The Halifax Zoning Board of Appeals met on Monday, June 14 via Zoom. Chair Robert Gaynor said that it would likely be the last virtual meeting before resuming in-person meetings. Town Administrator Charlie Seelig said that whether or not virtual participation will still be possible for the public will depend on the technology piece.
The first appointment of the evening was with David and Laura Gibbons of Oak St. The Gibbons were requesting to appeal the Building Inspector’s denial for a wood burning stove. They were asking for an extension until the July 12 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. The Board voted unanimously to accept the Gibbons’ request for postponement.
After accepting several meeting minutes, the Board turned their attention to their next appointment which was a public hearing for an application by Reginald Matthews of Cedar St. for a special permit for an existing in-law apartment. Matthews said nothing had changed since the previous special permit saying, “Nothing has changed to my knowledge so it’s steady as she goes.” Gaynor verified that no walls had been taken down or any such similar changes as well as verifying that it was an immediate family member still occupying the in-law apartment. Gaynor asked if the only permit on file was the one from 1998. Matthews said they purchased the home in 1998. After some digging, Gaynor verified that the special permit was acquired in April of 2010.
Board member Peter Parcellin asked if utilities were shared. “What is shared is the water because it’s a well and the septic,” Matthews explained. Parcellin asked about the electric and was told that they were separate and had always been that way since construction. Board member Robert Durgin asked Matthews if it was an income producing apartment. “They pay me, yes,” Matthews replied. Gaynor then once again verified that it was an immediate family member and was reassured that it was. Asked who was in the in-law apartment now, Matthews said it was a daughter.
Durgin said that the last name associated with both the purchase in 1998 and the special permit in 2010 was McGee not Matthews. “All right, there’s a little bit of a story to that,” Matthews began. “For 60 years I was known as McGee because my mother had doctored my birth certificate and then when I went to the Registry for the real ID, they had a problem with my birth certificate and it’s found out that my mother doctored it but my name is Reginald Daniel Matthews,” he concluded. “Wow, that’s a new one,” Durgin said laughing.
Matthews did inquire with the Board about what the advantage would be of requesting a permit to make it a duplex. He was told that he would be able to rent the apartment to anyone were that change made. Gaynor said the changes required to the permitting process would, however, be substantial. Matthews said that for now, he just wanted to keep things as they currently are and apply for the existing in-law apartment.
Parcellin said that what was on the books from 2010 was unusual in so far as it was for an in-law apartment to become an income producing apartment. Board member Dan Bosari said, “So my question now is it’s not an in-law apartment, it’s an income producing apartment?” Matthews said that it was an in-law apartment saying, “It is, it’s family.” Bosari said it was changed from a single-family home with an in-law apartment to a single-family home with an income producing unit. “The petition says for an existing in-law apartment, well really technically, you don’t have an existing in-law apartment if I’m reading all of this right,” Bosari told Matthews. Gaynor asked the other Board members how they felt about the situation saying of the 2010 permit, “It specifically stated that it was for a five-year period as an in-law apartment to a single-family house with an income producing apartment… and that was in 2010 and it was for a period of five years.” “I think if anything they have no approvals for anything right now because that would have run out, so I think we can approve this on the merits of this application,” Parcellin said. Gaynor asked if there were any abutters that wanted to speak to the application but there were not.
The Board voted unanimously to approve the petition as presented to renew the special permit for the existing in-law apartment.
Gaynor addressed some talent bank forms that had been received saying they had an application for David Mascio and Tom Millias for the alternate position on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Mascio had recently applied for the opening on the Board of Health but the Board of Health and Board of Selectmen elected a different candidate. Millias was a longstanding member of the Board of Selectmen before being bested by Ashley DiSesa in the most recent town election.