CHICHESTER BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT MINUTES
APRIL 14, 2004
Members Present: Acting Chair Edward Meehan, Stephen MacCleery, Louis Barker, Mark McIntosh, Ben Brown.
Abutters Present: Luke Smith (owner) Donald & Diane Dunlap, Mark Blasko (applicant)
General Public: Greg Coache, Randall Morrison, Joe Austin, Web Stout, Tracy Scott (Planning Board), Bob Mann ( Conservation Commission).
Case #168, Map 2 Lot 87A. Continuance of public hearing from April 5, 2004. Mark Blasko of Shirtmasters requesting a variance to Art. III, Section P/wetlands to build a screen printing business on Route 4.
The board is continuing their discussion phase and has invited a representative from the Planning Board and Conservation Commission for their input regarding the wetlands ordinance.
The question arose as to who proposed the current change in the wetland setbacks. The Planning Board felt this came from the Conservation Commission since it was not initiated by the Planning Board. The Conservation Commission wasn’t active at the time of this proposal according to Bob Mann. It was felt that a few concerned persons brought the proposal to the Planning Board and it was put on the town ballot in 2003, which passed. It has become problematic affecting many lots on Route 4. The Conservation Commission has gone to the Planning Board about this matter and everyone recognizes that this has created a problem, which needs to be changed on the ballot at the next Town Meeting in March 2005. The consensus of the Conservation Commission is that new subdivisions must conform to
the wetland ordinance; lots of record are a different matter. There is an element of fairness that needs to be observed. This is more stringent than the state’s wetland setbacks. It was felt that there was a concern of large developments infringing on the wetlands remaining in Chichester, thus a need for a change to the wetland ordinance.
The BOA feels that such strict restrictions should not render a lot useless. Each case before them is based on its own merits. This lot is located in the commercial district and is being taxed commercially. There was discussion as to repositioning the proposed building on the lot or moving the parking closer to Conlin Auto’s property line. Conlin’s are in favor of this business and might be interested in leasing some land but not subdividing. The proposed building will fit on the lot that has already been filled by the state. Some members feel that the strict zoning is forcing this lot to become a conservation lot and the owner is being denied reasonable use of his property. This lot has become an island and would have less of a slope if it were nature made and not man
filled. The spirit of the ordinance is to preserve wetlands but not to take away the complete use of ones property.
Lou Barker motioned to grant a variance to Lot 87A of Map 2 based on the fact that the five criteria to grant a variance have been met by the applicant Mark Blasko of Shirtmasters as follows:
1. The proposed use would not diminish surrounding property values because the building will be surrounded by unbuildable wetlands; the only abutting building is Conlin’s Auto Sales and their building will blend with the existing site, creating a consistent look for the adjacent properties.
2. Granting the variance would not be contrary to the public interest because they will not be creating noise, fumes, traffic, light, an unsightly building, or anything that could annoy or distract anyone passing by or visiting the property.
3. Denial of the variance would result in unnecessary hardship to the owner because
a. The zoning restriction as applied to the property interferes with the reasonable use of the property, considering the unique setting of the property in its environment such that no one can access the property without this variance being granted due to the location of the entrance and the setback requirements.
b. That no fair and substantial relationship exists between the general purposes of the zoning ordinance and the specific restriction on the property because access would be impossible and the buildable area would be too small for any reasonable use. By imposing a 100’ wetlands setback, this unfairly makes the property useless.
c. The variance would not injure the public or private rights of others since no one will be affected by this, and the wetlands themselves will be on this property also.
4. Granting the variance would do substantial justice because this use would have a low impact on the property and will put to use an otherwise worthless piece of land.
5. The use is not contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because the spirit is to preserve wetlands but not to prevent access to or severely restrict the usable area of an existing lot.
Motion was seconded by Mark McIntosh. Vote was 5-0 in favor of motion to grant variance.
The BOA feels the submitted proposed plan should be on the previously filled portion of this lot.
Public hearing was adjourned at 8:35 PM.
The board elected Edward Meehan as chairman and Louis Barker as vice chairman for the ensuing year.
Holly MacCleery, Secretary
Chichester Board of Adjustment