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Zoning Board of Adjustment Minutes 10/30/07
October 30, 2007 Meeting

Members & Staff Present:                Doug Crafts                     John Giffin     
        Ron Haggett                     Bradley Houseworth              John Kendall                    Laurie Lemons           Len Pagano                      Frank Scales                    Don Winchester          Paul Young

Member & Staff Absent:                  Carol Court                                             
Public Attendees:                       Pam Caswell

Vice Chair Young convened the meeting at 7:15 PM, introduced himself, asked the Board members to introduce themselves, and appointed Mr. Giffin to sit for Mr. Winchester who was running late.  

Caswell, Michael & Pamela; File# 2007-16ZBA; Area Variance:  Vice Chair Young continued the public meeting on the request of Michael & Pamela Caswell for an area variance from Article IV, Section C.3.b.(1) to permit the construction of a car port within the twenty (20') foot side yard setback on property located at 4 Elm Street (Tax Map 102, Lot 66) in Antrim, NH 03440, located in the Village Business District.  Vice Chair Young stated that this case was continued from the 10/16/07 Zoning Board meeting.

"       Mrs. Caswell addressed the Board with a proposal to build a twenty (20') foot wide by twenty (20') foot long carport, on the east side of their existing dwelling, within the twenty (20') foot side yard setback area.
"       The Planning Staff passed around a photo taken by Mr. Parsons of the lot in question, showing the dimensions from the existing structure to the fence and property line.
"       Mrs. Caswell confirmed Mr. Parsons' measurements that the existing house is approximately twenty-one feet and four inches (21'4") from their fence (which is about one foot from the side property line), making the house approximately twenty-two feet and four inches (22'4") from the side property line.
"       With these measurements, the proposed twenty (20') foot carport would be approximately one foot and four inches (1' 4") from the existing fence and two feet and four inches (2'4") from the side property line.
"       Members of the Board raised concerns about setting a precedent by granting a variance which allows the construction of a structure within two to three feet of the side property line.
"       Mrs. Caswell wanted to make a correction to the ZBA's 10/16/07 meeting minutes so that it is clear that the property line is one foot from the side yard fence.
"       Mr. Young asked the Planning Staff if any abutter letters were received, either in favor or against the proposal; Mr. Houseworth confirmed they received none.

Vice Chair Young closed the public meeting, opened the public hearing, and asked if abutters present would like to speak to this proposal; there were none.  Mr. Scales moved to close the public hearing, which was seconded by Mr. Pagano, and was unanimously approved.  Vice Chair Young closed the public hearing and opened the public meeting to the Board's deliberation period.  

"       Mr. Kendall asked Mrs. Caswell if they had a chance to discuss the Boards' recommendation to build a sixteen (16') foot wide car port instead.
"       Mrs. Caswell replied that they did discuss it, they appreciate the Boards' offer of sixteen (16') feet for a compromise towards their twenty (20') foot carport request, but stated that a sixteen (16') foot carport would not work due to the fact that it is intended for two vehicles and would require the digging of holes into the paved drive.
"       Mr. Pagano suggested a way to get the poles into the pavement with minimal changes to the driveway if they were to consider the sixteen (16') foot option.  Mrs. Caswell stated that putting holes in the paved drive is not an option they want to explore.
"       Mr. Pagano stated that he respects the Caswells' request for an area variance to establish a carport, but the Board's main concern is the precedent set by granting a variance to allow a structure to come within two to three feet of the property line.
"       Mr. Pagano asked Mrs. Caswell for clarification as to whether they are intending to put one or two vehicles under this carport; she replied that it is primarily for the protection of her convertible but they were hoping to fit two cars underneath it.
"       Mr. Kendall stated that his concerns are the safety issues (ex: if there was a fire there isn't enough distance for emergency crew to reach people in the house or backyard).
"       Mr. Kendall stated to Mrs. Caswell that the placement of the fence is irrelevant to the proposed carport structure.  He stressed to Mrs. Caswell that the Board is trying to work with the Caswells' request but the plans being presented are unacceptable due to the fact that the Board has to consider future homeowners of the property.
"       Mr. Young tried to suggest other options that may work within the ordinance.
"       Mrs. Caswell was very adamant that the twenty (20') foot wide carport is what they need.  She feels that they went through the proper procedure for requesting a variance, feels that the structure was designed to look nice, and will not be offensive to their neighbors. She stated that she thinks that this variance request should be granted based on the fact that no abutters have expressed any concerns or doubts.
"       Mrs. Lemons asked Mrs. Caswell if she was aware of the ordinances in place regarding property line setbacks prior to buying this lot.  Mrs. Caswell stated she is very aware of the ordinances and of their restricted uses.
"       Mrs. Caswell asked if she comes before the Board with another proposal would the Board be willing to waive the fees; Members of the Board replied that they have waived fees in the past but only when it was due to an error on the Board's part.
"       Mr. Giffin stated that allowing a twenty (20') foot wide carport to be constructed would be the equivalent of allowing a new structure to encroach within 85% of the side yard setback area and he would not be comfortable granting such a request

