Town of Wilton, NH

Zoning Board Minutes

June 14, 2005

Voting BoardChairperson Neil Faiman; members Joanna Eckstrom, Carol Roberts, Jim Tuttle & Bob Spear; alternate members Eric Fowler & David Laponsee.
ClerkDiane Nilsson
  • Chalet Susse International, Inc. – request for rehearing
  • Hubbard/Warren – variance or special exception

Mr. Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m He then introduced the Board members and said that the five regular members would be sitting on the first case. He said that he would be stepping down from the second case and Carol Roberts would be chairing that hearing, and she would appoint one of the alternate members to sit in his place.


Minutes — April 19, 2005 (amended)

MotionEckstrom/Roberts to approve 4/19/05 minutes as amended. Unanimous.

Minutes — May 10, 2005 (7 p.m. meeting with Counsel)

MotionTuttle/Eckstrom to approve 5/10/05 Counsel meeting minutes as written. Unanimous.

Minutes — May 10, 2005 (7:30 regular meeting)

MotionEckstrom/Tuttle to approve 5/10/05 regular meeting minutes as written. Unanimous.

Mr. Faiman explained the Board procedure for hearing cases to the audience.

Case #6/14/05–1 — Hubbard/Warren

Reed Hubbard (owner) and Jamin Warren Applicant) have applied for a variance to section 5.2.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, or alternatively for a special exception under Section 17.3 of the Ordinance, to permit the construction of a house on Lot J – 112 – 1, at the corner of Island Street and Mill Street, which would be closer to Mill Street than otherwise permitted by the Ordinance.

Mr. Warren explained that the setback requirements are such that the only size house that he could legally construct on the site would be 14’ wide x 35’ long. The back and side setbacks are 15’ but the two abutting street setbacks are 35’. The lot size is .208 acres. He is requesting a reduction of a little less than 17’ in the Mill St. 35’ setback requirement, leaving an 18.3’ setback.

He would like to build a single family home that will be 24’ x 28’ with a porch. He plans to rent or sell the home.

Ms. Eckstrom said that some tenants in the apartments on Lot J – 112 and some neighbors appear to park vehicles on Lot J – 112 – 1. She asked the applicant what would happen with that.

She also asked what would happen with the boundary between the two lots. The applicant said that both lots are owned by the same person. He said that issues of tenants parking their vehicles on Lot 112 – 1 would be resolved by the owner and the tenants.

Ms. Roberts asked how long Lot J – 112 – 1 has been a separate lot. Mr. Faiman said “forever.” Ms. Eckstrom pointed out that in 1979, Lot J – 112 was granted a variance to go from a two family to a four unit apartment building. She said even though parking for all four units is supposed to be on the west side of the building, the upstairs tenants have always parked on J – 112 - 1.

Ms. Eckstrom said that her concern is what would happen to them. The applicant said that he understood but unfortunately he didn’t have an answer for her.

Mr. Faiman noted for the record that the ZBA received a letter from Steve and Gail Proctor, dated 4/25/05, which was distributed to members of the ZBA prior to the meeting and is part of the case file as well. The letter includes some history of Lot J – 112 as well as the ZBA Decision Notice from 1979. (See file) It was noted that the Decision Notice makes no mention of Lot J – 112 – 1, but does require that a clause be added to the deed that the western border of the property be maintained as a parking area.

Abutter Gail Protor presented arguments against granting the variance/special exception (see file.) She also presented a copy of a letter to the Selectmen and their response. (See file.) One of the main arguments is that without Lot J – 112 – 1, the four unit apartment house does not have enough open space to meet the requirements. Mr. Warren said that as far as he knows, there is nothing in the deed of J – 112 – 1 that ties it to J – 112..

Ms. Eckstrom said that she understands what Mr. Warren is saying, that the Board should be considering the two lots separately, but she said that the Board has to consider the impact of any changes to 112 – 1 on the existing property 112, and how it is going to impact the neighborhood.

She said this is an industrial area as well as a residential area and the applicant may not think so, but there is a lot of traffic on Mill Street as well as on Island Street, and personally, she would not like to see another house built there.

Mr. Spear said that since both lots were owned by the same person in 1979 when the variance was granted, he would like to read the minutes of that hearing to see if Lot 112 – 1 was included in any of the conditions that allowed the existing building to become a four family home. He was especially concerned about 5.3.7d – open space, which requires multi family buildings to have open space equal to two times the total area occupied by driveways, parking areas and all buildings on site.

MotionEckstrom/Spear to recess for 10 minutes to look for 1979 minutes. Unanimous.

