Zoning Board of Adjustment
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
The Harrisville ZBA held a regularly scheduled meeting and public hearing on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at town offices and via zoom.
Members present: Charles Sorenson Chair, Hal Grant Vice Chair, Rex Baker, Pegg Monahan, Alternate, Mary Ann Noyer Alternate
Members absent: Jeff Trudelle, Patrick Gagne, Jay Jacobs Select Board Representative, Andrew Maneval Alternate
Members of the public: Don Scott, Kully Mindemann, Harry Wolhandler
Chairman Charlie Sorenson noted that the voting members for the evening were himself, Hal Grant, Rex Baker, Pegg Monahan and Mary Ann Noyer. He then opened the public hearing for the following matter:
Kully Mindemann and Wendy Hill, 201 Bonds Corner Road (Map 20 – Lot 36-1 ) – applying for two special exceptions under Articles 6.1.3 and 12.9.1 to construct a 24’x24’ garage. Don Scott, representing the property owners, described for the board the unique conditions of the lot, which limit viable location of the proposed structure or other further development.
The 7.5-acre lot within the Residential/Agricultural District contains 4.9 acres of wetlands, with the house and current sheds located on the section outside of the wetlands, and the septic located in the adjacent lot-space, also outside the existing wetlands. The only developable location for the new garage lies 25 feet from the public right-of-way, as well as between the 50 to 100’ buffer zone, which is required for any development adjacent to wetlands.
For these reasons, the owners seek relief, first, from Article 6.1.3 which states that, by Special Exception, garages may be located no less than 25’ from the nearest boundary of any public right-of-way or side and rear boundary of the lot. Mr. Scott explained that the proposed garage will be detached from the primary residence. Its proposed location is 25’ from the public right of way and the house lies 50’ from this boundary.
The second request for relief is from Article 12.9.1, Wetlands Conservation Overlay District, which states that a special exception for uses may be granted by the ZBA for accessory structures associated with legally pre-existing primary structures, if it can be demonstrated that no practical alternative elsewhere on the lot. Mr. Scott then demonstrated on the site plan why no practical alternative exists.
He explained that nearly 5 of the 7.5 acres are wetlands. Applying the wetland buffer essentially occupies the entire parcel, leaving only a small area outside the buffer, along the existing driveway. Finding an alternative location for the garage that is both outside the 25’ public right of way boundary and the 100’ wetland buffer is impossible because these two buffers overlap. Thus, the request for relief from Article 12.9.1 in addition to 6.1.3.
Between the 50 and 100’ wetland buffer zone, the ordinance allows for development of 20%. Showing the calculations for developed area between these two distances, Mr. Scott stated that currently 13.5% of this area is occupied or disturbed. With the new garage, the disturbed area will increase to 15.1%, still below the 20% threshold.
Mr. Scott further showed photos of the lot and existing structures, including of the stone wall right of way delineation, the boundary markers/pins and an aerial photo showing the septic field as well. Images of the proposed garage showed its relationship to the boundary markers, existing culvert, existing structures, and right-of-way. Impervious cover calculation is no 1.1% and, with the new garage, it will increase to 1.4%. The limit allowed is 30%.
The Chair asked Mr. Scott to review why there is no practical alternative for the garage. Mr. Scott replied that there is essentially no land left taking into account the property boundaries, setback requirements, including the right-of-way, and the wetland buffer zone. The only other practical place for the garage lies to the north, where the septic system lies. Thus, he added, the only feasible location is the proposed location. Mr. Scott further explained that the existing drainage system will remain and all buffer plantings will remain.
There were no objections submitted from abutters. Mr. Mindemann noted that they hope to begin work this summer. He further emphasized that, in their 35 years there, they have never had drainage issues in the proposed garage location.
Mr. Sorenson then reviewed the language in Article 6.1.3. and requested a motion. Rex Baker subsequently moved to grant a Special Exception under Article 6.1.3 for the garage to be located no less than 25’ from the public right of way. Pegg Monahan seconded. Reviewing the special exception criteria under Article XX, members unanimously agreed that: The specific site is an appropriate location for such use (126.96.36.199); The use as developed will not adversely affect the adjacent area (188.8.131.52); There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians (184.108.40.206); Adequate and appropriate facilities will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use (220.127.116.11); and 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. Mr. Sorenson noted that the board was waiving the location of a structure no closer than 25 from the public right-of-way. Members voted unanimously in favor, 5-0.
Returning to Article XII, Mr. Sorenson read aloud 12.9.1 for members. He then moved to grant the Special Exception for the proposed garage on the grounds that the applicant demonstrated no practical alternative exists elsewhere on the lot for an accessory structure associated with the existing house. Hal Grant seconded.
Again reviewing the special exception criteria under Article XX, members unanimously agreed that: The specific site is an appropriate location for such use (18.104.22.168); The use as developed will not adversely affect the adjacent area (22.214.171.124); There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians (126.96.36.199); adequate and appropriate facilities will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use(188.8.131.52);and 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. The Chair noted that the Board was only waiving the aspect of the project that requires the garage to be located between the 50’- and 100’- wetland buffer, as there is no practical alternative. Members voted unanimously in favor, 5-0.
Hal Grant requested to be relieved of the Vice-Chair position and instead to become an Alternate Member. A new Vice-Chair will be voted on next month.
The OSI half-day training for ZBA members is May 15 from 9:00 – noon. ZBA members should notify Mary Ann if they would like to attend.
The meeting adjourned at 8:10 pm.