Planning & Zoning Board Notices & Minutes

Apr 23, 2019

Approved Zoning Board Minutes - April 23, 2019


LITTLETON ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

LITTLETON COMMUNITY CENTER, HEALD ROOM

120 MAIN STREET

TUESDAY, APRIL 23, 2019

6:00 PM

APPROVED

 

PRESENT:  Chair Jessica Daine, Vice Chair Jerry LeSage, Jim McMahon, George Morgan (alternate), and Joanna Ray (recording secretary)

 

EXCUSED:  David Rochefort, Ralph Hodgman, Guy Harriman (alternate) and Eddy Moore (alternate)

 

OTHERS: Joshua Weaver, Randy Weaver, Laura Clerkin, Kevin Clerkin, Gordon Stockman, Barbara Stockman, and Leslie Drexelius

 

Chair Daine called the meeting to order at 6:00.  George will be a voting member for this meeting.

 

Randy Weaver, Owner & Applicant – ZBA19-04 – Request for a Variance relating to Article IV, Section 4.02.02 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow an Auto Sales Agency at 47 Drew Street, tax map 86-127, in the R-Ia zone.  The hearing fees were paid and the hearing was properly noticed.  Chair Daine accepted the case as complete.  The applicant stated he had no objections to only four members being present.

 

Chair Daine read the application into the record.  Joshua Weaver informed the Board that a NH dealer license is needed to buy cars at auction. They are a lower price and do not require a lot of repairs.  This means the cars will sell faster.  Vice Chair LeSage asked if there was a garage on site to fix the cars. Joshua replied no.  Cars will only be parked there that are for sale.  The repairs will be done at Joshua’s property in Dalton.  Jim asked why the cars are not for sale in Dalton.  Joshua told the Board that the Drew Street property has an office that will qualify for the State requirements.  The office space will be where All Around Beauty was located.  Boats will also be sold.  Randy confirmed that there will be 3-5 things for sale on the property at a time.  They could be cars or boats.  Joshua confirmed that the cars parked on site will be ready for sale because any improvements will already be one.  Jim asked if they will be parked at an angle on the front yard.  Randy replied that they will be right outside the studio area and he intends to add a couple spots.

 

Vice Chair LeSage asked if there were kids in the neighborhood.  Randy replied that there might be one. 

 

Jim stated the reason for the hearing was for a residence with an office and up to five parking stalls. Chair Daine stated it was for a car dealership.  Randy replied that it was a micro dealership. In order to get the dealer license, there will be a sign with the business name on it. Joshua added that inspections will be done at Vaughn’s.

 

George asked what the turnaround time is for the sales.  Joshua replied that they recently bought six cars and four of them are already sold.  They are already selling cars but they are from private sales. George asked about advertisement.  Joshua replied that they advertise on Facebook and Craigslist. Vice Chair LeSage added that this is a big residential area.  Randy replied that there was already a sign from a hair salon about 10 years ago. Joshua stated the hair salon area will be the office space.  There used to be other businesses in the area, but they are gone now.  There is another property that has a couple cars for sale in their yard. Jim asked if an office and signage is required by the State.  Randy replied yes.  It will be for retail sales only.  No repairs on site.

 

Chair Daine asked if there was anyone present wanting to comment regarding this case.  There was no one present to comment.

 

Chair Daine stated she was concerned with the narrow street and close neighborhood.  Jim reviewed the permitted uses and did not see any in the list that was close to what was being requested. Vice Chair LeSage asked if the number of cars could be limited.  Joshua added that Spit and Shine has a limit.  Jim replied that they are in a different location.  That is in the Commercial zone.

 

Joshua stated they are only looking to meet the minimum requirements for the license.  This will not be a car lot with dozens of cars for people to walk around and look at. People will go there because they are looking for a specific vehicle.  Future plans are to move to a commercial property.  Until that happens, this property has the office space that is needed.  He submitted a letter from an abutter that stated no objection.

 

The public input was closed.  Chair Daine stated that this use has the potential of generating more traffic even though the application states there will not be much more.  Vice Chair LeSage stated he goes up Drew Street as part of his job and he rarely sees another car on the road. He didn’t think traffic was a problem. 

 

The public input was reopened.  Randy told the Board that the State allows him to sell five cars a year.  Chair Daine replied that the State says five cars can be sold, but the Zoning Officer says the applicant is running a business and that is a violation.  Changing from a hair salon needs approval.  Continuing the hair salon would have been ok.  Vice Chair LeSage asked for an estimate on how many cars would be sold.  Randy replied that he would be happy with one per month.  A dealer plate will be used for transport, but they will not be registered.

 

The public input was closed again and the Board reviewed the submitted findings of the facts. 