The minutes could not be found. Mr. Faiman said that he did a brief search at the Registry of deeds and at least as far back as the 1930s the two lots have been distinct and separate lots.

Abutter Steve Proctor said that he works at Label Art and can attest to the fact that over 200 employees drive down Mill Street to work and shipping trucks also use that road. He felt that reducing the setback on Mill Street would create problems for traffic and especially snow removal.

He didn’t see any just cause to relax the rules.

Mr. Warren asked if issues for Lot 112 are not in the deed for 112 – 1, how can they be used against Lot 112 now? Mr. Faiman said that if there were, in fact, a document somewhere which stated that the ZBA permitted Mr. Billipp to convert the building on Lot 112 in exchange for an agreement that he would make certain commitments with regard to Lot 112 – 1, then you would say that there was some sort of quid pro quo there which might continue to be binding.

Ms. Proctor stated that Label Art has an easement that connects its parking area with Island Street. She said that Mr. Billipp closed that off, but if it was opened again, is there room for all four of the tenants cars on the west side?

Mr. Tuttle said that he would like to see some more specific information about Lot 112 and the four unit building itself. Mr. Faiman said that he doesn’t feel that Lot 112 should be part of the picture in deciding this case. He feels the Board has enough information. Mr. Laponsee said that he wouldn’t want to decide the case without testimony from the owner as to the impact of Lot 112 – 1 in relation to the tenants in Lot 112. Mr. Fowler pointed out that the owner is trying to sell Lot 112 – 1, so his testimony might me questionable.

Ms. Proctor asked how many Board members walked the property. None actually walked it, but Mr. Faiman, Mr. Spear, Ms. Eckstrom & Ms. Roberts each either drove by or spent time there.

Ms. Eckstrom asked Mr. Proctor how far his front door is from the road. He guessed 20’. Mr. Warren said that he placed the house where he did because it made the most sense, but he could move it 4’ back (west) so that the setback would be 22.3’ if that would be preferable. He made the point that his proposal is among a community of houses violating the current setbacks on substandard lots. He said that his proposal is actually more in compliance than many of the lots in the area.

Summary.2 acre lot zoned residential, construction permitted but the dimensions of the lot are such as not to permit any reasonable placement of a house that would meet the setback requirements, which is an argument for granting reduced setbacks under Section 17.3. There are concerns about the intense use of Lot 112 with its existing spillover to Lot 112 – 1, the effect that changes that Lot 112 - 1 would have on the users of Lot 112 and also on the neighborhood as the users of Lot 112 would be displaced from Lot 112 – 1. The two lots have historically been linked together for at least the last 100 years. On the other hand, the two lots are distinct, they are independent lots in common ownership, so the argument has been made that Lot 112 should not be considered as part of the application. Another point is the extensive traffic from Label Art on Mill Street. Questions about the prior variance and the deed have been raised.
MotionEckstrom/Tuttle to continue hearing to July 12 in order for the applicant to provide the ZBA with copies of the deeds to Lots J – 112 and J – 112 – 1, copies of the Town tax assessor’s cards for both lots and an approval from the Town Road Agent for the proposed driveway location; and so that Zoning Board member Joanna Eckstrom can attempt to obtain a copy of the minutes of a Zoning Board meeting that granted a variance on Lot J – 112 in 1979, and a copy of the 1979 Zoning Ordinance. Three voted in favor Mr. Faiman and Ms. Roberts voted no.


Chalet Susse International, Inc. has requested that the Zoning Board hold a new hearing to reconsider its May 10 decision denying Chalet Susse’s appeal of the Wilton Planning Board’s denial of its application for a subdivision of Lots C – 128 – 1 – 1 and C – 128 – 1 – 2. Keyes Hill Road.

Mr. Faiman recused himself from this case and appointed Carol Roberts acting Chair. Ms. Roberts appointed Eric Fowler to take Mr. Faiman’s place.

Mr. Fowler noted that Attorney Fernald’s objection to ZBA Counsel MCNamee was not made until after the ZBA denied Chalet Susse’s appeal.

Ms. Roberts said that she spoke with attorney McNamee and asked him about his involvement with the Planning Board. He told her that he was not involved with the Planning Board in this matter. Further, his input to the ZBA was procedural advice only

Board members felt that there was no new evidence in the three points that Attorney Fernald presented in her letter.

MotionTuttle/Fowler to deny the request for rehearing because there is no new information in the request that the Board hadn’t already heard. Unanimous.


Minutes Discussion

There was discussion about the different forms the minutes can take and the different amounts of detail that can be included.

MotionThere was a motion to adjourn duly made, seconded and passed with all in favor. The meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Diane Nilsson

Posted June 20, 2005