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Zoning Board of Adjustment Minutes 06/05/07
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ANTRIM ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

June 5, 2007 Meeting


Members & Staff Present:

John Giffin
Bradley Houseworth
John Kendall
Len Pagano
Don Winchester
Paul Young

Member & Staff Absent:  

Carol Court
Doug Crafts
Frank Scales

                                                
Public Attendees:

Scott Burnside
Steve Campbell
Tom Davis
Ron Haggett
Pamela Matthews
Ed Rowehl
Giffen Russell
Russ Russell
Norm Shepard

        
Chairman Winchester convened the meeting at 7:30 PM, introduced himself, and asked the Board members to introduce themselves.  Chairman Winchester appointed Mr. Giffin to sit for the absent Mr. Scales and outlined the procedure to be followed for the public meeting and subsequent public hearing.


Russell, Lester and Giffen ; File # 2007-09ZBA:  Chairman Winchester opened the public meeting on the request by Lester and Giffen Russell for a special exception from Article VI, Section B.3.f. to permit the construction of a conversion apartment on property located at 36 West Street (Tax Map 242, Lot 1) in Antrim, NH 03440, located in the Residential District.  Chairman Winchester asked the applicants to stand and present their proposal.

Mr. Norm Shepard introduced himself and explained that he is the Russell’s builder and agent for the proposed project.  He stated that they are proposing to construct an attached conversion apartment addition on the side of the Russell’s house on West Street.  He stated that the conversion apartment will be used by Mr. Campbell, the future son-in-law, and Ms. Matthews, the daughter, in order to take care of the Russells for the next twenty years.  He explained that they are proposing a small addition on the first floor, sixteen (16’) feet by twenty four (24’) feet, and they will be removing part of the existing art studio of the house in order to add an additional living space to the second floor.  He stated that they meet all of the setbacks and frontage requirements except for the front yard setback, due to the fact that the existing house is approximately forty eight (48’) feet from West Street.  He stated that they would like to build the addition on the first floor flush (in line) with the existing house in order to make the addition look like it has always been a part of the house and match the existing architectural style.  He explained that they will not be adding a driveway but will be upgrading the existing private septic system, which is about thirty (30) years old, in order to handle the added kitchen and bathroom.

Chairman Winchester stated that it seems there are two issues: 1) the applicants need a special exception for the conversion apartment, and 2) the addition will be two (2) feet within the front yard setback area, which in the Residential District is fifty (50’) feet.  Mr. Shepard stated that they could move the proposed addition two feet back, in order to be out of the front yard setback area, but then the addition would not be flush with the house and would not look like it has always been there.  Mr. Houseworth stated that it seems the applicants would therefore need a special exception for the conversion apartment and an area variance in order to extend two (2) feet within the front yard setback area.

Mr. Houseworth provided the Board with the criteria in Article XIII, Section D.1. which must all be met in order for the Board to grant a special exception to permit the construction of a conversion apartment.  Mr. Giffin pointed out that Article XIII, Section D.1.c. seems to be a contradictory statement to the granting of a special exception for a conversion apartment because most conversion apartment proposals involve ‘exterior alterations of the structure.’  Mr. Houseworth agreed with Mr. Giffin and stated that the Planning Board will have to change this criterion in the near future in order to make it consistent with the intent of the ordinance and the definition of a ‘conversion apartment.’

Mr. Kendall asked the applicants if there is adequate parking, at least two (2) parking spaces per unit, for the additional conversion apartment, as required by criterion h of Article XIII, Section D.  Mr. Shepard replied that they have a garage and parking area for four cars so they have enough parking for both the existing house and proposed conversion apartment.  Chairman Winchester asked if there will be any foreseeable parking or traffic issues if the conversion apartment becomes a rental apartment to the general public in the future.  Mr. Shepard replied no because the parking area is set up so that the vehicles will not be blocking each other.  Mr. Kendall asked if there is a separate entrance for the apartment, separate from the studio, Mr. Shepard replied yes.  

Mr. Kendall expressed concerns about the first and second floor additions extending into the front yard setback area and questioned whether the Board should grant an area variance to the front yard setback requirement when the public notice that was issued only mentioned the applicant requesting a special exception for the construction of a conversion apartment, and not an area variance from the front yard setback.  After a lengthy discussion among the Board members about whether an area variance should be granted for the infringement of the conversion apartment in the front yard setback area when it was not properly advertised, the members decided that they could only consider the question of whether or not the special exception for a conversion apartment should be granted and the applicant would have to re-apply to the Board for an area variance from the front yard setback requirement, which the Board would consider at a later date.

Chairman Winchester opened the public hearing and asked if any abutters are present that would like to speak in favor or against the proposal.  Mr. Ed Rowehl introduced himself, stated that he is an abutter, and explained that he has no problems with the proposal for the construction of a conversion apartment.  Mr. Scott Burnside introduced himself, stated that he is not an abutter, and explained that he is in favor of this proposal because he is on the Planning Board and when this language was inserted in the ordinances it was intended for conversion apartments to be constructed for caregivers.  Mr. Haggett introduced himself, stated that he is also not an abutter, but asked the Board to grant this special exception.  Mr. Kendall asked Mr. Houseworth if any letters were received from abutters, either for or against the proposal; he replied there were none.

