Town of Wilton, NH

Zoning Board Minutes

October 9, 2001

Voting Board Chairperson Neil Faiman; members Carol Roberts, Bob Spear & Jim Tuttle; alternate member Joanna Eckstrom.
Clerk Diane Nilsson
Agenda David Blackmer - variance
Margaret Elizabeth Robbins - variance

Mr. Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:32 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# 9/12/01–2 — DAVID BLACKMER - continuation from September 18, 2001

David E. Blackmer has applied for a variance to section 6.2.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit the subdivision of Lot C-7, 242 Old County Farm Road, into two lots, one or both of which would not have 200 feet of frontage on a public right of way, Class V or better.

Mr. Faiman read a letter from Mr. Blackmer’s attorney requesting additional time to complete the research that the zoning board requested. He asked that the case be continued to the November meeting.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom moved to continue the Blackmer case to the November 13, 2001 meeting. Mr. Spear seconded the motion and all were in favor.

Case# 10/9/01–1 — ROBBINS

Margaret Elizabeth Robbins has applied for a variance to section 8.1 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit a single-family residential use in conjunction with a permitted commercial use (storage units) on Lot B-101, 353 Forest Road, in the Industrial District.

Samuel Proctor, of Proctor & Greene Real Estate, presented a letter signed by Margaret Elizabeth Robbins which authorized both Clifford Robbins and Samuel G. Proctor, Jr. to speak before the zoning board on her behalf. He then explained that the Robbins property is for sale and a potential buyer would like to use the property for storage units, which would be allowed, but would like to build a small residential unit for use by a caretaker, which is not allowed in the industrial district. He explained that in 1980 the Town of Wilton voted to make this section of Forest Road part of the Industrial District. He presented the board with a map highlighting 22 properties on Forest Road between Burton Highway and Isaac Frye Highway including the lot in question. He said that 11 of the lots contain residential uses, 3 contain mixed uses and 3 contain industrial or commercial uses. The lot size is 1.3 acres and there is no town water or sewer on the lot. Mr. Proctor stated that denial of the requested variance would result in unnecessary hardship because the applicant would be denied the mixed use that would be similar to 3 other lots in the area.

Mr. Faiman read a letter from Thomas M. Quinn of Quinn Bros. Corp., an abutter to the Robbins land. In the letter Mr. Quinn stated that Quinn Bros. Corp. does not object to a single family residence being constructed on this lot provided the applicant understands that Quinn Bros. owns a 40’ right of way between the Robbins parcel and Burbak Machinery, and that the owners of the Robbins parcel are prepared to accept the present or future operational and traffic activities associated with industrial uses.

Mr. Faiman stated that he had a few concerns with granting this variance:

Mr. Tuttle felt that the soils on that particular lot are very good and would meet the “very high” 1 acre per parcel test.

Mr. Spear wanted to know how large the residence would be but the applicants did not know. The board read section 8.2.3 which spells out the lot coverage requirements in the industrial district. The applicants or future owners would not be able to use more than 60% of the lot for buildings, roadways and parking.

Ms. Roberts didn’t see anything unique about this property which restricts its industrial or commercial use, therefore she didn’t see a hardship. She asked if a precedence would be set if the board granted the variance.

Mr. Faiman stated that he didn’t feel that this lot was any more unique than others in the area and all are similarly restricted. He said that if the board grants this variance for a residential use in an industrial district, then the board would be adding another residence to a district that already has a lot of residential uses. One way that a district loses its zoned character is one variance at a time.

Ms. Eckstrom said that in the future the town might vote to change the zoning back to Res/Ag if no new industrial or commercial uses move in.

Mr. Faiman said that if an entire area is zoned inappropriately, the appropriate remedy is to change the zoning, not to grant variances one lot at a time. He also said that if the application had been written in terms of an accessory residential use in support of a commercial use, with specific drawings showing how the residential use would fit in with the commercial use, he might have been inclined to look at it differently.

Ms. Roberts said that the problem with granting this request as it is written is that the potential buyer may not go through with the purchase and we will have granted a residential use on an industrial lot. Mr. Spear felt that the 60% lot coverage requirement would assure that the residential use would be an accessory use to the commercial use. Ms. Eckstrom agreed.

Motion Mr. Tuttle moved to approve the application as presented, with all uses on the lot subject to the Industrial district lot requirements of section 8.2 of the Ordinance. The motion was seconded by Ms. Eckstrom. Mr. Tuttle, Mr. Spear and Ms. Eckstrom voted yes. Ms. Roberts and Mr. Faiman voted no.

Mr. Faiman stated that the requested variance has been granted and Ms. Robbins 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 Thursday, November 8, 2001, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2)


  1. Why will proposed use not diminish the values of surrounding properties? Establishing a new single family residence in an area of mixed uses and other homes will not change property values.
  2. Granting the variance will be in the public interest because it will allow a person reasonable use of his or her land and will allow the zoning ordinance to serve the public.
  3. Denial of the variance will result in unnecessary hardship because the applicant would be denied the mixed use (residential/industrial & residential/commercial) that is prevalent in the area.
  4. Granting the variance would do substantial justice because the applicant would be afforded the mixed use currently enjoyed by other landowners in the same district.
  5. Why is the proposed use consistent with the spirit of the ordinance? The spirit of the ordinance is to keep neighborhoods orderly & of similar character and use. The proposed use is consistent with other mixed uses in this particular portion of industrially zoned land. The use will not conflict with other uses in the neighborhood


Motion Mr. Tuttle moved to permanently change the meeting date for the ZBA to the second Tuesday of every month, seconded by Ms. Eckstrom with all in favor.
Motion Mr. Tuttle moved to raise the abutter fees to $6 per abutter without labels and $4 per abutter with labels, seconded by Mr. Spear. Four were in favor and Ms. Eckstrom voted no.
Motion Mr. Spear moved to consider an increase in the basic application fee cost at the November meeting, seconded by Mr. Tuttle with all in favor.

Minutes - September 18, 2001

Motion Mr. Spear moved to accept the 9/18/01 minutes as written. Mr. Tuttle seconded and all were in favor.

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

Respectfully submitted,
Diane Nilsson, Clerk