CHICHESTER BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT MINUTES
DECEMBER 14, 2005
Case #192 Donald Peterman/Patricia Karagezian, Map 4 Lot 158 located on Route 4, requesting an Area Variance to Article III, Section P c. for the construction of site improvements within the existing 100’ buffer from off-site wetlands.
Members Present: Edward Meehan, Chairman; Stephen MacCleery, ex-offico; Ben Brown; Mark McIntosh; David Dobson.
Applicant-Donald Peterman; Dave Collier, Granite State Surveying.
Dave-The current site contains a single family residence with a business in the home. The proposal for this site is also retail, multi use sales. A portion of the existing house will be relocated to the rear of the property. A 40 x 60 building is being proposed for the retail use. The wetlands are located off-site which are seasonally wet. A letter from Cynthia M. Balcius, Wetland Scientist, was submitted into evidence. (On file)
The existing septic system is located in the buffer which will be relocated on the westerly side of the property. The septic will service the relocated house as well as the proposed building.
Applicant does not feel this use would diminish surrounding property values because the existing abutter properties and their uses are within the commercial zone and the proposed use will be similar with respect to the neighbors.
Granting the variance would not be contrary to the public interest because they are attempting to improve the existing site conditions and provide better public/private use of the site. The new building will provide adequate access. The only wetlands on this property are in a very small corner easterly of the lot abutting the Mahlstedt property.
Denial of the variance would result in unnecessary hardship to the owner because of the following special conditions; the existing area is less than the required zoning, which is an existing non-conforming lot, the depth of the lot and off-site wetlands hinder the building and parking locations. The current building is within 45’ of the wetlands. There is an existing stone wall which is on the property line. The State of NH requires a 50’ setback for the building which hinders the actual location of the building. Because of the topographic features on the front of the property, if the building were slid forward, a retaining wall would be needed. Also, access completely around the building is needed.
The same benefit cannot be achieved by some other reasonably feasible method that would not impose an undue financial burden because they have to stay within the 50’ setback and if retailing walls were used would be very costly. Purchasing additional land would also be a financial burden.
Granting the variance would do substantial justice because the proposed use and design are intended to improve this site and create a more aesthetically pleasing parcel within its limited space.
The use is not contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because based on area requirements this site is an existing non-conforming lot of record and the intended use is commercial for which the parcel is currently zoned.
Ed asked about the current plan for run-off. Dave replied that sheet drainage with a catch basin would be used. Culverts under the driveways would take care of any run-off along the edge of the property. Steve asked if the proposed plan had been presented to the Planning Board yet. Donald said that he has had two discussions with the PB but he has not gone to actual site plan application yet. He stated he submitted it the other day. The proposed retail building will be 2400 sq. ft. The current residence is 30 x 28 with a breezeway and garage, which will be removed. The main portion of the house will be retained and moved which Mr. Peterman will live in. The proposed business is a retail firework facility.
Mark asked what the distance from the boundaries to the residence will be. Dave said there would be 16’ to the closest edge. The house has to be a certain distance from the proposed building as well. When the house is moved it will be 121’ from the back edge of the wetlands. The present house is within 45’. Improvements to the property will increase the tax base and the area. The proposed business is a seasonal one but he would like to sell other things as well.
Steve questioned the comment about drainage going toward Route 4. Does that mean no drainage will go on the left hand side of the parking lot? It is all sloping toward the front? There is nothing curved so there will be run-off toward the Mahlstedt property? Dave replied not that he could see. The parking area is pretty well flat it is just sloping in front of the lot where there is a catch basin.
It was asked if the state does not allow two driveway cuts will it change the drainage. Dave does not anticipate it changing. He has already talked with District V and has sent in the application for two driveways. If only one is permitted they plan to hold the one closest to the Hess station. The grade is being pulled back to flatten the driveway so it won’t be as steep as it is currently.
Steve asked how close they would be to the wetland during construction. Dave said about 10’. Silt fencing will go around the area during construction. Parking has been reduced a little. There will be 5 spaces behind the building. The Conservation Commission was not asked by the PB to look at this plan.
