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April 5, 2004 - BOA
APRIL 5, 2004

Members Present:  Acting Chair Edward Meehan, Stephen MacCleery, Louis Barker, Mark McIntosh, Ben Brown, Ben Daroska.
Abutters Present: Luke Smith (owner), Donald & Diane Dunlap, Mark Blasko (applicant)
General Public:  Joe Austin, Randall Morrison, Greg Coache.

Case #168, Map 2 Lots 87A – Mark Blasko requesting a VARIANCE to Art. III, Section P/wetlands to build a screen printing business on Route 4.

Shirtmasters from Concord is a screen printing/embroidering business that employees 8-10 people and average about 10 customers a day.  There is no noise or odors that are bothersome to others.  The wetland setback of 100’ imposed on lot 87A on Route 4 has hindered this proposed project.  The driveway access for this lot would be shard with Conlin Auto.

It was questioned if the parking needs to be where it is proposed.  Maybe it would help if an equitable waiver of dimension were granted.  Mr. Blasko went through the 5 reasons why he feels this lot qualifies for a variance.
1) Doesn’t feel property values would be diminished because the building would be surrounded by unbuildable wetlands.  His building would be consistent with the look of Conlin’s Auto.
2) This would not be contrary to the public interest because no noise, fumes, traffic, light, or unsightly building would annoy or distract anyone passing by or visiting the property.
3) Denial of the variance would result in unnecessary hardship to the owner because the property cannot be accessed without a variance, the building area is too small for any reasonable use without a variance, and it would not injure the public or private rights of others since the wetlands would still be on this property also.
4) The proposed use of this property would have a low impact on the property and put to use an otherwise worthless piece of land.
5) The use is not contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because the proposed use will not impact the wetlands, and the state requirements for wetland setbacks are already met.

It was mentioned that the proposed size of the building is what is needed.  No matter how you turn the building it will impact the wetland area.  It was suggested that if the business were more manufacturing than retail the parking spaces needed might be less.  Apparently, the Planning Board likes the proposed plan; it is just the wetland setback issue that has brought this property to the BOA.

Luke Smith, owner obtained this property in Dec. of 1986.  It originally was a meadow, which beavers dammed up.  The State of NH ran a culvert onto this property.  He measured 787’ down Route 4 and another culvert has been put there.  He feels that the state helped create this into a wetland area.  The brook was not like it is now before the state put in their culverts.  He has paid taxes all these years on a commercial piece of property.  If this is going to be a useless piece of land it should not be taxed commercially.

Ed Meehan walked this property.  It goes flat for a while and then just drops off.  The state filled this in when Route 4 was widened.

Don Dunlap, abutter is concerned that the wildlife is being lost.  The brook is very high behind Conlin’s Auto.  He is not opposed to the business, just the loss of wetlands.

Mr. Morrison is concerned with Conlin’s Auto and that area on Route 4.  There is a lot of traffic in that area with 3 lanes.  The entrance is very dangerous.  From the Dunlap’s back yard they can see Conlin’s.  It’s not the type of business but the septic issue that is of concern.  The downhill side of Route 4 is very poor for building because of this swampy wetland.

Joe Austin owns property on the opposite side of Route 4.  This 100’ buffer for wetlands is impacting his lot as well.  Mr. Smith has property in the commercial area and would have to get septic approval from the state before anything could be done on this lot.  The proposed use is a clean business that will not be a burden to the tax structure.

It was stated that this project has gone before the Planning Board for discussion only.  Nothing was mentioned about moving the building.  Conlin’s Auto doesn’t want to give up any of their land for this business.  If the 50’ setback were still in effect, this project could be done.

Board members noted that there has been no change to this property, just a zoning change.  A two-story building would not work because of the type of business.  The septic, if needed could go under the parking lot.  This type of business is what the town is looking for.  The town has done itself a disservice on Route 4 by creating this ordinance.
Enforcing this ordinance is making Mr. Smith’s property just about useless.  The characteristics of this land are unique.  By enacting the zoning an island is being created.

The question arose about putting the building against the property line.  This could be a possibility as well as redesigning the plan, going for an industrial use instead of a commercial use or seeking a lot line adjustment with Conlin’s Auto.

It was felt, by some, that by granting the variance the board would be acting contrary to the spirit of the ordinance.  If the variance were granted would precedence be set.  The board cannot change the ordinance.  The board has to figure out what the town’s intent is as well as the spirit of the ordinance.  This property is being treated the same as surround-
ing properties.  

At this time the ZBA felt it would like further input from the Planning Board, Conservation Committee and possibly the designer of this project.

Motion was made and seconded to continue this public hearing until Wednesday, April 14, 2004 at 7 PM so the Planning Board and Conservation Committee could be invited for their input.  Motion carried 5-0.

Respectfully submitted,

Holly MacCleery, Secretary
Chichester Board of Adjustment   

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