Most meetings in Wellfleet are remote only, but some are held in person. Go to www.wellfleet-ma.gov/calendar and click on the meeting you want to watch, then follow the instructions on the agenda.
Thursday, Dec. 22
- Board of Assessors, 9:30 a.m.
- Commission on Disabilities, 3 p.m.
Monday, Dec. 26
- Town Hall offices closed for holiday
Rebuild to Reappear in January
The plan to replace a 550-square-foot house destroyed by a 2016 fire at 41 9th St. on Lieutenant Island with a 2,500-square-foot house was back before the zoning board of appeals on Dec. 8 after a Land Court judge ruled that the ZBA’s earlier denial was “unreasonable as a matter of law.”
On Dec. 8, the ZBA postponed the hearing until Jan. 26 because the applicants did not bring 12 new copies of the plans as instructed, said Sharon Inger, the board’s chair. The prospective buyers, Donald Bliss and Damon Kirk of J&B Construction in Mashpee, and the sellers, the Mandell family, have an agreement that makes the sale contingent on securing building permits. When Attorney Kevin Kirrane, representing the applicants, argued that the plans were submitted back in 2020, Inger said that, while the town would have retained the plans, it wasn’t up to her board to dig them up and produce the paper copies.
In its original denial in February 2021, the ZBA considered local bylaw provisions that apply to nonconforming structures destroyed by catastrophes. The provisions require that rebuilding begin within a year and be completed within two years. They also stipulate that the rebuilt house be essentially the same as the one that was destroyed. The plan submitted for the new house did not fit within those requirements, the board ruled.
The applicants appealed, and in June Land Court Judge Diane Rubin said that, under the town’s bylaw, the owner of a pre-existing nonconforming house can demolish a house simply because they wish to have a different type of structure. This would mean those who have lost their homes to a catastrophe would be subjected to “more draconian regulation than those who simply want a larger house,” Rubin said. Such an interpretation of the law didn’t make sense, she said, annulling the ZBA decision and sending it back for a new hearing. —Christine Legere