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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 8, 2001

Voting Board Chairperson Neil Faiman; members Bob Spear & Jim Tuttle; alternate members Joanna Eckstrom and Ron Hanisch.
Clerk Diane Nilsson
  • Harold Melcher - 2 variances
  • Christine and Elmer Bergin - special exception
  • Lee and Diane Hambrick - special exception or variance

Mr. Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. and explained to the audience that the process for hearing an application is 1) to ask the applicant to explain what it is that he or she wants to do 2) why he needs permission from the zoning board to do it and 3)why he thinks the zoning board should give that permission. Once the board has a description from the applicant, members of the zoning board will be able to ask questions and get additional information that they may feel is missing in order to clarify what is being proposed. Once the zoning board is satisfied that they know what is going on, then any members of the public or abutters who may be present will have the opportunity to ask questions, provide additional information or offer opinions. Once all the information is in, the zoning board will then consider the case and, under normal circumstances, reach a decision the same evening.

Case# 8/8/01–1 — Harold P. Melcher, Jr.

Harold P. Melcher, Jr. has applied for variances to section 6.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance to permit the subdivision of Lot H-95, 732 Abbot Hill Road, into two lots according to the ordinance’s “Alternative Lot Requirements,” where the frontage of one lot would be less than required by the ordinance, and the area of the other lot would be less than required by the ordinance.

Mr. Melcher would like to subdivide a two acre portion of his 22.5 acre lot so that his son can build a house and live there and help Mr. Melcher with the farm and snow plowing chores. He stated that the same driveway will be used by both parties and that he is willing to put a clause in both deeds that states that resale of either property can take place only if both properties are owned by the same person.

Abutter Jack Merrill - Lot H-98 - asked about the lot requirements. Mr. Faiman explained that ordinance 6.3.1 and 6.3.2 allow for a minimum 5 acre reduced frontage lot with only 50’ of frontage to be combined with a minimum 2 acre normal frontage lot with at least 200’ of frontage. Mr. Melcher’s lot only has 200’ of frontage total so one of the variances he is seeking is to allow the reduced frontage lot with only 200’ of frontage. Mr. Merrill said as long as both lots shared the same driveway, he had no problem with the variance request. He did say that he liked Mr. Melcher’s idea of the deed restriction.

Abutter Joe Mazzachelli - Lot H-103-1 - stated that his property abuts the proposed two acre parcel and he has no objection to Mr. Melcher’s proposal. He stated that his brother, another abutter, lives on Lot H-103-2 and he also has no objection.

Mr. Faiman said that he looked into the history of the subdivisions that took place in the 1970’s in this part of Abbot Hill Road and noted that alternative lot zoning was not available at that time. He felt that if it had been available then Mr. Melcher’s lot would probably already be subdivided. He said that he felt that a variance to 6.3.1 is within the spirit of the ordinance and he would support it. He further said that he sees the hardship relating to the frontage question but does not see a hardship in 6.3.2, which states that there is a five acre minimum per dwelling unit. He sees no reason why the proposed reduced frontage lot should be smaller than 5 acres.

Motion Mr. Spear made a motion to grant a variance to permit the subdivision of Lot H-95 into two lots, each to have at least 50’ of frontage on Abbot Hill Road, 50’ setbacks from all lot lines, an area of no less than 5 acres and a dry area of no less than 2 acres of dry land, and the two lots to be accessed by a common driveway. The motion was seconded by Mr. Tuttle. All votes were in favor of the motion.

Mr. Faiman stated that one of the requested variances had been granted and Mr. Melcher would receive written notification 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 filed in writing with the Zoning Board of Adjustment on or before Friday, September 7, 2001, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2) This variance will expire on August 8, 2003 if application for approval of the subdivision has not been submitted to the Wilton Planning Board by that date. (Wilton Zoning Ordinance section 17.4)

Case# 8/8/01–2 — Christine and Elmer S. Bergin, Jr.

Christine and Elmer S. Bergin, Jr. have applied for a special exception under the terms of section 17.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit the construction of a garage on Lot K-81, 26 Clark Court, which would be closer to a side lot line than is otherwise permitted by the Ordinance.

Mr. Faiman noted that he, Mr. Spear and Ms. Eckstrom viewed the lot before the meeting.

Ms. Bergin explained that they would like to build a 32’ X 12’ storage shed 1 ‘ from the lot line with Lot K-87, 22 Clark Court. The shed will be located 48’ from the street and 42’ from Lot K-82, 180 Main Street, which is the lot behind the Bergins. The proposed shed will be 19’ high and will be pole barn type construction which will eliminate the need for a foundation. The setback requirement is 15’.

Mr. Faiman read a letter from Mr. Chris Booton, Lot K-87, in which he states that he has no problem with the construction of the shed as it is planned.

Abutter Martha Tighe, Lot K-75, 27 Clark Court, stated that she has no objection to the construction of the shed as long as the Bergins clean up their yard and put all the stuff that’s in their yard in the shed. The Bergins said that they planned to do that.

Abutter Ron Fournier, Lot K-82, stated his concern about a 15” drainage line that runs through Lot K-81 and down into his lot. His second concern is related to the fact that the Bergins appear to be operating a contracting business out of their home and storing contracting materials outside, but they have not received a special exception from the zoning board nor a site plan review from the planning board to legally do this.

