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Board of Adjustment Minutes 06/20/2007
CHICHESTER BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT MINUTES
JUNE 20, 2007

Continuance of Case #210-Ann Towle Fournier, Map 2 Lot 24, requesting an area variance to Article III, Section E. I. to permit a subdivision of a 2 acre lot with 150’ of frontage instead of the required 200’.  Property is located on Horse Corner Road.

Members Present:  Edward Meehan, Chairman; Mark McIntosh; David Dobson; Ben Brown.  Selectman Stephen MacCleery stepped down from the board since the BOS are in litigation/mediation with Mrs. Fournier concerning this matter.

Mrs. Fournier was represented by Attorney Arthur Perkins.  Mr. Perkins stated that there has been a dispute about the location and status of a manufactured home that is on the Fournier property along with her residential home.  She is trying to come to a resolution so that the manufactured home can be put on its own separate lot.  There had been discussions with the Selectmen and town council concerning a subdivision.  At the time it was assumed there was ample frontage to allow a subdivision with 200’ frontage since the farm house would require 300’ as it is a multi-family use.  The property has a total of 458’ leaving the smaller lot 50’ short of the required 200’.  The original subdivision of this property was done back in the 1960’s as a 150’x150’ lot.  15-20 years ago Mrs. Fournier annexed the property and entered into an agreement with the town which she believed gave her the right to utilize the manufactured home as long as she was alive.  The manufactured home has been in its present location since then.  There is now a dispute with the town to determine her “use” of the home, continue to rent it out or physically live in it herself.  She is trying to resolve this issue by subdividing her property without sufficient frontage.

The proposed subdivision would make a separate 2 acre lot with 150’ of frontage which should not adversely affect anyone.  No abutters were present to oppose the request.  The “use” issue would be resolved, and the property would become a separate taxable lot.  The manufactured home has its own water and septic.

If Mrs. Fournier realized years ago, when she subdivided her property for her daughter’s lot that this would be an issue today, she would have kept more frontage with her house lot.  Since her daughter also has a multi-family use she is unable to give up any frontage.

BOARD DISCUSSION
Can a conditional variance be granted?
A variance goes to the land not the person.
A variance has never been granted with a time limit stipulation.
Don’t see a problem with keeping the manufactured home where it is but have a problem with subdividing the lot with only 150’ of frontage instead of the required 200’.
There is no other agreement on the table with the town and Mrs. Fournier.
If a variance is granted she just has to go to the Planning Board with her subdivision plan and the court date in September will be cancelled.
Board would like to see this resolved some other way than creating a substandard lot.
The BOA cannot define “special exception”.  This particular situation does not fall under special exception.

There would not be a diminution in value of surrounding properties since the manufactured home has been in its present location for the past 45 years.

Granting the variance would be contrary to public interest because of the zoning ordinance with no unique features of the land to support a variance.

There are no special conditions of the property that make an area variance necessary.  

Driveway placement and multi-family usage do not make a lot unique.  There are no special conditions on this property that make it unique.

There is no additional frontage that is readily available to purchase.

Substantial justice would not be done because the loss to the individual is loss of finances.  The gain to the public is the enforcement of the zoning ordinance which requires 200’ frontage for this subdivision.  The loss of the individual does not outweigh the gain to the general public.

This would be contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because the ordinance allows for elderly housing under Article III, Section C. 3.B. and the creation of substandard lots under Article II, Section D-District R:Residential.

MOTION
Ben Brown moved to deny the request of Ann Fournier, Map 2 Lot 24, for an area variance to Article III, Section E. I. to permit the subdivision of a 2 acre lot with 150’ of frontage instead of the required 200’ 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 manufactured home has been in its present location for the past 45 years.
2.  The granting of this variance would be contrary to the public interest because of the zoning ordinance with no unique features of the land to support a variance.
3. a. Since there are no special conditions of the property make an area variance necessary in order to allow the development as designed-Driveway placement and multi-family usage do not make a lot unique.  There are no special conditions on this property that make it unique.
  b.   The same benefit cannot be achieved by some other reasonably feasible method that would not impose an undue financial burden because it seems there is no additional frontage that is readily available to purchase.
4.  By granting this variance substantial justice would not be done because loss to the individual is loss of finances.  The gain to the public is the enforcement of the zoning ordinance which requires 200’ frontage for this subdivision.  The loss of the individual does not outweigh the gain to the general public.
5.  The use contemplated by petitioner as a result of obtaining this variance would be contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because the ordinance allows for elderly housing under Article III, Section C. 3.B. and the creation of substandard lots under Article II, Section D-District R:Residential.
Motion was seconded by Mark McIntosh.

VOTE ON MOTION
Mark McIntosh – Yes
Ed Meehan – Yes
David Dobson – Yes
Ben Brown – Yes

Motion carries 4-0.  Request is denied.

Respectfully submitted,



Holly MacCleery, Secretary



Edward Meehan, Chairman
Chichester Board of Adjustment





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