The meeting was held virtually as a Zoom webcast and was recorded for possible future broadcast.

Because the newly nominated members of the Board have not yet been formally appointed by the Town Council, only the four remaining members heard the four cases before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). The four included Full Members Joan O’Meara and Steven Judge (Chair) and Associate Members Tammy Parks and Sharon Waldman. Also present were Building Commissioner David Waskiewicz and Planner Maureen Pollock. All of the proposals below received the four “yes” votes required for approval. 

Public Meeting
At the public part of the meeting, the ZBA approved updated floor and elevation plans for Hampshire Athletic Club. Three board members disclosed that they are club members but could act impartially. The roofline was changed to allow for a wheelchair lift to the second floor of the Club.

Also approved were minor revisions to the site plan of the condo project at 32 North Prospect Street to allow for a trash shed.

Public Hearings
Public hearings were held for two proposals.

  1. MassModicum Corporation to modify conditions of their Special Permit for 85 University Drive for an off-site Medical Marijuana Dispensary, particularly focusing on parking issues. They have 24 on-site spaces and licensing for 10 more spaces for employee parking at abutting properties to the north and south. A second hearing was held to modify the company’s approved medical marijuana use to allow a second use as a recreational marijuana retailer. This project is still awaiting approval from the Cannabis Control Commission, whose work is being impeded by the coronavirus lock-down.
  1. Jack and Jessica Brown requested a Special Permit to allow the creation of a flag lot on the south side of Bay Road west of the Middle Street intersection. Section 6.3 governing flag lots states, “Each lot shall have an access strip no longer than a maximum of four hundred feet” (NOTE: this driveway from Bay Road to a possible garage is 2,127 feet) and “The Board …may allow an access strip in excess of 400 feet upon a finding that such a modification will not …create an undue safety hazard [and will] not have a substantial adverse environmental impact on groundwater quality, wetlands, significant wildlife habitat, prime farmland or other environmentally sensitive resources….”

The board stipulated that the steep slope of the road be mitigated, overhanging branches that could impact the passage of fire trucks be removed, and the potential house must have a sprinkler system. The lot is protected habitat of the Eastern Box Turtle, so a protection plan for both the turtle and its habitat is required by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife prior to any work; it must be prepared and implemented by a qualified biologist, pre-approved by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

The Planning Board has also reviewed the application and provided useful comments to the Zoning Board.

There was no public comment. The meeting was adjourned about 8:50 p.m.

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  1. Please keep an eagle eye on the second item (labeled “1.” as well): it may be chapter 61 land, with the Town having first right of refusal; the ConCom should be involved too….

  2. It isn’t on the market for sale as far as I know . If it is in ch. 61, the town’s rights will be honored before any sale can close.

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