The Town of Harrisville Zoning Board of Adjustment held a public meeting on December 20, 2017 @ the Town Offices located at 705 Chesham Road.

Members present: Hal Grant, Chairman; Charles Sorenson, Vice-Chairman; Jonathan Miner, Selectman; Jeffrey Trudelle; Rex Baker, Alternate
Members of the public: Deirdre Oliver, Scott Oliver, Suzanne Hodgkins, John Hodgkins, and Don Scott

Hal Grant opened the meeting at 7: 03 pm.

While no applications were heard, the board convened to address questions from residents.

The first matter related to Scott and Deirdre Oliver of Chesham Road, regarding the completion of work over their garage, previously permitted approximately nine years ago. The Olivers received another permit within the past couple of weeks from the Building Inspector to complete work for an Accessory Dwelling Unit, subject to review by the ZBA, and ZBA approval if needed. The Olivers had completed and submitted the paperwork to the ZBA, in the event a formal application was necessary.

Mr. Grant subsequently read aloud the ADU language from the previous Zoning Ordinance, which the board compared to the new ADU language adopted at Town Meeting in March 2017. The newly approved language, which Mr. Sorenson read aloud, allows ADUs as of right in the Residential / Agricultural District except in high density areas and within the village, where a Special Exception from the Planning Board is required.  The relevant language of the new Article XXIX of the Zoning Ordinances reads as follows:


            29.3.1.  Accessory dwelling units (ADU’s) that are attached to the existing single family residence are allowed by right in all districts that permit single-family dwellings, except a conditional use permit from the Planning Board shall be required in high-density areas, i.e., village and lakeside districts.

The ZBA, determining that the Oliver’s residence lies outside the village and that the garage in which the ADU will be housed is attached to the single-family residence, agreed that no formal application to the ZBA for Special Exception approval was required. Charles Sorenson then moved that the Olivers did not require approval from either the ZBA or the Planning Board to complete work on the space over their garage. Jeffrey Trudelle seconded. The board voted unanimously in favor.

The board next considered the matter of an addition to a house on .57 acres in the lakeside residential district. Mr. Hodgkins presented a drawing and photos of what he proposes for extending the structure away from the water and behind the line of the existing deck, which is currently 22 feet from the water. By Mr. Hodgkins’s calculations, the proposed work would not result in the property’s exceeding the 20% impervious cover standard. He shared the specific calculations with the board and then asked for the board to ensure he could meet the required setbacks.

Upon preliminary review, Mr. Sorenson believed the work would require an application for a Special Exception under Article 5.3, which addresses expansion of non-conforming buildings, while also applying Article 20, which includes conditions for the granting of a Special Exception. Mr. Sorenson stated his view that the Hodgkins file a formal application with the ZBA for a Special Exception under Article 5.3 to expand their non-conforming structure.  He added that side and front setbacks would be examined as part of the application. The board encouraged Mr. Hodgkins to apply to DES first and also described how to proceed with the application paperwork within the town offices.

Don Scott then approached the board with a description of runoff mitigation work on property owned by Fletcher on the east side of Skatutakee Road, where the home’s foundation is being repaired. The owner would like to extend the driveway behind the 50-foot setback line and Mr. Scott proposes to increase pervious surface on the lot by turning existing decking into pervious pavers. Charles Sorenson stated that, upon preliminary review, he believed the proposal would require a Variance given the issue of impervious cover.  The board and Mr. Scott discussed possible options for driveway expansion, as Mr. Scott proposes expanding the impervious cover in a more conforming direction, away from the lake, and adding infiltration features.  The board also reviewed the definition of impervious cover from page 58 of the Zoning Ordinances and Mr. Sorenson noted that, if Mr. Scott could demonstrate that the design would reduce impervious cover to below the 20% threshold, he may not need a Variance but, if he could not, a Variance, and proof of ability to meet the hardship provision, would be required.  The group discussed the difficulty that driveways which, by definition are impervious surfaces, present. No formal recommendation was made.

Subsequently, the board approved its Meeting Minutes of September 20, 2017.

As a final matter, the ZBA members expressed deep gratitude to Susan Brown for her service on the board.

Meeting adjourned at 8:15 pm.