Ed asked about the feasibility of putting in some sort of swale in case of run-off. Dave said that a Cape Cod Burm is being proposed around the edge of the pavement to contain the water. A Cape Cod Burm is a type of curving that will go around the building. Steve was concerned that there is no curbing around the parking area, even though it is pitched, when it is plowed in the winter time with no curb the snow could be pushed off the parking lot and cause a problem. Dave showed on the plan where there is snow storage planned. Ed feels that a swale or curb needs to be addressed that would keep run-off from going into the wetlands. David Dobson asked about the seasonal run-off now. Dave said that the run-off flows into the existing catch basin. There is also a swale as well. Donald added that from Jan-March he will not realistically be selling anything from the property. The board has to look at other potential year round businesses that may use the property in the future.
The board could put a condition on the variance addressing the run-off issue.
1. Ben felt this was commercial property and by adding another commercial building to the area it would not lower surrounding property values.
2. Steve said the variance would not be contrary to public interest because the applicant is attempting to improve the existing site conditions and provide better public/private use of the site.
3. a. Ben felt the special conditions of the property, from the submitted plan; it appears slightly less than ½ of the property is inside the 100’ buffer making it extremely limited in its usage. Steve added that the wetlands are on another lot abutting this property. The buffer falls on this lot but not the wetlands. The impact on this lot is very minimal.
3. b. Ed stated that the same benefit cannot be achieved by some other reasonably feasible method that would not impose an undue financial burden because there is limited available land surrounding this property which does not have wetland on it or a current business.
4. Mark & David added by granting the variance substantial justice would be done because it would allow doubling the use of the property giving it ample usage without adverse affects to the wetland. Steve asked the applicant how much of the area is covered by parking lot & buildings. Dave answered 61%.
5. This use would not be contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because the current septic is being moved outside of the wetland buffer and the new building will be at least twice as far away from the wetlands. Dave added that the house is being moved further away from the wetland. The existing edge of the pavement is 45’ from the buffer. The wetlands sit on the adjacent lots and the drainage considerations shown on the plan as well as additional drainage swales keep this variance within the spirit of the ordinance.
David added that the spirit of the ordinance is to minimize the impact to the wetlands and with these conditions it will have minimal impact. Ben said the condition is to add drainage swales or equivalent to reduce the impact of snow melt on the southeast portion of the property.
Ben Brown motioned to grant the area variance requested by Donald Peterman, Map 4 Lot 158, located on Route 4 to Article III, Section P c. to permit the construction of site improvements within the existing 100’ buffer from off-site wetlands with the condition to add drainage swales or equivalent to reduce the impact of snow melt on the southeast portion of the property for the following reasons:
1. There would not be a diminution in value of surrounding properties as a result of the granting of this variance because the existing abutting properties and their uses are within the commercial zone and the proposed use will be similar with respect to the neighbors.
2. The granting of this variance would not be contrary to the public interest because the applicant is attempting to improve the existing site conditions and provide better public/private use of the site.
3. a. Since the following special conditions of the property make an area variance necessary in order to allow the development as designed; it appears that slightly ½ of the property is inside the 100’ buffer making this lot extremely limited in its usage. A very small amount of the actual wetlands are on this property. The impact to this lot is very minimal.
b. The same benefit cannot be achieved by some other reasonably feasible method that would not impose an undue financial burden because there is limited available land that does not have wetlands and the adjacent property already has a current business.
4. By granting this variance substantial justice would be done because it would allow doubling the use of the property giving it ample usage without adverse affects to the wetland.
5. The use contemplated by petitioner as a result of obtaining this variance would not be contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because the current septic is being moved outside of the wetland buffer and the wetlands sit on the adjacent lots. The drainage considerations shown on the plan as well as the conditional drainage swales, as made in motion, keep this variance within the spirit of the ordinance.
Mark McIntosh seconded the motion.
VOTE ON MOTION
David Dobson – Yes
Mark McIntosh – Yes
Edward Meehan – Yes
Stephen MacCleery – Yes
Ben Brown – Yes
Motion carried 5-0.
Holly MacCleery, Secretary
Chichester Board of Adjustment