ANTRIM ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
August 12, 2008 Board Meeting
Members & Staff Present: Diane Chauncey (Staff), Doug Crafts (Member),
John Giffin (Member), Ron Haggett (Alternate), Bradley Houseworth (Staff),
Frank Scales (Alternate), Paul Young (Vice Chair)
Member & Staff Absent: John Kendall (Chair), Len Pagano (Member),
Don Winchester (Alternate)
Public Attendees: Robert Townes (Applicant), Paul Kelly (Builder),
Tammy Traha, Gordon Webber (Selectman)
Review Session: Vice Chair Young convened the meeting at 7:12 PM. Frank Scales was appointed to sit for the absent John Kendall, and Ron Haggett was appointed to sit for the absent Len Pagano. Mr. Crafts made the motion to allow the Vice Chair to vote. It was seconded by Mr. Haggett, and unanimously agreed upon by all.
Approval of the Zoning Board of Adjustment Meeting Minutes: Mr. Haggett made the motion to approve the July 29, 2008 meeting minutes as presented. It was seconded by Mr. Crafts and the motion was unanimously approved.
Townes, Robert P.: File # 2008-14ZBA, Area Variance Request to Expand an Existing, Non-Conforming Struture within the Front Yard Setback: Vice Chair Young opened the meeting at the request of Robert P. Townes for an area variance from Article VI, Section C.3.a. to permit the expansion of an existing, non-conforming structure further within the fifty-foot (50') front yard setback from Depot Street on property located at 22 Depot Street (Tax Map 104, Lot 12) in Antrim, located in the Residential District.
Chair Young asked Mr. Townes to present his proposal. Mr. Townes' reviewed the sketches he submitted with the area variance request application with the Board, which depicted a proposed screened-in farmer's porch forty (40’) feet long by eight (8’) feet wide (to be built twenty-nine feet (29') from Depot Street), and the placement of two (2) proposed dormers on the second floor of the front of the house (which would not alter or increase the roof peak of the existing structure). Mr. Townes further explained that there are at least seven (7) other existing structures on Depot Street that are situated within the fifty-foot (50') front yard setback. Vice Chair Young asked for any further comments from the applicant, and as there were none, he then proceeded to open the public hearing for this
Public Hearing: Mr. Houseworth stated that all abutter certified letter returned receipts had been received by the planning staff and that there were no comments in writing, by phone, or at the counter. Vice Chair Young asked if any of the public attendees would like to speak in favor or against the proposal. There were no further comments. Vice Chair Young closed the public hearing.
Deliberation: Vice Chair Young re-opened the public meeting for the Boards’ deliberation period. The Board members had no further discussion on the proposal. The members discussed the manner of voting -- to vote each criterion individually and then move to approve or disapprove the area variance request or to discuss each criterion individually and then move to approve or disapprove the area variance request. After a brief discussion, the Board decided on the latter option to discuss each of the criterion as a Board and then move to approve or disapprove the area variance request.
Mr. Houseworth read aloud the following five (5) criteria for the area variance to permit the expansion of an existing, non-conforming structure further within the fifty foot (50') front yard setback:
1. The value of the surrounding properties will not be diminished: All members agreed.
2. The variance will not be contrary to the public interest: All members agreed.
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: All members agreed.
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: All members agreed.
4. Substantial justice is done: All members agreed.
5. The variance is consistent with the spirit of the ordinance: All members agreed.
Mr. Crafts made a motion, and Mr. Haggett seconded it, for the following:
Move to approve, with conditions, the area variance request of Robert P. Townes, File # 2008-014ZBA, to permit the expansion of an existing, non-conforming structure further within the fifty (50') foot front yard setback from Depot Street on property located at 22 Depot Street (Tax Map 104, Lot 12) in Antrim, NH 03440, located in the Residential District.
The following conditions apply to this approval:
Zoning Board of Adjustment requirements, commitments and agreements made by the applicant and/or his agent as recorded in the meeting minutes dated August 12, 2008 and subsequent meetings as they pertain to this application are a conditional part of this approval.
The applicant is to obtain a building permit for any construction or alteration and adhere to all building, health and fire codes.
The area variance request was GRANTED. A hard copy notice of decision, signed and endorsed by the Chair with the above mentioned two conditions, will be sent in the mail within thirty (30) days.
Plan-Link Discussion regarding whether to vote on individual criteria for Variances and Special Exceptions (Examples and Input from other NH communities): The Board members discussed the pros and cons of voting on the application as a whole. Mr. Houseworth expressed his concern regarding the critical nature of following the procedure and the potential lawsuits that arise when the procedure is not strictly adhered to. Mr. Houseworth suggested adding language to the Board’s current By-Laws to clarify how the Board will vote on future variance and special exception requests.
Does the Board want to require that all ZBA notice of decisions be recorded at the Registry of Deeds?: Mr. Houseworth provided the members with an e-mail from the Plan-Link forum, drafted by attorney Stephen Buckley, whom recommends that ‘all ZBA decisions be recorded at the registry of deeds under the name of the property owner.’ He explained that he has forwarded this e-mail to Town Counsel for their opinion on the subject but has not yet received a response. The Board discussed the benefits and drawbacks to the applicant (who would pay the fee to record the notice of decision at the registry) and to the Town of Antrim of requiring that all Board notices of decision be recorded. All future variance and special exception notice of decisions would be recorded at the Hillsborough County Registry of
Deeds and be given a deed book and page number for quick reference by anyone having access to the internet or to the Hillsborough County Registry of Deeds building in Nashua, NH. The Planning Department Staff would continue to put copies of the Boards’ notices of decision in the applicable land use files and property files at the Antrim Town Hall. The Zoning Board of Adjustment’s notices of decision run in perpetuity with the land, not with the current property owner, and therefore the Board members felt that it is in the best interest of the applicant and the Town to have the notices of decision recorded. It has been realized that the Boards’ decisions from the past are sometimes filed with only the current land owner information and not necessarily with the property address or applicable tax map information.. Registering the Boards’ notices of decision would reduce the risk of potential future problems and confusion related to what request was
granted, what property it was granted for, and under what specific conditions. After a brief discussion, Mr. Haggett made the motion to require that all future ZBA notices of decision be recorded with the Hillsborough County Registry of Deeds, at the expense of the applicant; Mr. Giffin seconded it. The vote was unanimous. Mr. Houseworth stated that he would let the Board know at the next meeting what Town Counsels’ opinion is on this subject.
Review existing Zoning Board of Adjustment By-Laws – Last Amended in 1974: Mr. Houseworth provided the members with a copy of the Boards’ most recent By-Laws, which were last amended in 1974, and asked them to review them before the next Board meeting. He stated that he will have proposed changes prepared for the next Board meeting.
Correspondence/ Conferences/ Workshops:
NH DES – ‘Environmental News’ newsletter (July/ August 2008 edition) – New Comprehensive Shoreland Protection Act (CSPA) Rules and Requirements regarding the Shoreland Permit
NH DES – Shoreland Waiver application request by the Boyle’s for proposed activities on property located at 173 Gregg Lake Road (Tax Map 101, Lot 50) in Antrim, NH
Mr. Haggett made a motion to adjourn, which was seconded by Mr. Crafts and unanimously approved by the Board. Vice Chair Young adjourned the meeting at 8:00 PM.
Diane M. Chauncey, On Behalf of the Antrim Zoning Board of Adjustment