Walpole Zoning Board of Adjustment
Minutes: March 16, 2016
Present: Board Members: Chair Myra Mansouri, Jan Galloway-Leclerc, Mary Therese Lester, Ernie Vose, Bob Anderson. Alternates: Judy Trow. Stephanie Stoughton came in late.
Recording: Marilou Blaine. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the April 2016 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.
Roll Call: Ms. Mansouri called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm. All Board members were in attendance so no alternates were needed.
Guests: Ms. Pauline Barnes and Mr. Adrian Basora.
Minutes of January: There were 3 minor corrections. Ms. Lester made a motion to accept the minutes as corrected. Mr. Vose seconded the motion and the motion carried.
New Business: Mr. Barry Bellows was back representing Mr. Tom Krouse and Ms. Kay Enokido, who live at 195 March Hill. He was there to request a variance to construct an art studio, guest bedroom with a bathroom in a detached garage.
It is not to be a dwelling, Mr. Belllows said. It is not a primary residence. It’s not going to be an apartment. It is simply going to be a space for their out-of-state children to stay when they visit. Currently, they have a two-bedroom home and are looking forward to having that valuable space to allow them to enjoy their children.
You need a hearing and the hardship is on the land, Ms. Mansouri said and she asked Mr. Vose to concur. Mr. Vose said they’re not here to discuss the variance, they are here to set a date for a hearing.
Mr. Bellows said that the Board should know Gov. Maggie Hassen has just signed a bill passed by the House and the Senate that addresses accessory buildings.
Ms. Mansouri said she has passed out a copy of the bill. She said that bill means that you need a variance. What the bill means is that the accessory building must be “within or attached.”
Basically, it says, you have to have to have a house attached to a house, Mr. Bellows said.
If you want to do something else, Ms. Mansouri said, you have to apply for a variance. She said she would like a site walk to see the property. Both Mr. Bellows and Mr. Crouse agreed.
Mr. Crouse said he had spent time since the last meeting trying to find out what we can do to finally have what we want to happen to the property. We found that in Peterborough that a detached accessory building was allowed.
Ms. Mansouri said that what Peterborough has or what Dublin has is of no consequence to us. We have our own ordinance and we have to abide by that.
Mr. Crouse said the existing ordinance talks about dwelling, define dwelling. To me it’s where somebody lives full time. This is not a dwelling we are trying to build.
Ms. Mansouri said you’re looking at it from the position of a dwelling. We are going by what our ordinance says.
Mr. Crouse said that Walpole doesn’t really have an ordinance that strictly deals with an accessory unit, a black-and-white written policy.
Ms. Mansouri said talking about a dwelling is not germane to this issue. You’re asking for a variance.
Ms. Leclerc said there are five criteria and one of them involves the land, but there are four other criteria you have to address.
Mr. Crouse said if the Board walks the property and sees the property and thinks our way, do we still have to go for a variance. Ms. Mansouri said all the paper work must be filled out, including the variance, and it will be decided at the Public Hearing.
Mr. Vose made a motion to have a Public Hearing next month. Mr. Bellows said he couldn’t make it next month, could the Board move it until May? he asked. So Mr. Vose made a motion to have a Public Hearing on May 18. The motion was seconded and the Board voted in favor of it.
Mr. Crouse wondered why there was an ordinance of this nature. He said he asked people and it is only hearsay but some say it was done for the small lots in the village, not people who own 28 acres. Some of these homes are two miles from the line of sight of another house, he added.
Ms. Mansouri said she thought it was because people were afraid these places would be rented out or subdivided on large lots.
Mr. Crouse continued that he wanted to know the conditions he needed to fulfill to get to the point where he can build. Ms Mansouri responded they were right in the variance form.
Avanru Development – Signage
Jack Franks came in for temporary signage on Route 12. He requested permission to put a 3-foot-by-8-foot banner to advertise that the company is ready to lease apartments.
“We’re at the point where we are leasing,”. Mr. Franks said. “Response has been overwhelming. This banner would help to direct people to where to call and the Web site.” He didn’t anticipate it would be for a very long time. He expected to lease the apartments rather quickly. It depends on how many people qualify.
Mr. Jacks brought in some of the advertising fliers. He said there’s been a lot of discussion about this being subsidized. That is not true. It is not Section 8. People have to qualify.
It breaks down to a household size from when you make under $43,000, which is $21 an hour to someone who makes $12 an hour. It is designed for people who are working. They get a little bit of break on their rent.
