Zoning Board of Adjustment
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Meeting Minutes

The Harrisville Zoning Board of Adjustment met on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at the Harrisville Town Offices, 705 Chesham Road.

Members present: Charles Sorenson, Chair; Rex Baker, Vice Chair; Jeff Trudelle, Alternate; Andrew Maneval, Alternate; Mary Ann Noyer, Alternate
Members absent: Patrick Gagne; Pegg Monahan, Select Board Representative; Hal Grant
Attendees: Linda Hyatt, Jeff Cady

The Chair opened the meeting at 7:00 pm. He noted the voting members include Rex Baker, Jeff Trudelle, Andrew Maneval, Mary Ann Noyer and Charlie Sorenson. The matter before the board was as follows:

Jeff Cady and Linda Hyatt, 24 Dublin Road (Map 30 – Lot 21), applying for a Special Exception under Article 4.1.19. and 20.1.2. of the town zoning ordinances to operate a home-based business.  Linda Hyatt presented the proposal for use of a portion of their first floor, which is the cellar, as a craft studio to create and display oil and acrylic paintings, and fiber animal and other artful creations. She would like to be able to invite people to her home, mostly by appointment, to view her work, and anticipates having a few open hours per week and during the fall art tours in town.

Showing the board photos of the property, the applicants noted that entry to the studio would be through an existing separate entrance. Ms. Hyatt has no employees other than herself.

Mr. Sorenson explained that, for such applications, the ZBA is guided by Article 4.1.19 Home-based Businesses,permitted in all districts by special exception subject to the conditions outlined. The board thus addressed the applicable criteria as follows: It shall be carried on by residents of the premises, and a maximum number of non-resident employees as approved by the Zoning Board. Mr. Cady and Ms. Hyatt confirmed there were no additional employees other than the homeowners. It shall have no outdoor display of goods, and no outdoor storage of materials or equipment unless screened from roads and surrounding properties by natural or structural means to such an extent and in such manner as may be specifically required and approved by the Board of Adjustment.  The applicants confirmed that all artwork and materials would be displayed, and stored, indoors. The residence or accessory buildings shall not provide window displays or other characteristics or features normally associated with commercial use, except for a permitted sign. The applicants confirmed that no displays or signage exist and Ms. Hyatt noted they don’t have any plans for signage at this time. It shall not have an adverse effect on the environment and water resource supplies or the surrounding properties from impacts including but not limited to noise, odor, smoke, dust or lights; soil, water or air pollution; electrical or electronic interference; excessive increases in traffic or in parking requirements.  The applicants confirmed the art studio would produce no noise or adverse environmental effects. There shall be no change in the exterior appearance of the residence or other structures on the property as a result of the use, unless specifically approved or required by the Board of Adjustment. The applicants affirmed that there are no proposed changes to the home’s exterior as a result of the art studio. Parking for employees and/or customers shall be provided on-site. Mr. Cady described the existing driveway layout, noting it is spacious enough to accommodate several vehicles at once, if needed.

Mr. Maneval raised the zoning ordinance definition of home-based business, which states the business must be incidental to the primary use of the property as a residence. As such, if the property owner decides to live elsewhere, the business could not remain at the current location. The applicants confirmed their understanding of this.

The board moved and voted unanimously in favor that the applicants satisfied the criteria under Article 4.1.19, proceeding to address the remaining special exception criteria, outlined in Article XX: The specific site is an appropriate location for such use.  The board agreed. The use as developed will not adversely affect the adjacent area. All agreed.  The Chair noted the board’s receipt of a letter from Historic Harrisville, an abutting property owner, stating no objection to the application. There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians.  The board agreed. Adequate and appropriate facilities will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use. The board reiterated agreement that available off-street parking and existing facilities were adequate for the proposed use. 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 stated that the board is not waiving any conditions, and that the proposal complies with all other requirements.

Andrew Maneval subsequently moved to approve the Hyatt-Cady application for a home-based business. Rex Baker seconded. The board voted unanimously in favor. Chairman Sorenson noted a formal Notice of Decision would be forthcoming.  The board also informed the applicants that, should they decide to install a sign in the future, ZBA review may be required depending on its dimensions and design.

Minutes of previous meeting
The board approved its January minutes.

With no additional business, the meeting adjourned at 7:30 pm.