ZBA Unable to Accomodate Joint Hearing with Historic District

At their December 17, 2013 meeting the selectmen once again grappled with a second structure (6′x12′ wood shed) erected by Mark & Mary McDonald on Old Ashby Road; both McDonalds were present at the meeting addressing a letter previously sent to them by the board.

Selectmen Moser stated there are two issues – 1st — Historic Commission has to have a design presented and 2ndly – the Board of Adjustment needs to be consulted as the shed does not have the proper set back. Both departments need to consulted and applications submitted .

Mary McDonald asked if it would be possible to have a joint hearing with Historical and Board of Adjustment and also if the notice to abuttors could be sent in the same envelope. Both Selectmen thought that would be acceptable but Patricia LeTourneau from the Board of Adjustments was present and told Mary that she knew the procedure for setting up an appointment with the Board and that is what she needs to do. Patricia LeTourneau did not think it was possible to coordinate the two hearings and could not accommodate the McDonalds.

Selectmen O’Grady stated “that if the Board does not act on this complaint that others in the area will see that placement of the shed and that will set a precedent.”

However, we recall a similar issue on different lot regarding a “play house” erected within the lot line setback. The selectmen at that time may have interpreted Mason’s Zoning ordinances differently. So is that a “precedent” or does “precedent” only set in if the current board remembers a prior board’s decisions?

Since you may not be familiar with Mason’s Zoning ordinances, nor wish to wade through them, we offer the following sections:

IV. P. Conventional accessory structures such as play equipment, tent, mail box, outdoor fireplace, and similar structures normally found on such lots, also roadside stands, fences, warning signs, walls, trees, shrubs and all vegetation may be located on the lot in any location that does not interfere with the normal flow of traffic on a public right-of-way.

VII. C. After passage of this Ordinance, it shall be unlawful to erect and use any structure, sign, or building, or relocate any building (except an accessory building less than 200 sq. ft. in size not for human occupancy), in any District without first obtaining a permit from the Building Inspector.

However, there may be other sections that apply. The entire ordinance can be viewed by visiting the town’s web site and looking under “Town Directory/Planning Board/Documents & Maps”.

Leave a Reply