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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.

April 9, 2002

Voting Board Chairperson Neil Faiman; members Carol Roberts, Bob Spear & Jim Tuttle; alternate members Joanna Eckstrom & Ron Hanisch.
Clerk Diane Nilsson
Agenda
  • Hope For Homes – special exception & variances
  • Jill Vickers Kilgore – special exception
  • Household of Faith – special exceptions
  • John Marois – special exception or variance
  • Mathew Fish – special exception or variance

Mr. Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. and explained that because there are so many cases to be heard, he would suggest that the board adopt a policy similar to the Planning Board so that the evening doesn’t go on forever.

Motion Ms. Roberts moved to adopt a policy that no new cases will be heard after 10:30 p.m. and the meeting will end at 11 p.m. whether or not all cases have been heard. The motion was seconded by Mr. Tuttle and all were in favor.

Mr. Faiman then explained that member Carol Roberts chose not to sit on the Matthew Fish case, which was scheduled to be the last case heard. Alternate Joanna Eckstrom would be sitting in Carol’s place, but she needed to get home as soon as possible, so the board agreed to hear the Matthew Fish cast first.

Mr. Faiman then 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 #4/9/02-5 — MATTHEW FISH

Matthew Fish has applied for a special exception under the terms of section 6.6.1 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, or alternatively for a variance to section 6.1 of the Ordinance, to permit holding outdoor weddings as a home occupation on Lot B–74, 139 Curtis Farm Road (“The Curtis Farm”).

Mr. Fish explained that The Curtis Farm has been in his family for over 100 years. It is an historic property – originally the Dale Farm which was 1000 acres. Mr. Fish now owns the 87 acres that remain. On the property there are six large barns and farm buildings which are not being used, for the most part, for farming. In order to be able to afford to keep a farm a farm, accessory uses must be found. He said that he has been hosting weddings at the farm since 1997 and has never had a complaint from neighbors.

He felt that the proposed use is a low impact use of the land and is naturally is naturally symbiotic with existing and (to be) expanded agricultural uses.

The proposed location for the weddings is the center of Lot B-74 (21.89 acres) which is hidden from public view and surrounded by forest and commercial hayfields. The proposed use would entail roughly 1 wedding a week, usually on Saturday, between the second weekend in May and the second weekend in October. The maximum number of guests would be 250 with the average being 150. Hours of operation will be any 8 consecutive hours between noon and 11 p.m. Amplified music would be limited to a maximum of 5 hours with all music off by 11 p.m. The applicant will place two temporary signs at key places to guide guests to the farm on the day of the wedding and will remove them the next day.

Mr. Fish then read section 6.6.1, requirements for home occupations in the Res/Ag district, and stated that he met all the requirements. The board was inclined to agree and decided to hear the special exception request.

Ms. Eckstrom asked about sanitation facilities. Mr. Fish said that they have porta-potties and outdoor sinks. She then asked about food and Mr. Fish said that all food is catered.

Neighbor Dave Andrews stated that he supports the project and wants to keep the farm as farmland. He said that the music does travel but that Mr. Fish is good about stopping it no later than 11 p.m.

Mr. Faiman read six letters of support written by abutters Kerry & Rebecca Drohan and neighbors Hal Levine & Lindi Higgins; Jeff Kandt; Joe Geisky; Geralyn Lourey; and Andrew & Kim Fairbank.

Motion Joanna Eckstrom moved to grant the special exception for the proposed home occupation with the following restrictions: There will be no more than 250 guests on any day. Hours of operation are limited to eight consecutive hours between noon and 11 PM. Amplified music is limited to no more than five hours, with all music to be ended by 11 PM. All parking is to be in the areas highlighted on the plan submitted with the application. Two temporary signs will be placed at key locations to guide guests to the farm. Sanitation is provided by portable toilets and sinks. The motion was seconded by Mr. Spear and all were in favor.

Mr. Faiman said that the request had been granted and the applicant will receive notice of such in the mail. He further stated, 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, May 9, 2002, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2) This decision shall expire on Friday, April 9, 2004 if the holding of weddings on the property has not begun by that date (Wilton Zoning Ordinance section 17.4)

Case #3/12/02-1 — (continued) & 4/9/02-1 – HOPE FOR HOMES

Hope For Homes has applied for a special exception under the terms of section 5.3.7 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance to permit multi-family use of the existing house on Lot K–58, 36 Crescent Street.

