The Ongoing Saga of the Woodshed

Of the numerous topics to come up at the Jun 10, 2014 Mason Selectmen’s meeting, one familiar item was the McDonald’s wood shed. Mark & Mary McDonald appeared before the select board for guidance after the zoning board of adjustment had denied their request for a variance for the shed’s current location.

Initiatially Ms. McDonald cited what she perceived to be procedural errors by the zoning board of adjustment that may have caused their request for a variance to be denied. Most notably the fact that the board of adjustment had reopened the hearing at its continuation and they (the McDonalds) were not adequately prepared as a result. However they also felt that an appeal would not yield a different result, so were not inclined to do that. Selectboard Chairman Moser advised them that they must first appeal to the board within 30 days, no matter what the outcome, in order to take their case to superior court should they ever wish that avenue of appeal.

Second item was the current condition of the shed. It has weathered since construction on it had stopped. The McDonalds indicated that they wanted to sell the shed. However, while mostly built, the McDonalds wanted to finish it (trim, stain, etc) so they could get a better price. Could they do that at its current non-conforming location? After a bit more discussion the selectmen voted to allow the McDonald’s 60 days before the town would begin any enforcement action on the non-compliance.

And finally, the McDonald’s asked the selectboard’s advice on whether putting up a fence would result in the same historical district/board of adjustment process they had encountered with the wood shed? Their thought was that a fence would fall into the same category as landscaping and hence was not covered by any zoning ordinances. Chairman Moser informed them that the select board could not pre-approve something that had not been built yet. They would have to interpret the ordinances themselves or, if uncomfortable with that, consult their own counsel for an opinion.

We note that the town has added the zoning board’s decision and finding of facts to its web site, zoning page

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