Town of Wilton, NH

Zoning Board Minutes

June 11, 2002

Voting Board Chairperson Neil Faiman; members Joanna Eckstrom, Carol Roberts, Bob Spear & Jim Tuttle.
Clerk Diane Nilsson
  • Household of Faith – special exceptions
  • J. Brent & Laura Manning – special exception
  • Grayson & Natalie Parker – special exception
  • Tatro/Talisman – two variances

Mr. Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. and asked if the board would consider changing the date of the July meeting from July 9 to July 16.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom moved to change the date of the July meeting from July 9 to July 16. The motion was seconded by Mr. Tuttle and all were in favor.

Mr. Faiman then said 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 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 #4/9/02-3 — HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH (continued from May 14, 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”).

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. Multi 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 12 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.

Mr. Faiman noted that all board members except Mr. Tuttle walked through the property prior to the meeting.

Pastor Manha presented a detailed plan of the property showing 35’ setbacks abutting both Maple St. and Park St. and 15’ setbacks on the other two lot lines; 24 parking spaces; 33 % of the total lot area with impervious improvements and 67% open space. He said that he is requesting use as a church for meetings, bible study etc. from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. everyday.

Mr. Faiman said that in his opinion the house is so large that it needs to be used for something other than a single family residence. There is plenty of space to support the requested 24 spaces and the requested uses.

He was convinced that the use for transitional housing was a good use, but the question was is it legal in Wilton.

Alternate board member Eric Fowler and Ms. Roberts both had problems allowing transitional housing under the mantle of the Bed & Breakfast special exception.

Mr. Spear suggested that transitional housing could be an accessory use of a church.

Abutter Richard Griffin said that the Catholic Church occasionally provides sanctuary for people who need it, and it can be considered an ancillary use of a church.

Resident Martha Quinn Heeter said that she is a member of the Household of Faith Church and that the church chose Wilton as a location for transitional housing partially to benefit Wilton residents.

Mr. Faiman suggested that the transitional housing could be considered a church-related use and the board could add appropriate restrictions. Ms. Eckstrom asked if it would be appropriate for the board to limit the number of children allowed in each room. Mr. Faiman thought it would be appropriate.

Resident Mark Whitehill asked if there were any requirements at the state level as to the square footage needed for each child/resident. No one had the answer to that. Pastor Manha said he would be willing to investigate any state guidelines or requirements.

The board formulated a motion to allow for church uses from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and to allow transitional housing in up to four bedrooms in the house, each for 1 adult and no more than two children no older than twelve years.

Abutter (and next door neighbor) Richard Griffin said that the building has been in use every night lately. And even though the meetings might end at 9 p.m., people stay until 10 and 11 p.m. talking outside and slamming car doors to the point that it is keeping his children awake. He felt that it was reasonable to ask for quiet after 9 p.m. on week nights. He further said that 7 a.m. is too early for activities to begin on a Saturday morning in a residential neighborhood.

Resident Robert Chouinard, who lives just down the street from the property, said that he had been monitoring the activity at the property and that there have consistently been cars parked on the street. One night he counted 38 cars parked both on and off street. He also observed kids left outside, unsupervised, skateboarding until 10 p.m. while their parents were inside at a meeting. He said he was concerned about children in the transitional housing situation being unsupervised.

Ms. Roberts said that the uses the church is requesting are not insignificant and she felt that they were not appropriate for a residential neighborhood. She further said that the church purchased the property knowing what the zoning ordinance allows in the residential district.

Ms. Eckstrom asked that the board separate the church use from the transitional housing use and consider only the transitional housing use request first. The board agreed.

Abutter Griffin said he had no objection to the transitional housing, but did object to the noise from the church functions.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom made a motion to permit the use of the house on Lot J—38, 16 Maple Street (The Abbott Home) for transitional housing, regarded as a church use, per section 5.3.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance. Up to four bedrooms in the house may be used, each for one adult and no more than two children no older than twelve years. All meals are to be cooked and served in the building’s common kitchen and dining areas. Residence for any family is limited to six months. There is to be at least one full-time resident caretaker. The use is also subject all applicable federal, state and local occupancy, health, safety, and fire codes. The motion was seconded by Mr. Tuttle. Four voted in favor and Ms. Roberts 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, July 11, 2002, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2) This decision shall expire on Friday, June 11, 2004 if the proposed use has not begun by that date (Wilton Zoning Ordinance section 17.4)

Mr. Faiman said that the board would now consider the church activities use request and the recreational use request. Pastor Manha said that he no longer believes that the church needs to obtain a special exception in order to hold church activities in the Abbott Home, and he would like to withdraw that special exception request.

