ZBA approves apartment plan


The Zoning Board of Adjustment approved a variance Tuesday for a property owner to maintain 10 apartments on an undersized lot at 7 Mason St.

Gerald Prunier, a lawyer for property owner Terry Darkin, said the purpose of the plan is to allow for the conversion of six units into studio apartments. Previously, the building had four apartments and seven lodging rooms. Now, Larkin is adding stoves and toilets to make the rooms into studios, so there will 10 housing units on the site instead of 11.

“Usually I’m here asking for more,’’ Prunier said Tuesday. “Tonight, I’m asking for less.’’

Larkin needed the variance because his lot covers only 10,186 square feet, while city regulations require 35,000 square feet.

According to Prunier, there is a need for low-cost housing downtown since the Tavern Hotel closed down temporarily a few months ago for renovations.

One neighbor sent the board a letter, complaining about a light on Larkin’s property that shines into the nearby home. Larkin said the light was there before he bought the property more than four years ago, but said he’ll put a hood on it to rectify the problem. No one appeared before the board to testify against the proposal, and it was approved unanimously by the panel.