APPROVED

TOWN OF PELHAM

ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT MEETING

March 11, 2002

 

The Chairman, Walter Kosik, called the meeting to order at approximately 7:30 pm.

 

The Vice Chairman, Mr. Edmund Gleason, called the roll:

 

PRESENT:

 

 

ABSENT:              

Walter Kosik, Edmund Gleason, George LaBonte, Jr. (arrived after roll was called), Peter McNamara, Peter LaPolice, Alternate David Hennessey

 

None.

 

Mr. LaBonte arrived.

 

Case #2216 - ML 7-14-2 - SARGENT, Ross/Dutton Road - Seeking a Variance to Article VII, Section 307-37 to permit a three-bedroom residence be built within the 50’ wetland setback.

 

Mr. Kosik informed that the case had been continued was because the Board had not received input from the Health Officer or the Conservation Commission. 

 

Mr. Wes Aspinwall, Herbert Associates presented the case to the Board.  He informed that Mr. Peter Zohdi had previously presented the plan.  He said that he had presented the plan to the Conservation Commission, with additional input from Mr. Jim Gove of Gove Environmental.  He said that Conservation decided they were not in favor of the plan, but provided recommendations (e.g. position of the house, erosion control).

 

Mr. Kosik asked if Mr. Paul Zarnowski, Health Officer had been contacted.  Mr. Aspinwall said he hadn’t. 

 

Mr. Aspinwall read a portion of a letter provided by Mr. Gove, which reviewed the recommendations presented to the Conservation Commission.  The letter discussed the wetlands contained on the property and the value of each.  Mr. Gove suggested the following measures to mitigate the encroachment of the house to the wetlands: 1) move the house closer to the road and swale; 2) add a no-cut buffer between rear of the house and wetland boundary of 10’-20’ in width; 3) enhance the buffer with staggered plantings to create a visual barrier. 

 

Mr. Aspinwall reviewed the plan and pointed out the different soil type zones.  He said a section of the hydric B soil may be man created (per Mr. Gove).  He showed the hydric A zone, which Mr. Gove believed to be the most valuable section of the wetlands.  He then showed the hydric B soil next to Dutton Road, which in Mr. Gove’s opinion was the least valuable.  Mr. Aspinwall pointed out the proposed house location, which could be shifted.  He explained that the reason for the requested Variance was because the proposed house and driveway were within the WCD and 50’ of the wet area. 

 

Mr. Aspinwall went on to discuss the origination of the lot.  He said there had been subdivision in the 1980’s, which at that time the plan met the regulations and was approved as a building lot, and was signed and recorded at the registry.  He said the intent was to have the presumed building be set up to a four-bedroom house.  He believed the lot should be considered grandfathered. 

 

Mr. Hennessey asked if the lot currently met the high and dry standards of the Planning Board.  Mr. Aspinwall didn’t believe the lot would meet the high and dry percentage.  He said wetlands were mapped differently at the time, but the lot was consistent of the standards.  He said there were soil delineation on the plan, which was signed by the Planning Board October 5, 1981. 

 

Mr. Hennessey asked why the lot hadn’t been built.  Mr. Aspinwall did not know the reason.  Mr. Kosik asked how long the present owner owned the lot.  Mr. James McManus, 2 Rita Avenue, believed in the 1980’s there was a prior approved septic plan.  Mr. Aspinwall said a plan was approved October 24, 1988 which proposed a culvert system, but was not built at the time.  He said that state approvals were valid for four years. 

 

Mr. Gleason wanted to know what reason the house was encroaching into the wetlands.  Mr. Aspinwall said the house was in the WCD, not the wetlands.  He explained that the only space available was for the septic system.  He said the house could shift positions, but the only place it could be located would in the buffer zone.  He ended by saying the owners would like to have a house lot and were willing to shift the house location. 

