Zoning Board Minutes 01/03/2017

Town of Otis, Massachusetts
January 3, 2017 approved

Meeting held at Otis Town Hall
1 North Main Road, Otis, MA
7:00 pm – 7:42 pm

ZBA Members: (Present) Therese Gould, chair, James Kauffman, Katherine Couch, Geoffrey Geane, Edward Partyka
ZBA Members: (Absent) Michael Ernst, Al Hurley
Applicant(s): Phillip Cooley
Public Attendees: Larry Gould; Building Inspector, Evelyn Garvey, Thom Garvey, James Crandall


Agenda item #1 – Review and hear the Special permit application
Case # 2017-01-01 Phillip Cooley
The property is shown on the Otis Assessor’s Map 11, Lot 79-4 located at Becket Road, Otis

ZBA Members: (Present) Therese Gould, chair, James Kauffman, Katherine Couch, Geoffrey Geane
ZBA Members: (Absent), Al Hurley,
Applicant(s): Phillip Cooley,
Public Attendees: Larry Gould;

Meeting at convened at 7:00 pm.

Introductions of the board members were made. Kathy Couch stated that she is a voting member tonight and the clerk.

Chairman Therese Gould went over the procedures of the hearing. She read the application and public notice. The applicant Phillip Cooley is asking for a Zoning By-Law Special Permit under Sec. 6.2, 6.2.1 of the Otis zoning by-laws as to maintain a camper for one year on the lot while constructing a dwelling. The lot is listed in the Otis assessor’s records as Lot # 79-4 on Map 11; located at Becket Road, Otis, MA. The owner of record is Angelina DuBourg.

The legal notice of the hearing was published in the Berkshire Eagle on December 20, 2016 and December 27, 2016. The abutters and town boards were notified on December 20, 2016.

No letters or emails in favor or against the project have been received as of am January 3, 2017.
A letter from the property owner, Angelina DuBourg was read into the record.

Phil Cooley stated that he is asking to temporarily stay in a camper on the lot during construction of a dwelling. He will be constructing a house on the property. White Wolf has been contracted to remove the gray water and sewage on a weekly basis. There is temporary electric set up on the property. Hansen will be drilling the well in the spring. Water tests have been made and there are no problems with the water quality.
Abutter Thom Garvey voiced concerns about the trailer being placed on the property. He wanted to know what assurances that could give him regarding the removal of the trailer after the year has gone by.
There are other abandoned trailers on the road and it looks awful.


James Crandall, resident of Becket Road, stated that he is the abutter is a trailer that has been there illegally for about 15 years.

Ed Partyka stated that under the bylaws that the permit is only granted for one year. Once the one year has lapsed the applicant has to remove the trailer. The applicant could then come before the board and show good cause why there needs to be an extension of the permit. If the applicant does not remove the trailer in the one year timeframe then a complaint is filed with the Board of Appeals enforcement officer, the building inspector. The building inspector will then file a cease and desist order. The Board of Appeals does not have the power to evict the person but must bring them to court

Evelyn Garvey asked if there could be multiple extensions to the permit. Ed stated that only one extension could be granted.

Thom Garvey stated he had concerns that there would be no urgency in moving out if someone is living in a trailer with heat running water and septic.

Larry Gould stated in order to get a building permit a well, a perc test, and septic plan must be done. All the conditions have been met.

Thom Garvey expressed concerns that the home was going to be built with shipping containers. Terry Gould stated that any house design can built as long as it follows the bylaws and building codes. Ed Partyka stated that the plans are available to view at the Town Clerk’s office.

Jim Kauffman asked if Phil Cooley owned the land. Phil stated that he did not own the land. He has an agreement with the owner, Angelina DuBourg, to build on the property and live there until he was no longer able to and the house would revert back to her.

Geoff Geane asked for Phil to elaborate on the agreement. Phil stated that he was to build the house, pay the property taxes, and maintain the property. Upon his death or incapacitation the ownership of the building reverts to the DuBourgs’. It is not a lease he does not pay rent. Geoff brought up the fact that the Otis bylaw states the board may grant a special permit to the owner.

Copies of the pertinent by law were handed to the board members.

Ed Partyka stated upon looking at the by law there is a question of the definition of premises. In law premises is usually means all the lot and structures. This raises a question whether the board can issue the special permit to Phil Cooley. Ed feels that a “Life Estate” should be filed on the deed At this point there is nothing on the deed that shows that Phil has a vested interest in the property. A “Life Estate would show the vested interest in the property. Per the by law if you are not the owner of the property the board cannot grant a special permit for Phil to live there.

Terry Gould asked if the board should continue the hearing to the next meeting. Ed said it would be a prudent for Phil to come back to the board with a “Life Estate” document between him and the owner Angelina DuBourg. The “Life Estate” then can be filed along with the special permit, if granted. This would give the board




Decision between the board and the applicant Phil Cooley was reached to continue the hearing until the next meeting. Discussion of the date took place. In order to have all the members that are at this hearing be able to attend the next hearing it will be on Tuesday, February 7, 2017.

Agenda item #2 – Receive information from Building Inspector, Larry Gould
Discussion: No applications on the horizon. There is a lot of building going on in town.

Agenda item #3 –Update for next meeting
Discussion: The next scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, February 7, 2016. The meeting day has change to make sure there is no conflict with the board members. This meeting is continuation of January’s meeting.

Agenda item #4 –Mail
Discussion: Nothing to distribute.

Agenda item #5– Approve minutes from previous meeting
Discussion: All voted to accept the minutes as amended from the June 6, 2016 meeting. Motion made by Jim Kauffman; seconded by Ed Partyka.

Agenda item #6– Submission for Town Report
Discussion: Decision is made to “table’ until the next meeting

Agenda item #7– Old/New business
Discussion: Kathy Couch asked the opinion of the board member about placing additional verbage in the public notices. Many abutters do not know that any zoning board application is available for review at the Town Clerk’s office. The public notices now will have information when the application is available for review.

Meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm


Katherine Couch
Clerk Board of Appeals