After a short discussion regarding the criteria to consider when deciding to grant an area variance, Mr. Scales moved to conduct the roll call vote on the merits of the area variance request, which was seconded by Mr. Pagano and was unanimously approved.  The roll call vote follows for the six criteria to consider for granting/ denying an area variance:

1.      The value of surrounding properties will not be diminished.  Roll Call Vote: Mr. Pagano - nay, Mr. Kendall - nay, Mr. Scales - nay, Mr. Giffin - nay.
2.      The variance will not be contrary to the public interest.  Roll Call Vote: Mr. Pagano - nay, Mr. Kendall - nay, Mr. Scales - nay, Mr. Giffin - nay.
3.      Special conditions exist such that literal enforcement of the ordinance results in unnecessary hardship as follows:
a.      An area variance is needed to enable the applicant's proposed use of the property given the special conditions of the property.  Roll Call Vote: Mr. Pagano - nay, Mr. Kendall - nay, Mr. Scales - nay, Mr. Giffin - nay.
b.      The benefit sought by the applicant cannot be achieved by some other method reasonably feasible for the applicant to pursue, other than an area variance.  Roll Call Vote: Mr. Pagano - nay, Mr. Kendall - nay, Mr. Scales - nay, Mr. Giffin - nay.
4.      Substantial justice is done.  Roll Call Vote: Mr. Pagano - nay, Mr. Kendall - nay, Mr. Scales - nay, Mr. Giffin - nay.
5.      The variance is consistent with the spirit of the ordinance.  Roll Call Vote: Mr. Pagano - nay, Mr. Kendall - nay, Mr. Scales - nay, Mr. Giffin - nay.

Mr. Houseworth stated that the area variance has been unanimously denied for all criteria and informed Mrs. Caswell that they would receive a notice of decision in the mail, signed by the Chair, confirming that the area variance has been denied.  Mrs. Caswell asked if the variance request is denied, will the Board consider a refund.  The Board discussed the topic of giving a portion of the money back to the applicant since their motion was denied but decided against it.  Mr. Giffin moved to not issue any refund in this case, which was seconded by Mr. Scales and was unanimously approved.

Approve ZBA Meeting Minutes:  Mr. Haggett moved to approve the minutes of the October 16, 2007 Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting as corrected (including Mrs. Caswell's clarification request), which was seconded by Mr. Pagano and passed.

Appointment & Terms of Local Land Use Boards:  Mr. Houseworth presented the members with a copy of the State regulations, RSA 673:3 - 673:5, regarding the appointment of local land use board members, including Zoning Board of Adjustment members, for their designated three (3) year terms.  He stated that the three (3) year terms are up in 2008 for the following members: Ms. Court, Mr. Scales, and Chair Winchester; and therefore they will have to be reappointed by the Selectmen or step down next March

Mr. Haggett moved to adjourn the meeting, which was seconded by Mr. Pagano and was unanimously passed.  Vice Chair Young adjourned the meeting at 8:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Laurie Lemons, Planning Assistant
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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