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Board of Adjustment Minutes 10/27/2010
CHICHESTER BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT MINUTES
OCTOBER 27, 2010

Case #232-Dawn & Debra LaCross, Map 10 Lot 3, requesting a Variance to Article III 3.16 Section (D) [II] to permit an in-law addition onto existing house within the wetland buffer.

Members Present:  Mark McIntosh, Chairman; Mike Paveglio, ex-offico; David Dobson; Ben Brown; Richard Millette; Steve MacCleery, Alternate.

Others:  Paul Adams, Lawrence Bellemare, Geraldine Jordan, Dawn & Debra LaCross, Tom Jameson, Fuat & Leslie Ari.

Debra LaCross presented her case and stated they would like to add an addition on the back of their existing home with a 2 car garage and an in-law apartment above it.  They have hired an architecture to keep it aesthetically pleasing.  This would not be used as a rental, just for family purposes.  When speaking with the building inspector they were told this project would fall within the wetland buffer and they should seek a variance before obtaining a building permit.  The addition doesn’t impact the 25’ setback but would impact the 50’ setback. They had looked at changing the direction of the addition but are trying to avoid any stairs from the garage into the house for their mother.  The lot has 5.364 acres with plenty of road frontage on both Pleasant Street & Healy Pasture Road.  They do not want to put a trailer on the property for elderly housing.  The proposed addition would have its own kitchen which would make this a 2-family dwelling.  The current house is 1900 sq. ft.  They have invested a lot of money so far with a plot plan and approved septic design and feel they have gone through the proper channels.  No filling would be needed for this project.  The area is dry where the addition is proposed and the lot slopes off with a 10’ drop.

Paul Adams stated that this whole area of Pleasant has wetlands.  The Planning Board approved 25 lots in a subdivision that have the same problem.  He agreed that this was a unique buffer system and working outside the buffer won’t affect the wetlands.  He suggested that the BOA note how much sq. ft. of the wetland is affected and the grade of the wetland itself; give technical reasons if this is approved.  He thought this project was well thought out and had no objection.

Tom Jameson added that he supports this proposal.  There would only be a tiny infringement to the wetlands.

BOARD DISCUSSION

*A 2-family dwelling is allowed on this lot.
*This would not be contrary to public interest because of ample frontage & acreage for a 2-family dwelling and it has been designed to fit the slope of the lot.
*The spirit of the ordinance would be observed because the elevation change diminishes the impact of not meeting the setback.
*Substantial justice would be done because of adequate road frontage & acreage and minimal impact to the wetland buffer because of the grade change.  A lot of work has been done to make sure this proposal fits into the lay of the land.
*The presented site plan is aesthetically pleasing and the plans appear to be well thought out taking into account all aspects of the property layout.
*Storm water runoff from the roof should be considered with 1000 more sq. ft.  If allowed drainage should be addressed.  Due to the loss of permeable soil within the buffer with the addition, a professional needs to evaluate the storm water runoff needs.
*Surrounding properties would not be diminished because the proposed addition has been designed by an architecture and fits the lay of the land and does not have an impact to the neighbor’s view.
*All the lots are the same along Pleasant Street.  Property has uniqueness that it sits at a raised elevation from the wetlands which make up for the fact the full setback isn’t met.  Applying the full extent of the zoning on this property is not fair and substantial.
*The ordinance describes the setback as far as horizontal.  The uniqueness of this property provides a vertical component that offsets the required horizontal distance.
*The use is a reasonable one because property has adequate frontage & acreage for a 2-family dwelling.  Owing to special conditions of the property the proposed use is reasonable.

MOTION

Ben Brown moved to grant the requested variance for an in-law addition for the following reasons:
1.  Granting the variance would not be contrary to the public interest because the lot has ample frontage & acreage for a 2-family dwelling.  The addition has been designed to fit the slope of the lot.
2.  The spirit of the ordinance would be observed because the elevation change diminishes the impact of not meeting the setback.
3.  Granting the variance would do substantial justice because adequate road frontage & acreage are met.  There is minimal impact to wetland buffer because of the grade change.  A lot of work has been done to make sure this proposal fits into the lay of the land.
4.  For the following reasons the values of the surrounding properties would not be diminished because the proposed addition has been designed by an architecture, fits the lay of the land, and does not have an impact to the neighbor’s view.
5.  Owing to special conditions of the property that distinguish it from other properties in the area, denial of the variance would result in unnecessary hardship because:
  a.  There is not a fair and substantial relationship between the general public purpose of the ordinance provision and the specific application of that provision to the property because the ordinance describes the setback as far as horizontal setback.  The uniqueness of this property provides a vertical component that offsets the required horizontal distance.
  b.  The proposed use is a reasonable one because the property meets the adequate frontage and acreage required  for a 2-family dwelling.  Owing to special conditions of the property, the proposed use is reasonable.
Condition to granting the variance:  Due to the loss of permeable soil within the buffer with the addition, a professional needs to evaluate the storm water runoff needs before a building permit is issued.

Motion was seconded by Mike Paveglio.

VOTE ON MOTION
Ben Brown – Yes
David Dobson – Yes
Mike Paveglio – Yes
Richard Millette – Yes
Mark McIntosh – Yes
Motion with condition carries 5-0.
Respectfully submitted,

Holly MacCleery, Secretary

Mark McIntosh, Chairman
Chichester Board of Adjustment


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