Zoning Board of Adjustments

Meeting date: 
Tuesday, July 30, 2019

July 30th, 2019

Public Hearing/Meeting

Members & Staff Present:              

John Giffin (Chair), William Bryk (Vice Chair), Ray Ledgerwood (Member), Bob Holmes (Member), Shelley Nelkens (Member), Diane Kendall (Alternate), Carol Ogilvie (Planning Consultant), and Ashley Brudnick-Destromp (Assistant)


Public Attendees: James Harris (Applicant),

Kristine Harris (Applicant), Rick Wood (Historical Society)

Opening of Meeting: Chair Giffin opened the meeting at 7:03 pm. He introduced the members of the Board and Alternates.

I. Public Hearing Case# 2019-02 ZBA:

The Assistant said that the correct Article (VII) was referenced by the applicant on the initial application, but that the section was incorrect. It was written as “Section 2,” when it should have been “Section D., e& f.” She added that the error had made it into the abutter’s notices, but it was corrected on the newspaper notice, and the publicly posted notices. Because the abutters notices still referenced the correct Article, it was deemed ok to not send new abutters notices for this hearing. She also had the applicant initial the correction on the application, and Ms. Ogilvie had the applicant add Article XVI, Section C.1 that requires the expansion of a non-conforming structure to receive a variance.

The Assistant verified that it was posted correctly, and all abutters were notified. She added that there were two responses from two abutters, and that she will read them later.

The Chair asked the applicant to introduce themselves, and give a summary of what they were looking to do. Mr. Harris introduced himself, his wife Kristine, and his daughter Elizabeth. He explained they needed to modify their home due to their 7 year old daughter’s disabilities. He explained that remaining in their home and in town was the best option, and that the best way to achieve this is to modify the home to have a handicap accessible bathroom, physical therapy room, a garage to safely unload Elizabeth from her van, and have a more accessible bathroom. Elizabeth also spoke briefly on her needs.

The Chair asked if anyone wished to speak in favor of the application. There was no response.

The Chair asked if anyone wished to speak against the application. There was also no response.

The Assistant read the two abutters letters. One was from William B. & Patricia D. Harris dated July 22nd. The second was from Lucille Lacombe dated July 30th.  Both letters were in favor of granting the variance, and will be attached to the minutes.

The Chair asked to close the Public Meeting portion, and begin the Public Hearing.

Motion: Ms. Nelkens made a motion to vote on the variance, Mr. Bryk second it.

Vote: By a voice vote, all were in favor. 

II. Public Deliberation Case# 2019-02 ZBA:

The Chair asked the Board if they had any further comment. There was no response.

Motion: Vice Chair Bryk made a motion for a roll call vote for the approval of the variance. Mr. Ledgerwood second it.

Roll Call Vote: Ms. Nelkens– “Aye.” Mr. Holmes – “Aye.” Mr. Ledgerwood- “Aye.” Chair Giffin- “Aye.” Vice Chair Bryk- “Aye.”

The application was approved unanimously. The Variance has been Granted.

III. Other Business:

The Assistant informed the Board that the Town Attorney determined that, when it comes to the requesting of waiver of application fees, it is that Board’s decision whether to approve it or not, and not that of the Selectman.

Ms. Nelkens asked to make a motion to waive some of the fees for the Harris family. The Chair explained it is not the Boards decision to request the waiver of fee’s for applicants. It was further discussed that if there was a proven financial hardship, the Board would take that into consideration.

Chair Giffin appointed Ms. Kendall to sit in for Mr. Holmes, as he recused himself since he is a member of the Historical Society.

Mr. Wood was present tonight representing the Antrim Historical Society, and requesting waivers of the application fees for their sign project application prior to passing it in. He explained that they are in the process of having 2 signs put up, when only one sign needs a variance. He added that in the future there will be 4 more signs that will also need variances, so the application fees will add up over time. He further explained the finances of the Historical Society, and how they receive membership fees, donations, and have fundraisers.

There were multiple suggestions from the Board in regards to different ways to handle the application fee. The Assistant informed the Board that most of the fees are used to cover the costs, and that the only fee that there is some wiggle room on is the application fee itself, which is $150. She added that this fee is sometimes touched by the application when the other paid items go over, or if extra time is needed to process an application it will offset that from the budget.

Mr. Holmes asked to speak as a citizen. Mr. Holmes suggested the Board have Mr. Wood go through this application with the $150 fee, and then the next time they come with the other 4 signs that they waive it. There was also mention that it is easier if Mr. Wood puts all the signs on one application for the same variance. Mr. Wood explained he would try, but that it isn’t a guarantee he will be able to do that depending on if they have the funding to construct all 4 signs at the same time.

