JULY 2, 2018

Members present: Lisa Anderson Chair, Charles Sorenson, Don Scott, Mary Ann Noyer, Carol Ogilvie
Members absent: Jonathan Miner, Angela Hendrickson, Harry Wolhandler

Meeting opened at 3:15 pm




1-Assessment of recurring/troubling areas for ZBA(Charlie Sorenson) From his review of ZBA minutes of the past decade, Charlie identified the following recurring problem areas:
a) Article 5.3 and 5.4 dealing with special exceptions on non-conforming buildings and lots. Applicants end up seeking a variance from the 250’ frontage requirement. Because a variance is so difficult to obtain, the board tries to work within the special exception regulations but, here, Charlie sees the definition of non-conforming lot in need of clarification. The definition currently reads “a lot that is smaller than current lot size requirements.” He believes it’s problematic because it doesn’t deal with the possibility of using a special exception for frontage or setbacks and, if the intent is to allow this, then it needs to be spelled out in both the definition and the provision itself.
b) He also proposed clarifying that the regulations regarding expansion or enlargement of a non-conforming building on a non-conforming lot should be governed by both 5.3 and 5.4;
c) Recommends clarifying and making more consistent the link between 5.4 and (and Article IX)

  1. d) Clarifying general provision related to lots that sit in two districts
    e) Asks if home-based businesses and home occupations requires separate treatment and/or if home occupations should be allowed as of right, as in 4.1.18 or be subject to same conditions as home-based businesses? Also, states that home-based businesses may be subject to site plan review. This should be clarified and confirmed or corrected. ZBA already applies criteria that determines whether a site is appropriate for a specific use.
    f) Setbacks in different districts – Recommends revisiting the intent of these requirements and determining if they’re still realistic and in sync with the goals of the Master Plan.
  2. g) Unnecessary hardship standard – Applicants and ZBA members face difficulty addressing the standard. Group discussed the idea of clarifying the standard in the definitions section or supplying applicants with information and concrete examples ahead of time.
    h) Impervious cover – need for clarity in the definition and provision and whether this should be subject to a special exception; also, can any surface be made pervious? Issue of driveways a repeated challenge. Relevant ordinances include 15.13.1,, 15.3.8 and Definitions section.
    i) Decks – issue of frontage and setback requirements and whether or not a special exception might be needed. Are they treated consistently and appropriately?
    Recommended next steps – assess overall priorities before delving further into proposed rewriting of regulations
    2-Assessment of zoning ordinances relative to goals of Master Plan(Carol Ogilvie) Overall, Carol believes they are aligned. She noted there are elements of the Master Plan which fall outside purview of Planning Board or land use regulations. Areas which could be amended or strengthened include a) Conservation regulations, which she noted was a political question and decision. She also noted setbacks within the wetlands applies only to septic and the town may want to consider addressing structures; b) proposes simplifying home based business/occupation provisions while continuing to protect neighborhood; c) affordable housing (provide a range of housing opportunities and consider locations where smaller lots would be appropriate to encourage smaller houses) acknowledging limitations in town without municipal water/sewer, though community septic systems could be installed – question of how small lots could be; d) provisions for reliable power/energy supplies laying out requirements through Planning Board’s site plan review versus requiring need for a variance; e) allow agriculture by right; f) consider locations

    3-Definitions section(Mary Ann Noyer and Lisa Anderson) Group discussed recommendations for definitions that could possibly be removed (e.g., accessory apartment, seasonal residence or growth permit) or added (abutter, perched beach…) or clarified (impervious cover) and, in the instances where calculations are amounts are included, are these still relevant. It was recommended that anything not allowed, or not referenced, should not be included. (For the next meeting, Mary Ann will search the document to identify any and all that fit this category.) On the question of consolidating definitions to the back of the document or embedding them within the specific articles, it was recommended that keeping them all in one place makes the most sense, except where technical definitions specifically applicable to a particular article should be included within that article.

For the next meeting, Carol will propose her list of potential zoning changes; after that, she will review Andrew’s draft to see where/if he’s addressed recommendations proposed by the committee.  Group will review Article V, provisions addressing home-based businesses/occupations, provisions addressing impervious cover and decks,


The next meeting was scheduled for July 23 at 5:30 pm.