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Minutes posted at this web site have not been checked for consistency with the printed minutes that are available in the Wilton Town Offices. If you need the definitive minutes of a ZBA meeting, please obtain the printed minutes from the town offices.

August 13, 1997

Voting Board Chairperson Neil Faiman; members Carol Roberts & Jim Tuttle; alternate members; Joanna Eckstrom & Bob Spear.
Clerk Diane Nilsson
Agenda
  • Clifford L. Robbins & Forrest Hussey - Special Exception
  • Anne Roy - Variance
  • Almond J. Cote - Variance
  • Almond J. Cote - Variance
  • U.S. Cellular & John G. Barnes - 2 Variances & a Special Exception

Mr. Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.

Case # 8/13/97-1 ROBBINS/HUSSEY

Clifford L. Robbins (applicant) and Forrest A. Hussey (owner), Lot B-101, Forest Road, in the Industrial District requested a special exception under the terms of section 8.6.1 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance to allow a refreshment stand which has less than the area requiredin the Industrial District.

Mr. Faiman explained that the Industrial District requires a 2 acre minimum lot and that Mr.Hussey's lot is only 1.3 acres. He further explained that section 8.6.1 allows for lots of record which predate the ordinance to receive special exception consideration.

Mr. Robbins presented a site plan showing approx. 33% coverage of buildings, parking and roadways for his proposed refreshment stand. The stand will be permanently placed on the site. There is a septic system and a leachfield but Mr. Robbins didn't know how well it functions. There will be a bathroom for employees, not for the public. He is not sure if it will be a year-round operation. There is a slab onsite which will be used for the new construction.

Abutter Vicki Marcart supports the plan.

Motion Mr. Tuttle moved to grant the application for a special exception to section 8.6.1 as submitted on the attached plan, seconded by Ms. Roberts with all in favor.

Mr. Faiman stated that Mr. Robbins will receive a notice of approval in the mail. He further stated that the selectmen, any party to the action or proceedings, or any person affected thereby may apply for a rehearing of this decision. A request for a rehearing must be filedin writing with the Zoning Board of Adjustment on or before Tuesday, September 2, 1997,and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2)

Case # 8/13/97- ROY

Anne Roy, Lot F-11, 15 Hutchinson Road, in the Industrial District, applied for a variance to section 8.1 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance to allow two residences on her lot; alternately for a determination that the order of the Selectmen requiring such a variance is erroneous.

Dr. Richard Roy (Anne Roy's son) explained that Ms. Roy's lot contains two buildings. The smaller bldg. used to be used as a dental office and then later as sort of a get-away for hobbies, etc. The circumstances now are that Ms. Roy at 83 did not want to live alone inthe big house and so family members now live there with her. At times she feels the need tohave her own quiet space and retreats to the small building and uses it as a kind of in-lawapartment.

Sam Proctor, representing abutter John Barnes, stated that Mr. Barnes had no objection to the requested use.

Ms. Eckstrom feels that this is a reasonable use in this situation, but wants to be sure that when property is sold it is not sold as two residences, but as one.

Mr. Faiman stated that the request from the selectmen is to enforce the requirement that there not be two residences on one lot. And it seems that as it's being used we really don't have two residences. We have a residence and then a separate building which one of the residents of the primary residence retreats to from time to time. But there is still only a single family unit living on the lot. And so long as that is maintained it seems you are living within the spirit of the ordinance. It would be hard to justify a variance but not sure a variance is needed if we can find that we really don't have two separate residences. The key to that might be a restriction that says that a resident of the primary house is allowed to use the detached building as well, but that it's only allowed to be used by someone who is a resident of the primary house on the lot.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom moved that the use as it stands is a permitted use and therefore no variance is required, with the restriction that the outbuilding is only to be used on an intermittent basis by a valid resident of the primary residence on the lot, seconded by Mr. Tuttle with all in favor.

The selectmen, any party to the action or proceedings, or any person affected thereby may apply for a rehearing of this decision. A request for a rehearing must be filed in writing with the Zoning Board of Adjustment on or before Tuesday, September 2, 1997, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2)

Case # 8/13/97-4 COTE

Almond J. Cote, Lot C-58, Wilton Center Road, in the Residential/Agricultural District has applied for a variance to section 6.2.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to allow driveway access from Lot C-58 on Wilton Center and Marden Roads (and also from the adjacent Lot C-56 on Marden Road) to Wilton Center Road, where Lot C-58 has less than the required frontage, rather than to Marden Road.

