a request by Kevin Griffin of Griffin Publishing Company to raze a two-car garage in the back of 21 Chestnut St., and to build a larger structure in its place that includes a two-car garage downstairs and office space upstairs.
The existing structure is 756 square-feet. The new structure would be 1,280 square-feet. The approval includes a condition that the applicant agrees to “pro-active” inspections by the building inspector to make sure the new structure is not used as a residence or for habitation.
The matter came before the Board of Appeals on Aug. 23 under a remand order from superior court, which came after the applicant appealed an earlier appeals board denial of the project. Board of Appeals Chairman Scott Zoltowski said he voted to grant the request when the matter first came before the board. “There was nothing I heard that would make me change my vote initially,” he said. Appeals board member Wayne Dennison said he had wanted to see more consideration of the issue. “You’re talking about a fairly significant change here,” he said.
In other action last Thursday, the Board of Appeals heard a request to amend the special permit for the Village at Duxbury, a senior living community at 290 Kings Town Way.
The applicant proposes to develop four new carriage homes, renovate the existing sales office for use as a doctor’s office, and replace some carports with garages. A special permit for the Village at Duxbury was first issued in 1988. It has been amended twice, most recently in 2001 to add 30 carriage homes on seven acres, said Attorney Michael Bliss of Lexington, representing the applicant.
Bliss said the applicant has also met twice with the Planning Board for a technical review. He said he believes the Planning Board would sign off on a report of their findings at that board’s Oct. 22 meeting. “We fully anticipate that they would do that,” Bliss said. “We’re within the unit count that was originally authorized.”
Bob Tuffy, a trustee of the Village at Duxbury, said the proposed amendment would address the changing needs of residents and prospective residents and what they want in a retirement community. Tuffy said the former sales office building is now used for storage.
He said the Village at Duxbury offers weekly transportation for residents to see their doctors at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth. However, the hospital would like to have an on-campus presence in the retirement community, he said. The renovated doctor’s office would be staffed by two doctors, a primary care physician and a geriatric doctor, who can also do home visits, Tuffy said. “It really is a nice amenity for the residents who live here,” he said.
Tuffy said the carports are under-utilized, with only half of the 56 carports being used by residents. The carports would be removed, and replaced with garage units that would be dispersed across the site, he said. “The residents would much prefer garage space,” he said. “These structures will be based on demand. If no one wants them, they won’t be built. I don’t expect that to be the case.” Bliss said he had no objection if the Board of Appeals were to continue the hearing until after the Planning Board completes its review. The appeals board voted to continue the hearing on Nov. 8.
The Board of Appeals also granted a special permit requested by Timothy Brennan to remove an existing kitchen and construct a new 10-foot by 19.7-foot kitchen at 205 Powder Point Avenue The house is considered a pre-existing, non-conforming structure. The original house was built in 1800, before Powder Point Avenue was layed out. The front of the house was originally the rear, and the rear of the house was originally the front. The newer part of the house was built in 1962, said Paul Brogna of Seacoast Engineering Company of Snug Harbor, engineer for the applicant. “This is a unique structure in a unique location,” Brogna said. Brogna and Brennan said the renovation simply allows for the Brennans to enjoy a modern, functional kitchen, while preserving the historical character of the house. Neighbors have indicated support.
Dennison said he believes the renovation would make the structure substantially more non-conforming. However, he said he would vote to grant the special permit because the renovation would not be substantially more detrimental to the neighborhood.
As a condition, the Brennans must consult with the town Design Review Board before a building permit is issued. However, no approval by that board is necessary, said Appeals board member Judith Barrett. “I would just like to see that consultation,” she said. “I’m not suggesting that you get their approval. That is not part of the condition.”
Also last Thursday, Zoltowski announced that Board of Appeals member Dennis Murphy, a former board chairman, has heard his last cases and is no longer on the appeals board. “He put in an incredible amount of time with the town and the board,” Zoltowski said. The Board of Appeals was scheduled to meet again on Oct. 11.