 

Mr. Bob Yarmo, Chairman - Conservation Commission said that the Conservation Commission voted unanimously to send a negative recommendation and to make the lot non-conforming.  He showed the Board the different soil areas and the slopes.  He explained that no matter where the house was located, it would be within the WCD.  He discussed the function of the wetland and the importance of maintaining them for the Town’s water supply.  Mr. Gove specifically said to Conservation that if the wetland buffer was removed, the wetland would cease to function in accordance with the amount of buffer removed.  Mr. Yarmo said that the wetlands were protected by the state and the WCD was protected by the Town’s ordinances.  He said the consensus of Conservation was that the lot was not practical and would not be able to sustain the living conditions of a three-bedroom home.  He discussed the need for wetlands and their purpose of recharging the aquifer.  He was concerned with the possibility of contamination by having a house lot contained in the buffer. 

 

Mr. LaBonte asked how Mr. Yarmo felt about the pre-approved subdivision.  Mr. Yarmo said he appeared before the Board to discuss Conservation’s concerns.  He said in the time since the subdivision was approved wetlands have become more valuable than previously thought.  Mr. Yarmo’s personal opinion was that the rules were in place when the owner purchased the lot (buyer beware).  He saw no public benefit to building the home and believed that there would be possible contamination due to building the house.  He felt the Town’s benefit was to preserve the wetland for the Town’s water supply. 

 

Mr. Aspinwall said the plan had been updated to show a smaller house structure since being presented to Conservation.  He said that the house was proposed to be 80’-90’ away from the hydric A soil.  He said that less than 20 - 25% of the buffer would be disturbed, so the wetland would still function.  He believed that the plan was approvable and met the state’s requirements.  His understanding was that Mr. Zarnowski wanted the Town approvals before the plan was sent to the state.  Mr. Aspinwall felt that there would not be contamination and the residents of the home would take care of the land.  He reiterated that the plan had previously been approved by the Planning Board and didn’t feel that a small three-bedroom home would create any abnormal threat to the environment.  He believed that the buffer would remain in place and be able to function. 

 

Mr. Hennessey asked if the Planning Board would deny the lot based on the lack of high and dry area.  Mr. Aspinwall believed the Planning Board would deny.  Mr. Hennessey asked if the septic was above the roadbed.  Mr. Aspinwall said the finish road grade was proposed at 109.3 and the center of the road appeared to be 108, therefore, the unit would be about the same grade as the street.  There was a brief discussion regarding the possible benefit to the Town if the lot was built. 

 

Mr. Yarmo explained that because there was more hydric B soils than hydric A, the damage would be greater if the hydric B soils were altered.  He believed that if the plan was sent to DES, Dr. Richardson would provide negative comments.  He said if there were any accidents on the lot, the effect would hurt the entire community.  Mr. Kosik asked Mr. Yarmo to comment on Mr. Gove’s letter.  Mr. Yarmo said Mr. Gove was hired by the applicant and suggested that a third party scientist be hired to review the parcel.  He didn’t feel the plan was approvable due to the lack of limitations on house placement and no environmental protection. 

 

Mr. McNamara discussed the hardship criteria and the purpose and intent of the WCD ordinance.  He felt the variance failed based on the potential pollution to the wetlands due to the slope and the possible damage that would be done to public water rights. 

 

Mr. Gleason agreed with Mr. McNamara.  He believed that the intent of the wetland ordinance was to not build within the buffer or wetland.   

 

BALLOT VOTE:

 

Mr. Kosik - No - on recommendation from Conservation Commission to deny.

Mr. Gleason - No

Mr. LaBonte - Yes

Mr. McNamara - No

Mr. LaPolice - Yes - subject to: 1) move house closer to Dutton Road;

2) add a no-cut buffer between rear of house and wetlands; 3) enhance

buffer with plantings.

 

VOTE:

 

(2 - 3 - 0) The motion carries.

 

 

VARIANCE DENIED

 

Case #2218 - ML 3-67-1 - JONCAS, Steven & Mary Ellen/4 Tenney Road - Seeking a Special Exception to Article XII Section 307-74 to permit an accessory dwelling in the residential zone.

 

and

 

Case #2220 - ML 3-67-1 - JONCAS, Steven & Mary Ellen/4 Tenney Road - Seeking a Variance to Article III Section 307-12 Table 1 to permit an addition above existing garage that is within 30-foot setback to be used as accessory dwelling (see case #2218 for Special Exception to permit an accessory dwelling) in the residential zone. 

 

Mr. LaBonte read aloud the list of abutters.  There were no persons present who did not have their name read.

