Town of Wilton, NH

Zoning Board Minutes

April 19, 2005

Voting BoardChairperson Neil Faiman; members Joanna Eckstrom, Carol Roberts, Jim Tuttle & Bob Spear; alternate member Eric Fowler.
ClerkDiane Nilsson
AgendaChalet Susse International, Inc. – appeal of administrative decision

Mr. Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. and explained that since one of the board members would be late, the board would tend to old business while waiting.


Minutes — January 11, 2005

A correction was made to the motion on page 3.

MotionMs. Eckstrom moved to grant the 1/11/05 minutes as amended. Ms. Roberts seconded the motion and all were in favor.

Minutes — March 15, 2005

MotionMs. Eckstrom moved to approve the 3/15/05 minutes as written. Mr. Tuttle seconded the motion and all were in favor.



Chalet Susse International, Inc. has appealed the Wilton Planning Board’s denial of an application for a subdivision of Lots C – 128 – 1 – 1 and C – 128 – 1 – 2. Keyes Hill Road. The applicant challenges the Planning Board’s interpretation of Section 6.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance with regard to the proposed subdivision.

The late board member arrived and Mr. Faiman explained that because, as a Planning Board member, he was a participant in the meeting that made the decision, he was going to disqualify himself from the hearing. He appointed Carol Roberts as acting Chair. Ms. Roberts appointed alternate member Eric Fowler as a voting member to replace Mr. Faiman. She then introduced the board members and explained that since Town Counsel was not available due to a conflict of interest, one result of tonight’s hearing might be a continuation so that the board can seek legal counsel before making a decision. She reminded the board that the issue to be determined is solely whether the Planning Board interpreted Section 6.3 of the ordinance correctly.

Attorney Beth Fernald represented Chalet Susse and explained that Section 6.3 refers to “reduced frontage lots.” She further explained that these lots are allowed only upon Planning Board determination that the proposed reduced frontage lot better serves the neighborhood than would a development under the otherwise applicable provisions in the ordinance. She said that if the Planning Board had objected to this development because of a traffic, noise, or density problem, Chalet Susse would not be appealing the decision. But because the Planning Board decided that this subdivision didn’t serve the neighborhood well because of potential harm to the wetlands and because of concern about a wetland crossing that was approved previously by the ZBA and the State of NH Wetlands Board, she felt that Planning Board members stepped outside their area of jurisdiction when they made this decision.

Chalet Susse owner Fred Roedel echoed what Attorney Fernald said and added that an option might be to do a cluster development near the road and stay completely away from the wetlands.

Planning Board representative Bruce Johnson stated that the wetland crossing, although a concern for the Planning Board, was not the basis for the denial. The impact of the additional houses created by the use of reduced frontage lots on the total wetlands on the property was the reason for the denial. He further said that 6.3 puts the burden of proof on the applicant. In other words, the applicant needs to prove to the Planning Board that an application with reduced frontage lots is better for the neighborhood than an application with regular frontage lots.

It was noted that the Town’s engineering firm had looked at the wetland crossing and made suggestions for its improvement, which were incorporated into the plan. Mr. Roedel stated that earlier suggestions by the Planning Board were also incorporated as well as precautions that were not requested.

Spencer Brooks, Wilton Conservation Commission, said that in totality, the property houses lots and lots of wetlands. There is a beaver dam above the property that is continuously feeding water to this land. The least impact there can be, the better for the neighbors below. The more houses, lawns, cars etc. you have, he continued, the more problems for the neighbors below, and that includes the Souhegan River.

Abutter Travis Belcher – Lot C – 150, stated that he lives across the street from the proposed subdivision on an 11 acre parcel that cannot be subdivided because it is in the Aquifer Protection District. He further said that three of the streams coming off the Chalet Susse property come onto his property and go into the aquifer. He agreed that development on that property should be done carefully.

Ms. Roberts and Ms. Eckstrom felt strongly that a decision shouldn’t be made that evening, and instead legal counsel should be consulted before making a decision.

MotionMs. Eckstrom moved to seek legal counsel before making a decision regarding this appeal. The motion was seconded by Mr. Tuttle and three were in favor and Mr. Spear and Mr. Fowler voted no.
MotionMs. Eckstrom moved to continue the public hearing until the May 10, 2005 meeting so that the board can seek legal counsel related to this appeal. The motion was seconded by Mr. Fowler with all in favor.


Election of Officers

MotionMs. Roberts nominated Mr. Faiman Chairperson, Ms. Eckstrom seconded, five were in favor and Mr. Faiman abstained.
MotionMr. Faiman nominated Ms. Roberts and Ms. Eckstrom as co-Vice Chairpersons. Mr. Tuttle seconded the motion and all were in favor.

Proposed Rules of Procedure

MotionMr. Spear moved to adopt the Proposed Rules of Procedure, seconded by Mr. Tuttle and all were in favor.
MotionMr. Spear moved to adjourn, seconded by Ms. Eckstrom. All were in favor.

Meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Diane Nilsson