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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.

May 14, 2002

Voting Board Chairperson Neil Faiman; members Joanna Eckstrom, Carol Roberts, Bob Spear & Jim Tuttle; alternate members Eric Fowler & Ron Hanisch.
Clerk Diane Nilsson
Agenda
  • Hope For Homes – special exception & variances
  • Household of Faith – special exceptions
  • J. Brent & Laura Manning – special exception
  • Bruce S. Nelson – variance
  • Dawn B. Tuomala - 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 the same policy as last month. The board agreed that no new cases would be heard after 10:30 p.m. and the meeting would end no later than 11 p.m.

Mr. Faiman then announced that the Selectmen had appointed alternate member Joanna Eckstrom to the open full member slot and they also appointed Eric Fowler as an alternate member. Mr. Faiman reminded the board that it was time to conduct annual elections.

Motion Mr. Tuttle nominated Mr. Faiman to the Chairperson position. Mr. Spear seconded the motion and all were in favor, with the exception of Mr. Faiman, who abstained.
Motion Mr. Spear nominated Mr. Tuttle to the position of Vice Chair. Ms. Eckstrom seconded the motion and all were in favor, with the exception of Mr. Tuttle, who abstained.

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 #3/12/02—1 — HOPE FOR HOMES (continued from April 9, 2002)

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.

Case #4/9/02—1 — HOPE FOR HOMES (continued from April 9, 2002)

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 residential units 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 asked that alternate Ron Hanisch sit on this case since he was on the voting board last month. He agreed and Ms. Eckstrom did not vote on this case.

Mr. Faiman explained that Hope for Homes had previously requested a special exception and variances to allow the residence to be converted from single-family to three-family. When it was clear that the board was not going to grant that request, the applicant asked that the board consider allowing a two-family conversion instead. The board asked the applicant to come back with a detailed plot plan showing where the parking spaces would be and how they would impact the open space on the property.

Earl Cook, property manager and project coordinator for Hope For Homes presented a plot plan showing 4 parking places. The plan also noted that the total area of the parcel was 9000 sq. ft.; the total existing open space was 5400 sq. ft. and the proposed total open space was 4900 sq. ft. The ordinance requires an amount equal to 2 times the total area occupied by driveways, parking areas and all buildings on site, or 7200 sq. ft. in this case.

The board noted that the proposed parking spaces are within the setback so a variance to section 5.3.7(c) is required. They also noted that the open space requirement is not met so a variance to section 5.3.7(d) will be required.

Motion Ms. Roberts moved to grant variances to sections 5.3.7(c) & 5.3.7(d) and to grant a special exception to permit two-family use of the existing house on Lot K—58. The special exception has two restrictions; that no new curb cut be made and that the concrete pad, shown on the plan, be removed. The motion was seconded by Mr. Spear.
Vote Mr. Spear, Ms. Roberts & Mr. Tuttle voted in favor. Mr. Faiman & Mr. Hanisch voted no.

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, June 13, 2002, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2) This decision shall expire on Friday, May 14, 2004 if construction for the planned conversion has not begun by that date (Wilton Zoning Ordinance section 17.4)

Case #4/9/02-3 — HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH (continued from April 9, 2002)

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”).

Mr. Hanisch left the board and Ms. Eckstrom rejoined the board for the remainder of the evening.

Nick Manha, pastor and president of the board of trustees of the Household of Faith Church, presented the request. He said that the church is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which has 200 members and is 20 years old. The church bought the 10,000 sq. ft. Abbott Home in December 2001. Dual uses of the building would be transitional housing for up to four women and their children for up to 6 mo. stays, and various recreational and community uses.

The church has requested a special exception under the terms of section 5.3.2-Bed & Breakfasts, because there is no ordinance addressing transitional housing. In addition to the four lodging units, a resident female director would reside on site. There would be 1 common area & 1 common kitchen that the women would share. In the house there are 3 bathrooms upstairs & 1 downstairs. No children over the age of 10 would be allowed to stay.

Abbott House currently has an indoor pool, an attached barn that houses a large meeting area & a two-bay garage with an open area upstairs. The church has requested a special exception under the terms of section 5.3.3-Churches etc. to allow for various church functions & seminars & the ability to house church staff.

