The Bourne Planning Board has approved a change to a development under construction on Main Street in Buzzards Bay. The board gave the green light to plans for the building’s first floor to become a disabled-accessible apartment instead of office space.
The complex is being built at 227 Main Street, which neighbors Betty Ann’s Dairy Freeze. The original proposal was to convert a five-bedroom home into office space on the first floor and a pair of two-bedroom apartments on the second floor.
Plans for the property have changed, and instead of office space on the first floor, the property owner, James McLaughlin of West Bridgewater, has decided to install a disabled-accessible apartment. Zachary Basinski of Bracken Engineering went before the planning board during its remote meeting on April 22 to explain the desired change.
“Mr. McLaughlin has gone forward with the project; it is currently under construction,” Mr. Basinski said, “and [he] has also received inquiries and interest about a potential third apartment in the building.”
Mr. Basinski explained that there would be no changes to the plans already approved for the outside of the building. He noted that town zoning regulations for residential uses require six parking spaces. The original plan was to install 11 spaces, and that plan would remain the same, he said.
Additionally, there would be no change to the emergency access to the property that was approved with the original design, Mr. Basinski said. Without the office space, the building would prove to be a less intense use of the property, “which we felt was in harmony with the area as well,” he said.
John G. Carroll was the board member assigned to review the project and present any recommendations and concerns he had. Mr. Carroll offered no objections or challenges to the new plan for the building.
“In my opinion, this minor interior change on the first floor from office to residential use is equally acceptable as the previous plan,” he said.
Board member David O’Connor also serves on the Design Review Committee. Mr. O’Connor recalled that the DRC had recommended a modest change in the landscaping plan that included replacing Norway maple trees with sugar maple trees in front of the building.
Mr. O’Connor said he was in favor of the project, but he questioned why the original landscaping plan, featuring Norway maples, and not the DRC’s recommendation, was in the proposal before the planning board that night.
Assistant Town Planner Jennifer Copeland confirmed that the site plan review previously approved by the planning board did include the DRC’s recommendation to plant sugar maple trees in the front yard. Board chairman Steven P. Strojny said the conditions of the original site plan review would carry over to the new site plan review, if approved.
“Does that address your concerns, Mr. O’Connor?” Mr. Strojny asked.
“Yes,” Mr. O’Connor replied.
Board member Elmer I. Clegg questioned whether the project had sewer allocation sufficient to cover the three apartments. Mr. Strojny said there is enough allocation.
At a Bourne Board of Sewer Commissioners meeting in January 2020, when the complex still included a commercial component, developer Donald Bracken noted that the town’s policy does not require allocation for residential buildings of 40 or fewer units. An allocation of 79 gallons per day was approved back then but only to accommodate the office space that has since been scratched from the project.
Board members voted unanimously to approve the site plan review and special permit for the amended project.