ANTRIM ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
May 17, 2011 Meeting
Variance #2011-04ZBA Antrim Wind Energy LLC
Members & Staff Present:
Diane Chauncey (Staff) Doug Crafts (Member) John Giffin (Vice-Chair)
Ron Haggett (Member) John Kendall (Chair) Ray Ledgerwood (Alternate) Frank Scales (Member)
Members & Staff Absent: None
Richard Uchida Joshua Pantesco Jack Kenworthy John Soinien
James Hankard Keith Klinger Ann Enman Wes Enman
Annie Law Loranne Block Rob Michaelson Ben Pratt
Gordon Webber Richard Block Jim Bingham Elsa Volcker
Martha Pinello Charles Levesque Shelley Nelkens Janis Longgood
Bob Cleland Jesse Lazar Bob Bernstein Sara Vandervende
7:00 PM –Review Session:
- Review Minutes of May 10, 2011
- Review Public Hearing materials
- Appoint alternates to sit for absent members – not necessary
7:15 Public Meeting Continued Meeting from May 3, 2011
Case # 2011-04ZBA concerning a request by Antrim Wind Energy, LLC for a variance pursuant to Article IX B. (Use) and Article IX C. 8 (Height) of the Town of Antrim Zoning Ordinance, to construct and operate a temporary meteorological tower at 354 Keene Road, Antrim, NH (Map212, Lot 030) in the Rural Conservation District
Chair Kendall opened the meeting at 7:01pm. The Board introduced themselves.
The Secretary read four new submissions:
Mr. Enman stated that he would like to go on record as being in favor of the variance.
Not in favor:
Ms. Wardman –– read from a prepared letter – against the approval of the variance
Annie Law – read from three prepared statements –against the approval of the variance
Ms. Vandervende- read from a prepared letter – against the approval of the variance
(The above testimonies are available to be read at the Town Hall or by email request firstname.lastname@example.org)
Richard Block – Power Point Presentation
Some of the slides included the following information:
- From the ZBA Handbook (OEP) – Quoted from handbook – a previously submitted application can not be re- submitted – the current application is identical to the previous application – same met tower, same application
- A variance is a legal document recorded at the Registry of Deeds
- Regional impact for the Meteorological Tower (Met Tower) – was not noticed
- ZBA must look at five criteria and all five criteria must be satisfied
- An industrial wind farm will not reduce oil or coal use
- The Met Tower may have no impact but it is a precursor to the wind farm
- The NH Climate Resolution stated that towns should start local committees – not construct renewable energy projects
- Structures within the 2-mile radius will incur problems – shadow flicker, excessive noise,etc.
- Map of Antrim – within 1 and 2 mile radius – depicted impact zone
- Surveys – why they don’t work
- Graph – depicting how surveys do not work
- Ledger/Transcript poll – 63% against wind farms
- Spirit of Ordinance – definition of Rural Conservation District (Mr. Block would like all to commit the definition to memory)
- Photo of Gregg Lake Town Beach with potential wind turbines
- Photo of Willard Pond with four potential wind turbines
- Sandy Snow letter – preserve rural character
- Open Space map – depicting protection priority
- Map – Quabbin to Cardigan project – large intact contiguous forest
- Map – NH Wildlife Action Plan – highest ranking habitat – would be in all of the wind turbine area
- A 196-foot tower would not be allowed in the RCD
- The Zoning Ordinance does not allow towers – it would open a Pandora’s box for an industrial wind farm
- Property rights – ZBA should consider rights of people in the RCD
- PILOT – Payment in lieu of taxes – questioned the true tax value of the project
- Photos – Mars Hill, ME – depicting the wind farm project during construction
- Property values will be seriously diminished
- The real estate study presented by Eolian has no correlation to Antrim homes
- Michael McCann study – listed ways in which homes are devalued
- Should there be property value guarantees
- Small efficient wind systems are evolving – one right in Hillsboro
- All five criteria must be satisfied; ZBA is a court of law and the variance should be turned down
Ms. Longgood - In the Spirit of Ordinance, she wanted to be a good neighbor. Her mortgage had covenants and restrictions within the deed – the restrictions run with the land. She said that she lived within ¼ to ½ mile of a proposed turbine and that her property should be bought out for full market value. (available to be read at Town Hall or by email request)
Mr. Bernstein stated that he wanted the ZBA to be aware of the lessening of values of certain properties in relation to the net tax benefits.
Ms. Pinello read a prepared statement (as a private citizen). She had documents to inform the ZBA of information that they may need in their decision making. She had a notebook of documents that she felt may be of assistance to the Board as they considered their request. The following are the documents that she presented:
- New Hampshire Annual average Wind Speed at 80m Map from the Nation Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Antrim, New Hampshire Map a series of GIS overlays with legend for each overlay
- Basics for Zoning Boards of Adjustments- Organization and Procedures, October 2003
- Subsequent Applications from the NH OEP Zoning Handbook
- Fisher v City of Dover
- Town of Deering ZBA, Notice of Decision 2/12/2009
- Garrison v Town of Henniker
- Article: New Law Defines “ Unnecessary Hardship” New Hampshire Town and City, Local Government Center
- Decisions “Board” Process Important When rendering Adjudicative Decisions NH OEP reference Library
(Available to be read at Town Hall and some of the above, by email request)
Atty Uchida stated that he had made several observations in the last few evenings:
- Although the variance was for a Meteorological Tower, 80% of the testimony concerned the impacts of wind turbines
- Wind turbines do not apply to the variance
- The application seeks relief, but if granted – it is only for a temporary tower and for nothing else
- A time will come to discuss the impacts of a wind farm - but not for this application.
