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Board of Adjustment Minutes 10/04/2006

OCTOBER 4, 2006

Case #202-John Baas III requesting an area variance to Article II, Section D. CI/Mf & Article III, Section E. to allow the use of an existing barn as a 1-bedroom apartment located on Depot Road, Map 8 Lot 4.

Members Present:  Edward Meehan, Chairman; Stephen MacCleery, ex-offico; Ben Brown; David Dobson; & Tom Wainwright.  All members will be voting.

Steve MacCleery made it known that his father is an abutter to this property but he was not representing him in any way.  The applicant and board members had no issues with Steve remaining as a voting member.  Letter was sent from abutters John & Hannah West stating they had no problem with Mr. Baas’ request.  (On file)

Mr. Baas presented his case, including a site plan & septic design, stating that he now has a deeded area from the town that gives him legal parking for the barn on his property which he did not have previously.  The septic tank for the barn connects to the existing system.  The state approved his design in 4/05.  There will only be 1-bedroom in the barn apartment.  Two wells are on the property, one being an artisan.  All set backs have been met with water pollution.  The barn used to be used for antiques but applicant would like to now use it as an apartment for residential use.  He purchased the property as it is constructed now from the previous owner.  Mr. Baas had proposed to the Planning Board, in 2003, a gift shop/teaching studio but was turned down because he needed paved driveway/parking area and handicap facilities.  At the time he did not own the parking area, the town did.  The parking issue has now been resolved with the deeded area from the town.  He would now like to turn the barn into a residential use.

On the site plan there is a dotted line which shows this property in two separate zones.  The barn is within the CI/Mf zone and the house is in the OSW zone.  Mr. Baas feels that the barn is sitting where multi use is permitted he just doesn’t have the required 2 _ acres.  His lot is only 1.4 acres.

Ben Brown questioned the PB’s denial of the commercial use of the barn.  Mr. Baas stated that in 2003 the PB objected to the lack of acreage on the property even though the previous owner had used the barn as an antique shop.  He was told that the previous owner had grandfathered rights, property was purchased prior to 1989 and zoning changes, and the use was preexisting.  When Mr. Baas purchased the property he had no idea that he would not be able to continue the same kind of commercial use.  He was told by the PB that he would have to now conform to current zoning.  Steve MacCleery added that once the parking area was obtained from the town, which it now is, and all handicap requirements met, he could conceivably have a business there.  They didn’t turn him down to have a business, they just had requirements that needed to be met.  The acreage concern has nothing to do with commercial use, it can just have the required 50’ right-of-
way as long as the building, parking, septic etc. fits on the lot.  Because this lot is going to be used residentially it has to meet the requirements for residential.

Mr. Baas is asking for a residential use, 1 bedroom apartment, in a commercial zone with less than 2 acres which he does not feel the PB would require the parking area to be paved.  Steve feels that if this is a commercial use, rental property, then it would be subject to possible paving

requirements by the PB.  Mr. Baas added that the entire barn/building would be living space with only 1 bedroom.

In looking at the zone under District CI/Mf-General Requirements a site plan review is required by the PB which would address the paving issue.  Mr. Baas’ BOA application is not asking for a variance concerning the paved parking.  Steve MacCleery stated that part of the argument is Mr. Baas couldn’t pave the area in the past for a commercial business because he didn’t own the land, now he does.  He will still need to go before the PB for a site review.  Mr. Baas agrees but also feels with the BOA approval he has a better chance with the PB because of the acreage requirement.

Ben Brown questioned 12. g. under the general requirements which talks about residential use and paved space.  It was clarified that an apartment is a commercial use and is concentrated in the CI zone.  Under t. 2. multi-family use and acreage requirements are addressed which this lot does not meet.  Item 11 states that all driveways and parking areas shall be graveled or paved.  Mr. Baas stated that he is asking for a variance to t. 2. minimum acreage requirements for a multi-family use.  The property has approx. 284’ of frontage before the deeded town portion is taken into consideration.  90% of this lot is open space with 18% being occupied by buildings.  No new construction will be done for this project; buildings are already there with a lot of renovation already done to the barn.

This lot is a grandfathered lot until you want to change something.  When changes are made you then have to conform to the current zoning and meet minimum acreage & frontage requirements.

Tom Wainwright feels that Mr. Baas should have gone to the PB before coming to the BOA seeking a variance since the PB may have other issues that they are not aware of.  Mr. Baas stated that he has not gone to the PB since he received his deeded property.

MOTION – Ben Brown moved to continue this public hearing until 10/18/06 at 7 PM so the applicant can meet with the Planning Board for more clarification.  Tom Wainwright seconded.

VOTE ON MOTION – Tom Wainwright – Yes
                        Steve MacCleery – Yes
                        Ed Meehan – Yes
                        Ben Brown – Yes
                        David Dobson – Yes

Motion carried 5-0.  

This public hearing will reconvene on 10/18/06.  Two other public hearings will be scheduled for 10/25/06 starting at 7 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Holly MacCleery, Secretary

Edward Meehan, Chairman

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