APPROVED

 

TOWN OF PELHAM

ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT MEETING

October 17, 2013

 

The Chairman David Hennessey called the meeting to order at approximately 7:00 pm.

 

The Secretary Chris LaFrance called roll:

 

PRESENT:

 

 

 

ABSENT:

David Hennessey, Chris LaFrance,  Peter McNamara,  Bill Kearney, Alternate Darlene Culbert, Alternate Lance Ouellette, Planning Director/Zoning Administrator Jeff Gowan

 

Svetlana Paliy, Alternate Pauline Guay, Alternate Kevin O’Sullivan

 

 

CONTINUED:

 

Case #ZO2013-00025

CIAMPA, Paul & Kelly -  3 Colonial Drive -  Map 21 Lot 3-101-7 – Seeking a Variance concerning Article III, Section 307-12 to permit the existing playhouse to remain 2ft. from the property line. 

 

Ms. Culbert was appointed to vote regarding the case.

 

Mr. Hennessey commented that the Board heard the case at their last meeting to give them an opportunity to conduct a site walk.  He asked the applicants if they would like to add anything to the testimony heard during the site walk. 

 

The applicants Paul and Kelly Ciampa came forward and told the Board they had nothing further to add. 

 

Mr. Hennessey asked the public if anyone would like the opportunity to come forward to speak or ask questions regarding the case.  No one came forward. 

 

Mr. McNamara said he was glad the Boards conducted a site walk.  He felt the questions raised at the meeting were resolved by doing so.  He commented there was no other place on the lot for the structure to be located.  He said if it was moved to the other side of the lot, where the existing (rotting) shed was located,  it would then be within a man-made created wetland that would only create further problems.  He felt the current location offered adequate buffering and was barely visible (if at all) from the road.  In terms of the lot’s geography, the proposed location was the only place it could be located. 

 

Mr. LaFrance said in hearing the testimony, and driving by the site, he was in agreement with the Board members.  Ms. Culbert had no further comment. 

 

Mr. Hennesseey concurred with Mr. McNamara’s comments. 

 

Mr. Ouellette brought attention to the Board’s agenda that incorrectly read “… the existing playhouse to remain 13 feet from the property line.”  Mr. Gowan said the error was a carry-over on the applicantion and the agenda,  the point regarding how many feet from the lot line was addressed at the previous meeting and corrected for the record at that time.   Ms. Ciampa said the structure was two feet from the property line.  It was reiterated during the site walk and at the present meeting that the playhouse would remain two feet (as indicated at the initial hearing) from the property line (if the variance was approved).  

 

BALLOT VOTE

#ZO2013-00025:

 

Mr. Hennessey – Yes to all criteria

Mr. LaFrance -  Yes to all criteria

Mr. McNamara -

Mr. Kearney – Yes to all criteria

Ms. Culbert – Yes to all criteria

 

VOTE:

 

 

(5-0-0) The motion carried.

 

 

VARIANCE GRANTED

 

 

HEARING(S):

 

Case #ZO2013-00027 

CLARK, Blake & CHEN, Sabina  -  23 Yellow Wood Drive  -  Map 7 Lot 4-182  -  Seeking a Variance concerning Article XV, Section 307-100 to permit a Conservation Subdivision where (i) the size of the parcel is under 10 acres (being approximately 8.2 acres) and (ii) the frontage of the parcel where access may be provided is less than 100 feet (such frontage which may provide access being approximately 90 feet), while the parcel’s overall frontage is well over 250 feet.

 

Mr. Hennessey took the hearing out of order.  He informed the Board received a request from the applicant’s attorney J. Bradford Westgate to move hearing to the Board’s next hearing (in November).  Mr. Ouellette was appointed to vote for this hearing.

 

Mr. LaFrance read the list of abutters aloud. There were no persons present who asserted standing in the case, who did not have their name read, or who had difficulty with notification.

 

Attorney Peter Bennett of Winer & Bennett, LLP. (Attorney J. Bradford Westgate’s partner) came forward with the applicant to hear the Board’s decision regarding the request to continue the hearing. 

