Zoning Board Meeting Minutes – 9/16/15

Walpole Zoning Board of Adjustments

Minutes: September 16, 2015


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

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

Call to Order: Chairman Myra Mansouri opened the meeting at 7:40 pm. Since there was a full board, no one was needed to fill in.

Minutes: There were three corrections. Mr. Vose corrected size monitor to seismograph. In the first paragraph under new business,  Ms. Lester said the word build should be building. And in the Ruggerio section, first paragraph, the word should be done, not down. Mr. Vose made a motion to accept the minutes with those corrections. Mr. Anderson seconded the motion and the Board vote in the affirmative..

New Business: Mr. Doug Palmer said he would be in to discuss what his father-in-law wants to do with the Teragram Property, the section on the southern side of the old RN Johnson property. Mr. Palmer did not come to the meeting so the Board postponed any discussion on the project.

Certified Mail – It now cost $6.97 to mail a certified letter. The cost has increased three times in just one year. Ms. Lester suggested we raise the fee to $8.00. A motion was made by Ms. Trow and seconded by Mr. Anderson to raise the fee to $8.00 and the Board agreed.

Walpolean – The Board was asked if anyone wanted to get The Walpolean regularly. Some Board members said they already received it. Two people wanted it sent to them.

The Unitarian Church – A sculpture was placed on the lot owned by the church on Main Street. The sculpture belongs to the Reeves Gallery, which is located in the carriage house on the abutting property. The church officers want the sculpture removed. Ms. Mansouri was told the gallery owner, Cynthia Reeves, has refused to moved it.

Also, the sign in front of the building was placed three (3) feet from the boundary line of the church property and the church would like it moved to its proper setback place. Zoning Board ordinance Article IV, Section G requires 10-foot setbacks from side boundaries.

A discussion about the sculpture ensued. Ms. Lester said if it were a greenhouse owner, you would expect planters out in front of the place. The Board doesn’t have an ordinance for planters.  Mr. Anderson asked, “would you consider this a lawn ornament?”  The sculpture doesn’t say anything, Mr. Vose said. He continued that a sign usually gives you a direction or tells you what’s behind it. Ms. Trow asked if the Zoning Board had any ordinances about art on lawns.

Ms. Lester said this was not under the purview of the Zoning Board.

Mr. Vose said his opinion is the sculpture on the Unitarian Church’s lawn is a civil matter not a matter for the Zoning Board. We have no jurisdiction, he said. He suggested the Board let the selectmen know and they can do what they like. They are the enforcers.

The Board granted a variance to Cynthia Reeves, the owner of Reeves Gallery at 28 Main Street, for the placement of a sign when it came before the Board in June of this year. The variance was for the distance the sign should be placed from the middle of the road. Ms. Mansouri asked about the side boundary? Mr. Vose answered, “I never even considered the side boundary.”

Ms. Lester said that when they came to ask about placement, we approved it. The variance was actually about the distance of the sign placement from the center of the road not the side boundary. If you looked at this you wouldn’t have thought that you didn’t had to worry about the side boundary.

Ms. Mansouri said when they asked for a variance for a sign it was about distance from the center of the street, so they had to meet all other ordinance requirements. Ms. Stoughton asked if the letter permitting the variance also mentions that all the requirements are met.

Mr. Vose asked if there were any dimensions noted in the variance paperwork. He suggested the solution may come through Mr. Bruce Carruthers who is the owner of the property.

The Board decided to send a letter to Mr. Carruthers with copies to Ms. Reeves and the Selectboard regarding placement of the sign.

Washers and Dryers: Mr. Richard Lafayette has dumped a number of washers and dryers on his property at the corner of Graves and County Roads. Ms. Mansouri has received some complaints. Mr. Vose said it falls into junkyard status with the selectmen. The secretary will write a letter to the Selectboard about the matter.

Gravel Pits:  Ms. LeClerc inspected Mr. Tim Graves‘ gravel pit and said it was fine and there were no issues. Other pit inspections are due next month. The secretary will send each gravel pit owner a copy of the inspection report and a cover letter.

Mr. Vose said he visited Whipple Hill and that that gravel pit hasn’t taken any sand or gravel out of it in years. There is a statute that gravel pits must sell a certain amount of gravel every year in order to keep operating.

Mr. Vose asked if the Board should take away their grandfather permit. It was decided that Mr. Vose should talk to the owner and tell him he had to start taking some gravel out of the pit or he would be closed down.

Mr. Joe Sawyer is the same, Mr. Vose said. Ms. LeClerc pointed out that Mr. Sawyer is bonded, which makes a difference.

A visitor: Mr. Philip Carroll of Taggard Road said he was at the meeting just to learn what was going on. I came because I live here and I’m a “land-use guy and planning and zoning was in his blood”.  After that remark, Mr. Carroll was invited to take the vacant seat on the Board.

Mr. Carroll explained he was a retired doctor of family medicine and has a PhD. in early modern European history.  He is currently active in real estate in Maryland and lives Florida.

The meeting was recessed to go into executive session at 8:17 p.m. After coming out of executive session, the meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

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