Mr. Cote asked to have this case heard first. He then explained that he has 179'of frontage on Wilton Center Road and more than 400' of frontage on Marden Road. He wishes to avoid putting in a road off Marden Road because the property is very hilly there and there are many wet areas that he would like to avoid. At present there is a logging road through his property from Wilton Center Road and it would be easy to convert it to primary access.

Mr. Faiman read a letter dated August 8, 1997 from abutters Alvin and Jane Litchfield who had no objection to allowing access from Wilton Center Road but did request that Mr. Cote be required to keep a 20' uncut greenspace between their two properties. (See file).

Andy Roeper, Wilton Conservation Commission, asked if the road from Wilton Center wouldserve both Lots C-58 and C-56. Mr. Cote answered yes.

Road agent Charlie McGettigan asked about whether an applicant really does have to have his access from a town road. Mr. Faiman looked it up and said that that is what the zoning ordinance calls for.

Abutter Diane Poodiak asked where exactly the road would be. Mr. Cote showed her on the map. She also asked whether Mr. Cote was planning a development. Mr. Cote stated that he was just building one house at this time but might sell the other lot in the future.

Abutter William Parker stated that he had no objection to the driveway location.

Mr. Tuttle asked Mr. Cote if he did sell the other lot, would he use the same access road for it? Mr. Cote said yes.

Mr. Faiman showed Mr. Cote the sketch provided by the Litchfield's for the requested buffer. Mr. Cote had some objections to this restriction being placed on his property but agreed that he would probably do it. Ms. Eckstrom and Mr. Spear felt that the request was an unnecessary restriction. Mr. Faiman felt it was a reasonable request.

Mr. Faiman summed up the Board's thinking by stating that what we would be granting is a variance to gain access to parcels C-56 and C-58 from Wilton Center Road, and any future construction on Lot C-56 must use the same driveway.

Motion Mr. Tuttle moved to grant the variance to section 6.2.3 with the restriction that any future lot development must also use this driveway, seconded by Ms. Eckstrom with all in favor.

The selectmen, any party to the action or proceedings, or any person affected thereby may apply for a rehearing of this decision. A request for a rehearing must be filed in writing with the Zoning Board of Adjustment on or before Tuesday, September 2, 1997, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2)

FINDINGS OF FACT

  1. Why will your proposed use not diminish the values of surrounding properties? The proposed driveway is not unconventional and will not detract from the surroundings.
  2. Why would granting the variance be in the public interest? The area around the driveway entry will be groomed and well maintained. This would add to the aesthetic appeal of the neighborhood. Entry onto Wilton Center Road will also help preserve wetlands on the property.
  3. Why would denial of the variance result in unnecessary hardship? It would force the owner to gain access on Marden Road. This would detract from the value of the property due to inferior aesthetics of properties on Marden Road in proximity of any alternate entry. In addition, wet areas (seasonal or otherwise) would have to be traversed.
  4. Why would granting the variance do substantial justice? The request is reasonable, would not harm the neighborhood, and would preserve the owner's property value.
  5. Why is the proposed use consistent with the spirit of the Zoning Ordinance? The zoning ordinance was established to protect the interests of the Town and its citizens. No harm would be done by granting the variance and the property owner's interests will be preserved.

Case # 8/13/97-3 COTE/ROBERGE

Almond J. Cote and Raymond Roberge have applied for a variance to section 6.2.4 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to allow a lot line adjustment between Lots C-58 and C-60 on Wilton Center Road which would result in an existing structure being closer than the required setback to the resulting lot line.

Mr. Cote explained that a shed belonging to Mr. Roberge is actually located on Mr. Cote's property, in addition, Mr. Roberge's well is right on the property line. They would like to adjust the property line so that the shed and the well are both on Mr. Roberge's property, thus reducing Mr. Cote's frontage on Wilton Center Road to 120'.

Ms. Eckstrom felt that the frontage on Wilton Center Road should not be further reduced. Mr. Spear agreed with her. Mr. Faiman felt that in this case, the lot line location is an abstraction in that nothing will actually change.

Mr. Faiman read a letter dated 8/8/97 from abutters Alvin and Jane Litchfield in which they stated that they had no objection to the lot line adjustment but requested that a condition be imposed as part of the variance, that the shed not be used as a residence. (See file).

