Town of Wilton, NH

Zoning Board Minutes

December 12, 2006

Voting BoardChairperson Neil Faiman; members Joanna Eckstrom, Carol Roberts, & Jim Tuttle; alternate members Andy Hoar & John Jowders.
  • Martin Armstrong/Christine Kopycinski/Pike Industries, Inc. – variances
  • Curtis Albrecht – special exception

Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m., introduced the board members and appointed John Jowders to replace absent board member Bob Spear.

Minutes — November 14, 2006

MotionTuttle/Eckstrom to accept 11/14/06 minutes as submitted. All in favor.

Case #11/14/06–1 — Armstrong/Kopycinski/Pike Industries, Inc. (Continued from November 14)

Martin J. Armstrong and Christine C. Kopycinski (owners) and Pike Industries, Inc. (applicant) have applied for variances to section 16.1(h) and of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit the placement of an off-premises sign for Pike Industries at the corner of Isaac Frye Highway and Forest Road on Lot B – 147, 462 Forest Road.

Mark Nelson again represented Pike Industries and presented a letter from the Chief of Police, which the Zoning Board also received, stating that the proposed location and size of the sign did not affect the visibility for traffic entering Forest Road from Isaac Frye Highway, and he therefore had no concerns about placing the sign at this location. Mr. Nelson also met with the State Highway Dept. and presented the “Tourist Oriented Directional Sign” guidebook. He said that the state highway signs are only for recreational or tourist-oriented businesses, so his business did not qualify.

Elmer Santerre said that he spoke to the Police Chief Monday afternoon and that the Chief showed him the exact spot where the sign was supposed to go and he said it was not 13’ from the white line. Also, he said, the piece of cardboard was not the size of the actual proposed sign. He said he is also questioning the need for the sign. Quinn Brothers, now Pike, has been in business at that site for 27 years without the need for a sign.

Mr. Nelson said that the piece of cardboard was 4’ x 4’, the size of the proposed sign. They left a cone in place 13’ from the white line for the location of the proposed sign. Other than that, he could only go by the letter from the Chief.

William Condra said that after living in Wilton for 24 years, one of the things he appreciates most is its zoning ordinances, especially 16.1(h), which prohibits offsite signage. He said he would not like Wilton to become like Milford and towns east and beyond that are littered with off-premises signs. He agreed with Santerre that this particular sign is not necessary and encouraged the board to deny offsite advertisement and uphold 16.1(h).

Property owner Martin Armstrong said that he respects everyone’s views on the sign issue. He said the sign could be moved more than 13’ in from the white line if necessary. He said that he is fine with the sign as long as it does not obstruct the line of sight for cars entering Forest Road from Isaac Fry Hwy.

Mr. Nelson said that he would be willing to move the sign back to 16’ from the white line if that would make a difference to people. He said as a taxpayer in Wilton, he felt that the sign advertising his business would benefit his business.

Mr. Condra wanted to make clear that his objection had nothing to do with the line of sight, other than the line of sight that residents will lose if the board allows offsite advertising to proliferate across Wilton.

Mr. Faiman summarized the case: He said this is an industrial lot owner whose lot is set off from Rt. 31, who wishes to have a sign placed on Rt. 31, to enable trucks coming to their property to know where to turn and to bring their business to the attention of the public. The proposal is to place the sign on a residential lot across Rt. 31 from the entrance to the applicant’s property. The proposed sign is 4’ x 4’ and the design has been shown to the board and audience members. The applicant is requesting two variances; one from the size restriction of a sign in the residential district to 4 sq. ft.; and the other a variance from the restriction that says there will be no off premises signs anywhere in the town. The board heard concerns from residents about weakening restrictions on off premises signs and it heard concerns about sight distance and how the proposed sign might obscure vision for cars turning from Isaac Frye Hwy. The board has a statement from the Chief of Police that the proposed location would not constitute an obstruction to vision and would be a safe placement for the sign.

Board members deliberated without closing the hearing. Eckstrom felt strongly that the board should grant the variance because the applicant should be allowed to advertise his business. Jowders agreed. Roberts and Hoar felt strongly that the board should deny the variance because allowing an off premises sign could be setting a precedent.

Faiman called a ten-minute recess at 8:10 p.m. so Eckstrom and Roberts could attend a budget committee hearing. At 8:20 he called the hearing to order and the deliberations continued.

Roberts pointed out that Quinn Brothers operated that gravel plant for 25 years and didn’t need to have an off-premises sign for their clients to be able to find them. Eckstrom said that what worked for Quinn shouldn’t influence what this applicant is requesting.

The applicant was asked if he would consider a smaller sign, possibly 3’ x 3’ or 2’ x 2’. He answered that he didn’t think drivers would see the sign if it was 2’ x 2’ but he felt 3’ x 3’ was workable.

MotionTuttle/Eckstrom to grant the variances subject to the following restrictions: the sign is not to be illuminated; it is to be no more than 6’ high; the area of the sign is to be no more than nine square feet per face; it is to be placed no less than 13’ from the white line on the pavement; the Wilton Police are to confirm that the location of the sign is the location that they approved in their letter to the Zoning Board.
VoteFour were in favor and Roberts voted no.

Case #12/12/06–1 — Albrecht

Curtis V. Albrecht has applied for a special exception under section 17.3 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit the construction of a storage shed on Lot J – 90 – 1B, 60 Forest Road, which would be closer to the front lot line than is otherwise permitted by the Ordinance.

Mr. Albrecht explained that he would like to build an 8’ x 10’ storage shed because he doesn’t have any other storage space such as a basement or garage. He wants to store pellets for his stove and garden equipment in the shed. He said that the front setback requirement is 35’ and although he is able to locate the shed within the setback at the back of his property, there isn’t as much room in the fenced yard at the back as there is in the front part.

Spencer Brookes asked if the building could be anchored in case of a flood, since the property is so close to the brook. Mr. Albrecht said the builder would be using piers.

William Condra asked if the applicant would be storing any fuels or chemicals in the shed. Mr. Albrecht answered that he would be doing only dry storage. He said he uses a manual lawn mower and has no gas powered tools.

Faiman read Section 17.3 from the Zoning Ordinance.

MotionEckstrom/Jowders to grant the special exception to permit the construction of an 8’ x 10’ storage shed in the location shown on the plan with the restriction that it be anchored so that it will not be damaged nor become a hazard in the event of a flood. All in favor.
MotionRoberts/Jowders to adjourn. All in favor.

The meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

Submitted by Diane Nilsson

Posted December 18, 2006