Town of Wilton, NH

Zoning Board Minutes

March 20, 2007

Voting BoardChairperson Neil Faiman; members Joanna Eckstrom, Carol Roberts, Bob Spear & Jim Tuttle; alternate members Eric Fowler & Andy Hoar.
  • Kevin Degroot and Corey Chappell – special exception & variances (continued)
  • Westview Farms, LLC – variance (continued)
  • Pierre Provost and Lura Provost Trusts – special exception (continued)
  • Good News Bible Church – special exception & variance
  • Daniel and Judy Poitras – special exception

Faiman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. and announced that the first order of business would be the minutes of the February meeting.

Minutes — February 13, 2007

Corrections: Page 4, Mr. Bowerly’s first name corrected to Dan.

MotionRoberts/Tuttle to accept 2/13/07 minutes with one correction. Five were in favor; Fowler abstained and Eckstrom was not yet present.

Faiman introduced the members of the zoning board and the order that the cases would be heard. Because it was unlikely that all five cases would be heard this evening, the board chose to tentatively schedule a continuation of this meeting to Tuesday, March 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Case #2/13/07–3 — The Pierre E. Provost 1993 Trust and the Lura S. Provost 1993 Trust (continued from February 13)

The Pierre E. Provost 1993 Trust and the Lura S. Provost 1993 Trust have applied for a special exception under Section 11.4 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit the construction of driveways and drainage improvements impacting 9544 square feet of wetlands as part of a proposed subdivision of Lot B-14 (accessed from Cram Hill Road, Lyndeborough).

Alternate member Andy Hoar was appointed to sit as a full member for this case. Eckstrom and Fowler participated as alternates.

Bob McKenney represented the applicants and stated that he met with the Wilton Conservation Commission since the last ZBA meeting.

Wilton ZBA consultant Dennis LaBombard, of LaBombard Engineering, provided a written report and said that he visited the property on March 15th. He stated that although there was still some snow on the ground, overall he thought the delineations he observed were accurate. He suggested that impact area #3 could be eliminated altogether by the use of retaining walls and/or by moving the road further north in that area. He said that impact area #2 is necessary, but he estimated that the applicant could save approximately 1,750 sq. ft. of disturbance by installing retaining walls there. Similarly, he said impact area #4 is necessary but impacts to this crossing could be further reduced by the use of retaining walls.

Bill Ball, Lyndeborough Planning Board member, asked the applicant if a decision had been made about in which town the six houses on the plan facing Cram Hill Road would reside. Mr. McKenney answered Wilton.

Faiman then read a letter from Tracey Turner, Lyndeborough Planning Board Chairman, requesting the ZBA to withhold its decision until the Lyndeborough Planning Board can conduct a site walk and report its findings. Board members took the request under consideration and continued to hear evidence.

Spencer Brookes, Wilton Conservation Commission member, presented a letter from the Commission and stated that not only will this development have an impact on the wetlands on the property, but those wetlands feed the major complex immediately to the east on Dale St. Mr. Brookes was asked to read the WCC letter conclusions into the record. (See file)

Mr. McKenney said that his clients contacted the NH Natural Heritage Bureau regarding wildlife on the property. They were told that that no rare or sensitive species resided there. As to other wildlife, their choice of open bottom culverts, 5’ wide and 2’ high was in the best interest of wildlife. He said that his clients have proposed a deed restriction of between 7 and 8 acres coming from lots B-14-7 and B-14-8.

Tony Basso, with Keach Nordstrom Associates, Inc. and representing the applicants, said that his problem with using retaining walls on crossings 2 & 4 is that the reduction in wetland impact does not seem great enough to warrant something that the planning board probably doesn’t like and because of the needed guardrails, requires maintenance by the town. With regard to crossing 3, he said the road can be moved but it would then require a retaining wall and guardrail. He said he doesn’t see a huge benefit for retaining walls but said there is a small reduction in wetlands impacted.

Abutter Matt Ballou asked if Mr. LaBombard had actually measured the square feet of the wetlands areas. Mr. LaBombard answered that he did not actually measure the area on the ground or on the paper, but he did go out and look on the ground and what he saw looked reasonable and appeared to match what was on the plan.

