by Kevin Dicciani

The board of the Chestnut Hill Community Association voted at its June 25 meeting to decline support for a driveway variance at 210 E. Evergreen Ave. while approving a garage addition variance at 8109 St. Martins Lane.

The first variance concerning the construction of a driveway at 210 E. Evergreen Ave. was discussed at both the CHCA’s Development Review Committee and Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee meetings this month. Jonathan and Lindsay Berardino, owners of the property, proposed a curb cut and the installation of a driveway in their front yard. They were told by the DRC and LUPZ that their driveway resembled more of a “parking pad,” which both committees refused to support, as to not set a precedent in the neighborhood, and to preserve residential space that is “pedestrian friendly.”

On behalf of Larry McEwen, vice president of the CHCA’a Physical Division, board member Joyce Lenhardt made a motion for the board to not support the Berardino’s request.

The board voted unanimously to not support the variance.

The next variance about the reconfiguration of a garage at 8109 St. Martins Lane was also discussed at June’s DRC and LUPZ meetings. The proposal, made by property owners John and Christine McDonald, is to relocate the garage and add a first floor exercise pavilions and second floor sleeping quarters for house guests. The total structure would total 1,848 square feet of the 31,800 square feet property.

Because the existing lot of the property allows for 35 percent coverage, of which only 15.9 percent has been used, the DRC and LUPZ found that the garage addition would not leave a footprint that would dramatically reduce space, since its construction would only raise the lot coverage to 18.3 percent.

The garage is to be constructed along the rear edge of the property. Train tracks run behind the property, and the addition of the garage, the proposal said, would block the noise and sight of the train. Building the garage would not affect any of the surrounding trees, and it would remain invisible to the street. All of the adjacent neighbors have signed letters to support the variance.

The board approved the variance with a unanimous vote.

Before other items on the agenda could be discussed, the meeting was cut short by Chestnut Hill librarian Dan Ryan, who said his wife had fallen down the stairs and needed to be taken to the hospital. The meeting was adjourned after about 20 minutes. At this time the meeting has not been rescheduled.

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