Zoning Board Meeting Minutes – 8/19/15

Walpole Zoning Board of Adjustment

Minutes: August 19, 2015

Present: Board Members: Chair Myra Mansouri, Vice-Chair Jan Galloway Le Clerc, Clerk Ernie Vose,  Mary Therese Lester, Bob Anderson. Alternates: Judy Trow.

Absent: Alternate Stephanie Stoughton.

Recording: Marilou Blaine. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the September 2015 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.

Roll Call: Ms. Mansouri called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. There was a full board so no alternates were needed to fill in.

Minutes:  Ms. LeClerc made a motion to accept the minutes as corrected ( two misspellings and one change from a Mr. to a Ms.) Mr. Anderson seconded the motion and it passed by board vote.

New Business:

Bensonwood request for a Public Hearing for a Special Exception.

Mr. Tom Hancock, property manager for Bensonwood, explained that Bensonwood was a home building company that started out in 1979 in Alstead and expanded to Walpole in 1999. In 2008, the company proposed a plan for additional buildings on Huntington Lane but pulled back because of the economy. The majority of the approvals and permits have expired so Mr. Hancock was back for a special exception to build a manufacturing operation in a Rural/agricultural Zoning District.

Mr. Hancock said that there were some small changes to the plans, such as moving the build east toward Route 12. He said the noisier part of the operation will be toward the west, which is toward the Connecticut River and there are no abutters. This building will be in addition to the one in the Industrial Park and will be used to frame doors and windows.

He also said he was aware of the new Wellhead Protection Ordinance changed in 2015 and was given a copy of the new ordinance.

Ms. Trow asked if the parking lot was going to be the same, asphalt and gravel. Mr. Hancock agreed.

There was some confusion about when the Planning Board hearing would be, but Mr. Vose said that the Zoning Board can’t rule on the Special Exception until it gets the Planning Board decision. However, the Zoning Board could have a Public Hearing and make a ruling contingent on the Planning Board decision.

Ms. Mansouri asked when he was ready to start working. He said he was hoping to break ground this fall but if he couldn’t get approval until October it might mean the building will probably begin next spring but with some site work this fall.

Mr. Vose made a motion to accept the request to have a Public Hearing for Bensonwood in October for a Special Exception. It was seconded by Ms. Trow and approved by the Board.

Gravel Inspections Assignments:

Hodgkins Drewsville: Bob Anderson and Myra Mansouri

Graves: Jan Le Clerc

Cold River and Whipple Hill: Ernie Vose and Bob Anderson

SawyersMary Therese and Stephanie Stoughton.

The gravel pit inspections are due at the October meeting.

Mr. John Tole of Tole Automatic Inc. on Thompson Road, Signage.

Mr. Tole came in for information about signage at the corner of South Street and Route 12. The property would be in a corn field that is owned by Chip O’Brien and his sister. It is in Residential B District. Mr. Tole said he already had Mr. O’Brien‘s permission but wanted to know how to proceed.

Board members told him the sign ordinance doesn’t allow neon, flashing lights or signs that could create hazardous conditions. There is a sign ordinance that gives you the size of the sign for the District you are in.

 Mr. Tole was told he was required to bring in a picture of the sign, give its size, what the sign was made of. He was given a copy of the sign ordinance. Abutters also need to be notified when he goes ahead with the sign and he needed a signed letter of permission from the O’Briens. Illumination would have to be downcast.

Mr. Tole also needs to follow setbacks from the state, one of which is 75 feet from the center line. He can check with DOT in Swanzey for all the rules. He is allowed to have smaller signs hanging off a larger one but it is all counted in the toward the total size. He will need to come back to the Zoning Board after he as chosen a sign.

Mr. George Wierzbowski, 43 Taggard Road, subdivision.

Mr. Wierzbowski explained he and his wife Wendy lived on the portion of Taggard Road that was not town maintained. There were four other people who lived on the road. His property was 17 acres with 472 feet of road frontage. He would like to subdivide his property.

Mr. Vose asked where the town road ended. Mr. George Wierzbowski, said at the crossroad that the Galloways own.

Mr. Joe Dibernardo was also at the meeting and said the ordinance says you have to build on a town-maintained road so he has to get a Variance because it’s a private road. The Board advised that he follow the rules for homes on a town-maintained road, such as setbacks and road frontage. Mr. Wierzbowski said he planned to.

Mr. Vose said there was a rumor that the residents were going to try and bring the road up to town specifications and try to reclassify the road. Mr. Wierzbowski said Mr. Terry Holcombe has been looking into it but it would be very costly. Mr. Vose said he had talked to Mr. Bill Williams who originally sold those lots and he thought the road was pretty much up to town standards.

Mr. Dibernardo said the road is only 12 feet wide and Mr. Jim Terrell, who oversees Walpole roads, says it has to be 14 feet wide. Ms. Mansouri said it would also have to be approved by a vote of the townspeople. Mr. Wierzbowski said the improvements would have to be made before the vote. Ms. Mansouri agreed.

Mr. Vose made a motion to grant Mr. Wierzbowski a request for a Public Hearing in September. The motion was seconded by Ms. Lester and approved by the board.

Ruggiero expansion at Industrial Park:

Ms. Mansouri said there was a site walk at the Ruggiero Waste Facility in the Industrial Park last Monday. Mr. Ruggiero is trying to expand his business to include household waste. Ms. Mansouri said one of the conditions of  the Special Exception that the Zoning Board gave to Mr. Ruggiero at a Special Exception hearing in 2011 was that expansion was not allowed. Now she is not certain if the conditions will stand or whether the NH Department of Environmental Services supersedes what the town board has down.

Mr. Vose said that was the opinion of the abutters at the Planning Board meeting – that expansion couldn’t occur and Mr. Ruggiero could just deal with construction waste.

Mr. Anderson said he didn’t go to the site walk but received a number of emails and apparently this company is going to do garbage and apparently a lot of garbage.

Mr. Vose said it is his understanding that they have applied for a municipal waste permit but don’t have approval from the State yet. Ms. Mansouri added that they also have to get approval from the Planning Board for the additional building and they have to do something about the building they built without permission.

Mr. Vose said I do think we need a lawyer involved as quick as possible to get a letter to the state explaining they do not have permission from the Zoning Board for municipal waste before they go any further. I think a lawyer should write the letter.

Ms. Mansouri requested that the secretary get the original application to Myra by the next day.

Graves Gravel Pit:

Mr. Vose reported that the first blast was conducted at the Graves gravel pit last week. There was a size-monitor to record the size of the blasts down by abutter Ms. Patricia Rodriques‘  house and a video was take of the event. Ms. Rodrigues was asked if she would allow anyone in her home to see if there was anything shaking, but she would not.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.. Ms. Mansouri made the motion and it was seconded by Mr. Vose.


Washers and Dryers: Ms. Mansouri reopened the meeting to say she had some calls about washers and dryers in a dumpster at Mr. Lafayette’s houses at the corner of Graves and County Road. Has anyone seen the problem? she asked. No one said they had so she said she will look into it.

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine


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