Zoning Board of Appeals - Jul 18th, 2017

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Docket 3532, 70 Alpine Street. Section 6.08, Large addition. The property dates from 1923 and is non-conforming in several aspects, like parking and lot frontage. The applicants would like to build an addition to provide more space for a new child. They're planning to add 1092 square feet (approx 375 square feet in each of the basement, first floor, and second floor).

The applicants provided a favorable recommendation from the planning department, along with three letters from abutters who were in favor of the project.

Special permit granted.


Docket 3533, 26 Tomahawk Road. Section 6.08, Large addition. This property is on a large lot, approximately 9934 square feet. The lot is fully conforming. The proposed addition would add 1817 square feet of gross floor area. The family wants to remain in Arlington; they have four kids and need more space.

The addition will be built on the rear of the property, and the front of the house will stay as-is. There will be no change to the height of the house. The applicants also provided a favorable report from the planning department.

Special permit granted.


Docket 3534, 175 Pleasant Street. Appealing decision of building inspector. This was an interesting case. The applicants live next door to 175 pleasant street, and are not the owners of that property. They're appealing the building inspector's decision to grant a building permit to the owners of 175.

The parcel has frontage on three streets, and the ZBL isn't completely clear as to whether this parcel is a thru lot or a corner lot. The petitioner's counsel believes that the building inspector ignored the setback requirements for a rear lot line. More specifically, the argument was that the building inspector's decision did not treat any lot line as a rear lot line. Our ZBL states that the owner of a corner lot can choose which non-frontage side is the rear lot line. The ZBL doesn't explicitly allow a property owner to omit a rear lot line (i.e., to have the lot consist solely of front and side yards).

The petitioner's counsel believes the alterations extend an existing non-conformity, by extending the garage wall by one foot.

The petitioners claim that the building inspector treated 175 Pleasant street as a thru lot, but the property owner must declare one side to be the rear lot line.

Counsel for the owners of 175 pleasant street states that the deadline for permit appeal has past, and this must be contested as a code violation. Counsel also claims that the ZBL doesn't require all lots to have a designated rear lot line.

Counsel for 175 states that abutter notice was given in 2016, which was before the petitioners purchased their property. Counsel believes that the prior owners should have made the petitioners aware of this notice when they purchased their property.

The petitioner's counsel disagrees WRT the requirement for a rear lot line. He states that the prior owners never notified the petitioners of the pending construction work.

The ZBA agrees that the ZBL is unclear in this situation. They find nothing in the ZBL to indicate the building inspector's decision was wrong. ZBA moves to deny appeal of the building inspector's decision.


Docket 3535 77-79 Fairmont Road Section 9.02, extension and alteration.

The project is an interior renovation. The intent is to have one unit of the house in the basement and first floors, and the second unit of the house on the second floor and attic. There will be living space added to the basement, but no change to the exterior of the house.

The issue is usable open space. The existing property has no usable open space, and the renovated property will also have no usable open space.

Special permit approved. If the existing property has no usable open space, then the renovation will not increase the non-conformity.


Docket 3536, 17 Valentine Road. Section 6.19, projections into minimum yards.

The applicants would like to add a front porch, similar to porches their neighbors have. The new porch would be five foot wide, giving a 23' front yard setback, where 25' is required. The applicants do not plan to enclose the porch.

The ZBA believes this would fit in with other houses on the street. Special permit approved, subject to the condition that the porch cannot be enclosed at a later time.