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125 Main Street, Suite 200
Littleton, NH 03561
Phone: 603.444.3996
Fax: 603.444.1703

Feb 13, 2018

Zoning Board Minutes - February 13, 2018


 

LITTLETON ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2018
LITTLETON COMMUNITY HOUSE
120 MAIN STREET
6:00 PM
DRAFT MINUTES

 

 

 

PRESENT:  Chair Jessica Daine, Vice Chair Eddy Moore, David Rochefort, Jim McMahon, and Guy Harriman

 

EXCUSED:  Jerry LeSage

 

OTHERS:  June Hall, Linda Hall, Joy Hall, Rebecca Merrill, Gretchen Hesler, and Zoning Officer David Moberly

 

Chair Daine called the meeting to order at 6:00. 

 

Chair Daine acknowledged a letter the Board received from Judith K. Barnes-Hight regarding the rehearing decision of the Mary Chase-Smith case.  The Board will not be acting on it.  Also, the letter does not come from someone with standing to appeal.

 

Chair Daine announced the case on the agenda.  Guy and Jim will be voting members tonight.  The hearing process was explained.

 

LMS Holdings Corp. d/b/a Littleton Motor Sports – Mark & Gretchen Hesler, Owners – ZBA18-01 – Request for a Special Exception related to Article VI, Section 6.01 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow a fence over 6’ tall at 515 Union Street, tax map 80-62, in the C-2 zone.

 

Chair Daine reviewed the case folder.  The hearing was noticed in the newspaper, the abutters were notified by certified letters, and the hearing fees were paid. The application was accepted as complete.  The only department comment was from Fire Chief Mercieri.  He did not have a problem with the fence over 6’ high as long as the fence did not interfere with emergency vehicle access to the buildings.

 

Gretchen Hesler, co-owner of Littleton Motor Sports (LMS) presented a map showing the previous location of the fence and the new location with some added fencing.  The fence has been the same height for the 17 years that they have owned the property.  The original fence did not receive a permit from the previous owner.  LMS needs more area to safely secure their merchandise.  The newly fenced in area is around the tractor bay.  Gretchen confirmed that it was 3’ from the property line.  Gardner Kellogg surveyed the lot before the fence was moved.  Gretchen said this was a visual improvement and they can exit that area too.

 

Jim McMahon asked if the survey confirmed the fence is on LMS property.  Gretchen replied yes.  She showed the Board the survey from Gardner Kellogg as well as pictures that were on her phone.  Jim stated that indicating the location of the fence on the survey would be good.

 

There were no abutters present that were in favor of the request.

 

June Hall, abutter, stated that she was opposed.  She was not told about them putting up the fence and they didn’t get permission until it was already up. June mentioned the deeded ROW that has been in place since May 1939. The driveway goes through it.  June stated that the surveyor didn’t look at the deeds.  Chair Daine stated that she understands there is a ROW concern, but the Zoning Board can only look at the request for a fence being over 6’ high.  The Zoning Board does not have the power to address the ROW concern.  That is a civil issue between the property owners.

 

June informed the Board that people backing out of her driveway almost get hit.  There is no longer an area for people to turn around in the driveway.  Linda Hall stated that the fence cannot be put in the ROW.  June said she has been at her house for 63 years.  Chair Daine said that people are allowed to put a fence a foot from their property line.  The Zoning Ordinance states that no permit is required for a fence up to 4’ high and a building permit is required for one up to 6’ high.  June insists the fence is on her property.  Joy Hall presented pictures of the fence and that they cannot remove their camper from the property with the fence there. 

 

Linda Hall informed the Board that Mark Hesler told her she could use a section of property and she has been mowing and maintaining it.  Now that they cannot use it, the driveway is dangerous and an ambulance cannot turn around and no one can pick up June for doctor appointments.  Chair Daine sympathized, but repeated that the Zoning Board cannot debate the ROW.  If the fence is not 1’ from the property line, then the ZBA can address that. The applicant can be asked to prove the setback.  The ROW is a civil issue that needs to be discussed in court.  The Board is present tonight to discuss the request to have a fence taller than 6’. 

 

Linda Hall said the neighbors harassed her about moving her camper.  Chair Daine asked Linda if she was challenging whether or not the fence was over the property line.  Linda replied yes.  Linda said that she is moving back to the property and cannot move the camper without the fence being moved.  Linda also said that June paid to use that side of the property.  Linda claimed that she had never seen Gretchen before and that she does not bother the neighbors.  June and Linda both repeated that the fence is not on LMS property and that it is coming up their driveway.