Motion Mr. Spear moved to grant the variance to section 6.2.4 to allow the lot line adjustment as shown on the attached map, with the stipulation that no building is to be placed within 175' of Wilton Center Road on Lot C-58, seconded by Mr. Tuttle with all in favor.

The selectmen, any party to the action or proceedings, or any person affected thereby may apply for a rehearing of this decision. A request for a rehearing must be filed in writing with the Zoning Board of Adjustment on or before Tuesday, September 2, 1997, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2)

FINDINGS OF FACT

  1. Why will your proposed use not diminish the values of surrounding properties? The proposed use will not alter the appearance of surroundings in any way.
  2. Why would granting the variance be in the public interest? There are currently three nonconformities at the boundary of C-58 and C-60. Granting the variance would reduce the number to one.
  3. Why would denial of the variance result in unnecessary hardship? Denial would result in the moving of a proposed driveway on C-58. In addition, it would result in a significant reduction in already limited road frontage on Lot C-58.
  4. Why would granting the variance do substantial justice? Granting the variance would do no harm to the town or the neighborhood and it would satisfy the desires and intent of two of the community's citizens.
  5. Why is the proposed use consistent with the spirit of the Zoning Ordinance? We believe that the spirit of the ordinance is to prevent overcrowding in the Res/Ag zone. Because all buildings are pre-existing, there is no new creation.

Case # 8/13/97-5 US CELLULAR/BARNES

United States Cellular (applicant) and John G. Barnes (owner), Lot F-12-4, NH Route 101, in the Industrial District have applied for variances to the terms of sections 8.1 and 8.2.6 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance to allow construction of a 250' cellular tower and accompanying equipment shelter, and a special exception under the terms of section 11.4(a) of the ordinance to allow the construction of a driveway that would cross a wetland area to reach the proposed tower location.

Attorney Gregory Michael represented the applicant and the owner and explained that U.S. Cellular would like to build a 250' tower which would have to be lit due to FAA requirements.He stated that 2 co-users could also use the tower at this height. He then stated that they could live with a 199' tower, which would not have to be lit, but which could not have as many co-users, possibly one co-locator at 180'. He stated that a 199' tower would provide very good service for the area. The tower would be located 1300' from Route 101, off a cul-de-sac in a subdivision being planned by Mr. Barnes. The access road would be gravel and the site, which would include a 12' X 24' building would be gated and locked. The steel-guyed tower would be 190' high with a 9' antenna. Satellite dishes would be placed just above the treeline. Mr. Michael pointed out that the guy-wired tower can be added on to and lit later if needed. Mr. Michael then went over the criteria for the two variances.

Eric Morse, of T.F. Moran, who also represents the applicant, explained that this location will also help the Route 31 South corridor. Questions from the Board arose regarding previous discussions about Route 31 North coverage, and whether another tower would be needed to facilitate this coverage. Atty. Michael assured the Board that if this tower request is granted, there will be no more tower requests in Wilton. Without this tower, possibly 2 or 3 shorter towers might be needed to provide the same coverage.

Tom Howey, of U.S. Cellular, answered a Board question about future or other types of cellular transmission which may not involve towers. He said that the direction U.S. Cellular is moving is toward digital interface. He doesn't see satellite service being available in the near future. Atty. Michael stated that if and when the tower becomes obsolete, US Cellular agrees to remove it. In answer to a Board question about the number of satellite dishes needed, Mr. Michael stated that the application requests four. Mr. Howey stated that most likely one or two would actually be placed by US Cellular. He further stated that they would be placed at about 75' and the dishes are 6'-10' in diameter.

Andy Roeper, of the Wilton Conservation Commission, asked if the guyed tower presents limitations for co-location in the future? Mr. Howey answered that it is actually more flexible than a freestanding tower in that it can be added on to. Mr. Roeper was also concerned about birds running into the guy wires, but felt that if this type of tower can possibly eliminate the need for other towers, because of co-location possibilities, it is probably the best way to go.

Resident Chris Owen asked what the different elevations were. Mr. Howey answered that at Route 101 the elevation is 460', at the tower site the elevation is 590' and at the previously studied tower site on the Blanchard property the elevation is 730'. Mr. Owen also questioned the propriety of the Board addressing the question of cellular towers now when the Planning Board is in the process of preparing a zoning change dealing with communication towers that will be voted on at Town meeting in March.