 

Mr. Hennessey said the applicant had requested a continuance to the Board’s next meeting .  There was a complication due to the fact that the next Board meeting was during a holiday week, which would shift the meeting night to Thursday of that week.  Unfortunately, Attorney Westgate would be unable to attend that meeting as well due to a conflict and had requested that the Board shift the November meeting to the end of the month (Thanksgiving week).   Mr. Hennessey had the Board discuss when their next meeting would be scheduled.  After a brief discussion, the Board made the decision to keep their November meeting as scheduled for November 14, 2013.  Attorney Bennett indicated it was important for their case to be heard and would work around the conflict. 

 

Mr. Hennessey provided an option to the applicant of conducting a joint meeting with the Planning Board, which would allow the both boards to hear the same presentation.   Mr. Clark felt the suggestion was a reasonable approach.  He asked that the Board understand that the presentation would be very conceptual in nature and possibly not to the Planning Board standard of approving  a plan, or specific lines on paper.  Mr. McNamara felt the only difficulty was that the Zoning Board may need information that would be presented to the Planning Board, in terms of having more description on the plan, in order to make a reasoned decision on the matter.   He asked that the applicant bring in enough information (possibly some engineering and inform if waivers would be necessarry) for the Board to get a good idea of what the plan was. 

 

Mr. Gowan added , per Statute,  any joint meeting would have to be held under the auspices of the Planning Board.  Given that information, Mr. Hennessey suggested they go forward with their Zoning Board meeting on November 14th and invite any Planning Board members that would like to attend. 

 

MOTION:

To conduct the next Zoning Board meeting Thursday, November 14, 2013.

 

VOTE:

 

(5-0-0) The motion carried. 

 

 

MOTION:

(McNamara/LaFrance) Per applicant’s request, the hearing for Case #ZO2013-00027 – Blake Clark & Sabina Chen (23 Yellow Wood Drive – Map 7 Lot 4-182) be date specified to Thursday, November 14, 2013.  This will be the first case on the agenda. 

 

VOTE:

 

(5-0-0) The motion carried. 

 

The case was date specified to Thursday, November 14, 2013; first on the agenda. 

 

 

Case #ZO2013-00026

HANLON, A. RICHARD  -  13 & 16 West Shore Drive  -  Map 30 Lots 11-111 & 11-142  -  Seeking a Variance concerning Article VII, Section 307-39 to permit a gazebo within the WCD setbacks.  Also to allow a pre-existing non-conforming residential building to remain within the WCD setbacks.  The current residential building is nine (9) feet over the WCD buffer/setbacks to Little Island Pond.

 

Mr. Ouellette recused himself.  Ms. Culbert was appointed to vote. 

 

For information, Mr. Hennessey announced that his wife’s cousin owned land abutting the applicant’s parcel.  He stated he had no relations or monetary interest and would not be recusing himself from hearing the case. 

 

Mr. LaFrance read the list of abutters aloud. There were no persons present who asserted standing in the case, who did not have their name read, or who had difficulty with notification.

 

Mr. Jim O’Neil, land surveyor for the project, came forward with the applicant, Richard Hanlon, to discuss the variance request.  He said the purpose of the request was due to the existing building and existing gazebo being in the wetland (at 13 West Shore Drive).  He noted the applicant would be meeting with the Planning Board (October 21, 2013) to do a lot line adjustment between lot 11-111 and 11-142 in order to make the sideline setback conform to Zoning. 

 

Mr. Jim O’Neil read aloud the Variance criteria as submitted with the application.   Mr. Hanlon provided photographs to the Board showing the existing structures and placement on the lot. 

 

Mr. McNamara questioned if the applicant would be adding a second floor to the home.  Neil replied a portion of the structure had a second floor.  Mr. Hanlon said he needed to repair the roof because it was leaking.  He would also like to extend the roof up in the back to meet the addition constructed in 1981/82.   Mr. McNamara wanted to know how high the roof would be constructed.   Mr. O’Neil said the roof would be extended over the addition, not made any higher than the existing structure.  Currently the overall height is 28.8ft. from ground level to the roof peak.  Mr. McNamara asked if anyone’s view to the lake would be obstructed by the roof extension.  Mr. O’Neil answered no .  Mr. McNamara asked who built the gazebo.  Mr. Hanlon said he purchased the gazebo five years ago from a neighbor (approximately 75ft-80ft) beside him.  He had the gazebo moved to his lot.  He said the gazebo was in front of his neighbor’s cottage, within the same 50ft. wetland buffer, but he wasn’t aware of it at the time.  He noted the gazebo was 79SF and situated on blocks.  He was not aware of needing a permit. 

