ANTRIM ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
May 22, 2007 meeting
Members & Staff Present:
Doug Crafts John Giffin Bradley Houseworth Len Pagano Frank Scales PersonNameDon Winchester Paul Young
Member & Staff Absent:
Carol Court John Kendall PersonNamePaul Vasques
Scott Burnside Tom Davis Carrie Green Patricia Meller Stephen Noble Mike Zienkiewicz
Chairman Winchester convened the meeting at timeMinute30Hour197:30 PM, introduced himself, and asked the Board members to introduce themselves. Chairman Winchester appointed Mr. Giffin to sit for the absent Mr. Kendall and outlined the procedure to be followed for the public meetings and public hearings. Chairman Winchester informed Mr. Burnside and Mr. Davis that at this time, the Board will not be making a motion whether or not to rehear the Landsite application because the Board is still waiting for legal counsel regarding the proper procedure to be followed.
Girl Scouts of Swift Water Council; File # 2007-06ZBA: Chairman Winchester opened the public meeting on the request of the Girl Scouts of Swift Water Council for an area variance from Article IX, Section C.8 to permit the construction of a climbing tower which would be 47.5 feet in height on property located at 4 Brimstone Corner Road (Tax Map 240, Lot 002) in Antrim, NH 03440, located in the Rural Conservation District. Chairman Winchester asked the applicants to stand and present their proposal.
Ms. Carrie Green introduced herself (Camp Chenoa Resident Camp Manager), her two associates (Ms. Patricia Meller and Mr. Mike Zienkiewicz), and explained that they are proposing the construction of a thirty five (35’) foot climbing tower that will be an addition to the adventure program for the Girl Scouts that participate in the resident camp program. She stated that the climbing structure or actual climbing face is thirty five (35’) feet high but the platform at the top, with the associated telephone poles it is constructed on, extends forty seven and a half (47.5’) feet above the ground. She explained that it will be located on their property (Tax Map 240, placeLot 002) next to the dining hall and it will be used throughout the summer, and on weekends, for girls to learn the basics of climbing and to conduct
other challenging activities. She provided the Board with photographs of the proposed climbing tower, rough sketches, and structural calculations.
Ms. Green stated that the climbing tower will be constructed by a local company called, ‘Wingspeed Adventures,’ and they have been constructing climbing tours and high ropes courses for many years. She explained that the climbing tower has a triangular configuration of ten (10’) feet by ten (10’) feet and is constructed on three telephone poles, which are secured by multiple guy cables that attach to the ground. Ms. Patricia Meller introduced herself and stated that although the provided pictures and rough sketches show a multisided climbing tower, they are only constructing a one sided climbing wall with a platform on the top and the other two sides open. She explained that individuals will not be able to go above thirty five (35’) feet but the poles supporting the climbing tower will extend
to a height of forty seven and a half (47.5’) feet above the ground. Ms. Green explained that the poles need to be higher than the climbing wall face in order for the guy cables to be at the right level to support the structure and prevent the climbers from hitting the guy cables during their climbing activities. Chairman Winchester asked why the provided rough sketch labels the three (3) telephone poles as Class 2 poles, fifty five (55’) feet long; Ms. Meller explained that the poles are fifty five (55’) feet long but are sunk into the ground approximately seven and half (7.5’) feet so they will be exposed above ground to a height of forty seven and a half (47.5’) feet. Mr. Zienkiewicz explained that he was advised that the guideline for the telephone poles is that at least ten (10%) percent of the total length of the pole should be sunk into the ground (~ five feet) and they added an additional two feet for safety.
