Town of Wilton, NH

Zoning Board Minutes

March 11, 2003

Voting Board Chairperson Neil Faiman; members Joanna Eckstrom, Carol Roberts & Bob Spear; alternate member Ron Hanisch. Alternate Eric Fowler was present but did not vote.
Clerk Diane Nilsson
Agenda Philip Stenersen - variance

Mr. Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Case #3/11/03-1 — PHILIP STENERSEN

Philip Stenersen has applied for a variance to section 6.3.5(c) of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance to permit the subdivision of Lot C-4, NH Route 101, under the Alternative Lot Requirements of section 6.3 of the Ordinance, where the subdivided lots would access NH route 101 by a shared private way.

Chairperson Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m., read the public notice, and went over the board procedures for hearing a case.

Mr. Stenersen was present and stated that Craig Francisco, of Bedford Design Consultants, would be presenting the case. Mr. Francisco explained that the applicant is proposing a 3-lot subdivision on Route 101, just east of the Temple line. One of the lots is a reduced frontage lot and therefore Alternative Lot Requirements (section 6.3) apply. The applicant would prefer to have a private way that would serve all 3 lots, and would require only 1 curb cut, rather than an additional curb cut and driveway to access the reduced frontage lot, which 6.3.5(c) requires. He pointed out that the ordinance requires as few curb cuts as possible onto Route 101 in the industrial and commercially zoned lots, so it would seem that the spirit of the Ordinance is to limit curb cuts on Route 101. He presented a letter from the NH DOT which stated that if the subdivision is approved by the Town of Wilton, it will issue a driveway permit. The letter also stated that the NHDOT would prefer 1 common shared driveway for the proposed 3 lot subdivision. The letter did not state whether the DOT would issue more than 1 driveway permit.

The board questioned what a “private way” is. In the subdivision regulations 2.0.28 it is defined as a driveway which provides access to a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 lots and which the Town has no duty to maintain.

Conservation Commission Chair Spencer Brookes said that if a private way were not allowed and another driveway had to be built, there would have to be a second crossing of Blood Brook, which would not be the preference of the Conservation Commission.

Planning Board Chair Mark Whitehill said that the intent of the Wilton Master Plan is to limit curb cuts all along Route 101, no matter what district the property may be in. He also said that the reason the Ordinance does not allow private ways on Route 101, in conjunction with reduced frontage lots, is to limit housing density along Route 101.

Mr. Faiman said that he is persuaded by the argument that there is sufficient frontage and sufficient acreage to allow two normal frontage lots and one reduced frontage lot each with its own driveway. So the Ordinance would allow three lots and three driveways here. Then if you look at the Master Plan, the requirements in the industrial & commercial districts on Route 101 and the general spirit of the Ordinance with regard to driveways on Route 101, it seems like the town would be better served by allowing a single shared driveway rather than requiring the applicant to put in additional driveway(s).

The board discussed finding a unique hardship in this case. The fact that a second crossing of Blood Brook would be required in order to access the reduced frontage lot, if the board did not grant the variance, seemed to be a key point to the ZBA and the Conservation Commission. The board discussed the relationship between the public interest being served and the magnitude of the hardship or lack of hardship and how this particular restriction in the ordinance seems to be contrary to the spirit of the Ordinance and how denial of the variance might be contrary to the public welfare.

No abutters were present.

Motion Mr. Spear made a motion to grant the variance to section 6.3.5(c) of the Wilton Zoning

Ordinance to permit a 3 – lot Alternative Lot Requirement subdivision with all 3 lots to be accessed by a single private way on NH Route 101. The motion was seconded by Mr.

Hanisch and the motion passed with 4 in favor and Ms. Roberts opposed.

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 directly 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, April 10, 2003, and must fully specify all grounds on which the rehearing is requested. (N.H. RSA 677:2) This decision shall expire on Friday, March 11, 2005 if the subdivision has not been approved by the Planning Board by that date. (Wilton Zoning Ordinance section 17.4)

The board felt that granting the variance would not diminish the values of surrounding properties, would be in the public interest and would do substantial justice.

They also felt that the only reasonable purpose of the restriction on private ways on Route 101 is as a density restriction and in this particular case, that restriction does not serve to restrict density since the 3 – lot subdivision is possible either with or without a variance. Therefore granting the variance is consistent with the spirit of the Ordinance as expressed in the Master Plan and in other parts of the Ordinance where there is an explicit desire for shared driveways.

Denial of the variance would result in unnecessary hardship because the board felt that the subdivision is a reasonable use of the property and is permitted by the Ordinance. The presence of the stream across the lot and the necessity of crossing the stream to reach the back part of the lot makes the requirement of having individual driveways much more onerous that it would be for a lot without that situation. And that is a unique characteristic of the lot.

Motion Ms. Eckstrom moved to accept the above language as the five criteria for granting the variance. Mr. Spear seconded the motion. Motion passed with 4 in favor and Ms. Roberts abstained.


Minutes — January 14, 2003

It was noted that Spencer Brookes last name was spelled with out the “e”.

Motion Mr. Spear moved to approve the 1/14/03 minutes as amended. Ms. Eckstrom seconded the

motion. 4 were in favor and Mr. Hansich abstained.

Mr. Faiman said that he will be writing letters to the Selectmen regarding two issues in town that are related to past Zoning Board decisions.

• L.A. Limousine re: parking restrictions

• Tia Allen re: trash removal agreements

The meeting was adjourned at 9 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Diane Nilsson, Clerk
Posted: 3/17/03