 

Mr. Hanlon reviewed the displayed photographs  to provide the Board with the opportunity to view his lot and the existing structures in comparison to the surrounding lots/structures. 

 

Mr. McNamara questioned if bedrooms would be added with the proposed new space.   Mr. Hanlon said the number of bedrooms would remain the same; the new space will either be a family room, or he would take one of the smaller bedrooms and enlarge it.  Mr. McNamara asked how many bedrooms the septic was rated for.  Mr. Hanlon believed the septic was rated for three bedrooms.  Currently he had two bedrooms and a den. 

 

Mr. Gowan felt it was relevant to note that the property was seasonal.  Mr. Hanlon told the Board  the property was previously owned for many years by his Aunt and Uncle, who used the property seasonally.  Mr. McNamara questioned if the residence would continue to be seasonal.  Mr. Hanlon answered yes; at this point in time. 

 

Mr. Hennessey told the Board he contacted Mr. Gowan for a site assessment on the property.  He explained that the State of New Hampshire requires a site assessment on any transaction within the 50ft. buffer of a great pond.  He asked if there was a site assessment for the property.   Mr. Gowan told the Board he did not have one in the Planning Department property files.  Mr. Hennessey said a seller was required to provide it to a buyer.  Mr. Hanlon said he inherited the property in 1989 when his Aunt passed away.  

 

Mr. Hennessey read aloud a letter from  Linda O’Connell, Esq.  representing Dr. Constance Loschi  (14 West Shore Drive – a direct abutter) (Mr. Hennessey’s wife’s cousin).  The letter indicated Dr. Loschi could not be in attendance of the meeting but wanted to state her position for the record.  Dr. Loschi had no objection to the applicant’s request (for the gazebo and house setback), so long as the variance and subsequent lot line adjustment didn’t interfere with her ability to access her cabin or ability to access the pond.  The letter indicated Mr. Hanlon and Mr. O’Neil had assured that Dr. Loschi’s current access rights would not be adversely impacted by the applicant’s requested relief.  Mr. Hennessey asked if the letter represented the applicant’s position.  Mr. O’Neil answered yes. 

 

PUBLIC INPUT

 

Mr. Lance Ouellette, 13 Gaston Road  told the Board in July, 2012 he met the applicant on his property because he was building a deck on an abutter’s property.   He said Mr. Hanlon asked him questions about whether the roofline work could be done.  He told Mr. Hanlon there were a few things that would possibly need to be done, such as a septic design.  At that time Mr. Ouellette mentioned the gazebo to Mr. Hanlon because the neighbor that sold the gazebo to him was told he would need to go for a variance; in turn that neighbor sold the gazebo because he wasn’t looking to seek a variance.  Mr. Ouellette pointed out that Mr. Hanlon was seeking a lot line adjustment, which would help him accomplish his request.  It was a request that the Board had seen in the past from other applications.  He felt the Board should still have due diligence regarding the septic system and  the setback for the gazebo. 

 

Mr. Joseph Rodrigues, 18 West Shore Drive told the Board he and his wife objected to the variance request given the applicant didn’t meet the criteria for such.  He said a variance was contrary to the public interest of preserving the water quality of Little Island Pond and the maintenance of the Wetland Conservation District (‘WCD’) setbacks per the conditions of the Ordinance.  He said it did not service the intent of the WCD Ordinance by allowing the existing gazebo to be installed without a permit and to allow the existing structure (that was vacant for many years).  He said the gazebo was in place (for five years) after the enactment of the Ordinance and had been installed without applicable building permits.  He reiterated that the gazebo violated the general zoning and setback requirements and that the proposed variance violated the spirit and intent of the Ordinance.