The Meteorological Tower and some of the points made by Atty Uchida:
- Five elements must be satisfied
- Substantial justice – polls and surveys proved that the Antrim citizens do want renewable energy
- Public interest – local land use boards were looking at viable renewable energy – but in order to begin that process – need to asses the data – Met Tower
- Definition of a variance – authority granted to a land owner, as a relief valve – unique aspects – a way to make sure there is not a taking
- Repetitive application?? No, this is a different application.
- The use is temporary
- Use variance for first time
- The impact of the Met Tower on the neighborhood is nil – the material concerning the wind is not relevant
- The landowner can use the land in another way – the test for hardship is not the test to grant or deny
- Special conditions are directly related to the land and unique conditions – wind, proximity to power lines for transmission, roads and transportation to allow for equipment and material, height of the site – al available at the proposed site
- Spirit of the Ordinance – aspects of what the town thinks will be appropriate – public utilities are allowed; Met towers are allowed in the Small Wind Energy System
- In the Spirit of the Ordinance, wind energy should be encouraged – and Met Towers to measure the data should be encouraged – a testing mechanism
- Regional impact – not a requirement
- A temporary Met Tower is not as intrusive as some or the RCD permitted uses
- The height of the temporary tower – no impact
- All elements have been satisfied
Mr. Kenworthy (Rebuttal continued)
- Not the time to discuss the wind farm
- The Met Tower is not intended to be permanent
- Property values are influenced by a vast number of impacts – testimony is available on both sides of the issue – although opinions abound – the actual sales that occur are what is relevant
Public Hearing – closed
9pm – five-minute recess
Chair Kendall stated that the application had been accepted properly. The ZBA would make a decision on two variances – use and height. He asked the ZBA to begin the deliberation.
Mr. Haggett said that in the current ZBA deliberation the Met Tower must be separated from the Wind Farm, the future, and the SEC procedure. He said that he felt that the Board should be very clear that the applicant was seeking relief for Met Tower for use and height – nothing else. The ZBA had the authority to grant or deny an application for the relief that it was seeking. The question now – does the Met Tower meet the five criteria?
Mr. Scales concurred with Mr. Haggett.
Chair Kendall asked if the use is an accessory use.
Mr. Haggett said that he thought it was straight forward as a use variance and that it doe not matter if it is an accessory.
Chair Kendall stated that he felt that there were complicated associations with wind energy and that this application gave the ZBA the chance to see it as straight use and height. He asked if the two could be separated.
Mr. Giffin stated that the two variances could be grouped together.
Mr. Haggett said that the information was mostly about wind energy. All of the wind farm aspects and impacts would be addressed at a future time.
Mr. Crafts stated that he found it difficult to separate the two. He was not sure why the property was unique; and he felt that he needed to think about what may happen – a dilemma for him. He asked whether the ZBA was referring to just the Met Tower.
Mr. Haggett agreed that there were many questions.
Mr. Crafts said that it was unique because of the future aspect.
Mr. Haggett queried if gathering data was in the interest of the public.
Mr. Crafts said that he needed to look at what is allowed as a temporary structure.
Chair Kendall stated that there were so many issues, so much information, and that he could look at it both ways. He said that he had grown up in Milford and that he had seen many changes – that there is going to be growth and development. As a builder, he did not want to see things stop, but he wanted to make a just decision for the people of Antrim. The decision should not alter the essential aspect of the neighborhood. He felt that he needed more time to deliberate – although he wanted the RCD to stay as it is, he also felt strongly about renewable energy.
Mr. Haggett said that possibly legal advice was needed. He had questions concerning the enormous amount of information that had been presented.
Mr. Giffin said that there was no new information and many of the arguments were the same – just a review of what had already been said.
Mr. Crafts said that he needed more time.
Chair Kendall concurred.
Mr. Giffin said that it was a temporary structure – just a Met Tower – he did not need more time.
Chair Kendall said that he needed more time to make a decision and to educate himself.
Mr. Haggett said that he wanted Legal Counsel. He did not want to make a decision that would not stand. He wanted to make a decision in good faith. His questions would be crafted for Town Counsel and sent via email – 1.) What information should be included or excluded?
- Vote as one variance or two variances?
Mr. Haggett moved to continue the deliberation (meeting) to May 24, 2011 at 7pm in the upstairs Town Hall. Mr. Scales seconded. By a voice vote, all approved.
- Approve Meeting Minutes of May 17, 2011
Mr. Haggett moved to accept the minutes as presented. Mr. Scales seconded. By a voice vote, all approved.
- New England Wind Energy Education Project Conference/Workshop Tues. June 7th (see flyer)
- Annual Spring Planning & Zoning Conference – Saturday, June 11th – Radisson, Manchester
At 10:00pm, Mr. Haggett moved to adjourn. Mr. Scales seconded. By a voice vote, all approved. The meeting was adjourned.
Diane Chauncey, On Behalf of the Antrim Zoning Board of Adjustment