WATERTOWN — It was not business as usual for members of the Zoning Board of Appeals at its meeting on Wednesday, May 26.

First there was a concern that an additional variance was needed on one application, and then there were safety concerns about an existing structure on a second.

For the first, the board closed a public hearing that had been continued from April 28 on an application from Matthew and Jessica Lemos for a 15-foot variance to front yard setback for the construction of a 28’10”x28’ attached garage, mudroom and new porch at 103 Jenks St., Oakville, despite the fact that the structure will be closer to the side yard or rear yard than allowed.

Last month, it was suggested that the couple would need to apply for a second variance for that side or rear yard placement, but a misunderstanding ensued where Mr. and Mrs. Lemos thought that was being done, but it wasn’t.

Assistant Zoning Enforcement Officer Moosa Rafey said he looked into the situation and determined that the couple would not need a variance if they shortened the width by 1.6 feet. 

He explained it was his job to look for ways that variances were not needed, and this was a viable alternative.

That alternative was not acceptable to the couple, however, as part of the structure will include an interior staircase going down into the home’s basement. 

Reducing the width by that amount would make the interior unusable as a two-car garage with the interior stairs and safety railing.

Later in the meeting, the board approved the variance, subject to the condition that a licensed architect review the plans and justify that reducing the width of the garage is not feasible and a variance from side yard setback is required.

In that case, an application for a variance to the westerly side yard setback shall be submitted to the ZBA for review and approval, with the waiver of the usual fee of $310.

For the second, the board continued a hearing on an application filed by Donald Fitzgerald for a variance of 23.2 feet to the front yard property line setback for an existing addition to a two-family home and a 6x12-foot deck at 59 Fairview Ave., Oakville, in an R-G General Residential Zoning district.

Mr. Fitzgerald said a contractor had done the work after telling him permits had been obtained, but no permits were pulled for the work. He is now trying to fix the issue.

The board expressed concerns about the safety of the structure and requested the building inspector visit the property and determine whether or not the second floor porch is safe.

It would not be an approval of the structure, ZBA members emphasized. The board also scheduled a site walk for itself on June 23.

The board closed a hearing and approved an application filed by Kyle Silva and Alice Forester for a variance of five feet to a side yard property line setback for construction of a 19.5x12-foot addition to an existing deck at 182 Woodruff Ave., in an R-10 Residential Zoning district. The deck will not extend further into the side yard than the existing home.

Under new business, the board approved a motor vehicle location application for Keyless Auto LLC for a used motor vehicle dealer and motor vehicle repairer business at 909 Main St. in a B-D Downtown Central Business Zoning District.

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