It’s a little different than paying $1,100 for a two bedroom in town or North Walpole, the maximum you are paying is $866. It is also designed for people who are retired. It will serve the people well that’s why the response has been overwhelming. I think this will help.
He asked if he had to follow the 100 feet from another sign rule. Mr. Vose said that the regulations for temporary are different and also for real estate “For Sale” signs.
He asked if he could put it by the Loam sign, which is a 4-feet-by-8-feet sign. Or there is one at the entrance of Red Barn Lane, he said.
Ms. Mansouri asked if the termination of the sign date be July. If you need more time, Mr. Franks could come back to the Zoning Board.
Mr. Franks agreed to have the sign down by July 20 and if he needs an extension, he’ll come back to the Board.
He said eventually there will be a traffic light there. This will slow things down. Cars go through there at 45, 60 miles per hour.
“Why does that require a stop light,” Mr. Vose asked.
Mr.Franks said, “I asked Department of Transportation that same question.” They said the car counts at that time didn’t require a full-service treatment but because of Tractor Supply, and because there will be a restaurant, a bank, brewery and maybe a grocery that’s going to facilitate of traffic light.
Ms. Lester said so it”s anticipation rather than what is there now. Mr. Franks agreed. He said the original traffic study was off about 70 percent for Tractor Supply. They are extremely busy. He also said the traffic light was already engineered.
Ms. Mansouri reminded Mr. Franks that he had to deal with the state road regulations. Mr. Franks said he is fully aware of the setbacks there.
“Can’t it be where one of his other signs are now since it’s temporary? ” Mr. Vose asked. “If you spread them all over the field then you have a hazard, people are looking every which way.”
Mr. Franks said “I think the one next to Tractor Supply would be the right one. It’s easy to see.”
Someone asked about future building. He said the state regulations are that you have to be 50 percent filled before you can apply. The application process starts in June and the final date is in August. He originally planned four to six buildings with about 20 units in each building. He’s going to build according to demand. He suspects there will another 60 units.
Ms. Mansouri called the Municipal Center and asked an attorney about the date on our junk yard ordinance and an attorney at the Municipal Center said it didn’t make any difference. She also call Southwestern Regional Planning Commission because Mr. Vose thought they helped to write ordinances. Their response was they don’t write any ordinance at this time. Mr. Vose said they used to.
However, the NH Municipal Association said once the ZBA gets something in place, such as a prospective ordinance, someone at the Association would go over it and the Board might have it for next year’s ballot.
Spring Zoning and Planning Conference in Manchester. The conference has been postponed. The secretary will let anyone interested in going to the conference know when it has been rescheduled.
More about Junk Yards
Board member Bob Anderson continued his quest to learn more about junk yards and made a stellar presentation about the subject.
Informal notes mean there is nothing legal about the comments, Mr. Anderson said. If you want the legal info, you have to go to RSAs.
What is a junk yard? When you get into, Mr. Anderson said, the subject you’ll hear about is that Junk Yards, Motor Vehicle Junkyards, Antique Motor Vehicles Junk Yard and even Solid Waste Junk Yards all come under the RSA of Junk Yard. They are all in one form or another a junk yard.
Metal scraps go where there is a Motor Vehicle Junk Yard. Other classifications, such as Antique Motor Vehicle Junk Yard and a Solid Waste Management Junk Yard have very specific regulations, are handled differently, and in the case of the latter, often by the Department of Environmental Services.
One paragraph sums up the total RSA of Junk Yards. There is no other mention of junk yards found in any district of the zoning ordinance.
The Walpole ordinance reads, “ Article IV, General Provisions, G. Junk Yards and Dumps
- The use of land or buildings for motor vehicle, machinery or scrap metal junk yards is the use standard set and enforced by the NH Revised Statutes (Chapter 236 N>H>L>, 1993). machinery and scrap metal junk yards may be allowed by prior permit from the Board of Selectmen if they meet the same requirements as are in force for the motor vehicle junk yard.
No other mention of junk yards was found in any district of the local zoning ordinances.
First an applicant must get a license, and that comes from the Selectboard. The applicant must also get a Certificate of Approval from the ZBA. This means that the applicant has to describe the land and must have a Certificate of Compliance showing it will use best management practices from from DES.
New Hampshire Greenyards is a publication that shows what DES regulates. This publication gives an overview of various laws and resources available to assist local officials about regulations of junk yards. There is a Table of Contents which explains what is in the booklet. It includes Used Oil & Used Oil Filters, Spills – Prevention & Response, Antifreeze etc.