Hope For Homes has applied for variances to sections 5.3.7(a), 5.3.7(c), and 5.3.7(d) of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, in conjunction with its previous application for a special exception under the terms of section 5.3.7 of the Ordinance (case #3/12/02–1, continued from March 12), to permit multi-family use of the existing house and barn on Lot K–58, 36 Crescent Street. The variances would allow more than residential units than would otherwise be permitted, parking spaces that would be closer to the lot lines than would otherwise be permitted, and multifamily use of a lot with a lower ratio of open space to developed space than would otherwise be permitted.

Ms. Eckstrom left the board and Ms. Roberts returned for the remainder of the cases.

Earl Cook, property manager and project coordinator for Hope for Homes, explained that Hope for Homes has purchased the home at 36 Crescent Street with the desire to convert the home into three units in order to provide more affordable housing to the area. The main house would be for one family, an efficiency unit would be built inside a room that already exists, and a three-bedroom unit would be built inside the barn. He felt that there would be room for 6 cars if they parked diagonally.

Ms. Roberts expressed concern both about the congested nature of Crescent Street and the limited available space for parking on the lot. Mr. Faiman noted that the lot is less than 1/4 acre in size.

Abutter Nancy Rankin said that her yard abuts the applicant’s yard. She said that if the variance is granted she would like the applicant’s yard fenced. She said that Mr. Cook agreed to this but she wanted it in the record.

Stuart Brown, representing abutter Grayson Parker, expressed concern about the lack of parking space on the lot and said that the street is already a nightmare to plow with only one family living in the house.

He said that the street is very narrow and it is a real problem when someone parks on the street. He added that if there is more than one family on this lot, people will park on the street.

Michael Atkins, representing the Bent-Burke Post asked how people like in the residence currently? Mr. Cook answered that there are 2.

Resident Tony Link asked how many people would reside on the property. Mr. Cook answered that he didn’t know, but if there were three units only 6 cars would be allowed. Potentially there could be a family with two adults and some children in the main house, the same in the three-bedroom unit in the barn, and two people in the efficiency unit.

Mr. Atkins asked about whether the board of directors of Hope for Homes has some of the same members as the board of directors of Household of Faith, another applicant. Mr. Cook answered that there are 5 board members for Hope for Homes and 4 of them are also on the board of Household of Faith.

Mr. Hanisch said that he couldn’t see how the applications for variances meet any of the criteria necessary for the board to grant the request.

Resident Charlie McGettigan said that in his experience as ex-road agent and current water commissioner this particular part of the village is probably the most congested part of Wilton. He felt that jamming more people into an already congested area causes a lot of problems for a lot of people and it gets expensive for the town. He said he would hate to see three units on that tiny lot and feels it would be overuse of that property.

Resident and Planning Board member David Holder said that through the efforts of the Main Street Association and others we are trying to upgrade our downtown and village area. He said he doesn’t see how this request is justified. There is no unnecessary hardship, and granting the request would degrade that part of town. He said the request ought to be turned down.

Mr. Atkins said that the use requested is not justified in this case and ought to be turned down.

Mr. Faiman said that he viewed the lot in question and found that it is a tiny lot with a large house on it and negligible yard space, most of which would vanish into parking spaces if the request were to be granted. In regards to Spirit of the Ordinance, he felt that the Planning Board and the town thought fairly hard about the idea of allowing multi-family uses. They said that in certain parts of town there are houses that may be too big to be practical for one person or family to keep up and would be well suited to a multi-family use. They also said that this concept could be easily abused and so they came up with a collection of regulations that will apply to those multi-family uses, which have been consistently adhered to. He said that if the application was for two-family rather than three, he might be able to consider it a possibility. But he couldn’t see the justification for three units. He said that it seemed to be totally outside of the spirit of that special exception.

Ms. Roberts echoed Mr. Faiman and said that the request seemed unjustified to her.

Mr. Cook asked if the board would consider a two-family conversion. The board discussed this and said that it is marginally possible. Mr. Faiman said that for him to make a decision regarding two units on the lot he would need to see how the parking would be arranged to minimize the impact. He would like to see the request come back with an actual parking plan, with details showing the trees and whatever else is on the lot. If the plan shows negligible impact to the existing green space, he could be persuaded to grant a variance on the lot coverage requirement since he sees that as a preexisting condition.

Motion Mr. Spear made a motion to continue the Hope for Homes request with the request that the applicant supply a detailed plan of the lot showing where the four parking spaces will be located. Mr. Tuttle seconded the motion. Four were in favor and Mr. Hanisch voted no.

Case #4/9/02-2 — KILGORE

Jill Vickers Kilgore has applied for a special exception under the terms of section 5.3.1 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit an in-home childcare program as a home occupation on Lot K–87, 22 Clark Court.

Ms. Kilgore owed the town $4 for one abutter that was not paid for. She gave the $4 to Mr. Faiman, who will give it to the town clerks.