The church would like to use the pool and the garage for youth recreational areas. They have had preliminary discussions with Milford Boys & Girls Club and dance & karate businesses that have expressed interest in using the space. The church has applied for a special exception to section 5.3.5- Civic & Municipal Buildings, to allow for this use.

The pastor added that the church intends to restore the exterior with new roofing and siding and will also build a changing room and bathroom by the pool, bringing the total number of bathrooms to 5.

Alternate Fowler asked if the church staff that would be housed in the building would be male or female?

The pastor didn’t have an answer.

Abutter Bob Collins expressed concern about the proposed mixed uses of the building in a residential neighborhood.

Abutter Dan Gebhart expressed concern about turning a private residence into a public multi-use facility.

About the transitional housing he had specific concerns about parking and traffic from visitors of the residents & 24-hour supervision of the property. He also expressed confusion as to all the different requested uses. He said that the traffic generated from residents, their visitors, recreation groups and church groups could be huge and would overwhelm the residential neighborhood.

Planning Board member Dick Rockwood said that the board shouldn’t vote on anything until there is a site plan showing how the property will be used. He further said that at this point the project sounds like a commercial venture. The church should whittle down the plan so there are fewer multiple uses.

Abutter Judy Collins said that transitional housing is not the same as a bed & breakfast use. This request sounds more like a boarding house. She expressed concern about the numbers of people coming & going and the traffic these uses would generate.

Dawn Reames, of Rape & Assault Services of Nashua, said that there is a need for transitional housing of this type in southern NH.

Resident Tony Lynch said that this request is too open-ended and non-specific and should not be granted.

Resident May Dial asked if the school-aged children of the residents would attend Wilton public schools?

The pastor did not answer.

Mr. Faiman read the criteria listed in section 4.4-Special Exceptions. He noted that the open space requirement does not apply to the bed & breakfast or church uses. He further said that there was not a clear enough proposal to approve or disapprove. He also said he would need to see a site plan.

Ms. Eckstrom was also concerned about the lack of detail in the request.

Ms. Roberts said she had a problem justifying a b&b special exception when the requested use is long-term.

Mr. Spear felt that transitional housing would be a good use for this property and he had no problem with the request.

Alternate Fowler said that he had trouble with all the other requested uses in addition to the transitional housing.

Mr. Faiman said that the job of the board is to determine if the requests satisfy the requirements of the zoning ordinance, not whether or not we like the proposals.

Mr. Rockwood said that the applicant might do better to apply for a special exception for a church or synagogue and then list the services that the church would like to offer.

Mr. Faiman said that it will be up to the board to decide what the legal definition of a bed & breakfast or a church is, and what its effect on the neighborhood would be.

Pastor Manha said that he would like to rework the application and come back next month.

Motion Mr. Tuttle moved to continue the case to the June meeting. Ms. Eckstrom seconded the motion and all were in favor.

Case #5/14/02—1 — J. BRENT & LAURA MANNING

J. Brent & Laura Manning have applied for a special exception under the terms of section 17.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit an addition to their house on Lot E—12, 21 Russell Hill Road, which will be closer to a lot line than would otherwise be permitted.

Mr. Manning had no site plan and said that he didn’t know he needed to make a presentation.

Mr. Faiman read section 17.3-Special Exceptions from the Ordinance and said that Mr. Manning doesn’t qualify for section 17.3 because his home was built after the adoption by the town of setback requirements, and that he will need to apply for a variance. Mr. Faiman also said that Mr. Manning must supply a site plan showing the lot lines, the house & the proposed garage with the dimensions, the hills and any other topographical information that is relevant.

The applicant said that he would like to come back in June with a plan.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom moved to continue the case in order for the applicant to provide appropriate documentation. Mr. Tuttle seconded the motion and all were in favor.

Case #5/14/02—2 — BRUCE S. NELSON

Bruce S. Nelson has applied for a variance to section 6.2.4 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance to permit the construction of an attached garage with living space above, closer to a lot line than would otherwise be permitted, on Lot H—102—1, 3 Samantha’s Way.

Mr. Faiman noted that most of the board members viewed the site before the meeting.

Mr. Nelson supplied the board with site plans and explained that he would like to build an addition for his mother-in-law. He would like to build a 26’ x 20’ first floor room with a garage under, on the left side of his house, which is 7’ from the lot line. He didn’t want to build it on the right side of the house, where it would not interfere with the setback, because it wouldn’t work with the floorplan of his first floor.

