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Zoning Board of Adjustment Minutes 03/31/04
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ANTRIM ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

March 31, 2004 meeting

Members Present:

        Carol Court             Ron Haggett             John Kendall
        Don Winchester  Paul Young
                        
Member Absent:

Tim Quachenbush 

Public attendees:

        Walter Neff             David Essex             Beverly Hall
        Chet Banks              Michelle Banks  Paul Belliveau
        Leslie Belliveau        Shannon Rondeau Michael Rondeau                         William Reilly          Shelly Nelkens  Peter Mellen, L.L.S.
`       Bernadette Todd Damon Lawrence  Geraldine Rabideau
        Earnest Todd            Barbara Cohen   Keith Testa (The Villager)
        Jean Hearn (Realtor)

Mr. Winchester opened the meeting as acting chairmen since Mr. Pratt, the former chairman had been elected as a selectman and could no longer serve in that role. Mr. Winchester read from a statement that explained the procedure to be followed during the conduct of a public hearing and introduced the members serving on the Board. The secretary then called on Mr. Mellen to present the request by Donald Knapton for a variance to Article VIII, Section C.2 of the zoning ordinance to permit the subdivision of a lot with a minimum width of 160.73 feet and a shoreland frontage of  172 feet more or less. The property is located off of Pierce Lake Road, Antrim, NH, Tax Map 7A, Lot 65 in the Lakefront Residential and Rural Districts

Mr. Mellen displayed a plat of a subdivision proposed by Mr. Donald Knapton and a detailed drawing of one of the lots in the subdivision (#12) which had the less than required frontage on the lake. Both plats are in file #2004-04ZBA. He explained that no application had been filed for the subdivision as of this evening. Such an application would be dependent upon the outcome of tonight’s request for a variance. Mr. Mellen explained that a portion of the property was in the Lakefront Residential District and the balance was in the Rural District. The Southwest boundary line of the property was such that it bisected the lakefront at a point that did not permit the required 200-foot lot width. He explained that the lot did widen up to 200 feet just behind the 100-foot shoreline setback; hence all buildings would be constructed where the lot is at least 200 foot wide. He also explained that a portion of lot 12 would be annexed to Map 7A, Lot 54 owned by Beverly Hall. He briefly reviewed other aspects of the subdivision but they had no bearing on the specific request for a variance. Mr. Mellen then read from a prepared statement, which outlined his arguments as to why the five conditions required to grant a variance would be met. A copy of the statement is in file #2004-04ZBA. Mr. Winchester then asked for abutters who wished to speak in favor of the application.

Ms. Nelkens asked for a clarification of what portion of lot 12 would be transferred to Ms. Hall and whether or not Ms. Hall’s lot would become more or less nonconforming. Mr. Mellen explained that it would become less non-conforming. Ms. Hall briefly pointed out that she was in favor of granting the variance. Mr. Rondeau asked for an explanation of the restrictions on the lakefront. Mr. Mellen said that the ordinance required a lot to be 200 feet wide at all points. Ms. Nelkens asked if lot 12 would conform if property were not transferred to Ms. Hall and Mr. Mellen explain that the 200-foot lakefront requirement still would not be met.