 

 Mr. Rodrigues stated there appeared to be adequate room on the property for the applicant to move the existing structure to be within the setback lines.  He said substantial justice was not done by granting a variance because the applicant had not demonstrated that the gazebo was installed with any applicable permits, approvals or variances.  In accordance to the submitted plot plan the gazebo appeared to be over property line as well as in violation to all other setbacks.   He continued by reiterating substantial justice would not be done by granting a variance to allow 16 West Shore Drive to remain in the WCD as there is substantial land area on the property for the building to be moved.   Based upon observation, Mr. Rodrigues said it appeared the building had been abandoned because no one had stayed on the property for over two years.  He felt the value of his property would be diminished if the variances were granted.  He stated that the purpose of the WCD was to protect the wetland setback and the pond.  He said all property owners would be affected by allowing a non-conforming structure to be built within the setback.  Doing so would allow for over-crowding of the land and wetland encroachment, which would affect property values.  He commented there were no special conditions on the applicant’s property that distinguished it from  other properties in the area.   All the lots on Little Island Pond were subject to the WCD; most lots were small and non-conforming.

 

 Mr. Rodrigues told the Board that the applicant had not demonstrated why the home could not be rebuilt outside the WCD setbacks and why the gazebo is required to remain.  He said the applicant had the burden of proving why all elements of the criteria and have not introduced evidence of support to grant the variance.  Mr. Rodrigues pointed out items listed in Zoning Ordinance, Article III, General Provisions, 307-8, non-conforming use, which he felt was pertinent to the case. 

 

Although the applicant didn’t have to respond, Mr. Hennessey gave the applicant the opportunity.   Mr. O’Neil wasn’t sure how the last comment made by Mr. Rodrigues affected what the applicant was proposing.  He said the footprint wouldn’t be expanded,  the existing cottage had not been damaged even close to 50% and the existing cottage at 16 West Shore Drive was currently vacant, but was currently owned and purchased by C&C Realty Trust.  He said the lot line adjustment had less to do with the variance.  He noted that the camp was solid and had no damage.   Mr. O’Neil told the Board that both the gazebo and camp were in the WCD district setback, but the existing house had been in place for over 50 years.  There had been no new construction/expansion etc.  The applicant was seeking to expand within the footprint.  Mr. O’Neil said the gazebo was  moved from another property unknowingly that a permit was needed or that the WCD existed.

 

Mr. McNamara believed one of the points being made by Mr. Rodrigues was that the use had been discontinued/abandoned.  Mr. O’Neil said the property had been brought current with taxes and the property was purchased and owned.  He said the property needed some upgrades.  Mr. McNamara confirmed that the property was seasonal and would remain so.  Mr. O’Neil answered yes.

 

Mr. Hennessey commented he was familiar with the property, but given the argument with the gazebo felt it might be useful if the Board conducted a site walk.  He said the Board generally done site walks for properties on the pond. 

 

Conservation Commission Chairman Paul Gagnon came forward and asked that the Board invite the Conservation Commission if they decided to conduct a site walk. 

 

Mr. Kearney believed there to be a difference between ‘repair’ and ‘improve’ a property and had some concern with regard to this.  He said an applicant had the right to make reasonable repairs (both internal and external).  He said an improvement should be done within the guidelines of the criteria.  He wrestled with if the roof work was a repair or an improvement.  He told the Board he was in favor of repairing the roof, but would not be in favor of doing improvements within the wetland area.    In reference to the photographs of the gazebo, he stated it was set right on the water.  In his mind there had to be some protection  for the lake with structures of any kind. 

 

Mr. McNamara was in agreement with Mr. Kearney’s comments.  He felt the Board had two distinct variance requests they were reviewing, which should be voted separately; 1) improvement to the house (being a pre-existing structure) located somewhat into the WCD, and 2) placement of gazebo that appeared to be directly on the water.  The gazebo was installed five years ago and the owner is presumed to have knowledge of the Town’s laws.  Mr. McNamara said the case of Bacon v. Enfield came to mind .  He said in that case a woman built a cover for an outdoor propane heater on the side of her cottage within the WCD and after-the-fact requested a variance.  That case went to the Supreme Court where the majority opinion spoke to the cumulative affect.  In terms of hardship and spirit of the ordinance criteria, the consideration to take into account was  the deterioration affect if everyone on the lake was allowed to build on the water.   He had less concern with the building itself, but in his opinion, the gazebo was a separate matter. 

