Zoning Board Meeting Minutes – 10/19/16

Walpole Zoning Board of Adjustment

Town Hall

October 19, 2016

7:30 pm


Present: Board Members: Chair Myra Mansouri, Vice-Chair Jan Galloway-Leclerc, Mary Therese Lester, Judy Trow. Alternate: Tom Murray.

Recording: Marilou Blaine. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the November 2016 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions.

Roll Call: Ms. Mansouri called the meeting to order at 7:35 pm. Mr. Bob Anderson, a valued member of the Board, has resigned for personal reasons. He will be missed. Ms. Mansouri asked Alternate Tom Murray to take his place on the Board. He agreed. Mr. Ernie Vose, a long-time member of the Board, is returning as an Alternate.

Minutes: Ms. Trow made a motion to accept the September minutes as presented. Ms. Lester seconded the motion and it was passed by the Board.


Old Business:

Public Hearing 1

            Tara Stuart: Variance for setback distance from the road, 1252 County Road, Map 3, Lot 21, Rural/Agricultural District. Ms. Stuart wants to put a 16-foot-by-18-foot addition on  the house as well as an 8 foot wide porch.

Mr. Lewis Shelley was representing Ms. Stuart.  He told the Board that the garage, which the Board approved to be rebuilt on the footprint of the old garage, had been torn down. He asked if a four-foot walkway could be built on the west side. It was there before and the roof extended four feet over a concrete walkway. Ms. Mansouri said she didn’t think it would change anything and agreed.

Ms. Mansouri asked if the abutters were notified, fee paid and legal posted and printed. The answer was yes.

Regarding the variance, which was needed because the setback from the road is 12 feet shorter than the setback distance ordinance of 65 feet from the center of the road, Mr. Shelley read the criteria.

  1. The proposed use would not diminish surrounding property values because:

This is only an addition to an existing home and it will be built in the style of the current home, one that is fitting and appropriate for the area. The distance from the road should not be considered a detriment, to any buildings or the rural/agricultural uses of adjacent lands.

  1. Denial of the variance would result in unnecessary hardship to the owner because of the following special circumstance of the property that distinguish it from other properties similarly owned because:

The lot sits on a hillside with no other suitable options for additions to the house without great amounts of excavation/substantial construction. The chosen site is most suitable and allows for simpler effective construction.

  1. Granting the variance would do substantial justice because:

It will allow for a reasonable sized addition to the home while not affecting the neighborhood. This will allow for the homeowner to increase the size of the home for her needs as an elderly person.

4.The proposed use would not be contrary to the spirit of the ordinance because:

It will only impede on the restricted area within the required setback by 12 feet. The area is further protected from the adjacent road (above the site) by a wooded berm area.

A question was asked if it would remain a log built home. Mr. Shelley said it will log like, rustic-style log. The buffer will remain. Some trees were removed because they were hazardous to the house.

Ms. Mansouri asked if the Board or the public had any questions.

Ms. Leclerc said she went by the property and there is no other place to put the addition.

One gentleman, an abutter, asked if the new construction is going to be like the old construction – log. Mr. Shelley answered that it is going to be like what’s there now and the roof line will remain the same.

And the garage?  he asked. Mr. Shelley said, the garage is stick frame with log-like siding that will look the same but won’t be full logs.

Someone asked if it could be seen from the road. Mr. Shelley said if you’re coming up from town you can see the house from road as you pass the driveway, but as you move on there’s a berm and only the roof is viewed from the road.

Ms. Mansouri closed the Public Hearing. Ms. Leclerc suggested that Mr. Shelley just read the question and the board could discuss his answer.

Regarding criteria No. 1, Ms. Mansouri said she agreed because it’s going to be sided in the same way and in the same line.

Regarding criteria No. 2, Ms. Lester agreed that because of the dropoff there was no other place they could put the addition.

Regarding criteria No. 3. Ms. Mansouri agreed that the space dictated where the addition had to go.  Ms. Lester said the setback is only a matter of 12 feet.

No. 4 . Ms. Lesclerc said it is  not an eyesore or a hazard for people driving by. The Board agreed it would not be contrary to the spirit of the ordinance.

Ms. Leclerc made a motion to accept the ordinance as proposed. The motion was seconded by Ms. Lester and passed by the board.


            Public Hearing 2

Lewis Jeffrey property. Variance setback from the road. Old Keene Road and Hooper   Road. Map 8, Lot 8 and 8-1. Residential A zoning District. Request for Public Hearing.

Mr. Joe DiBernardo, the representative of the Lewis Jeffrey property, did not show up for the meeting. It will be postponed until next month.