Spencer Brookes said that the wildlife that the WCC is concerned about is not the rare or sensitive species, but all the wildlife that depend on the wetlands there.

Faiman asked Mr. LaBombard if he would like to respond to Mr. Basso’s comments regarding retaining walls. Mr. LaBombard said if you set aside value judgments, a retaining wall design would result in less total wetland impact area. Mr. Basso agreed with that statement.

Roberts asked for more information about slopes vs. retaining walls. Mr. LaBombard said that a retaining wall is straight up and down. It’s hard for an animal to walk up one but it can walk around it. It is more expensive to build and can be a maintenance issue for the town, but it takes up less space and thus impacts less wetland areas. Mr. Basso prefers a slope to a retaining wall because it is more natural and more aesthetically pleasing even though it takes a little more room to construct. He said if they were to construct a retaining wall at the #2 crossing, they would actually need two walls. They would be 100’ long and 6’ high. At the #4 crossing the wall would be about 105’ long and 4’-5’ tall.

Board members discussed what to do next. Most felt a site walk was needed as well as a consultation with the town road agent regarding retaining walls vs. slopes.

MotionSpear/Tuttle to continue the case to the May 8 meeting; to plan for the Board to participate in a multi-board/multi-community site walk of the property sometime before that meeting; and for the Board to request an opinion from the town road agent on his opinion of the issue of retaining walls vs. slopes.

Spencer Brookes asked about the study of the area by a wildlife specialist as requested in the letter from the WCC. Board members felt it would be more applicable if the WCC had the study done.

VoteAll were in favor.

The applicants scheduled the site walk for Saturday, April 14, 2007 at 10 a.m.

Case #2/13/07–1 — Kevin J. Degroot and Corey R. Chappell (continued from February 13)

Kevin J. Degroot and Corey R. Chappell have applied for a special exception under Section 5.3.7 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, and for variances to sections 5.3.7(a), 5.3.7(c), and 5.3.7(d) of the Ordinance, to permit the use of the existing building on Lot J-16-9 Dale Street (the Odd Fellows Hall) as a three-family residence.

Eckstrom rejoined the board and Hoar participated as an alternate member.

Dawn Tuomala, Monadnock Survey, represented the applicants and asked the board to grant another one month continuance on the case. She provided a letter relaying the same request.

MotionEckstrom/Spear To continue the Degroot/Chappell case to 4/10/07. All were in favor.

Case #2/13/07–2 — Westview Farms, LLC (Continued from February 13)

Westview Farms, LLC has applied for a variance to Section 6.4.2 of the Wilton Zoning Ordinance, to permit a proposed cluster development on Lot B-70-5 to take its access from Lyndeborough Center Road, where the lot has 500 feet of frontage on Pead Hill Road, but not on Lyndeborough Center Road.

Faiman explained that at the February 13th hearing the Board found that there was potential regional impact with this case. Since then abutter notices were sent to the towns of Lyndeborough and Milford and to the Nashua Regional Planning Commission. He stated that the five regular Board members would sit on this case.

Dawn Tuomala, Monadnock Survey, represented Westview Farms, presented plans, said that the lot is 80 acres in size and has 500’ of frontage on Pead Hill Road, but that they would prefer to take their access from Lyndeborough Center Road, where they 200’ of frontage. She said approximately 50 acres, or 62% of the land, will be set aside as open space. The proposed development will be clustered at the northern section of the property, away from the major wetland areas. The entrance is proposed on the larger road. Lyndeborough Center Road has a paved width of 21’ to 22’ where Pead Hill Road has a paved width of 19’ to 21’.

With regard to hardship for an area variance, Ms. Tuomala stated that the section inside the 500’

frontage along Pead Hill Road involves steep slopes, some 35 to 50 per cent with a section around a well at a 1 to 1 slope. She said disturbing slopes of this magnitude would have an impact on the wetlands. At the bottom of the slope is a very large wetland area and crossing at this location would not be practical. She said the proposed road entrance will have a grade less than 8% and all of the drainage will be sloped away from Lyndeborough Center Road.