Chairman Winchester moved to close the public hearing, which was seconded by Mr. Giffin, and unanimously approved.  Chairman Winchester opened the Board’s deliberation period and asked Mr. Houseworth to read aloud the special exception criteria for the granting of a conversion apartment, as specified in Article XIII, Section A.1-6 and D.1.a-h, which he did.  The Board discussed whether this proposal meets each and every criterion in Article XIII, Section A.1-6 and Section D.1.a-h and came to a consensus after discussing each one that it does in fact meet all of the criteria.

Mr. Kendall moved to conduct a roll call vote on whether or not to grant the special exception for a conversion apartment, as presented, which was seconded by Mr. Giffin and was unanimously approved.  The roll call vote results follow:

1.      The proposed use may be similar to one or more of the uses already authorized in that district and is in an appropriate location for such a use.  Roll call vote: Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Pagano – aye, and Mr. Giffin – aye.
2.      Such approval would not adversely affect the neighborhood, nor otherwise be injurious, obnoxious or offensive.  Roll call vote: Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Pagano – aye, and Mr. Giffin – aye.
3.      The use will not create excessive traffic congestion, noise, or odors in the neighborhood where it is proposed.  Roll call vote: Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Pagano – aye, and Mr. Giffin – aye.
4.      Such approval would be consistent with the intent of the Zoning Ordinance, after having given due consideration to recommendations received from the Planning Board.  Roll call vote: Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Pagano – aye, and Mr. Giffin – aye.
5.      Adequate and appropriate facilities will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use. Roll call vote: Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Pagano – aye, Mr. Giffin – aye.
6.      If the proposed special exception is listed in Article XIII, D, then it must meet all conditions of that article.  Roll call vote: Mr. Kendall – aye, Mr. Pagano – aye, and Mr. Giffin – aye.

Mr. Houseworth stated that the special exception to permit a conversion apartment had been granted and the applicant will receive a notice of decision in the mail, signed by the chairman.  Chairman Winchester thanked the applicants for coming.


Town Counsel Confidential Documentation:  Mr. Young rejoined the Board as a voting member since he arrived late during the previous public hearing.  Mr. Houseworth provided the Board members with all of the confidential, legal counsel documentation from Mr. Bart Mayer of Upton and Hatfield (Town Counsel) regarding the potential rehearing of the Landsite, LLC case, file # 2007-02ZBA, in which the Board denied the appeal for a Special Exception to permit the operation of a new excavation site in Town.


Motion to Issue the Notice of Decision for Landsite, LLC; File #2007-02ZBA:  Mr. Houseworth reminded the Board that a written notice of decision was never issued by the Planning Staff for the Board for the Landsite, LLC case, file #2007-02ZBA.  Chairman Winchester read aloud the proposed Landsite, LLC written notice of decision to the Board and applicants present, Mr. Scott Burnside and Mr. Tom Davis of Landsite, LLC.  After a lengthy discussion about the proposed language of the written notice of decision and the following proposed procedural steps, Mr. Pagano moved to vote on the issuing of the written notice of decision, which was seconded by Mr. Giffin, and unanimously passed.  Mr. Kendall recused himself from voting on the issuance of the written notice of decision because he previously recused himself at the original hearing.

Mr. Giffin moved to issue the written notice of decision, as presented by Mr. Houseworth, with the proposed cover letter and a copy of the final draft of the April 10, 2007 Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting minutes, which was seconded by Mr. Young and unanimously passed.  Mr. Young moved to read aloud the proposed cover letter to the Board and applicants, as presented by Mr. Houseworth, which will accompany the written notice of decision when issued, which was seconded by Mr. Pagano and unanimously passed.  Chairman Winchester read aloud the proposed cover letter.  Mr. Houseworth stated that the notice of decision, cover letter, and a copy of the final draft of the April 10, 2007 Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting minutes will be sent to the applicant after the chairman of the Board signs the notice of decision and cover letter.


Letter from Mr. Peter Pitsas - Road issues with the proposed Landsite, LLC Pit:  Mr. Houseworth provided the Board with a letter from Mr. Peter Pitsas, dated May 29, 2007, to Bill Prokop, Town Administrator, regarding his review of the road issues regarding the proposed Landsite, LLC pit on Smith Road for the following three topics: 1) Access to the proposed excavation site, 2) truck traffic, 3) condition of existing roads.  After a short discussion among the members, the Board asked Mr. Houseworth to research the origins of the letter, why it was issued, and who paid for the services.


Approve ZBA Meeting Minutes:  Mr. Pagano moved to approve the minutes of the May 22, 2007 meeting, which was seconded by Mr. Young and unanimously passed.


NH Local Government Center’s (LGC) 66th Annual Conference:  Mr. Houseworth informed the members that the New Hampshire Local Government Center is holding its 66th Annual Conference on November 7 – 9, 2007 at the Radisson Hotel at 700 Elm Street in Manchester, NH.  He explained that the conference includes exhibits and workshop sessions on topics including: governance, finance, environment, and land use.


Mr. Pagano moved to adjourn the meeting.  Mr. Giffin seconded the motion which unanimously passed.  Chairman Winchester adjourned the meeting at 9:00 PM.


Respectfully submitted,


Bradley J. Houseworth, Secretary
Antrim Zoning Board of Adjustment


 
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