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Zoning Board of Adjustment Minutes 04/25/06

April 25, 2006 meeting

Members Present:

        Doug Crafts                     Len Pagano                      Frank Scales            Don Winchester          Paul Young      
Member Absent

        Carol Court                     John Kendall                    Tim Quachenbush                                                 
Public Attendees:

        Adam Phelps

Chairman Winchester opened the meeting at 7:15 PM. Mr. Vasques introduced Mr. Bradley Houseworth who has joined the Planning Department as a Planning Technician.

Schultz, Jerome file # 2006-03ZBA: The first order of business was a public hearing on the request of Jerome Schultz for a variance to Article VIII Lakefront Residential District, Sections C.3. The applicant proposes to enlarge an existing porch which would encroach further into the one hundred foot set back requirement from the high water mark. Mr. Winchester introduced members of the Board and explained the procedure to be followed for the public hearing. He asked Mr. Phelps who was representing Mr. Schultz to present his proposal. Mr. Phelps provided a plot plan showing that the existing porch is 25’ from the high water mark and the new porch would be expanded to be 20’ from the high water mark. He also provided an architectural rendition of the screened in porch which was complete except for showing the balusters and the addition of a door on the south side of the building. He explained that the primary building structure did not have a dining room and that the porch served as the dining area. Mr. Schultz wished to expand the width of the porch an additional 3’ because as his family has grown with more grandchildren, the porch was too small to accommodate everyone. The space was so small that if one person wished to leave the table, it was necessary for others to get up and make room. The existing porch was in disrepair and Mr. Phelps planned to remove it and replace it with a new structure. He stated that the design was such that the overall appearance of the structure would be improved.

Mr. Crafts noted that the plot plan did not show any trees but he was aware that trees existed near the porch and wondered if they were going to be removed. Mr. Phelps indicated that no trees would be removed as Mr. Schultz wanted to keep them for the shade they provided.

Mr. Vasques advised the Board members that the primary structure as well as the porch was sited within 50’ of the high water march and as such fell under the jurisdiction of the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act. RSA 483-B He cited the following from the Act., “Under the current version of the Act, structures located closer to the water than the primary building line may be repaired, renovated, or replaced in kind using modern technologies, providing the result is a functionally equivalent use. Such repair or replacement may alter the interior design or existing foundation, but no expansion of the existing footprint or outside dimensions shall be permitted. (RSA 482-B.11 emphasis added). DES interprets this to apply only to those portions of the primary structure that lie between the reference line and the setback line and not the portions of the structure located behind the setback line. Thus, any expansion of an existing structure that is located within the primary structure setback requires a waiver from DES”.

Mr. Vasques advised that, based  on the Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act, the Board did not have the authority to grant a variance to rebuild the porch closer to the water unless the applicant obtained a waiver from DES permitting such an expansion.

Concern was expressed for putting the applicant through the time and expense of applying for a waiver from DES if the possibility existed that the Zoning Board would deny his request to expand further into the 100-foot setback imposed by Article VII Section C.3 of the Antrim Zoning Ordinance. After some discussion, the consensus was that the applicant was entitled to have an indication of how the Board would vote on his request for the variance. Mr. Vasques suggested that the Board consider the application as though the applicant had received the waiver from DES to expand the porch into the setback area as presented in the application and vote on whether or not to grant the request for a variance conditional on the granting of a waiver by DES. The Board then entered into a discussion on the merits of the application.

Mr. Pagano asked what reason the applicant had that would constitute a hardship. He felt that the size of the porch being too small for the size of the family was at best an inconvenience but did not constitute a hardship. Mr. Young felt that the role of the Zoning Board was an outlet for the reasonable interpretations of the zoning ordinances on a case-by-case basis. Mr. Pagano felt that the ordinances existed for a reason and were voted in place by the citizenry and should be upheld unless specific hardship can be proven. Mr. Young felt that the applicant was paying high property taxes and the proposed expansion was an improvement to the property and should be allowed. A lengthy discussion followed which revolved around property owners rights and whether or not the applicant had proved hardship. It was suggested that if any hardship did in fact exist, it was self-imposed. Mr. Young said that the Board had granted variances in the past to permit expansions within the 100’ setback. The Secretary pointed out that in the past, those variances did not allow the expansions to encroach any closer to the high water mark then the existing structure. He said that in no instance was a variance granted that permitted any construction closer to the high water mark than the existing structure. A concern was expressed that if a variance were to be granted in this case it could be setting a precedent. Members asked Mr. Phelps if the porch could be located somewhere else. Mr. Phelps said he would have to discus that with his client.

Mr. Young made a motion that a role call vote be taken on the five requirements to be considered in the granting of a variance based on the assumption that the applicant can obtain a waiver from DES to expand the porch as proposed in the supporting documents to the application submitted for the public hearing on April 25, 2006. Mr. Winchester seconded the motion.

1.      The proposed use would not diminish surrounding property values. Role call vote: Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye, Mr. Scales – aye, Mr. Pagano – aye, Mr. Crafts – aye.
2.      Granting the variance would be of benefit to the public interest. Role call vote: Mr. Winchester – nay, Mr. Young – aye, Mr. Scales – nay, Mr. Pagano – nay, Mr. Crafts – nay.
3.      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. Role call vote Mr. Winchester – nay, Mr. Young – aye, Mr. Scales – nay, Mr. Pagano – nay, Mr. Crafts – nay.
4.      Granting the variance would do a substantial justice. Role call vote: Mr. Winchester – aye, Mr. Young – aye, Mr. Scales – aye, Mr. Pagano – nay, Mr. Crafts – nay.
5.      The use is not contrary to the spirit of the ordinance. Role call vote: Mr. Winchester – nay, Mr. Young – aye, Mr. Scales – nay, Mr. Pagano – nay, Mr. Crafts – nay

Mr. Phelps was advised that the variance was denied and he and the applicant would receive written confirmation.

Mr. Winchester then resumed the business portion of the meeting. Mr. Scales moved that the minutes of the March 21, 2006 meeting be approved as corrected. Mr. Winchester seconded the motion which passed. The Secretary distributed an organizational chart of personnel in Town hall and members of various committees that were involved with the planning function.

There being no other business to conduct, Mr. Scales moved that the meeting be adjourned. Mr. Pagano seconded the motion which passed. Mr. Winchester adjourned the meeting at 8:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Paul L. Vasques, Secretary
Antrim Zoning Board of Adjustment

Town of Antrim, NH P.O. Box 517, 66 Main Street Antrim, NH 03440
Phone: (603) 588-6785    Fax: (603) 588-2969    Monday - Thursday 8:00am - 4:00pm
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