 

Gretchen chose not to respond. 

 

Linda informed the Board that her mother, June, was so upset that she fell in the house.  June told the Board that Mark Hesler offered to buy her house for $20,000.  Gretchen responded that an offer to buy June’s house was never made.

 

David Rochefort stated that the Zoning Board has been charged with listening to a request for a fence over 6’ high.  The extra 2’ is the discussion.  Chair Daine repeated that the Zoning Board cannot debate the property owners ROW issue.  If LMS put up a fence no taller than 6’, then there would be no Zoning Board meeting.  Chair Daine stated that the Board makes their decision relative to the findings regarding the height of the fence and not the ROW discussion.

 

Linda asked why they were at this meeting.  Chair Daine replied it was because LMS wanted a fence taller than the permitted 6’.  Linda replied that LMS is only doing this because she is moving back home.  Elderly services say this is harassment.  June stated that the police have been there for the harassment.  Joy stated that guys with shovels from LMS have come after her.

 

 

Chair Daine closed the public input so the Board could deliberate on the request for a fence over 6’ tall.  The Board reviewed the findings of the facts.  The property is in the Commercial-2 zone.  There are similar fences in the area.  Chair Daine stated the fence is no inappropriate.  The applicant is protecting their merchandise.  Vice Chair Moore stated that the submitted information shows the fence being more than 1’ from the property line. David stated the fence is consistent with what has been there for 20 years.  The new section is the same style.  Vice Chair Moore agreed that it was appropriate.  Jim stated that it is not unusual.  Everyone agreed that it was an appropriate use. 

 

Vice Chair Moore and David agreed with the owners statement that property values would not decrease with the fence over 6’ tall. 

 

David asked the other Board members if the extra 2’ of fence would be considered a nuisance.  Chair Daine replied that LMS is allowed to have a fence and visibility is not an issue. The existence of a fence is allowed in the Zoning Ordinance.  Vice Chair Moore agreed.   

 

Chair Daine stated that LMS will maintain the fence the same as the previous one, but in a different location.  It looks intact and not hideous.  Jim stated that the purpose is for a secure lot. 

 

Chair Daine asked the Board members if they wanted proof of the setback.  This was a big concern with the abutters and something that the Zoning Board can address.  David read the fence section of the Zoning Ordinance and it says the fence may be situated within 1’ of an established property line.  Chair Daine agreed that the wording says “within 1 foot”.  Jim replied that he wants to make sure the fence is on LMS property.

 

David made a motion to approve the request of LMS Holdings Corp. d/b/a Littleton Motor Sports – Mark & Gretchen Hesler, Owners – ZBA18-01 – Request for a Special Exception related to Article VI, Section 6.01 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow a fence over 6’ tall at 515 Union Street, tax map 80-62, in the C-2 zone based on the agreed upon findings of the facts:

 

  • The site is appropriate because there are other fences around the property and this is a realignment of an existing fence. 
  • An addition of approximately 2.5’ of height does not change the character of the property.
  • No nuisance will occur with the additional height.
  • Adequate and appropriate facilities for such a use have been provided for the proper operation and maintenance of the proposed use because they are using a fence to secure their property and will maintain it just as they have the other fencing on the property.

 

With the following conditions:

 

  • The fence will be no higher than 10’
  • The fence will have a minimum setback of 1’ from the property line
  • The applicant must comply with all Federal, State, and Local regulations

 

The motion was second by Guy Harriman.  Jim confirmed that Chair Daine was referring to the character of the property.  David stated the height extension does not change the character. 

 

David acknowledged the letters that were sent from Angie Bronson and Faith Kloss that stated their opposition to the fence, but not the height.  

 

Chair Daine reminded everyone that there was a motion on the table to approve the Special Exception request to allow a fence taller than 6’ with conditions that it be at least 1’ off the property line and no taller than 10’.  The motion passed 5-0. 

 

Chair Daine stated that there is a 30-day appeal period for anyone aggrieved by the decision.

 

Linda Hall requested a copy of this meeting.  Joanna will send her a decision letter as well as a copy of the minutes.

 

Review Minutes

October 24, 2017 – review was postponed to the next meeting.

 

At 7:15, David made a motion to adjourn.  Chair Daine second the motion.  The motion passed by all.

 

Submitted by,

Joanna Ray