CHICHESTER BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT MINUTES
MAY 4, 2005
Case #177 John & Sharon Wescomb Map 4 Lot 57 requesting an appeal from an administrative decision of the Building Inspector who revoked their building permit for an addition to an existing home owned by Cecil & Florence White of Lane Road.
Members Present: Edward Meehan-Chairman; Steve MacCleery-ex-offico; Ben Brown, Diana Calder, Mark McIntosh, Jeff Jordan, David Dobson.
Voting Members: Edward Meehan, Steve MacCleery, Ben Brown, Mark McIntosh, Jeff Jordan.
Sharon Wescomb showed the board a sketch of the existing house and garage located on Lane Road. The proposal is to add on another house behind the existing one which would be attached so they can be on the property of their aging parents but both families would have their independence. This lot has 1.6 acres and is substandard now. The date of the letter from the building inspector revoking the building permit is dated March 17, 2005. The Planning Board made a determination at its Feb. 3, 2005 meeting that this proposal was more of a two family dwelling and the lot was not large enough for this use.
The board wanted to know the intent of this project. Sharon explained that her father, Cecil White, is the current owner and she and her family are living there to help with their care but would like separate living quarters.
Ben-Have you considered a mobile home?
Sharon-They are established in their home and our family would not fit in a mobile home. My parents don’t want to move from their home.
Steve-As far as the mobile home for elderly living it is the parents that would need to move into the mobile home which would then be removed when they were no longer there.
Ben-That would probably be a permissible use of the land.
Sharon-We are aware of that.
Steve-When the Building Inspector originally came before the Selectmen I was under the impression that this was presented as an in-law apartment and that the houses were connected, but we didn’t know exactly how they were connected. As far as the Selectmen were concerned when the building permit was rescinded we did not know if this was going to be a completely separate house. I was of the opinion that if these two homes were connected with a common area then it is one home. In the zoning under definition of families living in a home, single and two family dwellings, it doesn’t say how many generations. To me this looks like two separate homes held together by a garage. You could possibly redesign this so it fits a single family dwelling.
Ben-The zoning doesn’t say anything about only having one kitchen.
Steve-What we were discussing as Selectmen was that there needed to be some common part. I would think you could have a separate kitchen. This was presented to us as an in-law apartment although it would be a large in-law apartment. Then I saw something from the Planning Board that this was being proposed as a two-family dwelling.
Sharon-That is what they decided to call it. No one really knew what to call it.
Ben-The Planning Board suggested to call this a two-family dwelling?
Sharon-Afterwards. I called it an in-law apartment and they told me not to because there wasn’t a definition by the state as to what an in-law apartment was. They said this was more of a two-family.
Ben-Once this is a two-family dwelling it is not allowed on the piece of property.
Steve-Generally a two-family dwelling is the same building just separated in the middle.
Diana-It also usually has separate utilities.
Steve-It may be a novel way of combining the two through the garage.
Ben-The way this is described it certainly looks like a two-family dwelling. I think what Steve is suggesting is there are ideas you might consider that would merge the two houses a little bit tighter so it looks like one larger house.
Sharon-The reason the house has to go where it is proposed is because of the physical lay of the land and the access.
Steve-The common part of these two dwellings was the real issue with the Selectmen.
Ben-There is a lot of creativity to try and make this a more common dwelling.
Ed-Looking at this it is two houses as it is proposed now. There needs to be common area from both dwellings.
Diana-Having a separate entrance, furnace and electric meters can determine if it is a two-family or in-law.
David-Area in garage could be used as a common entrance.
Steve-This is a building permit issue not a Planning Board issue.
Diana-You could have a common laundry room.
It was suggested to the Wescombs and Mr. White that they reconfigure their plans and make a common area between the two dwellings and take their plans back to the Building Inspector.
Based on the information the Wescombs received from the board they decided to rescind their application at this time. No further action was taken. Public Hearing was closed.
Edward Meehan was elected Chairman and Mark McIntosh was elected Vice Chairman for the ensuing year (March-March).
The Board of Adjustment Rules of Procedure were approved and adopted by a 5-0 vote. They will be reviewed and/or revised in a year’s time.
Holly MacCleery, Secretary
Chichester Board of Adjustment