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Board of Adjustment Minutes 03/07/2007 - Case 207A
CHICHESTER BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT MINUTES
MARCH 7, 2007

Case #207A-John Baas, Map 8 Lot 4, requesting an Area Variance to Article II, Section D-CI/MF, Permitted Uses & Special Exceptions t. (2) and Article III, Section E to permit the use of an existing barn/building as a rental property.

Members Present:  Edward Meehan, Chairman; Steve MacCleery, ex-offico; Mark McIntosh, Vice Chairman; David Dobson; Tom Wainwright.

Mr. Baas met with his surveyor who made adjustment to his site plan since the last Planning Board meeting and submitted them to the BOA.  (On file)
He stated that the PB liked his proposal.  There is 26% open space on the lot where the barn is situated.  The site plan has been signed and stamped by soil scientist Peter Schauer.

A letter from abutters Brian & Denise Lombard was read stating they had no objections to the rental use.  (On file)

Mr. Baas filed a Request for Shoreland Variance with the Dept. of Environmental Services requesting a variance to the requirement for 150’ of shoreland frontage for every dwelling unit.  In his request he stated that his daughter lived in this building from May 2005 until Nov. 2005.  DES sent a letter dated 3/7/07 stating that from review of the materials submitted they found that the existing structure already meets the definition of a “residential unit” as found in RSA 483-B:4, XIX.  This project is considered a renovation of a non-conforming structure and not new construction, therefore, no variance is required.  (On file)

An area variance is needed from the BOA for less than a 2 acre lot to support a second residence, 1 house and 1 barn/building which was once a gift shop/studio.  The property has 1.4 acres.  The actual size of the barn is 55’x18’.
He feels that the zoning regulations pertain more to new buildings and projects and makes sense pertaining to new lots.  He wants to be able to use his property and recoup some of his expenses.  The entire building will be used as a 1-bedroom apartment.  The barn has been in its present location for 150 years.  He is asking the BOA to make an exception to the general rule.  He will not be altering the neighborhood nor changing the footprint of the building or the exterior.  This needs to be looked at as an existing property.  Some plumbing and electrical work still needs to be done before it can be rented.

Septic approval has already been granted for which there are two bathrooms in the building.

This will not affect access to Thunder Bridge.  He does have approved parking for the barn and meets the 25% open space requirement.  He is trying to bring the lot into compliance as much as possible.
This will not impact any wetlands as all buildings are already in place.  It would be an economic hardship if the variance is denied.  The current size of the lot limits what he can use it for.  The lot size cannot be expanded.  He doesn’t want to have to take down the barn in order to lessen the taxes.

BOARD DISCUSSION
The board looked at the zoning regulations and the requirement of 2 acres for the first rental unit.  It could be interpreted that the combined use of a house and rental barn would need 4 acres total.  A house alone in the residential zone requires 2 acres.

Mr. Baas stated that the PB said he only needs 2 _ acres for the entire project.  The primary dwelling requires 2 acres and the rental would require _ acre, which he doesn’t have, thus a variance is required.

The abutters seem to be in favor of this because no changes are being made.

This variance preserves the character and use of the neighborhood and would not decrease the surrounding property values.

It would be contrary to public interest because the area requirements in zoning prevent the overcrowding of the land to avoid undue concentration of population.
It was also felt that this would not be contrary to public interest because the building will be preserved and three different abutters sent letters stating their approval of this variance.

The special conditions of the property are that the lot was subdivided before zoning was enacted and current zoning has divided the property into two separate zones which do not conform to the current zoning.

There is no adjacent land available to purchase to allow the project to conform to present zoning.

Substantial justice would be done because the buildings on the property would be kept in their present condition and the proposed barn/building will be upgraded and used to its full extent.

The use contemplated by the petitioner would be contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because the spirit is to prevent overcrowding of the land and to avoid undue concentration of population.
It was also felt that it would not be contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because multi-family use of this building in its present location is permitted in the CI/Mf zone.  Mr. Baas has a pre-existing structure on a lot that current zoning considers undersized, that preempts zoning.



MOTION
David Dobson moved to grant an Area Variance to Article II, Section D.-CI/Mf-Permitted Uses – t. (2) & Article III, Section E. 1. to Map 8, Lot 4 for the proposed 1-bedroom rental unit 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 it preserves the character and use of the neighborhood and it would not decrease the surrounding property values.
2.  The variance would not be contrary to the public interest because the building will be preserved and three different abutters sent letters stating their approval of this variance.
3. a. The following special conditions of the property make an area variance necessary in order to allow the project as designed: the lot was subdivided before zoning was enacted; current zoning has divided the property into two separate zones which do not conform to the current zoning.
  b. The same benefit cannot be achieved by some other reasonably feasible method that would not impose an undue financial burden because there is no adjacent land available to purchase to allow the project to conform to present zoning.
4.  By granting this variance substantial justice would be done because the buildings on the property would be kept in their present condition, and the proposed barn/building will be upgraded and used to its full extent.
5.  The use contemplated by petitioner as a result of obtaining this variance would not be contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because multi-family use of this building in its present location is permitted in the CI/Mf zone.  Mr. Baas has a pre-existing structure on a lot that current zoning considers undersized, that preempts zoning.
Motion was seconded by Mark McIntosh.

VOTE ON MOTION
Tom Wainwright – Yes
Steve MacCleery – No
Ed Meehan – Yes
Mark McIntosh – Yes
David Dobson – Yes

Motion carries 4-1, request is granted.

Respectfully submitted,



Holly MacCleery, Secretary                              Edward Meehan, Chairman
Chichester Board of Adjustment                  Chichester Board of Adjustment








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