Town of Harrisville
Zoning Board of Adjustment
Meeting Minutes
May 16, 2018

The Town of Harrisville Zoning Board of Adjustment held a public meeting on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 @ the Town Offices located at 705 Chesham Road.

Members present: Hal Grant, Chairman; Jeffrey Trudelle; Patrick Gagne Alternate, Jay Jacobs, Selectman, Rex Baker, Mary Ann Noyer Alternate
Members absent: Charles Sorenson, Vice-Chairman
Members of the public: William Mark Gendron, applicant; Jason Raynor; Schuyler Grant

Hal Grant opened the meeting at 7: 05 pm.

  1. William Mark Gendron, 59 Nelson Road, Map-61 Lot-20 – Application for a Special Exception from Article V Sections 4 of the zoning ordinance. Applicant seeks to remove an existing 3’ x24’ deck and replace it with a 12’ x 24’ deck.Using drawings, Mr. Gendron described his property, an existing non-conforming lot in the lakeside residential district, and his proposal to replace his existing deck and extend it by 9’. The extension would put the deck at a distance of 35’ from the street and 67’ from the pond. Mr. Gendron stated the material would be trex decking with a glass railing and crushed stone underneath. The calculations for impervious cover were as follows: existing impervious cover totals 4,669 square feet (the total allowed being 7667 square feet; the total proposed impervious cover would be 4,957 square feet, still well under the 20% standard for the total lot of .88 acres.

Following discussion of the proposal, Jay Jacobs moved to accept the application for the Special Exception for the proposed deck on the non-conforming lot. Rex Baker seconded. The board subsequently reviewed the necessary conditions according to Article XX of the zoning ordinance as follows:  The specific site is an appropriate location for such use. All agreed.  The use as developed will not adversely affect the adjacent area. All agreed.  There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians. All agreed.  Adequate and appropriate facilities will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use. All agreed.  The proposed use shall comply with all the frontage, setbacks, minimum land area, sanitary protection, signs, and parking requirements for itself or its most similar use, except where specifically waived by the board, the reasons for such waiver to be set forth in writing by the board. Other than the setback, for which the Board agreed an exception was allowable, all agreed on this article.

The five necessary conditions having been established by the applicant, the board unanimously voted to approve the Special Exception.  

  1. New Business

Jay Raynor, applicant before the Historic District Commission with a proposal for 3 Main Street, sought guidance from the ZBA regarding procedures for an appeal from the HDC’s decision of May 15.  Mr. Raynor summarized for the board the chronology of his application to date and the reasons for his appeal. He stated that his original application was submitted January 12, 2018. On March 19, he informed the HDC of a change in his proposal, after which, on March 20, a site visit with the HDC took place as well as a review of his plans. Mr. Raynor stated he had offered to submit a new application but that Doug Walker, Chair of the HDC, informed him that wasn’t necessary.

Mr. Raynor reviewed that, on April 10, a formal site visit with public hearing and proper noticing took place, to address the prospect of moving the building to attach it to the barn. Following discussion at that meeting, the HDC voted unanimously, 6-0, to allow the relocation of the house. Mr. Raynor read the motion from the meeting minutes for the board, including the stipulation that relocation would be allowed pending approval of the final design. The subsequent HDC meeting was scheduled for one week later, April 17, to provide the Raynors with specifications to be included in the site plan.  The agenda included confirmation of whether or not 3 Main Street lay within the historic district as there was discrepancy about this on April 10. Mr. Raynor noted the 1969 guidelines referred to and the reason for the boundary line discrepancy but added for purposes of moving forward that he had agreed to assume, until confirmation of the designation, that stricter standards would apply. Mr. Raynor noted that, based on the proposed agenda, he didn’t need to have his attorney present again for the April 17 meeting.

Mr. Raynor stated to the ZBA that, at the April 17 meeting, he repeatedly asked to present his plans but the HDC would not receive them. Furthermore, the HDC moved instead “to seek assistance from the NH Division of Historical Resources for the purposes of acquiring technical assistance on the demolition and moving of buildings at 3 Main Street.” The next HDC meeting was postponed until further notice.

Mr. Raynor wondered where the HDC’s change in direction came from and noted that, at some point in the seven days following the unanimous decision, they took a 180-degree turn.  He subsequently cited addition requirements placed on them that other applicants had not been required to meet and their financial investment to date.

Mr. Raynor then outlined the HDC’s agenda for the May 15 meeting and the motion that ensued. He suggested that the standards used by the HDC to reach the May 15 decision to disallow relocation of the structure were the same standards used to approve the relocation in the HDC’s April 10 decision and that the applicable regulations and processes were being amended as the board went along.  Mr. Raynor acknowledged for the ZBA that the state’s guidelines are that buildings should not be moved unless there is no feasible alternative for their preservation. To Mr. Raynor, the process appears very subjective and arbitrary and the HDC has not acted independently.

The ZBA advised Mr. Raynor that an appeal of administrative decision was within his rights and would come before its board. They further advised that the appeal would have to include evidence of how and why the applicant feels the HDC had erred in its decision. The board recommended Mr. Raynor discuss the matter with his attorney.  The group also discussed the potential applicability of RSA 676:8, which addresses the required 45-day timeline for review of applications.

Given the timing of the next regularly scheduled meeting of the ZBA and a potential appeal, members considered possible dates for a special meeting prior to that time, including Wednesday, May 30, 2018.

  1. Approval of Minutes

The board moved to approve the meeting minutes of April 18, 2018.

Meeting adjourned at 8:19 pm.