Draft Zoning Board Minutes March 28, 2017
LITTLETON ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 2017
LITTLETON COMMUNITY HOUSE
120 MAIN STREET
PRESENT: Chairman Eddy Moore, Vice Chair Art Tighe, David Rochefort, Jessica Daine, Jerry LeSage, Guy Harriman (alternate), and Joanna Ray (recording secretary)
OTHERS PRESENT: Arthur Hucksoll, Jeff Winn, Ralph Hodgman, Milton Bratz, and Shirley Briggs
Chairman Moore called the meeting to order at 6:00. Five voting board members were present. The Board reviewed the minutes from February 28, 2017. Art made a motion to approve the minutes as written. Jerry second the motion. The motion passed by all.
Jeffrey L. Winn, Owner & applicant – ZBA17-04 – Request foran Equitable Waiver of Dimensional Requirements for a structure located at 42 Village Way, tax map 79-221, in the R-I zone. The hearing was posting in the newspaper, abutters were notified, hearing fees were paid, and there were no department comments. No conflicts were noted. One abutter letter was returned because the owner of record is deceased. The case was accepted as complete.
Jeff explained that the lot was part of an approved subdivision by the Planning Board. While building the house, potential buyers had a survey done and found that the house is about 14” into the required 25’ setback. Jeff thought he had figured correctly when plotting the house location. The property line is not straight in this location. Perhaps the bend in the line had to do with the error. He looked at the stake and noticed it looked disturbed, but not moved. Right now, he is going by what the surveyor hired by the bank came up with.
Jessica stated that the applicant is basing this error on the plot plan provided by the mortgage company. Art replied that in order to confirm the setbacks, Jeff would need to go back to another surveyor, but when is it enough?
Jeff stated that the house is not on anyone else’s property. It is only into the setback about 14”. He was deliberately trying to tuck the house into the corner to allow for the garage space. This was not done for any other gain. Had he known, he would have built elsewhere.
David discussed the parameters for the equitable waiver. Art read the answers on the application submitted by Jeff. Jeff stated this application was recommended by Joanna Ray after she verified it with someone else.
The building started in 2016 and Jeff was notified in early 2017 of the error. He applied to the town shortly after.
Shirley Briggs, abutter, asked the board to clarify where the building is in comparison to her house and whether or not it will impact her property. Shirley’s house is not abutting the property line that has the non-conforming setback. Art showed her that it would not impact her property. Shirley did not have any objection as long as it wasn’t impacting her property.
Arthur Hucksoll, abutter, asked about the equitable waiver procedure and whether or not the ZBA consulted with other towns regarding how it works. Chairman Moore said he has seen it before, but many years ago. Art replied that the procedure information came from Land Use Regulations provided by the Planning Office. Mr. Hucksoll stated that this should never have happened in the first place. This is the only part that upsets him. Mr. Hucksoll is not asking for anything to be moved. Jessica stated she could see what Mr. Hucksoll was saying. Jessica also stated that the Town doesn’t have site plan review and there is no building process to catch these things.
Jeff stated he does not feel like he got caught doing something. Humans make mistakes. In the past, he has pushed for uniform code enforcement.
The public input portion was closed. The board reviewed the submitted comments. The violation was discovered Jan. 13, 2017 by GC Engineering. Violation occurred Sept. 2016. No municipality enforcement because the applicant volunteered to apply to the ZBA. Approximately 75% of the construction was complete when the violation was discovered. The reference for the setback was not accurate. This does not create a public or private nuisance because other homes have been established with an ample buffer. This will not diminish the value of other property in the area. This violation will not interfere with or adversely affect any present or permissible future uses of any such property. Other homes in the neighborhood are established with ample setbacks. Correcting the violation would require demolition and would be expensive, perhaps $10,000 or more.
Jessica referenced State statute 674:33, a. The ZBA touched base on all of the points mentioned in this statute. Art stated that testimony showed that Jeff did not know about this violation while constructing. David stated that there was plenty of room to put this house, so it does not appear intentional. There aren’t two houses back to back because of this violation. Other houses are placed properly. The cost to fix this violation outweighs any benefit to the public. All Board members agreed with the findings of the facts.
Jerry made a motion to approve without prejudice, Jeffrey L. Winn, Owner & applicant – ZBA17-04 – Request foran Equitable Waiver of Dimensional Requirements for a structure located at 42 Village Way, tax map 79-221, in the R-I zone with the following conditions:
- The applicant shall not be more than 2’ into the required 25’ setback.
- The applicant must comply with all Federal, State, and Local regulations.
David second the motion. The motion passed 5-0. Art informed Jeff that there is a 30-day appeal period and any work done within that time frame is at his risk.
At 7:00, Jerry made a motion to adjourn. Art second the motion. The motion passed by all.