CHICHESTER BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT MINUTES
DECEMBER 19, 2007
Continuance of 11/14/07 public hearing-Case #212-Chuckster’s LLC, Mark Blasko & Chuck Breton, Map 2 Lot 81, requesting an Area Variance to Article III, Section P.4. to permit construction of a go-cart track within wetland buffer and pedestrian walkway crossing wetland to access track area. Property is located on Route 4 & Bailey Road.
Members Present: Edward Meehan, Chairman; Stephen MacCleery, ex-offico; Mark McIntosh; Richard Millette; David Dobson.
Applicants Mark Blasko, Chuck Breton, Anthony Costello as well as area abutters were also present.
A letter from Attorney Paul Twomey, representing abutters Bill & Diane Stevens, as well as a letter from James McKerley were accepted by the chairman. Both letters oppose granting the proposed use. The Chichester Conservation Commission also submitted their comments related to the requested area variance and the construction of a portion of the go-cart track within the wetland buffer on the easterly portion of the site. They are not in favor of this project extending into the wetland buffer. (All letters on file.)
Legal opinion was obtained from town council concerning pertaining to the need for a variance for the pedestrian walkway crossing wetland to access the track area. The way zoning is written, there is no need for a variance concerning the walkway. A variance would be needed for the project itself.
BOA agreed to stay in board discussion phase continuing from last meeting and only ask questions of those present at their discretion.
Steve MacCleery asked applicant Mr. Blasko if he had any information on pervious pavement, which is a possibility so you would not have runoff from the pavement but would go into the ground off the track.
Mr. Blasko-Have done a lot of homework on this project. Concrete is the only practical surface because of wear & tear on tires. Very few tracks built on pavement. Tires need to be changed weekly. With a concrete track you can go months on same tires.
Steve-I believe there is pervious concrete.
Ed Meehan-The pavement is a problem because of runoff.
Mr. Blasko-Haven’t found any tracks with pervious pavement.
Steve-It costs more money than regular pavement. The CC has brought up their concern with fuel and possible spillage so maybe pervious pavement isn’t the answer.
Mr. Costello-You want to keep gasoline out of the water but also get the water back into the ground. A system will be set up with a catch basin and a storm scepter inside. Water will be separated from the gas; the water will go into an underground filtration system, will spread the water out and get it back into the ground. This hasn’t been designed yet so they are uncertain if it will be underneath the track or in the center of the track. The intention is to take the water, collect it in one area so grease/gas can be separated, then have water come out in an underground leech field with filtering materials. Any water on the track will be self-contained. State criteria for treatment will be met.
Ed Meehan-With go-carts is there a way for noise reduction?
Mr. Blasko-Looked at all different brands of carts. Chose specifically those with Honda motors because they have the lowest decibel output. Plan on using super silencer muffler that will reduce several decibels below that. Will have the quietest cars possible. Plan on planting extra dense foliage around perimeter, leaving the buffer of trees that is there now, will reduce the hours carts will be running.
Mr. Breton-Also looking at a sound barrier with a fencing that would be around the track that would reduce the decibels by 20-40.
Mark McIntosh-Will track be on the surface or be recessed with wall above track?
Mr. Breton-Plan to be on the surface. Don’t think track can go down.
Mark-Will buffering be above the track?
Mr. Breton-4’-5’ fence around the north side of the track
Steve MacCleery asked Mr. Mann of the Conservation Commission if the applicant contained the water in the fueling area would their concerns be satisfied.
Mr. Mann-After the site walk the CC thought they would come back with other options. In general, with gasoline cars being refueled in the wetland area, it is a concern. Mainly looked at the infringement of the buffer and restricted their comments to that issue.
Ed Meehan-Any tracks that used electric go-carts?
Mr. Blasko-Electric cart are used almost exclusively indoors, not so much outdoors. They need to be charged in between use and would need a double pit area. There is not enough area for additional pit space.
David Dobson-How about reconfiguring track to stay out of the buffer?
Mr. Blasko-Most track lengths on average are 1000’-1200’ long. Ours has been reduced to 807’ which is well below average. To reduce it any more would not make it viable. The first concern of the CC during the site walk was the high value wetland. They wondered if track could be relocated to impact another buffer instead. When he walked the site last year the wetland didn’t seem to have as much of a value as the other wetland that has an intermittent stream running through it. On the CC site walk there were conflicting opinions. We were willing to reconfigure the track to eliminate one of the wetland buffers.
Steve MacCleery-Any possibility of purchasing additional property where track abuts property line?
Mr. Blasko-The party was not interested.
Steve-Your track is right on the property line. Definition of a structure, according to zoning you need to be 15’ from the side and 40’ from the front.
Mr. Blasko-With the golf course, the PB found that the concrete holes were not considered permanent structures. We hope they have the same feeling about the track.