            New Business:

Ms. Jazmine Breslend and her husband bought a house at 1101 County Road (opposite Whipple Road) (Tax Map Description, map-003 lot-013, sub-001, rural/agriculture district). Currently Ms. Breslend owns a hair salon in Keene and would like to have a one-chair salon in her home. The home is a four-bedroom home and she would like to take one of the bedrooms plus additional space in the home to make a bathroom and salon.

Ms. Trow read the ordinance for the rural/agricultural district and the ordinance for having an office or place of business in one’s home. The Uses ordinance for the rural/agricultural district reads “Residences may be used to house such customary uses by the owner or tenant as office for doctors, lawyers, real estate or insurance, or other recognized professions, or such home occupations as hair dressing or dress-making, except that the number of person employed at any location shall not number more than two persons in addition to the owner or tenant. Adequate off-street parking shall be provided on the premises.

Ms. Bresland was asked how many customers a day she expected. She answered between 3 and 6 a day. Ms. Trow asked about parking and Ms. Bresland said she has places for three cars besides her car and her husband’s car.

Ms. Bresland said the lease on her Keene salon isn’t up until July 2017, but she didn’t want to begin renovations until she knew it was permissible. She still needs to go to the Walpole Fire Department to get permission.

Ms. Leclerc said it sounds like she can do that. Ms. Bresland said she just wanted to make sure that there wouldn’t be problem later. She was told that there is a sign ordinance and she will be back for a sign.


Matrix: The matrix will be discussed at the next meeting.


Gravel Inspections: Ms. Mansouri and Ms. Lester went to inspect the Cold River and Whipple Hill gravel pits.  Ms. Mansouri said there were no problems. They’ve taken gravel out of Whipple Hill.


Graves Gravel Pit in Walpole and Westmoreland:

Ms. Patricia Rodrigues of Westmoreland came to discuss her complaints about the Graves gravel pit, which borders Westmoreland and is near where she lives. The owners, George Graves and Tim Graves of Graves Trucking, Inc. have a right of way over her property to the pit. Ms. Rodrigues appealed to the Department of Environmental Services for an After-the -Fact Alteration of Terrain permit AOT 1154.

Mr. Murray said that the secretary did mention DES had resolved the question of a gravel pit but it was about the Hodgkins pit at the Industrial Park not the Graves pit.

This is a brief account of some of Ms. Rodriques complaints.

Hours of Operations: Ms. Rodriques said work is 24/7. Work starts early, finishes late and the          work is also done on Sundays.

Mr. T. He is taking material from one site and processing on the site that borders Westmoreland.

Mr. T. Graves has virtually destroyed the section of Cheshire Trail that abuts his property and           the Cheshire Trail was made with public money.

Graves got a permit but Rodrigues contests it saying he is not satisfying all the requirements for        the permit.

There is also a concern that water is washing silt down into the Aldrich Brook and the gravel   pit has a culvert that directly empties into the Aldrich Brook. There is concern about the historic arch bridge there and the land under it being filled with sediment.

There is also an environmental concern because of a corridor from the uplands to the           Connecticut River has been destroyed for an endangered species needs that need it.

Rodrigues reminded the Zoning Board that a couple of years ago Mr. T. Graves was cited as excavating too much gravel in Walpole. A permit allows an owner to excavate 8 acres but he went over the limit. He also went across town lines into Westmoreland without any permit.

Ms. Leclerc said that the Zoning Board is required to inspect the gravel pits. The permits are received from the state. It is not known if public hearings are required before a permit is issued..

Regarding the operating hours, it was suggested she go to the Selectboard, tell them the situation and maybe they can intervene. The Selectmen are the enforcers, Ms. Mansouri said. They may be able to do something.

Mr. Murray asked if she could approach Tim Graves, and have a conversation about the hours. She said she didn’t think so. Relations relations are bitter because they are putting in an 18-acre subterranean quarry in Westmoreland that is going to come within 345 feet of her house and “it will probably ruin my well. “

“I’m going to be homeless,” she continued. “I’ve already been told that when they ruin my well, I have to take them to court.”

“I’m glad you brought this up and maybe one of us can talk to talk to Tim,” Ms. Mansouri said. If this were a new business, hours would have been set but since it’s grandfathered. You should go to the Selectboard to straighten it out.


Ms. Lester made a motion to adjourn, Ms. Trow seconded the motion and the Board agreed.


Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine


cc: Town Offices, ZBA Board, The Walpolean

Post: Inside the Town Offices, on the bulletin board outside Walpole Grocery


Next meeting Wednesday, November 16, 2016

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