 

Mr. LaFrance agreed that the variances should be voted on separately.  He also agreed with Mr. Kearney that there were changes that needed to be looked at; but didn’t see as much of an issue since the proposal was not going to expand the footprint.

 

Mr. Hennessey was familiar with the lot.  He commented that in many ways the Town had abandoned Little Island Pond given the decks and piers etc.  He said seasonal piers were not taken in as required by State and people maintained lawns right down to the edge of the pond.  He felt the situation was serious and stated the applicant was trying to improve a property that had been disheveled for a long time.  He said there were many times the Board had allowed applicants to take down an entire building and rebuild to a square footage not dissimilar to the applicant’s structure.  Mr. Hennessey said the gazebo gave him a lot of pause because there were a lot issues with it.  With these things in mind, along with the concerns voiced by the abutter, he felt the Board should conduct a site walk. 

 

MOTION:

(Kearney/McNamara) To schedule and conduct a site walk.

 

VOTE:

 

(5-0-0) The motion carried. 

 

The Board scheduled a site walk for October 26, 2013 beginning at 8:30am.   Mr. Hennessey asked Mr. Gowan to invite the Conservation Commission to attend the site walk.

 

The case was date specified to the November 14, 2013 meeting and will be the second item on  the agenda.

 

Mr. Ouellette returned to the Board. 

 

 

Case #ZO2013-00028

61A NASHUA ROAD LANDHOLDINGS LLC  -  61A Nashua Road  -  Map 14 Lot 3-81  -  Seeking a Variance concerning Article IX, Sections 307-53-2 C (3) & (8) to permit single unit buildings with a minimum of 20 feet separation, instead of a minimum of 30 feet separation; and to omit sidewalks.

 

Mr. Ouellette was appointed to vote. 

 

Mr. LaFrance read the list of abutters aloud. There were no persons present who asserted standing in the case, who did not have their name read, or who had difficulty with notification.  Mr. Hennessey commented that Attorney Groff’s sister worked for him.  He saw no conflict and would remain seated for the case.  There was no objection to Mr. Hennessey remaining seated on the Board. 

 

Attorney David Groff and Mr. Karl Dubay of the Dubay Group (an engineering firm) representing the applicant, came forward to discuss the variance request.  Attorney Groff led the discussion and called attention to a Google Map showing the parcel’s location.  A plan was submitted with the application that showed the proposed site plan.  The applicant requested two variances: 1) 20ft. setback between the individual units within the proposed development; and 2) omit sidewalks.  The applicant felt single units would be a nicer addition to the neighborhood, rather than larger multi-unit buildings.  It was noted that the (surrounding) area had no sidewalks.  The provided plan showed each unit as having parking for three vehicles; on interior and two in the driveway.  Attorney Groff told the Board that the Ordinance would allow as many as forty-four units in multi-unit buildings; the proposal shows forty single (detached) units.  Green space requirements were shown in a shaded area on the plan.  The limited common area was believed to be greater in the proposed design versus what there would be in a multi-unit design. 

 

Attorney Groff addressed the variance criteria as contained in an attachment to the Zoning Board’s application. 

1)       In the public interest:  The Zoning Ordinance was designed to provide housing for seniors; granting the variance will allow single, detached units rather than multi-unit buildings.  The Ordinance would allow as many as 44 units in multi-unit buildings; the proposal is for 40 single detached units.  The green space requirement is met, and indicated in the shaded area on the plan.  The limited common area provided for each unit would be greater with the proposed design than with a multi-unit design.  The applicant felt granting the variance for sidewalks would be in the public interest because having  sidewalk would present an additional maintenance item and expense for the owners.   The streets provided in the plan are private ways and not expected to have a lot of through traffic.   With regard to setbacks,  Attorney Groff pointed out a disconnect within the Ordinance between the 30ft. minimum setback between the buildings and zero setback between the units; either one is allowed under the current Ordinance.  The alternative to the proposed design of single units with 20ft. setbacks would be 6-unit buildings with 30ft. setbacks.  The single unit buildings were preferred by the applicant for reasons such as for tax purposes, aesthetics and the character of the neighborhood. 

 

2)       In the Spirit of the Ordinance: The Ordinance would allow 44 senior units; the applicant proposed 40 units. 