Ms. Kilgore explained that she is requesting the special exception to allow an in-home childcare business that could bring as many as 6 children. She has three children of her own and the state will grant her a license for up to 9 children. The driveway can fit up to 4 cars if needed but drop-off and pick-up times will vary so it would be unlikely that 4 cars would be there at the same time. The program will operate between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. The home is in a family neighborhood on a dead-end street. There is a large backyard that is fenced on three sides. The daycare will use 50% of the home but the look and feel of the home will remain a single family home. There will be no employees besides Ms. Kilgore.

Mr. Faiman said that when he drove to the house, he noticed that the road was very narrow and he had to get out of his car and move a tricycle out of the way in order to continue driving. He wanted to be sure all parking associated with the day care would be off-street.

Ms. Roberts also said that the street is very congested and was concerned about the possibility of any on- street parking.

Mr. Faiman said that the yard looks to be very substantial and adequate for the proposed use.

Motion Mr. Spear moved to grant the special exception with the following conditions: All drop- off and pick-up parking is to be off-street; the childcare is limited to 6 pre-school and 3 school-age children, including the applicant’s children; and there are to be no employees other than the applicant. The motion was seconded by Mr. Tuttle and all were in favor.

Mr. Faiman said that the request had been granted and the applicant will receive notice of such in the mail. He further stated, 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, May 9, 2002, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2) In the absence of such a request, the decision becomes final. This decision shall expire on Friday, April 9, 2004 if operation of the proposed childcare program has not begun by that date. (Wilton Zoning Ordinance section 17.4)

Case #4/9/02-3 — HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH

Household of Faith has applied for special exceptions under the terms of sections 5.3.2, 5.3.3, and 5.3.5 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to provide transitional housing for women, to house church staff and hold various church functions, to provide space for programs held by the Boys and Girls Club and other organizations, and to hold educational and recreational meetings, on Lot J–38, 16 Maple Street (“The Abbott Home”).

The clerk pointed out that Household of Faith was overcharged $20 when they submitted their application.

The town will have to mail a refund check to them.

Earl Cook said that he represented the church, which owns the home on Maple Street. Mr. Faiman asked Mr. Cook if he was a member of the board of directors of the church. He said he was not. Mr. Faiman asked if he had a letter authorizing him to represent the property owner, He said he did not. Mr. Faiman said that since whoever is representing the property owner is making legal decisions for that entity, there needs to be a letter of authorization either accompanying the application or presented at the time the case is heard.

Motion Mr. Spear moved to continue the case until next month so that Mr. Cook can bring the appropriate documentation to be able to represent Household of Faith. Mr. Tuttle seconded the motion and all were in favor.

Case #4/9/02-4 — MAROIS

John Marois has applied for a special exception under the terms of section 17.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, or alternatively for a variance to section 6.2.4 of the Ordinance, to allow the addition of a deck, platform, and staircase to the rear of the existing house on Lot J–82, 40 Dale Street, which would be closer to a lot line than is permitted by the Ordinance.

Mr. Marois explained that his house was built circa 1880, it is an L shaped lot, the front of the house is

7.5’ from Dale Street, one rear corner of the house is 10’ from Lot J-83 and the other rear corner is 32’ from Lot J-81. He would like to build a 10’x24’ deck off the rear of his house and a staircase leading up to it. The proposed deck would be 9’ from Lot J-83 and the staircase would be 28’ from Lot J-81. Mr. Marois explained that no matter where he built the deck it would be in the setback. He said that on Lot J-83, there are 100’ of woods between the deck and that property’s barn and the deck would not be visible from the house on Lot J-81 because the barn on that lot is closest to the proposed deck.

Mr. Faiman read the requirements for the granting of a special exception in section 17.3.

Motion Mr. Hanisch moved to grant the variance in accordance with dimensions shown on the plan. Ms. Roberts seconded the motion and all were in favor.

Mr. Faiman said that the request had been granted and the applicant will receive notice of such in the mail. He further stated, 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, May 9, 2002, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2) In the absence of such a request, the decision becomes final. This decision shall expire on Friday, April 9, 2004 if construction of the deck has not begun by that date. (Wilton Zoning Ordinance section 17.4)

OTHER BUSINESS

Minutes – March 12, 2002

Motion Mr. Spear moved to accept the 3/12/02 minutes as written. Motion was seconded by Mr. Tuttle and four were in favor with Mr. Hanisch abstaining.
Motion Mr. Spear moved to adjourn the meeting, Mr. Tuttle seconded and all were in favor.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Diane Nilsson, Clerk
Posted: 4/16/02