Ms. Eckstrom asked whether the board considered the Abbott Home to be a church. Mr. Faiman said that the board was not being asked to make that determination and that if the applicant wants to withdraw the application there isn’t much the board can do about it. He further said that if the neighbors have a problem with noise or some other issue related to the church activities, they could seek relief from the selectmen. And if they are not satisfied with the selectmen’s response, they can appeal to the zoning board. At that point the board would need to make that determination.

The board then considered the recreational use request, which is a request to use the pool, barn area and yard for various programs for approximately 25-30 children at one time, ages 7 – 18, operating from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. M-F and periodic weekend use. The church is considering leasing the space to the Boys & Girls Club, a dance teacher and a karate teacher.

Mr. Faiman felt that 9 p.m. would be too late, on week nights, for kids to be outside. He felt that would be a significant intrusion into the neighborhood. He also felt that there was a difference between a Boys & Girls Club program and a dance or karate business and that these uses should be considered separately.

Abutter Pam Griffith expressed concerns about yet another group coming in and renting space in the residence. She was most concerned about the potential lack of supervision.

Mr. Spear suggested that if the board wanted to grant the exception, it could specify where children could be and at what times.

Mr. Faiman suggested that the board continue this case to the July meeting because after an hour and a half there were still 4 other cases that needed to be heard. Pastor Manha agreed.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom moved to continue the portion of the application pertaining to recreational uses to the July 16th meeting, Mr. Spear seconded 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.

The Manning’s were not present so Mr. Faiman suggested that the board continue the case for one more month in case the applicants are still interested in a hearing.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom moved to continue the case to the July 16th meeting. The motion was seconded and all were in favor.

Case #6/11/02—1 — GRAYSON L. & NATALIE C. PARKER

Grayson L. & Natalie C. Parker have applied for a special exception under the terms of Section 11.4(a) of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit construction of a driveway that will cross a wetland area on Lot B—36, Curtis Farm Road.

Dawn Tuomala, of Monadnock Survey, represented the Parkers and presented a plan showing a proposed lot line adjustment affecting Lots B—35 & B—36, and creation of a new 12 acre lot B—35-2. The Parkers would like to gain access to the new lot via Curtis Farm Road, and that involves crossing a 1300 sq. ft. wetland. The applicant wants to put in a single gravel driveway where a woods road already exists. They will place a culvert and fill. Ms. Tuomala said that the wetlands application to the state is nearly ready to submit.

Mr. Faiman said that the zoning ordinance requires that the board consider the application at two consecutive meetings before granting a wetlands crossing special exception. He suggested that the board schedule a site visit. The board agreed and scheduled the visit for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16th. Anyone who is interested is welcome to join the board for the visit. Grayson Parker also said that he would be happy to take anyone who is interested on a tour at any time before then.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom moved to continue the hearing to July 16th. Mr. Spear seconded the motion and all were in favor.


Philip Tatro (applicant, as managing member of Tatro Investments) and Talisman Properties, LLC (owner) have applied for a variance to the terms of Section 8.2.8 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit an ingress-only entrance from NH Route 101 to a proposed service station and car wash on Lot F—12—6, NH Route 101, where the ordinance would require that all access to the lot be taken from Industrial Drive.

Sam Proctor, Manager of Talisman Properties, LLC, began by explaining that the applicant plans to build a service station, carwash, and Dunkin’ Donuts on Lot F—12—6. He then introduced Atty Andrew Eills of Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell in Concord, who presented the case & Matt Peterson of Keech Nordstrom in Manchester, who is the design engineer for the project. He also introduced Philip Tatro of Goffstown, & John Barnes & Michael Sullivan, partners in Talisman Properties, LLC and both from Bedford, NH.

Mr. Eilles explained that the Wilton zoning ordinance allows for only one curb cut per lot of record on NH Route 101. The applicant is requesting an ingress-only curb cut for westbound traffic 400’ before the Industrial Drive entrance to the property. The NH Dept. of Transportation has granted this curb cut for reasons of safety. Since all vehicles will be exiting via Industrial Drive and eastbound traffic will be entering the property via Industrial Drive, this ingress-only curb cut will help prevent vehicles stacking up at the Industrial Drive entrance and will also promote better traffic circulation within the property. He said that the DOT will not put in a traffic light at Industrial Drive any time soon, so the applicant and the DOT feel that the second curb cut is a good safety feature. He then read through the 5 variance criteria.

