The Town of Harrisville Zoning Board Adjustment held a public meeting on March 15, 2017 @ the Town Office located on 705 Chesham Road.

Members present: Hal Grant, Chairman; Charles Sorenson, Co-Chair; Andrew Maneval, Selectman Alternate; Sue Brown; Jeffrey Trudelle; Rex Baker, Alternate.

Members absent: Curtis Taylor, Alternate.
Members of the public: Dave Kennard, Julia Pakradooni, Phil Miner, Kathryn Miner, Sherry Sims, Winston Sims, John Newcombe, Don Scott, Aidas Kupcinskas, Peg Whitney, Paul Whitney.

Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm.

  1. The first application on the agenda was that of Aidas and Gita Kupcinskas of 429 Chesham Road (Map 40 Lot 54), an application for a Variance from Article 15, Section 13.2 of the Town of Harrisville Zoning Ordinances. Representing the Kupcinskas’s was Don Scott, who described a proposed plan for an 8’ x 19’ deck to be placed on the lakeside of the home which would wrap around and connect with the existing deck on the west side.

Displaying visuals of site plans and photographs to the board and public, Mr. Scott reviewed the proposal and the applicability of two sections in particular of the zoning ordinances, including Article IX relating to Lakeside District and Article XV, Shoreland Overlay Ordinance, and the regulation related to required minimum setback (15.13.2.1) from which the applicant seeks 16’ relief. Mr. Scott stated that the proposed new deck on the existing structure, now 42’ from the shoreline, would shorten the setback to 34’.  Mr. Scott noted that under Harrisville’s ordinances for non-conforming structures, which the applicant’s is, open decks are not considered expansions.  Mr. Scott additionally argued that his proposal meets the requirements of 15.13.2.2 through 15.13.2.5 of the Shoreland Overlay Protection ordinance and described in detail the improvements to the structure and property, including infiltration measures and the addition of a vegetative buffer, that he believes would provide protection to the water and improved environmental conditions related to rainwater runoff and erosion control.

Charles Sorenson moved the discussion to Article XX of the zoning ordinances, which lists all the conditions required for the ZBA to grant a Variance. Mr. Sorenson focused on 20.1.4.5, Unnecessary Hardship, which reads that Literal enforcement of the provisions of the ordinance would result in an unnecessary hardship as defined by New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated Chapter 674, Section 33, as amended.  The board and Mr. Scott discussed the relevance and meaning of this clause and its application to the Kupcinskas’s property and proposed deck expansion.

While it was generally agreed that certain sections of Article XX could be met, including 20.1.4.1 through 20.1.4.4 and that, especially related to proposed improvements the proposal offered potential benefits to the public interest, Mr. Sorenson stated that the application does not address how the property is distinct or different or unique compared to other properties on the pond, or how the applicant’s circumstances differ from anyone else’s, and that historically the ZBA has not granted variances for unnecessary hardships.

The question was raised by Rex Baker if the addition of stairs – which would provide additional egress from a currently unusable door, a condition which the applicant seeks to remedy – would qualify as part of a structure. It was initially thought by board members that exterior steps would seem allowable without a request for a Special Exception and that they would be considered part of a structure.

Charles Sorenson then moved to deny the Variance based on the condition that the Kupcinskas property was not unique, the required 5th criterion of Unnecessary Hardship, though the presentation was correct in its addressing the first four criteria. The motion was seconded by Jeffrey Trudelle and the Variance was denied by a vote of 3-2. Charlie Sorenson, Jeffrey Trudelle and Andrew Maneval voted ‘yes’ to deny and Hal Grant and Sue Brown voted ‘no.’

Revisiting the question of constructing exterior stairs, Andrew Maneval recommended the applicant approach the building inspector who would consider the matter and then would confer with the ZBA or Select Board or both if he requires confirmation that such a proposal conforms to the town ordinances.

  1. The second application on the agenda was the request by Phil and Kathryn Miner of Yellow Wings Farm (Map 70 Lot 05) for a Special Exception from Article IX, Section 9.1.6 to construct a storage shed. The proposed 20×30-foot shed would sit 50 feet back from the shoreline on the parcel of land the Miner’s own on Silver Lake and would house recreational equipment and furniture for use on the lake.

Don Scott, representing the Miners, described how the shed would be located on a graded level terrace that would be stabilized with new vegetation.  With photographs and site plans, Mr. Scott noted the existing easement and path from the existing house to the additional parcel on the lake, stated that the closest neighbors lie beyond 200 feet and that the proposal includes the planting of indigenous shrubs and the placement of a retaining wall to bench the grade.  In addition, Mr. Scott described the relocation of the path so that it would traverse to a lesser grade and explained that a trench would capture surface rainwater runoff in a swale for infiltration, serving as a level spreader. Addressing the required conditions to be met under the zoning ordinances, Mr. Scott explained how the proposed shed’s location, use and design was consistent with the intent, spirit and regulations as set forth for the granting of a Special Exception under Article 9.1.6 through 9.1.6.4, including that the storage shed is intended for customary lakeside residential and recreational use.

A question was raised by Sherry Sims of the Planning Board regarding the PB’s recent conditional approval of a subdivision on the lot adjacent to the Miner’s. That decision involved the conditional settlement of a boundary line between the applicant and Phil and Kathryn Miner, whose lot was the subject of the ZBA’s consideration. The ZBA noted Ms. Sims’s question and determined that the Miner application could be decided on its own merits as either meeting or not meeting the conditions for a Special Exception.

Upon reviewing the conditions established in 9.1.6 and the Special Exception general provisions as laid out in Article XX, including waiving the requirement of setback from the pond of between 50 and 75 feet given the increased slope in the property at the further distance, the board agreed the conditions were satisfactorily met. Charles Sorenson moved to grant a Special Exception for the applicant for construction of a storage shed. Andrew Maneval seconded. All voted in favor.

  1. The final item on the agenda was the approval of the minutes of December 21, 2016. All voted in favor to sign and approve.

Meeting adjourned at 8:25 pm.