Abutter Rich Johnson said he had no problem with the plan but wanted to know if any trees would be cut down. Mr. Nelson said that the middle of 3 Maple trees would have to be removed.

Planning Board member Dick Rockwood said that he thought that there was a lot of ledge on the right side of the house which might make it difficult to place an addition there.

Ms. Eckstrom asked if the applicant had any intention of renting out the room in the future. Mr. Nelson said no, and said that the addition would not be an apartment, just a room.

Mr. Faiman felt that this was a self-created hardship in that Mr. Nelson knew the limitations of his lot when he purchased it.

Mr. Tuttle questioned why the deck was built into the setback? Even though Mr. Nelson built the deck, he didn’t know why it was in the setback.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom moved to grant the variance as requested. Ms. Roberts seconded the motion.
Vote Ms. Eckstrom, Mr. Spear & Ms. Roberts were in favor. Mr. Faiman & Mr. Tuttle voted no.

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, June 13, 2002, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2) This decision shall expire on Friday, May 14, 2004 if construction of the addition has not begun by that date (Wilton Zoning Ordinance section 17.4)

The board discussed the findings of fact and amended the hardship finding to begin… Because of the ledge on the right side of the house… and to be added to what Mr. Nelson wrote. They agreed that the other four findings were fine as they were written.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom moved to approve the findings of fact as amended. The motion was seconded and four were in favor with Mr. Faiman abstaining.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. The proposed use will not diminish the values of surrounding properties because the distance between structures on Lots 107—1 & 107—2 is approximately 400’.

2. Granting the variance is in the public interest because the living space over the garage will be at the first floor level, giving the addition handicapped accessibility.

3. Denial of the variance will result in unnecessary hardship because of the ledge on the right side of the house, this is the only location on the property where an attached garage & additional living space can be built without adversely affecting the appearance of the house.

4. Granting the variance would do substantial justice because the variance will allow Mr. Nelson’s family a handicapped accessible living space for his elderly mother-in-law.

5. The proposed use is consistent with the spirit of the Zoning Ordinance because there will remain adequate distance between houses on the abutting lots 107 & 107—2, in keeping with the spirit of the setback requirements.

Case #5/14/02—3 — DAWN B. TUOMALA

Dawn B. Tuomala has applied for a variance to section 14.3.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit the construction of an addition to the existing house on Lot A—71—1, 138 Jackson Drive, which would be closer to the deeded flowage rights to the State of New Hampshire, to the open water of the flood control pond, and to the 100 year flood plain than would otherwise be permitted in the Watershed District.

Ms. Tuomala explained that her house was built in 1976, before the watershed district was established in

1983. Any structures are supposed to be at least 150’ from the deeded flowage rights and the 100-year flood plain, but her house and garage are within 33’ and 6.5’ respectively, of the deeded flowage rights. She would like to construct a 20’ x 30’ single story addition to the existing house and an enclosed passageway from the proposed addition to the existing garage. The structures would be 20’ from the deeded flowage rights, approximately 70’ from the normal low open water elevation of the flood control pond, and 50’ from the 100 year floodplain.

Motion Mr. Tuttle moved to grant the variance in accordance with dimensions shown on the plan. Ms. Eckstrom 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, June 13, 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, May 14, 2004 if construction of the addition has not begun by that date. (Wilton Zoning Ordinance section 17.4)

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. The proposed use will not diminish the values of surrounding properties because the proposed use will add value to the premises, thus enhancing surrounding values.

2. Granting the variance will be in the public interest because the proposed construction will be in harmony with the current use of the property.

3. Denial of the variance will result in unnecessary hardship because it would prevent reasonable use of the land.

4. Granting the variance will do substantial justice because denial would not result in a gain to the public and would result in a loss of reasonable use to the applicant.

5. The proposed use is consistent with the spirit of the Ordinance because the proposed use will not diminish the health, safety, or general welfare of the community.

OTHER BUSINESS

Minutes — April 9, 2002

Motion Mr. Tuttle moved to accept the 4/9/02 minutes as written. Motion was seconded by Ms. Roberts and all were in favor.

A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting. All were in favor and the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Diane Nilsson, Clerk
Posted: 5/20/02