Another option reviewed was to obtain entrance from Pead Hill between the wetland on lot B-70-4 and the existing barn. This would also require a variance as the setbacks would be violated between either the building and the wetland setback. She also said that instead of a cluster development, the applicant could go with a conventional subdivision that will use more of the land and be more spread out in nature.

Asked how many units would be built, Ms. Tuomala said that it is up to the planning board, but she believes it will be between 27 and 32 units.

Bill Ball, Lyndborough Planning Board member, asked if the 50% open space requirement included wetlands. Ms. Tuomala answered yes. He then asked if she had estimated what the increase in traffic would be. She answered that she had not done any traffic studies at this point.

Mr. Ball said that Lyndeborough Center Road is a treacherous road. Until such time as he saw a traffic study he would have to be against the proposal.

Tracy Turner, Lyndeborough Planning Board Chairman, said that as well as the amount of traffic, she was also concerned about the site distance at the location of the proposed road - there is a curve in the road there and also a hill – as well as a driveway directly across the street.

Ms. Tuomala said that she has been out to the site with the road agent twice and he has assured her that the road meets the sight distance requirement. She said she has 275’ in a westerly direction and at least 400’ in an easterly direction.

Steve Desmaris, a representative of the applicants, said that whether the road comes out at Pead Hill Road or Lyndeborough Center Road, the cars will all still be turning onto Lyndeborough Center Road.

Mr. Ball said that may be true but the turn onto Lyndeborough Center Road from Pead Hill Road is much safer than a turn from the proposed road on Lyndeborough Center Road.

Faiman said that to his mind the question before the board is not whether the development should take access from Pead Hill or Center Road but whether the cluster development serves the public more than a conventional subdivision would and to an extent to make it worthwhile to grant the access from Center Road. Because, he continued, the only reason they are before the ZBA is because they want to do a cluster subdivision rather than a conventional subdivision. So then you look at the 500’ of frontage restriction and ask if it accomplishes anything useful.

Faiman said that a traffic study has been requested and his feeling about it was that it would be useful when the planning board looks at the subdivision, and he was quite sure that the planning board would ask for a study, but he didn’t see how it would help the board decide the area variance request.

Eckstrom asked what the planning board would do with information from a traffic study. Faiman answered that they could require the developer to make improvements to the road or even deny the application if it just didn’t make sense.

Mr. Ball asked what a traffic study would accomplish after a variance was already granted. Faiman answered that the variance would simply allow the applicant to proceed to the planning board with a cluster subdivision application and the ability to take its access from Lyndeborough Center Road rather than Pead Hill Road.

Faiman summarized the issues: The applicant desires to create a cluster subdivision on Lot B-70-5 which has 500’ of frontage on Pead Hill Road and 200’ of frontage on Lyndeborough Center Road. Access from Pead Hill Road using that area of frontage is practically impossible and therefore the applicant proposes to take access to their subdivision by way of Lyndeborough Center Road. Since they do not have the 500’ of frontage on LCR, as required by the zoning ordinance, they are applying for a variance. The primary concern that has been raised is that the additional traffic on LCR, either the additional traffic generally from the development or the additional traffic specifically at the access point on LCR, will be a hazard to the public, contrary to the public welfare and that therefore should not be allowed.

MotionSpear/Eckstrom To close the public hearing in order to deliberate. All in favor. 9:45 p.m.

Fowler asked whether the applicants could build a town road from the Center Road access if they were building a conventional subdivision. Faiman answered yes. Fowler reasoned then that the only difference between the cluster and the conventional subdivision is the 500’ frontage requirement.

Faiman felt that it was a permissible proposed use and this was the best way to accomplish it and not allowing it would not serve a useful purpose.

MotionEckstrom/Roberts To grant a variance to allow access to the proposed cluster subdivision from 200’ of frontage on Lyndeborough Center Road. All were in favor.
MotionSpear/Tuttle to continue the two new cases to Tuesday, March 27, 2007 at 7:30 p.m. Six were in favor and Fowler abstained.
MotionSpear/Roberts to adjourn the meeting. All in favor.

The meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m.

Submitted by Diane Nilsson

Posted March 27, 2007