 

3)       Substantial Justice will be done:  Granting single units would be more in keeping with the character of the neighborhood.  It will decrease the dues for the residents as they won’t have additional maintenance expenses through sidewalks, which are considered common areas. 

 

4)       No decrease in the surrounding properties:  A letter was submitted from Real Estate Agent Edmond Bisson of Re/Max Prestige Realty stating his professional opinion that there would be no diminution in the values of surrounding properties if single-units rather than multi-units were constructed.  Mr. Hennessey read aloud Mr. Bisson’s letter dated October 1, 2013.  Attorney Groff reiterated the feeling that single family detached units would be in keeping with the character of the neighborhood versus having  multi-family buildings allowed under the Ordinance. 

 

5)       A. Unnecessary hardship:  Literal enforcement of the provisions of the Ordinance to require the 30ft. horizontal setback and sidewalks would result in unnecessary hardship.  Attorney Groff told the Board the parcel was the last large tract of land in the neighborhood.  The neighborhood consisted of detached single-family residential units, with one exception further along the road, which was a duplex condominium (constructed years ago).   No fair and substantial relationship exists between the general public purposes of the provisions for set-backs and sidewalks and the specific application of those provisions to this property.   Attorney Groff stated there was plenty of room for the required 30% minimum open space; it was felt that the additional open space between the units would be a benefit to the Town and the residents of the development.  The single-units would be more in keeping with the neighborhood than multi-unit buildings.  It was noted that Pennichuck Water was along Nashua Road.  All of the buildings would have sprinklers.  Attorney Groff called attention to a statement provided by SFC Engineering, dated October 2, 2013, in response to the concerns raised by the Fire Department regarding access to the development.   None of the buildings would be constructed within 50ft. of any of the lot lines.  The development was permitted under the Ordinance and would be less density than allowed. 

 

Mr. McNamara asked how many lots/units would be lost if they kept the 30ft. separation between units.    Attorney Groff said there wouldn’t be any difference; they could have 44 units if they went with multi-unit buildings.  Mr. McNamara wanted to know how many units they would have if they kept single units and conformed with zoning.  Mr. Dubay did a rough calculation  and believed if they were held to single units they would lose approximately seven.  He explained the units were 1200SF-1800SF and approximately 30ft-34ft wide.  He noted the units were a sophisticated, higher end design compared to a duplex or triplex.  He also noted the developer was putting additional value/cost into the development; an example was the roadways would be pervious pavement and the driveways would be constructed using pervious brick pavement.  Mr. McNamara questioned if involved engineering had been done on the project to the point it could be brought to the Planning Board.  Mr. DuBay responded in the affirmative and told the Board they had met with the Fire Department and the Planning Director.  They hadn’t gone to the Planning Board because they needed to first meet with the Zoning Board.  It was noted there were no wetlands on the site.  Mr. McNamara felt the plan might be good to conduct a joint hearing between the Zoning Board and the Planning Board.  He said he wouldn’t have a problem if the separation between units was requested for a few units, but felt having the proposed separation between every unit eviscerated the zoning.  His other concern was the buffer being used as the open space area, which he didn’t feel would be of much use to the residents.  He said the proposed setbacks to the buffer went to the heart of the conservation subdivision.  He said he would need a lot more information before he could render a judgment.  He felt in some respect the request put before the Zoning Board would tie the Planning Board’s hands and a lot to ask for. 

 

Mr. Dubay told the Board that there was a plan of record at the Registry of Deeds.  He said the Planning Board had seen the lot, and the creation of the subdivision on file at the Registry contained a specific note saying that the lot was intended to be elderly housing.  He said it was very specific to the water supply, traffic, sight distance,  and all the normal infrastructure.  He believed the Planning Board had recognized so much as to put a note on a recorded plan that the development would be elderly housing.   Attorney Groff provided a copy of that plan to the Board for review.  Mr. Dubay reiterated the proposal was less dense than what would be allowed.  He said the reason they wanted the separation was to create single-individual higher end cottages instead of duplexes or sixplexes.  He said they had almost double the required open space.  He said the 30% open space was met just by virtue of the exterior perimeter buffer only, not counting anything else.

