Zoning Board Confirms Decision on Inspection Garage

HAMPSTEAD – The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) has affirmed its original vote to permit Russell Bergeron to have a home occupation – a state motor vehicle inspection garage – on his property at 522 Main St. Meeting Thursday, May 2, the ZBA did, however, nail down more firmly that the occupation approved was an inspection station only and not a repair garage, allowing Bergeron only to make such inspection related repairs as changing a light bulb.

Joseph and Rosemary Kozdra, 516 Main St., and John Lindberg, 512 Main St., all objected strongly to the home occupation request at the initial hearing in March. The abutters lodged objections that painted a different picture of Bergeron’s garage’s location and the impact that resulting noise would have on their enjoyment and use of their back yards.
The Kozdras and Lindberg own land that abuts Bergeron’s in the back. They testified in March and again at the ZBA rehearing last week that they think the inspection station would be noisy and probably smelly, and might pose a safety threat if hazardous material leaked from vehicles.

The Kozdras filed for the rehearing and the ZBA granted the request at its April meeting. ZBA Chairman Geoffrey Dowd said at that time he thought the board may not have considered all the information and suggested not enough credit had been shown to the photos the objecting parties had supplied. The board voted to allow the rehearing 3-2, with Neil Emerson and Don Reese opposed.

At last week’s rehearing, Lindberg and Kozdra brought in evidence regarding the noise level of impact tools and compressors. They continued to argue the case based on the noise factor, the fact that inspection and repairs are two separate occupations, and that the Bergeron property already is full of junk cars and car parts.
Bergeron defended his request, saying that when an inspection was being done inside his garage, there would no noise the neighbors could hear. However, in the end he agreed to forego the use of all air-driven tools and to limit any inspection repairs to changing light bulbs.

With these limiting criteria, the ZBA affirmed its original approval of the inspection garage, setting weekday hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a 3-2 vote, with Dowd and Dale Blaine voting no.
In other business May 2:
• Michael and Nancy Hickey were granted their request to add an addition on their nonconforming lot at 1 Tewksbury Road. However, David and Michelle Catanzaro, whose home looks over at the Hickey property, objected, saying further additions to the existing in-law apartment would further diminish their view. They asked for privacy plantings to be added but the ZBA decided requiring the Hickeys to do that was not in the board’s purview.

The Hickeys admitted the original addition 10 years ago is a pseudo in-law apartment, used upon occasion, but it does not have a kitchen or private bath. This latest addition would allow for a bathroom and a bedroom along with the family room. The ZBA was concerned that the lot is only capable of sustaining a three-bedroom dwelling and the house already has three bedrooms. As a result, Hickey altered the design plan, taking out walls between two existing bedrooms and making the present structure a two-bedroom dwelling. Thus, the new bedroom would raise the total number of bedrooms to three, which was acceptable to the board, as the septic system can accommodate the three-bedroom status. The board voted unanimously to approve the request.

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