Ms. Nelkens asked how granting the variance would benefit the town. Mr. Young explained that lakefront property would be assessed at an average of three times the value of property that did not have lake frontage. The secretary pointed out to the Board members that property tax generation is not a consideration in determining whether or not a person is being denied reasonable use of their property. Mr. Kendall pointed out that the town couldn’t stop growth and that the proposed layout was possibly the best for such a subdivision. Mr. Banks said that he had a purchase agreement on lot 12 subject to subdivision approval. He owns a business in Massachusetts and they would retain their primary residence in Massachusetts and their children would remain in the Massachusetts schools. The secretary reminded the members that the number of school children was not a consideration in determining whether or not a person is being denied reasonable use of their property. Ms. Hearn asked for a clarification of the 200-foot frontage on the lake, which was given by Mr. Mellen. Ms. Rondeau asked if lot 12 could be combined with lot 11. Mr. Mellen stated that it could but would not only deprive Mr. Knapton with a salable lot but a specifically a salable lakefront lot. Ms. Nelkens pointed out that the reason for the ordinance was to cut down on the use of the shorefront. Mr. Haggett referred to recent rulings by the Supreme Court which redefined hardship as denying a person reasonable use of their property. Ms. Nelkens felt that Mr. Knapton’s request was not reasonable. Ms. Rabideau agreed with Ms. Nelkens. She asked what the cutoff size would be for lake frontage before a variance would be denied. She was concerned that this additional lakefront lot would generate more boats and people on the lake. She said that traffic on Elm Avenue has increased a lot in the past few years and granting the variance would only make it worse. She felt that the town should keep the rules (ordinances) that are in place and not keep granting variances to them. Ms. Todd reiterated much of what Mr. Rabideau said and felt that the Board should stick to the ordinance. Ms. Nelkens felt that the Board did not have a leg to stand on to grant the variance. Ms. Hearn pointed out that boating on the lake is influenced more by the public boating ramp in Hillsboro which allows anyone to launch a boat on the lake and that the addition of one more resident on the waterfront would have an insignificant impact on the boating traffic. She also felt that there would not be any significant impact of children on the school system. She felt that the manner in which Mr. Knapton has developed his previous subdivision on the lake had been a definite benefit to the town. Since there were no more comments, Mr. Winchester closed the hearing to public participation and asked the Board to deliberate the application. There was no deliberation among members so Mr. Winchester called for a roll call vote on the five conditions to be met to grant the variance.

The proposed use would not diminish surrounding property values. Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.
Granting the variance would be of benefit to the public interest: Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – nay, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.
Denial of the variance would result in unnecessary hardship to the owner because of special circumstances of the property that distinguish it from other properties similarly zoned: Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.
Granting the variance would do a substantial justice: Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – nay, Mr. Winchester – nay, Mr. Young – aye.
The use is not contrary to the spirit of the ordinance: Roll call vote: Ms. Court – nay, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – nay, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.

The secretary announced that the request for a variance had been granted and that the applicants would receive official notice in the mail. Mr. Winchester closed the public hearing.

Mr. Winchester then opened the public hearing on the request by Antrim Mills Corp. for variances from Article IV, Section C.1.c(3) of the zoning ordinance to permit the construction of more than six dwelling units per building and Article IV, Section C.3.d to permit a sideline set back less than twenty feet. The applicant proposes to remodel the Antrim Mill Building to incorporate multiple residential, commercial and retail facilities and to adjust the lot lines to include all the old mill structures onto one parcel of land. The property is located on the corner of Main and High Steets in Antrim, NH 03440, Tax Map 1A, Lots 170 and 170-1 which are in the Village Business District.

Mr. Belliveau gave a brief description of the development of the Frameworks business on the adjacent property and then presented drawings showing the proposed development of the Antrim Mills complex. The complex is in the rough configuration of a “V” with the apex fronting on High Street. Mr. Belliveau proposes to develop the portions of the building fronting on Main Street and High street into commercial or retail modules. He proposes to develop the western portion of the building facing the Frameworks property into modules that would be for residences and/or commercial or retail use. He felt that there would be a total of 39 modular units. Mr. Belliveau indicated that the existing green space on the property would remain as green space. He pointed out that the current configuration of the building did not lend itself to current manufacturing techniques and that unless creative remodeling and use of the structure were permitted it would deteriorate over time; whereas developement as was being proposed would have definite tax advantages to the town and would be consistent with current plans for the development of the downtown area. Mr. Belliveau pointed out that when the Frameworks project was approved, it was the intention to use the old Goodell building as offices for Frameworks but this proved to not be feasible. Consequently he now proposed that the old historic building be incorporated into the proposed project for Antrim Mills by a lot line adjustment. The distance between the Frameworks building and the historic building is 30 feet. He proposed a lot line adjustment down the middle resulting in 15 feet side yard setbacks instead of the 20 feet required by the ordinance. The area in question is a deeded right of way between the buildings. Based on a total of 39 modules, the current ordinance calls for 88 parking spaces and current plans allow for 98 spaces. Some of the spaces for the residences would be on the Antrim Mill property across Main Street and some interior parking would be designed into the layout.