If you were taking in cars and trying to get everything out of it, all the regulations on each of these parts are in the booklet, all triggered by the fact that you need a Certificate of Compliance from DES.
When you submit the license you have to go to DES and say you are going to do all of this.
Ms. Lester asked for clarification. Mr. Anderson said you have to have the certificate when you go to get the license. So in terms of ZBA, there is very little the Board has to check on except how far off the road you have to be.
There are aesthetic considerations but basically the junk yard has to be hidden from view. The Board determines whether it needs a fence made of solid construction or if the landscape plays a part in the view.
If it is neatly situated so nobody could see it, it wouldn’t need a fence. Fencing should be six-feet high of solid construction. The RSA does talk about preempting specific local ordinances control when there is a conflict with this ordinance. So local takes prescedency.
There was a short discussion of this idea. Ms. Leclerc asked when we have practically nothing in our ordinance, do we follow the state? The answer was “Yes.” Mr. Vose said local ordinances cannot be stricter than the state – that was his view.
You have to renew your license annually and meet all provisions of the law.
When this state ordinance was written there were already junk yards in existence so they wrote in section 4, existing junk yard must follow state regulations by April 1966.
So almost all follow the motor vehicle junk yard model. There is a whole category of junk yards that go from flea market or 40 to 50 washing machines piled up in a yard. For $8 the Board can buy “How to Regulate Junk and Junkyards.” It’s 85 pages and Ms. Mansouri asked the secretary to request a booklet.
Walpole has only one junk yard, owned by Ernie Way and he has a license. There is supposed to be a fence, but it doesn’t surround the junk yard.
There is another on County Road and the owner does not have a license. It was suggested that someone go to the Selectboard and ask that the ordinance be enforced.
Regarding a new ordinance the Board needs to spell out the regulations and new a one may be written, Ms. Mansouri said. It would include adding the fence and the 300 feet from the right of way.
Would the Board have to go to a town vote or just say that the state has a pretty good ordinance that we should be following? To be continued.
For the past couple of months the Zoning Board has been working on a matrix to make it easier for an applicant to understand the process for a Variance or Special Exception. Tonight the Board tinkered with Draft No. 5. Both Ms. Barnes and Mr. Franks thought the Matrix was a good idea. Mr. Franks said the Matrix was “exceptionally helpful.”
Ms. Barnes questioned what happened after the applicant went to the Planning Board for a Site Plan Review. Is that the last step? She asked.
Someone said that Planning approves it so it was suggested a box below it saying “Approved by the Planning Board.”But what if the Site Plan were turned down? Since there was no box there, another box was added saying Judgment made or Decision made.
There were different feelings about the word Judgment. A few didn’t like it, saying it was too harsh. So it was changed to Decision.
Mr. Franks said that first and foremost the ZBA makes a decision on a Special Exception and then it goes to the Planning Board. They have to considered your decision.
There was discussion over the spelling of Judgment.
Ms. Stoughton suggested just using the word “granted” with an arrow go over to Go to Planning Board. Then a box for “Denied” and stop. Then there’s no reason to use the word Judgment.
Ms. Lester suggested putting the word fee next to the word application so applicants will know they have to pay a fee for filling out the application.
So Draft No. 6 is coming up next month. Ms. Mansouri said that the Board will look at the next one and see if the Board can make No. 6 the final draft.
Ms. Mansouri asked, “Do we want to update the By-Laws?” Also, the Board needs have to have an election of officers and we have to straighten out that Hitchcock Road has been changed to Alstead Center Road. It was named Hitchcock Road after Hitchcock Mountain.
Mr. Vose explained that these are road names that are in the ordinance that are no longer used. Mr. Basora asked if it required a variance.
Ms. Mansouri said it didn’t require a variance but the Board needed to go to the public to make the name change in the ordinance. So that would be on next year’s ballot.
Ms. Barnes said she preferred the name Hitchcock Road.
Mr. Anderson made a motion to have Myra as chair of the Zoning Board. Ms. Lester seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously. Ms. Lester made a motion to elect Jan as vice-chair. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously by the Board. Ms. Mansouri made a motion to elect Mr. Vose as clerk. The motion was seconded and it passed unanimously.
There was a motion by Ms. Leclerc to go into executive session. It was seconded by Mr. Vose and passed unanimously by the Board. When the Board came out of executive session it voted to accept the executive session minutes of January and February and seal them.
Ms. Stoughton, who is a nurse, said she was going to have to work on Wednesday evenings, so could not make Board meetings. We’ll have a need for another alternate.