Zoning commission approves front yard pool

An in-ground swimming pool and “open air changing room” has been approved for what is — on paper, anyway — the front yard of a house at 38 Peaceable Street.

While Bruce and Diane Ritter have owned the property for 15 years, the house was originally part of the large Doubleday estate, which surrounded a mansion that is now Temple Shir Shalom at 46 Peaceable Street.

“This house was built in 1960 by Jim Doubleday,” Jack Baldaserini, a real estate agent representing the Ritters, told the Planning and Zoning Commission’s Nov. 12 meeting. “At the time his family owned 200 acres, now Westmoreland. The main house is now the temple.”

Baldaserini explained that the area where the pool is planned is technically the front yard by wording in the zoning rules, but not in a real-world practical sense.

“The south side of the house, which P&Z calls the front, is actually the rear,” Baldaserini said.

The house is on the market, he said, and prospective buyers may be interested in building the proposed pool.

Commission Chairwoman Rebecca Mucchetti had a concern.

“There’s a very large tree,” she said.

“The reason we want to put the pool here is to protect that tree,” Baldaserini said.

Planning and Zoning Director Richard Baldelli raised the issue of outdoor lighting, and Baldaserini said the plans called for down-facing lights, which should be an improvement.

“There’s a lot of lighting on the property now, and all of it is up,” he said.

No members of the public commented on the application at a Nov. 12 public hearing.

The commission voted 8-0 to approved the plans later that night.