 

Mr. McNamara read aloud the note from the land transfer subdivision plan dated  September 20, 2009.  Note #11 read – Lot 3-81 shall only be developed for an elderly housing use providing that such use continues to be permitted or such other use may be lawfully developed consistent with the terms of Pelham’s then existing Zoning Ordinance.   He didn’t feel that language limited the development to anything.   Mr. Dubay believed that language answered the question that the Planning Board  recognized that the lot could be an elderly development.    He said they had gone through quite a bit of the Zoning Ordinance and the Subdivision Regulation that the project applied to.  Mr. Dubay reiterated they would like to ‘step up’ the sophistication and value by not doing duplex/triplex and instead creating sophisticated cottages for the elderly.  Mr. McNamara’s concern was the intensity of the use, not the appropriateness of the use being proposed.   He said Zoning had a stipulation that separation side-to-side shall be 30ft., however the Planning Board has the authority to increase that separation.; there was nothing about a decrease in separation. 

 

PUBLIC INPUT

 

Mr. Hennessey opened the hearing to public input and invited anyone forward who had questions or comments about the proposal.

 

Mr. Stephen Amero, 6 Independence Drive, retired Pelham Fire Department Captain,  had issue with the request regarding sidewalks.  He said the proposal was for an elderly community with no multiple car parking.  If there was anything going on elderly people would then be walking down a road instead of on a sidewalk where they would be safe. 

 

Mr. Hennessey asked the applicant if the development would be for those aged 55 and over or if it would be for those aged 62 and over.  Attorney Groff said the development would be for 55 and over.

 

Mr. Amero commented that the Town Regulations, as voted by the Town’s people, stipulate there are supposed to be sidewalks.  With regard to building spacing, he said the 30ft. separation was for life safety.  Being a former firefighter, he had seen houses catch  neighboring houses and cars on fire that were over 30ft. away.    He said by bringing houses closer, it increased the chance of fire spreading to multiple dwellings.  He witnessed that type of situation at the Cape during the summer months, with houses being 20ft. from each other, even with the fire department being 2 miles from the location.  Mr. Amero believed having the units be so close would also give the neighborhood an urban look in an area that the homes each had one acre of land.   He was concerned with the decrease of housing values.  He ended by saying that the wood frame houses with siding would add fuel the fire. 

 

Mr. Ken Maglio, 4 Mayflower Lane felt if a variance was being requested it should be in reference to an old building being updated to become current.    He said the proposal was for a brand new development and Town codes were in place for a reason and that was to protect the residents/abutters.  He felt 30ft was reasonable and 40ft-50ft. was more reasonable.   He said there was a law to have sidewalks and being a brand new property, it should be started off right.  Being from Tewksbury, he spoke of the difficulties they had because of all the variances that were granted.  He didn’t want to see the same happen to Pelham.  Mr. Maglio saw process and didn’t mind development occurring, but he felt it should be done by going by the rules.  He said the Board was supposed to enforce the rules/codes for the protection of the residents and abutters.  He didn’t feel it was right for new developments to come in and change all the laws that had been put in place for a reason . 

 

Mr. Dubay told the Board that the proposed project would have full hydrants throughout.  He said they met with the Fire Department to ensure they met the rules for separation; the units will have sprinklers in accordance with National Fire Protection Association (‘NFPA’) Code.  The memo submitted from SFC Engineering spoke to this fact.  He commented with a sixplex they could go to zero feet; however they didn’t feel that type of unit would look good in the neighborhood.  They were proposing a more sophisticated look and higher end cottages in a development with less density than what was allowed.   He reiterated they were proposing buildings with sprinklers and hydrants throughout.

 

Mr. McNamara asked Mr. Gowan if the single access roadway met the appendix roadway design criteria for the proposed number of units.  Mr. Gowan said it did for a senior project.  He said every senior project built in the last few years had a single way in.  That fact didn’t take away from the requirement for the Fire Department and the Highway Safety Committee to comment.  He was glad to hear Mr. McNamara suggestion for a joint Planning Board meeting since they were usually in regard to commercial development.  He felt doing so would provide the Planning Board with a pre-review of engineering.  He offered to coordinate that effort if the applicant wanted to pursue such.  Mr. Groff wanted the timing considered. 