Mr. Roeper asked US Cellular if they were planning to ask for exemptions for the dredge and fill permits for the four wetland crossings they will make on their proposed road to the site. Mr. Howey answered no, they are in the process of applying for the permits.

Mr. Owen stated that his wife is a US Cellular user and has no trouble with service in Wilton, and he wanted to know who decides what adequate coverage is. Mr. Michael answered that it's really an engineering question as to why towers are need where they are needed.

Ms. Eckstrom asked for information about the proposed subdivision and how it will be developed. Mr. Howey explained that the subdivision of Lot F-12 will go before the Planning Board on August 20 and their proposal will be on Lot F-12-4. It is 7.111 acres in size and will reduce the size of the rest of the subdivision by that amount.

Mr. Faiman stated that he thought a communications tower was an implicitly permitted use in the industrial district, as such towers were not an issue when the zoning was adopted. The 45' height limit is intended for fire protection, noting that steel towers don't require fire protection. He further stated that if it were up to him, the decision about height restrictions would be passed to the Planning Board because it is really a site plan review issue.

Ms. Eckstrom felt that the industrial zone is the most appropriate place for a cellular tower if there is going to be one but she felt that the tower height should be limited to 199'.

Ms. Roberts agreed with Mr. Faiman that the Planning Board should be allowed to decide the height of the tower, but she agreed that the industrial zone is an appropriate location for the tower.

Mr. Tuttle preferred the 199' height limit, feeling that the lights on a higher tower would be a problem.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom moved and the Board found that the proposed cellular tower is an implicitly permitted use in the proposed location, and that therefore the requested variance to section 8.1 is not required. The Board also found that the 45' height restriction is unreasonable and that a height of 199' would be permissible, and granted a variance to section 8.2.6 to allow a cellular tower of up to 199'. The Board further found that nothing in the findings of the Board should be interpreted as restricting the Planning Board's right to negotiate or determine any or all appropriate aspects of the proposed use under their site review process. Further, any increase in tower height will require the applicants to return to the Zoning Board. Mr. Tuttle seconded the motion and all were in favor.

The selectmen, any party to the action or proceedings, or any person affected thereby may apply for a rehearing of this decision. A request for a rehearing must be filed in writing with the Zoning Board of Adjustment on or before Tuesday, September 2, 1997, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2)

Findings of Fact - Section 8.2.6

  1. Why will your proposed use not diminish the values of surrounding properties? Proposed tower is a passive, non-polluting use with no traffic impact.
  2. Why would granting the variance be in the public interest? The FCC has mandated that cellular telephone carriers provide adequate service. Thus, the tower height of 250' is needed to provide adequate service in the Wilton area.
  3. Why would denial of the variance result in unnecessary hardship? The 45' height restriction precludes what the Board found to be an acceptable use and that that restriction is based on reasons which are not applicable to this use.
  4. Why would granting the variance do substantial justice? It is reasonable to allow improved cellular service on this lot since it is a suitable tower site.
  5. Why is the proposed use consistent with the spirit of the Zoning Ordinance? The ordinance is silent as to towers and public utility installations. It is logical to assume that zoning should not prevent siting of necessary utility structures.

The Board turned its attention to the request for a special exception under the terms of section 11.4(a) - wetland crossings.

Mr. Howey stated that he believes that the dredge and fill application will be a minor application which means that it will be under 3000'. Mr. Faiman explained that the Board is required to spend two meetings on a wetlands crossing issue to allow for the gathering of information from outside sources if the Board desires that. Mr. Roeper stated that the Conservation Commission will meet on September 5th and could review the dredge and fill application if US Cellular could get it to them by that date. The Board requested that the applicants submit their dredge and fill plans to the Wilton Conservation Commission by September 5th and asked the Conservation Commission to review them and report their findings at the next ZBA meeting, to be held on September 10.

This case was continued to September 10, 1997.

OTHER BUSINESS

The clerk brought up the issue of rising certified mail charges and suggested consideration of increasing the cost to applicants for abutters notices. Mr. Faiman stated that this should be publicly noticed and a decision made at the next meeting and this was agreed to by the Board.

MINUTES - JULY 9, 1997

Motion A motion was made and seconded to approve the 7/9/97 minutes with all in favor.
Mr. Faiman asked if Board members were interested in attending the law lectures that are coming up in the fall. He said that he would get the information to the clerk to mail out.
Motion A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting with all in favor.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 p.m.

ATTEST:

Diane Nilsson, Clerk