Mr. Houseworth asked if the girl scouts will be using belay cables, harnesses, helmets or any other types of safety equipment. Ms. Meller explained that the girl scouts will be using belay cables, harnesses, helmets, and all other necessary safety equipment. Mr. Young asked the applicants if they have any proposed provisions for safety, in regards to when the Girl Scout camp is not open, to prevent unauthorized individuals from using the climbing tower when it is unattended, i.e. an enclosed fence. Ms. Green explained that the removable multicolor foot and hand holds, which are used for climbing purposes, on the lower portion of the climbing tower will be removed when the tower is not being used or supervised so there is no access to the tower. Ms. Meller added that Mr. Zienkiewicz is the year round care taker whom
lives on the property and tries his best to keep unauthorized individuals from trespassing on the property and in the camp. Mr. Young stated that if there are ways for unauthorized individuals to get into trouble, they will most likely get into trouble. Ms. Meller stated that they will be taking everything off the lower portion of the climbing tower when not in use in order to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing the tower and therefore it would be very difficult to access the tower without an additional ladder or equipment.
Mr. Crafts asked the applicants if they have any concerns regarding potential lightning strikes to the climbing tower or have any proposed provisions to eliminate the potential threat of the tower acting as a lightning rod. Ms. Meller replied that they have not addressed this possibility but will discuss it with Wingspeed Adventures in order to find ways to minimize the potential for the climbing tower to act as a lightning rod.
Chairman Winchester asked Mr. Houseworth to read Article IX, Section C.8. to the Board so they understand what the applicant is requesting an area variance for. Mr. Houseworth read aloud the text and explained that it basically sets a maximum height for all buildings and structures within the Rural Conservation District at two and half (2½) stories or thirty five (35’) feet, whichever is less.
Chairman Winchester asked if there were any abutters present that would like to speak either in favor or against the proposal; there were none. Mr. Houseworth explained that Mr. Neil Sharby, who lives across the street at addressStreet55 Brimstone Corner Road (Tax Map 240, placeLot 013), came into Town Hall inquiring about the proposal but upon being informed had absolutely no problem with the proposed construction of a climbing tower.
Chairman Winchester asked the Board if they have any other questions for the applicants, after having read the applicants’ reasoning for how they meet the five (5) criteria used to determine whether or not an area variance should be granted. Mr. Pagano asked the applicants if, assuming they are granted the area variance, they will be applying for a building permit from the building department prior to constructing the tower, Mr. Zienkiewicz replied yes. Mr. Pagano stated that one of his questions is that if the climbing tower is required to be stamped by a licensed, professional engineer, it would be reasonable to require that the professional engineer be licensed in the State of New Hampshire, and not the State of Rhode Island, as shown on the provided rough sketches and structural calculation sheets for the proposed
climbing tower. Mr. Pagano stated that his other comment regarding this proposal is that if the guy cables are at a forty five (45) degree angle and the structure is forty seven and half (47.5’) feet high, the cables will be quite long and the design for this structure would call for some sort of cable insulators to be installed at the base of these cables in order to prevent small people or young children from running into them and hurting themselves. He stated that he doesn’t think it would be a large additional expense to install cable insulators and the installation of such devises would make the climbing tower safer. Mr. Houseworth asked Mr. Pagano if he would like to make these two suggestions potential conditions of the granting of the area variance; he replied not necessarily but would hope the Building Inspector would consider these two recommendations before issuing the building permit in order to protect the safety of all involved,
especially the applicant.
Mr. Young moved to close the public hearing, which was seconded by Mr. Scales and was unanimously approved. Chairman Winchester closed the public hearing and opened the public deliberation period for the Board members. Chairman Winchester stated that based upon the applicants’ reasoning for how they meet the five (5) criteria for the granting of an area variance, as outlined in their application to the Board, he feels the members are on the same page and perhaps would be ready to make a motion regarding the granting of the area variance. Mr. Pagano moved to approve and grant the Girl Scouts of Swift Water Council an area variance from Article IX, Section C.8 of the Town of Antrim Zoning Ordinances in order to permit the construction of a climbing tower which would be 47.5 feet in height on the Camp Chenoa property
located at 4 Brimstone Corner Road (Tax Map 240, Lot 002) in Antrim, NH in the Rural Conservation District. Mr. Crafts seconded the motion, which was unanimously passed.
Mr. Houseworth stated the area variance has been granted and the applicants will receive a notice of decision in the mail, signed by the chairman. Chairman Winchester thanked the applicants for coming.