Mr. Faiman stated that Mr. Fournier has a point regarding the contracting business in that once you start using your lot to store construction materials for your business, you are now using the lot for a business purpose. People do that sort of thing occasionally, not too much, but if it becomes a regular thing then in effect it becomes a home occupation and that requires zoning board and planning board approval. Residential lots are for residential purposes. Home occupations are allowed but they require review and approval by the town boards. The idea is that if people are running a business from their home, there should be sufficient review to make sure that that business doesn’t become objectionable to the neighbors. If your neighbors feel that you are going beyond the bounds, then they have the right to go to the selectmen and complain, and then the selectmen would send the building inspector out to have a look. If he felt that what you were doing was objectionable then you would probably need to go before the planning board.

Motion Mr. Tuttle moved to permit construction of a 32’ X 12’ shed, 19’ high, 1’ from Lot K- 87, 48’ from Clark Court and 42’ from Lot K-82. The Bergins are required to notify the highway department when the excavation work is complete so that the department can inspect the drain to determine if it is still intact. The motion was seconded by Mr. Spear.
Discussion Ms. Eckstrom asked who would be responsible for repairing the drain if something were to happen to it during the excavation. Mr. Bergin said that he would accept the responsibility for the integrity of the drain.
Vote All board members were in favor.

Mr. Faiman stated that the requested special exception has been granted and the Bergins will receive written notification 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 filed in writing with the Zoning Board of Adjustment on or before Friday, September 7, 2001, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2) This special exception will expire on August 8, 2003 if construction of the shed has not begun by that date. (Wilton Zoning Ordinance section 17.4)

Case# 8/8/01–3 — Lee and Diane Hambrick

Lee and Diane Hambrick have applied for a special exception under the terms of section 17.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, or alternatively for a variance to the terms of section 6.2.4 of the Ordinance, to permit the construction of a 28X28 foot garage and apartment, attached by a 14X16 foot sunroom to the existing house on Lot D-158-9, 24 Rebeckah’s Way, where the garage would be closer to a lot line than otherwise permitted by the Ordinance.

Mr. Faiman noted that he and Mr. Spear viewed the Hambrick property prior to the meeting. He also stated that Ms.Eckstrom would not be sitting on the board during this case because she is an abutter. He explained that because of this there was now only a four member board and that the Hambricks had the choice to postpone the hearing in hopes of convening a five member board at a later date. But if they choose to go ahead with this application this evening, they will still need three votes in their favor in order to have their request granted. The Hambricks chose to proceed with their application.

Mr. Hambrick said that his proposed garage and apartment would be three levels. The lower level would be a partial retaining wall, the deck level would be a two bay garage and the level above that would be an apartment. It would be attached to the house. He wants to build an apartment for his daughter and her family.

Mr. Faiman added that the reason that the Hambricks need relief from the zoning board is that the addition encroaches into the 35 foot setback requirement by 15 or 20 feet. Mr. Hambrick said that the reason he feels the zoning board should grant his request is that in order for him to have another dwelling unit on his property, it has to be attached to his house, and this is the only location that he feels is appropriate.

Mr. Faiman explained that in Wilton, an apartment over a garage is a duplex, and the Hambricks’ lot has 6/1000ths of an acre more than is needed to support two dwelling units. Abutter Joanna Eckstrom, Lot D-159, 14 Laurel Hill Street, said that when the Rebeckas’s Way subdivision came before the planning board, the house site for Lot 158-9 was staked out. Mr. Faiman added that he looked at the subdivision plans and saw a note on the plans that said that the house site location on that lot could not be moved without permission from the planning board.

Abutter Matt Straw, Lot 158-8, 22 Rebecka’s Way, stated that he is the abutter nearest to the proposed lot line setback encroachment. He said that he would like to see the lot line surveyed before this request is approved because he is not sure where the lot line actually is. He also mentioned that Mr. Hambrick plans to have a driveway of sorts around the side of the garage, which will bring activity even closer to the lot line.

Mr. Hambrick said that he is not planning to have an actual driveway there, but would have to use that area to access the back of his property with a tractor or truck as it would be the only access.

Mr. Faiman said that if the board feels inclined to grant relief, the board could ask for more information, such as a professional survey, and continue the hearing until then. He also stated that he does not feel inclined to grant either of the requests because this seems to be a self created hardship. The applicant knew the limitations of the lot when he purchased it. All the restrictions in the zoning ordinance were in place when the lot was created and when the applicant bought it. He further felt that there were other placements of the garage which would not encroach so severely into the setback. He said that if the setback were just a couple of feet he would more likely to allow the request, but this is not a minor encroachment, it is chomping away half of the setback in a setting where the setback is very relevant to the neighbor on Lot 158-8.

There was discussion about continuing the case after a survey was done.

Motion Mr. Spear made a motion to continue the case until the regular September meeting with a request to the applicants that they obtain a survey of the northern portion of the lot line between Lots D-158-9 and D-158-8, and be prepared to provide precise measurements of the distance of the proposed construction from the lot line and from the setback line. The motion was seconded by Mr. Tuttle. Three voted in favor and Mr. Faiman voted no.

A motion was made, seconded, and all were in favor, to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Diane Nilsson, Clerk