Mr. Paterson explained that there would be a 200’ deceleration lane before arriving at the westbound entrance. There will also be a 350’ left turn lane from the east, turning left into Industrial Drive and they propose lengthening the westbound left turn lane onto Route 31 south by 100’.

Mr. Faiman read a section called “Number of Access Points” from a Nashua Regional Planning Commission document called Access Management Guidelines. He also read from Page V-16, Access Management, of the Wilton Master Plan. Both documents explain the reasons for allowing only one curb cut on major arteries and give the background information for why ordinance 8.2.8 was written the way it was. Mr. Faiman further said that in order to grant the requested variance, the board would need to find that Lot F—12—6 has unique characteristics, as compared to others in the area, such that the ordinance becomes oppressive when applied to that particular parcel. He said that it did not appear to him that the ordinance impacts this parcel differently than any other in the area.

Mr. Eilles said that the uniqueness of this property is its location. Specifically, how close Industrial Drive is to Route 31 south (600’). He said that without the requested second curb cut, the deceleration lanes for entry onto both Industrial Drive and Route 31 south would have to be longer.

Mr. Faiman said that he didn’t feel that it was a function of the zoning board to second-guess the ordinance, but rather to ask ‘what is the ordinance trying to accomplish and is that purpose relevant in this circumstance.’

He said that the second prong of the Simplex test is that no fair and substantial relationship exists between the general purpose of the zoning ordinance and the specific restrictions on property. In this case, the ordinance appears to be directly aiming at the issue of total number of distinct access points on NH Route 101.There appears to be justification for attempting to restrict the total number of access points on NH 101 and clearly that purpose is directly related to what this request is trying to circumvent.

Mr. Eilles said that he agreed with this statement but the ordinance doesn’t address ingress-only curb cuts.

Mr. Tuttle mentioned that the Mobil station just west of WalMart in Amherst has an ingress-only entrance for eastbound traffic on 101A.

Resident Spencer Brooks said that he bicycles on Route 101 going west because there aren’t as many curb cuts as there are on the eastbound side and he felt that these two curb cuts, specifically the ingress-only entrance would be extremely dangerous for bikers.

Resident Alec MacMartin said that part of the reason why the ordinance is written the way it is is a reaction to the Industrial land use goals and objectives and the attempt to fit Commercial land use in with it. If you go back to the Master Plan and read paragraphs 6 & 7 on page I-2 you can see the thinking behind the ordinance.

He then read that section.

Andrew Sorrell, representing abutter Monadnock Spring Water, said that since the property in question sits atop the Aquifer Protection District, it would be best for the environment to have the least amount of paved area possible. So for that reason alone, it would be better to have only one curb cut. He also pointed out that the DOT driveway permit does not mention anything about safety being a reason for granting the curb cut.

Philip Tatro emphasized the point that the “ingress-only” curb cut is really an egress from 101, designed to peel off traffic that would otherwise have to turn right at Industrial Drive.

Mr. MacMartin asked the board to read the “Commercial Land Use Goals & Objectives” in the Master Plan as well as looking at what the Industrial Zone allows before making a decision. In other words, in order to have a commercial use in the Industrial Zone, the applicant has to do so under the terms and conditions of the Industrial Zone requirements.

Mr. Spear felt that the request for an ingress-only curb cut is reasonable considering how much traffic this particular commercial use will generate.

Ms. Eckstrom said that she wanted to be able to study the Master Plan before making a decision. And since most of the board members haven’t read it and don’t have it; she would like to continue the hearing.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom made a motion to continue the hearing to the July 16th meeting to give the board a chance to read the master plan. Mr. Spear seconded the motion and 4 were in favor with Mr. Faiman voting no.

Mr. Faiman said, about the second variance request regarding buffers, that the applicant states that he doesn’t believe that he needs a variance but is applying for one anyway. He didn’t feel comfortable holding a hearing on this request until such time as the applicant does feel that a variance is needed. Mr. Spear said that he agreed. The applicants agreed to withdraw their Case # 6/11/02—3.

Mr. Faiman put his copies of the Access management Guidelines from the NRPC and the Wilton Master Plan in the town office so board members can read them, make copies or whatever.


Minutes — May 14, 2002

Motion Ms. Eckstrom moved to approve the 5/14/02 minutes as written. Motion was seconded by Mr. Spear 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 10:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Diane Nilsson, Clerk
Posted: 6/17/02