D’Amelio, David; File # 2007-07ZBA: Chairman Winchester opened the public meeting on the request of David D’Amelio for an area variance from Article VIII, Section C.3 to permit the construction of a deck within 100’ of the high water mark on property located at 172 Pierce Lake Road (Tax Map 206, Lot 072) in Antrim, NH 03440, located in the Lakefront Residential District. Chairman Winchester asked the applicant’s agent, Mr. Stephen Noble, to stand and present the proposal to the Board.
Mr. Noble explained that Mr. David D’Amelio is requesting an area variance to construct a deck within the one hundred (100’) foot setback from the high water mark of Pierce Lake on an existing, non-conforming home, which is also completely within the one hundred (100’) foot setback from the high water mark. He explained that the building inspector has inspected the site and has taken a few photos of the deck. He stated that the deck was constructed on the side of the house and doesn’t extend any closer to the high water mark of Pierce Lake than the house does. He explained that the deck is not within the side or rear setback areas and was built over a pre-existing porch.
Mr. Houseworth advised the members to review the last page in their packets which shows a copy of the plot plan with the deck sketched in and the approximate distances to the property lines and the high water mark of Pierce Lake. He explained that the deck is fourteen (14’) feet by sixteen (16’) feet, is approximately thirty one (31’) feet from the high water mark, and thirty three (33’) from the side/ east property line.
Chairman Winchester asked if any letters were received from abutters regarding this proposal; Mr. Houseworth replied none. Mr. Houseworth explained that it was properly notified in the paper, and all certified letters were distributed, but the situation began with an anonymous abutter calling the building inspector to inform them of a new deck being established within the one hundred (100’) foot setback; without a viable building permit. Mr. Pagano asked if the applicant built the deck without obtaining a permit, Mr. Houseworth replied yes. Mr. Pagano stated that it appears that the applicant may have applied for a building permit to renovate the interior of the house but along the way thought it would be a great idea to also build a fourteen (14’) foot by sixteen (16’) foot deck on the side of the house. Mr. Pagano expressed concern about the Board setting a precedent by granting an area variance for individuals that build a deck, without a building permit, and apply for an
area variance after-the-fact. He stated that if the Board grants this request, it is setting a dangerous precedent that could be interpreted as the Board being supportive of the construction of decks, without a building permit, within the one hundred (100’) foot setback from the high water mark, prior to obtaining a variance.
Chairman Winchester asked if there were any abutters present that would like to speak either in favor or against the proposal; there were none. After a deliberation among the Board members, Mr. Houseworth reminded the Board of Article XIV, Section N.5 of the Town of Antrim Zoning Ordinances which states that: “The requirements for yards fronting on the water in the Lakefront Residential District (LR) heretofore established shall be adjusted in the following cases: a. For an existing building located within one hundred (100) feet for existing buildings or decks that are facing the water, a deck may be erected into the setback area extending no further than a line drawn between the waterfront edges of the two adjacent buildings or decks. In no case shall such deck be roofed over and/or enclosed.”
Mr. Pagano explained that based on Article XIV, Section N.5 and the information provided by the applicant on the plot plan and tax maps, the deck is not any closer to the water, it doesn’t seem to extend any further to a line drawn between the waterfront edges of the two adjacent buildings or decks, and therefore, it seems the applicant wouldn’t need an area variance for the construction of this deck, as long as it is not expanded, enclosed, or a roof erected over it. Mr. Pagano stated that it seems that the applicant doesn’t need to be in front of the Board for an area variance. Mr. Pagano made a motion to dismiss this file and case because the Board’s interpretation of Article XIV, Section N.5 indicates that an area variance is not required in this particular situation. Mr. Young seconded the
motion, which was unanimously approved by the Board.
Approve ZBA Meeting Minutes: Mr. Scales moved to approve the minutes of the May 15, 2007 meeting as presented, which was seconded by Mr. Pagano and passed.
Mr. Scales moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Young seconded the motion which unanimously passed. Chairman Winchester adjourned the meeting at 8:35 PM.
Bradley J. Houseworth, Planning Technician,
Antrim Zoning Board of Adjustment