 

Mr. Hennessey said there was no statutory requirement for the Board to look to the Planning Board for guidance, however, he valued the collaboration of the boards (both Planning and Conservation).  He said whether or not they conduct a joint hearing he would ask the Planning Board members to weigh in on the proposal.  Mr. McNamara said asking for individual opinion was different from requesting a consensus, the comments wouldn’t be binding.  Mr. McNamara said he would like more information  and input before he could make a judgment on the request.  He discussed the sidewalks and noted the Town center would shortly have sidewalks with the dual round about.  He said there would also be a proposal for the March ballot in terms of a mixed use for the downtown area.  At some point in time that area might include sidewalks and in terms of long-term development he felt it might be ideal to have sidewalks connect through.  He felt the Board should take this information into account in terms of a long-term basis when considering the variance.  Attorney Groff pointed out that the sidewalks (in connection with the development) were internal within that development.  Mr. McNamara understood.  He said he was referring to a sidewalk connectivity long-term. 

 

Mr. Hennessey said he would entertain a motion to continue the hearing to the next meeting.  He would also be requesting input from individual Planning Board members.  Mr. McNamara said he would like to hear Keach Nordstrom’s (Town’s engineering review firm) comments. He would like the Planning Board to weigh in on the proposal as a whole.  He was concerned with the buffer space being utilized as open space, given in the past ‘open space’ was something that the residents could use.  Mr. Hennessey understood from the applicant’s testimony that the alternate plan would be duplexes and triplexes.  He said the Board had wrestled with decisions in the past as to what the most injury would be done to the neighborhood having a stretch to the zoning or to allow duplexes and triplexes. 

 

Attorney Groff stated they weren’t requesting a variance on density.  He said they could have a bigger density with joined units.  Mr. Hennessey said if the required separation between units was maintained, there would be fewer units.  Attorney Groff said the alternative was to have multi-units.  He said the Board could choose whether they wanted single units or multi-unit buildings. 

 

Mr. Ouellette said he would also like more information.  He felt the proposal was vague.  He would also like to have a more accurate number for how many units would be reduced if the required separation was maintained. 

 

Mr. Hennessey was in agreement that more information was needed.    He asked the applicant if they were open to attending a joint meeting with the Planning Board.  Attorney Groff requested having a joint meeting with the Planning Board.  Mr. McNamara wanted the applicant to understand they would need to submit the necessary documents to the Planning Board so they could take jurisdiction over the matter.  Mr. Dubay said they currently had a full set of plans with septic, grading etc. and would like a way to submit it.  Mr. Hennessey provided a summary for how a joint hearing is conducted.  Mr. Gowan added that abutters would receive notification of the joint meeting. 

 

MOTION:

(LaFrance/McNamara) To continue the hearing to Monday, November 18, 2013  at 7pm so a joint hearing with the Planning Board could be conducted. 

 

VOTE:

 

(5-0-0) The motion carried. 

 

 

SITE WALK – October 26, 2013 beginning at 8:30am

Case #ZO2013-00026 - HANLON, A. RICHARD  -  13 & 16 West Shore Drive  -  Map 30 Lots 11-111 & 11-142

 

 

DATE SPECIFIED PLAN(S):

 

Thursday, November 14, 2013:

Case #ZO2013-00027  - CLARK, Blake & CHEN, Sabina  -  23 Yellow Wood Drive  -  Map 7 Lot 4-182

Case #ZO2013-00026 - HANLON, A. RICHARD  -  13 & 16 West Shore Drive  -  Map 30 Lots 11-111 & 11-142

 

 

Monday, November 18, 2013 (joint meeting with Planning Board):

Case #ZO2013-00028 - 61A NASHUA ROAD LANDHOLDINGS LLC  -  61A Nashua Road  -  Map 14 Lot 3-81

 

MINUTES REVIEW

 

MOTION:

(McNamara/LaFrance) To approve the September 9, 2013, 2013 meeting minutes as written.

 

VOTE:

 

(4-0-0) The motion carried. 

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

MOTION:

(McNamara/LaFrance) To adjourn the meeting.

 

VOTE:

 

(4-0-0) The motion carried. 

 

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:40pm.

Respectfully submitted,

                                                                                                Charity A. Landry              

                                                                                                Recording Secretary