The secretary asked in what portion of the complex would the residential units be located. Mr. Belliveau said that there would be no residences in the portions of the building facing High or Main Street and they would only be in the back portion. By that determination there would only be a maximum of 28 possible residential units. Ms. Nelkens asked what the minimum size of the residential units would be. Mr. Belliveau indicated that each unit would be at least 600 square feet. Mr. Haggett asked if there were any plans to develop the historical building. Mr. Belliveau indicated that there were no plans to do so at this time. Mr. Winchester asked if any abutters wished to speak in favor of the application.

Mr. Essex, the TIF Administrator stated that the proposed development was in keeping with previous studies and the Charette Plan. He felt that such a development would benefit the town by increasing tax revenue and provide more downtown shopping as well as residences. Mr. Neff felt that this was a good project but expressed concern about traffic and contaminated sediment which enters the pond across High Street as well as the inadequacy of the current bridge on High Street which services Frameworks. He was assured that these were legitimate concerns; however, would be address by the Planning Board as part of their Site Plan Review when and if an application were presented. Abutter would be notified of such an application and allowed to express their concerns at that time. Mr. Reilly asked for a confirmation of the number of dwelling units and was told that they would not exceed 28. Ms. Nelkens asked if the green space would extend along the brook all the way to the Mill Pond. Mr. Belliveau said that was not proposed by him but was a concept that had been discussed in the past. Mr. Essex confirmed that this was a concept being considered in the ongoing discussions regarding the development of the downtown area. Ms. Nelkens raised concerns about the current Activity and Use Restrictions placed on the property by DES because of contamination of the property by the former Goodell Company, specifically that which prohibits use of the property “as a school, nursery, recreational areas (such as parks or athletic fields) or any other use at which a child’s presence is likely or intended”. Ms. Nelkens was advised that this was indeed a concern but not within the jurisdiction of the Zoning Board in determining if a variance should be granted. It would be a matter to be considered by the Planning Board during their Site Plan Review of an application to develop the property.

Mr. Belliveau then read his arguments, which addressed the five conditions to be met to grant a variance. These comments are document in file #2004-03 ZBA. There being no other comments from the public, Mr. Winchester closed the hearing to public participation and asked the Board to deliberate which they did. Mr. Haggett moved that a variance be granted which would permit the number of dwelling units to be more than six but not to exceed 28 and that all of the dwelling units would be located in that section of the building know as the Linear Great Brook Building”. A condition of granting the variance would be that no dwelling units would be permitted without the express approval of DES. Mr. Young seconded the motion. Mr. Winchester called for a role call vote.

The proposed use would not diminish surrounding property values. Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.
Granting the variance would be of benefit to the public interest: Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.
Denial of the variance would result in unnecessary hardship to the owner because of special circumstances of the property that distinguish it from other properties similarly zoned: Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.
Granting the variance would do a substantial justice: Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.
The use is not contrary to the spirit of the ordinance: Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.

Mr. Winchester moved that a variance be granted to permit a lot line adjustment between lots 170-1 and 170, tax map 1A which would result in side yard setbacks of 15 feet rather than the 20 feet required by the ordinance. Mr. Haggett seconded the motion. Role call vote:

The proposed use would not diminish surrounding property values. Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.
Granting the variance would be of benefit to the public interest: Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.
Denial of the variance would result in unnecessary hardship to the owner because of special circumstances of the property that distinguish it from other properties similarly zoned: Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.
Granting the variance would do a substantial justice: Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye.
The use is not contrary to the spirit of the ordinance: Roll call vote: Ms. Court – aye, Mr. Haggett – aye, Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye

The secretary announced that the request for a variance had been granted and that the applicants would receive official notice in the mail. Mr. Winchester closed the public hearing.

The members then reviewed the minutes of the January 6, 2004 meeting. Mr. Haggett moved to accept them as presented. Mr. Kendall seconded the motion, which was passed.
The next order of business was the election of officers. Mr. Vasques nominated Mr. Winchester as chairman, which was seconded by Mr. Kendall. There were no other nominations and Mr. Winchester was elected chairman on a voice vote. Mr. Vasques nominated Mr. Haggett as chairman, which was seconded by Ms. Court. There were no other nominations and Mr. Haggett was elected vice chairman on a voice vote.

Mr. Haggett moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Winchester seconded the motion, which was passed.

Mr. Winchester adjourned the meeting at 10:30 PM.


Respectfully submitted,




Paul L. Vasques, Secretary
Antrim Zoning Board of Adjustment

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