 

Mr. Steven Joncas, Tenney Road stepped forward and discussed the building setback.  He said that there was approximately 20’ from the side setback.  The Board questioned why the applicant was seeking a Variance for the side setback, which is 15’.  Mr. Joncas said the Planning Director informed him that a Variance was needed.  The Board discussed further and still didn’t feel that a Variance was needed, but would vote after case #2218 was heard. 

 

Mr. Joncas handed out a sketch of the proposed addition and provided a copy of the new septic design for a 5 1/2 bath.  He discussed the layout of the structure and noted that they would be building on the existing footprint. 

 

Mr. Hennessey calculated the proposed addition, which totaled 528’.  There was a discussion of which areas should be included in the calculations, and which areas could be considered common areas.  It was noted that the living area of the accessory dwelling needed to be limited to 500 square feet, but there was nothing precluding the applicant to having an addition of 700’. 

 

Mr. Joncas withdrew the application for case #2218 without prejudice. 

 

Mr. Joncas read the following criteria aloud in connection with case #2220:

 

Item #1.  There will be no decrease in the value of the surrounding properties: There will be no encroachment to property lines, addition will be to second level only.

 

Item #2.  It is in the public interest: The renovation to take place will increase curb appeal and property value.

 

Item #3. Denial of the Variance would result in unnecessary hardship to the owner because:

                a)The zoning restriction as applied to their property interferes with their reasonable use of the                 property, considering the unique setting of the property in its environment: I am under the                 impression that building permits were issued for new construction since 1979.

 

                b) no fair and substantial relationship exists between the general purposes of the zoning ordinance                 and the specific restriction on the property: Not applicable.

 

                c) The Variance would not injure the public or private rights of others: There are no further                 encroachment to the lot lines.

 

Item #4.  There is substantial justice to be done: improve the appearance of the house

 

Item #5.  This request is within the spirit of the zoning ordinance: Not applicable

 

Mr. McNamara wanted to clarify the reasons for the above mentioned criteria that were not applicable.  Mr. Joncas confirmed the reasons for the criteria not being applicable was based upon the fact that the use was exclusive to his parents and no one else would be residing in the space and rent would not be charged for the property.

 

Mr. Kosik asked how long the garage had been on the lot.  Mr. Joncas believed it had been there since 1979.

 

MOTION:

 

VOTE:

 

(LaPolice/McNamara) To vote on the Variance for Case #2220.

 

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

 

 

 

 

BALLOT VOTE:

(Case #2220)

Mr. Kosik - Yes - accessory dwelling not to exceed 500 square feet as per regulations.

Mr. Gleason - Yes

Mr. LaBonte - Yes

Mr. McNamara - Yes

Mr. LaPolice - Yes

 

VOTE:

 

(5 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

 

VARIANCE GRANTED

 

Case #2221 - ML 13-14 - PETERS, Bryan & Nancy/3 Maple Drive - Seeking a Special Exception concerning Article XII Section 307-74 to permit an accessory dwelling in the residential zone.

 

Mr. LaBonte read aloud the list of abutters.  There were no persons present who did not have their name read.

 

Nancy and Bryan Peters appeared before the Board to seek a Special Exception.  Ms. Peters informed that Mr. Paul Zarnowski, Health Officer had reviewed the septic design and gave a verbal approval.  She said she was waiting for the state to send back their approval. 

 

Mr. Peters said that the house was built in 1973 and the septic system was replaced nine years ago.  Ms. Peters said the new (back up) septic design was sent to the state for approval.  She believed that the existing septic capacity was 4.5 bedroom dwelling. 

 

Mr. Kosik noted that the case could be continued until Mr. Zarnowski provided his comment and the applicant received and provided copy of proposed design (for 4.5 bedrooms) approved by the state. 

 

The case was continued until the next meeting.  

 

Case #2222 - ML1-10-12 - CORREA, Jennifer/13 Wilshire Lane - Seeking a Special Exception concerning Article XII Section 307-74 to permit an accessory dwelling in the residential zone.

 

The case defaulted, the applicant was not present.

 

MINUTES REVIEW

 

None.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

The motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting.

 

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:25 pm.

 

                                                                                                Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                                                                Charity A.L. Willis            

                                                                                                Recording Secretary