Ms. Ogilvie said that the NOD is not a statutory requirement, and the Board could waive that fee if they wanted to.

The Chair wrote down all the suggested options and read them out loud to the Board.

Motion: Ms. Nelkens made a motion to accept option 4, Mr. Bryk second it.

Discussion: The Chair read option 4, and it was not the one Ms. Nelkens intended.

Amended Motion: Ms. Nelkens amended her motion to option 2, a one-time application fee, and to waive the application fee for all the other signs. All other expenses on the application are to be paid by the applicant.. Mry Bryk second this amended motion.

Amended Motion: The Chair informed Ms. Nelkens that what she was motioning for was option 3. 1 full fee up front, all other signs can waive the application fee, but all other fees need to be paid. Ms. Nelkens corrected her motion, and Mr. Bryk second it.

Vote: by a voice vote, all were in favor.

The Board then discussed the fees to see if there were any other fees they could waive.

Motion: Mr. Bryk motioned that the Board not file with the registry of deeds, so that the fee is not occurred by the applicant, Ms. Nelkens second it.

Discussion: Ms. Ogilvie verified that this would not affect the Notice of Decision, as it would still be on record with the Town, and that is what matters most if it was ever challenged in the future. Mr. Wood asked to have this fee waived as well.

Vote: By a voice vote all were in favor.

The Chair went over the fees with the applicant, the total for this specific application that he will be turning in first will be $330. All sign project related variances after will not have the $150 application fee, but will still have the abutter notification fee, and the newspaper fee. The Chair verified with Ms. Ogilvie if this type of agreement expires, she informed him no.

IV. Review/Amend Minutes from 7/2/2019:

Mr. Holmes was re-instated by Chair Giffin. Ms. Kendall took her place as an alternate.

Review: The Chair asked the Board to review the minutes from 7/2/2019.

Discussion: There was no discussion

Motion: Ms. Nelkens made a motion to accept the minutes as amended, Mr. Bryk second it.

Vote: By a voice vote, all were in favor.

V. Review of ZBA Rules of Procedure Draft from Ms. Ogilvie:

Mr. Bryk said the only other thing he noticed that was a big change was Section 8 in regards to the Applications. Ms. Ogilvie explained that 7.12 in regards to the method of voting on variances was the other large change. Mr. Bryk said he had no reservation

Motion: Mr. Bryk moved to adopt the draft as written, Mr. Holmes second it.

Vote: by a voice vote, all were in favor.

VI. Staff Report:

The Assistant informed the Board that both Mr. Ledgerwood’s and Ms. Nelkens’ terms expired in March of 2019, and that this was overlooked by herself. She said where they both voted on the last variance, and would be voting this evening, she consulted with the Town Attorney. The Attorney informed her that, where they have both served un-interrupted terms, the Board can simply vote to re-appoint or not, and send their letter of recommendation to the Selectboard. If approved, both would take a new oath to start their new term. The Attorney advised it was fine to keep going with the Public Hearing as planned, and that they are allowed to vote.

Mr. Ledgerwood and Ms. Nelkens recused themselves from voting.

The Chair appointed Ms. Kendall to sit in for Mr. Ledgerwood.

Motion: Mr.Bryk made a motioned to re appoint Mr. Ledgerwood for a 3 year term ending in March of 2020. Ms. Kendall second it

Vote: By a voice vote, all were in favor

The Chair re-appointed Mr. Ledgerwood back in to vote. The Chair appointed Ms. Kendall to replace Ms. Nelkens for voting.  

Motion: Mr. Bryk made a motion to re appoint Ms. Nelkens for a 3 year term ending in March of 2022. Ms. Kendall second it.

Vote:  By a voice vote, all were in favor.

The Assistant informed the Board that the Planning Board was currently handling a complaint from Mr. Tom Davis in regards to the new ITW Cell Tower being reflective during sunrise and sunset, and that it would be further discussed at this Thursday’s meeting.

The Assistant also informed the Board that so far, the Planning Department has been able to stay under the recently reduced budget, as they are at the half year mark. She added that legal fees for consulting with the Town’s Attorney have not been billed yet for the year.

Motion: Mr. Bryk made a motion to adjourn the meeting, Mr. Holmes second it.

Vote: By a voice vote, all were in favor.

Meeting Adjourned:  8:03 PM

Respectfully Submitted,
Ashley Brudnick-Destromp
Assistant to Land Use Boards