Ed Meehan-According to definition it is open to interpretation. It refers to a permanent entity. It could be looked at either way.
Steve-I look at a structure as something that will be taxed.
At this time the board moved on to the worksheet to discuss the area variance as submitted, as it pertains to the wetland buffer for the go-cart track.
Mr. Blasko asked if it would be appropriate to submit new information regarding this issue. Ed Meehan stated that information was presented at the original hearing and the board would be working with that.
Steve stated that he couldn’t vote to approve the variance without putting a stipulation that a storm water containment system would be needed. He feels that there would not be a diminution in value of surrounding properties because of conditions that will be attached to the variance.
Ed feels there is not a diminution because this is a commercial zone and is an approved use. The entire parcel is within the commercial district.
Richard added that there would be a diminution is there were a go-cart track next door, because of the nature of the business.
Ed-Would be contrary to the public interest because of the potential effect of runoff to the wetlands.
Steve-Even if we required retention/filtering of the runoff? Feels this would not be contrary to public interest because the applicant has stated that they would construct what ever means necessary to contain runoff from the project which would filter out any contaminants before clean water is returned to the surface.
David-Would be contrary because we need to maintain wetland buffers to protect the wetland. To keep them in a natural state. Concerned about the close proximity of oil & fuel to the buffer.
Steve asked Mr. Blasko if there were a way to reconfigure the track so that it would not impact the wetland. He replied not practically.
Ed-The special condition is that this is a small area that this project is being designed to fit. The same benefit cannot be achieved by some other reasonably feasible method because the purchase of additional land is not feasible.
Steve-Do we look at this as a small area with a big project, or too big a project for a small area?
Ed-If you had enough land to begin with you wouldn’t need a variance.
David-The project is overlapping the area provided.
Mark-Substantial justice would not be done because of the encroaching wetland & the wetland buffer.
Steve-Substantial justice would be done because it allows reasonable use of commercial property with a minimal impact on wetland buffers with a storm water containment and filtration system. We want the buffers to work correctly and not be contaminated, but if there were a system that could be designed that would address the concerns how could we not allow the project because this is a permissible use in the commercial zone?
David-The use would be contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because the project is not allowed in a buffer zone. There are different degrees of impact, some are minimal and others are not.
Richard referred to the comment mentioned in Paul Twomey’s letter that this would be contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because it encroaches upon wetlands in order to preserve a small portion of an existing lot that already has a significant commercial use on it.
Steve-The spirit is to preserve wetlands but not severely restrict usable are of an existing lot. This development would not have a significant impact on the town’s water resources. Our ordinance developed commercial zones within 500’ & 1000’ of Routes 28 & 4.
David-This area drains into the designated high value wetland area.
Mark-Where the access path is going to go sits lower than the track will be. Behind the track you have wetlands going down into the brook which go towards Rt. 4.
Steve-The ordinance is trying to protect wetlands but also concentrate commercial development along Routes 28 & 4. What part of the ordinance are we looking at, addressing the wetland ordinance or the entire ordinance?
Richard-Does that mean that the commercial routes have less stringent rules when it comes to wetlands?
Steve-Apparently it does because a number of variances have been granted through the years for commercial development. Which one is the better value, the wetland or the commercial property?
David-We are only considering the wetland ordinance, that is the only thing before us this evening.
Mark McIntosh moved to deny the area variance request of Chuckster’s LLC/Mark Blasko & Chuck Breton, Map 2 Lot 81 to permit construction of a portion of a go-cart track within the wetland buffer because of the impact to the wetland buffers and recommendations from the Conservation Commission and for the following reasons:
1. There would be a diminution in value of surrounding properties as a result of the granting of this variance because of the nature of the business.
2. The granting of this variance would be contrary to the public interest because of the potential effect of runoff to the wetlands.
3. a. The following special conditions of the property make an area variance necessary in order to allow the development as designed-special condition is that this is a small area that this project is being designed to fit.
b. The same benefit cannot be achieved by some other reasonably feasible method that would not impose an undue financial burden because purchase of additional land is not feasible.
4. By granting this variance substantial justice would not be done because of the encroaching wetlands and wetland buffer.
5. The use contemplated by petitioner as a result of obtaining this variance would be contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because this area drains into a high value wetland area.
Seconded by Ed Meehan.
DISCUSSION ON MOTION
Richard Millette-If this variance is denied is there any other use for that piece of the property?
Steve MacCleery-They could design something smaller or have a business with no chance of pollution.
VOTE ON MOTION
Mark McIntosh – Yes
David Dobson – Yes
Ed Meehan – Yes
Steve MacCleery – No
Richard Millette – Yes
Motion carries 4-1. Request is denied.
Holly MacCleery, Secretary
Edward Meehan, Chairman