Town of Wilton, NH

Zoning Board Minutes

January 11, 2005

Voting BoardChairperson Neil Faiman; members Joanna Eckstrom, Carol Roberts, Jim Tuttle & Bob Spear; alternate members Eric Fowler & David Laponsee.
ClerkDiane Nilsson
  • Thomas M. Quinn and James W. Quinn, Jr. – variance (continued)
  • Corinne Blagbrough – appeal of administrative decision

Mr. Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m., introduced the Board members and explained the procedure for presenting a case to the Board.

Case #11/9/04–3 — QUINN

Thomas M. Quinn and James W. Quinn, Jr. have applied for a variance to Section 12.3(c)(2) of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit the subdivision of Lots C-99-1 and C-99-2, Wilton Center Road, into three lots, one of which would have less area than is required by the Zoning Ordinance for a residential lot in the Aquifer Protection District. (continued from November 9)

Board members Joanna Eckstrom and Carol Roberts recused themselves from this hearing and alternate members Eric Fowler and David Laponsee took their places as voting members.

Tom Quinn presented a new site plan showing the existing topographical contours in 2 foot increments as the land sits today as well as current soils determined within the last month. The plan also shows the location of the 3 proposed houses and the 3 proposed septic systems. The brook, wetland areas and detention area are delineated on the plan. Mr. Quinn presented Test Pit Results dated 1/10/05 and stamped by Dawn Tuomala. (see file) The site plan was dated 1/4/04 in error. Mr. Quinn changed the date to 1/4/05 and initialed the plan.

The board members discussed whether it was problematic for aquifer protection to install septic systems in highly permeable soils like sand and gravel. Mr. Tuttle said that this is the best material you can find for leech beds. He also said that because the systems will be so far above the aquifer, the location should be fine.

Mr. Faiman pointed out that in 1992 the Zoning Board granted essentially the same variance, concluding that the height above the aquifer was sufficient to protect it from septic and other concerns. He said that the request is for not much more than a 10% reduction in the density requirement in the area as a whole.

Mr. Quinn answered questions about how far from the aquifer his septic systems will be. He said that the aquifer is somewhere under the street but we don’t know how far, so two measurements were listed. First, the distance in height from the property to the street taken at the test pit site: C-99-3 55 feet; C-99-2 25 feet; C99-1 25 feet. Second, the distance from the soil until water was hit according to the test pit data: C-99-3 35 feet; C-99-2 20 feet; C-99-1 23 feet.

William Parker wanted to know what happened when Mr. Quinn hit water when he was excavating. Mr. Quinn pointed to a hillside where water was hit and said that he stopped excavating more because he hit clay.

Mr. Faiman read an email from Lynn Draper, Chair of the Wilton Conservation Commission, reiterating their opposition to granting the variance because of the property’s proximity to the brook and because it is in the Aquifer Protection District. (see file)

Mr. Spear asked Mr. Quinn about the runoff that Abutter Mr. Tyler had spoken about at the December meeting. Mr. Quinn explained that the detention basin, which the Planning Board will require, will handle all runoff.

Abutter Daryl Doran said that as long as Mr. Quinn will keep the berm, he is in favor of granting the variance.

Board members discussed why the Board in 1992 might have granted the variance. Mr. Faiman offered that the distance between the soil and the aquifer, before any excavation had been done, was so huge and very different than the other lots in the Aquifer Protection District.

They then discussed what hardship exists today if they were to grant the request. Mr. Faiman said that any shortcoming from being allowed three lots by right is minimal and the circumstances of the particular lot that has less area than is required, means that the restrictions of the ordinance are not necessary to achieve the protection intended by the ordinance. The unique characteristic of the property is a combination of elevation and soils, which provides extra protection for the aquifer, he continued.

MotionMr. Tuttle moved to grant a variance to allow three lots on what is now C – 99 – 1 and C – 99 – 2. Mr. Spear seconded the motion and all were in favor.

Case #1/11/05–1 — BLAGBROUGH

Corinne Blagbrough has appealed the decision of the Wilton Building Inspector to issue a building permit for a storage/workshop building with garage on Lot A – 21 – 2, Burton Highway.

Joanna Eckstrom and Carol Roberts rejoined the voting Board and the two alternate members did not vote on this case.

Ms. Blagbrough asked Mr. Faiman if he would step down from sitting on the case since he represented the Board at a recent court case involving the Town of Wilton v. Blagbrough. Mr. Faiman took a straw poll among the Board members asking them whether they thought he should step down. They did not, and he chose not to.

Ms. Blagbrough asked if the building permit for the garage couldn’t be withheld until the outcome of the court case is known. Mr. Faiman explained that since the court did not issue a stay in connection with the lawsuit it means that the owners of the property have the right to proceed with the understanding that they are taking the risk that in the event that the court overturns those decisions, they could be liable for whatever the consequences of that would be. So in this case the applicant has the right to proceed with the same understanding.

Ms. Blagbrough read through her letter. (see file)

Building Inspector Bill Condra said that Paul Lafontaine, the resident of Lot A – 21 – 2 applied for a building permit. The owner of the property, Ron Shattuck, appeared in Mr. Condra’s office and gave his verbal permission for Mr. Lafontaine’s application. Ms. Blagbrough then appealed the application. Mr. Condra read the appeal and found that one of the items involving setbacks as stated in Section 14.3.3 of the Ordinance was an important thing to check out. He called Les Talarico, a member of the Wilton Conservation Commission, and asked him to visit the site with the site plan. Mr. Talarico visited the site where the garage was staked out, and found it to be more than 150 feet from seasonal flow, which satisfies the setback requirements. Mr. Condra found the rest of Ms. Blagbrough’s points in her appeal to be the same ones that have been in previous appeals and have been answered or are being answered in the court. Therefore, after a discussion with the selecmen, he issued the building permit.

Mr. Lafontaine said that Conservation Commission member Spencer Brooks came up to his property before he put the stakes in and helped him decide where to site the building so it would not be too close to season flows.

The Board went through the rest of Ms. Blagbrough’s appeal point-by-point.

MotionMr. Spear moved that the Board does not find merit in the claims that the proposed construction in incompatible with the Ordinance and the Board defers to the finding of the Building Inspector that the setbacks are satisfied. And therefore, the Board upholds the decision of the Building Inspector and denies the appeal. The motion was seconded by Mr. Tuttle. All were in favor.
NoteRelevant documents for this case can be found in the Building Inspector’s file (Permit # 3135 dated 10/26/04) and the Planning Board file for the original subdivision of Lot A – 21 in 2001.


Minutes — December 14, 2004

MotionMs. Eckstrom moved to approve the 12/14/04 minutes, seconded by Ms. Roberts with all in favor.
MotionMr. Spear moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Tuttle with all in favor.

The meeting adjourned at 9:12 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Diane Nilsson

Posted: January 17, 2005