 

Would the variance be contrary to the public interest? Jim stated he was having a hard time with the location.  Perhaps if it was closer to Town or in the Commercial zone.  The way the applicant is doing sales now does not require them to apply to the Zoning Board.  Chair Daine added that approval is needed to sell more than five and to get a dealer license.  George stated that no objections have been raised by the residents. 

 

Would the variance be consistent with the spirit of the ordinance? Chair Daine stated it would not be consistent.  The Board reviewed the permitted and special exception uses. There was nothing similar.

 

Would substantial justice be done if approved?  Chair Daine stated the applicant is already doing what they are asking for.  This has not been disruptive.  Vice Chair LeSage asked for confirmation on who was notified at the trailer park. Joanna confirmed she sent notices out that the State statute says are required. The statute says the manufactured housing park owner and the tenants who own housing which adjoin or are directly across the street from the land in the zoning request.

 

Would property values be diminished?  George and Vice Chair LeSage stated they would not.

 

Would literal enforcement of the ordinance result in unnecessary hardship?  Vice Chair LeSage asked if the ordinance is enforced the way it says, would the Board be putting the applicant out of business.  LeSage followed up by saying the applicant could continue doing it the way they are.

 

Is the proposed use a reasonable one?  Chair Daine the location is not reasonable for this request.  The applicant is proposing a business to be located on a property that is located on a narrow dead end residential road.  George responded that he did not feel the dead end road was a concern because there is no thru traffic.  Vice Chair LeSage stated that people might turn around in other driveways.  Jim added that he was having a hard time agreeing for a dealership in this area, but was ok with them selling five cars a year.

 

Chair Daine did not feel the applicant met the variance requirements.  Dealerships need to go through the Special Exception process in the Commercial zone and the applicant is trying to get approval in the Residential zone. There was a brief discussion on whether or not the request would fall under Home Occupations.  It did not.

 

Vice Chair LeSage made a motion to deny Randy Weaver, Owner & Applicant – ZBA19-04 – Request for a Variance relating to Article IV, Section 4.02.02 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow an Auto Sales Agency at 47 Drew Street, tax map 86-127, in the R-Ia zone based on the following reasons:

 

  • The location of the property is not appropriate because it is in a congested residential area.
  • The property is not conducive to allow more than 5 cars parked there for an auto sales dealership.

 

Jim McMahon seconded the motion.  The motion passed 3-1.  The applicant was informed of the 30-day appeal period.

 

Kevin & Laura Clerkin, Applicants – ZBA19-05 – Request for a Special Exception related to Article VI, Section 6.12 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow Keeping of Livestock at 676 Slate Ledge Road, tax map 74-27, in the R-2 zone.  The hearing fees were paid and the hearing was properly noticed.  Chair Daine accepted the case as complete.

 

Laura informed the Board that they are moving back to Littleton and are interested in living self-sustaining with gardens and some animals.  They will not be commercial farmers.  There is a farm down the road with donkeys and another property is a dog groomer.  The plan is to have chickens for eggs and meat, a milk cow, and maybe a pig.  The meat birds are only on the property about 10 weeks and a pig is raised for a few months.  Vice Chair LeSage asked if they work elsewhere or if this will be full-time.  Laura stated that Kevin works from home and she works in Bethlehem.  This will not be their way of making a living.  There will be gardens and the view easement on the property is in front of where the gardens will be. They will also be building a house and barn out of the easement area.  Jim asked if they were looking to have more animals in the future or just what they are presenting.  Laura replied that their seven acres would support more than proposed.  It would be reasonable to have two cows, two pigs and 25 chickens.

 

Gordon Stockman stated the view easement also does not allow fences or trees to be planted.  Laura replied that she read the easement to say no structures.  Chair Daine stated that the Board does not get involved in deed restrictions.  Barbara Stockman asked if the easement could be changed.  Chair Daine replied that it was not something the Board could do. 

 

Leslie Drexelius asked if they had raised animals before.  Laura replied no.  They had applied to the Board to have chickens at a different location years ago, but was denied.  Laura stated that they had gone to classes at the NH Cooperative Extension and visited farms of friends to learn.  They have a great support system and will learn as they go.  There may be one rooster.  Laura stated they want to be good neighbors and that there is a no-crow rooster collar available.  The house and barn will be out of the view easement area and most likely not seen from the road.

 

The public input was closed and the Board reviewed the submitted findings of the facts.

 

  • With other animals in the area, this would be an appropriate location. There is plenty of room for pasture.   
  • There should be no reduced property values from this use as it will not be visible from the road.
  • There will not be any nuisance or unreasonable hazard because the applicants have been to classes to learn about farming and they will be following the requirement outlined in section 6.12.01 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance.
  • Adequate and appropriate facilities will be provided.  The applicant will be adding a barn and fencing.  The required water and shelter will be provided.

 

All Board members agreed with the findings of the facts.

 

Jim McMahon made a motion to approve Kevin & Laura Clerkin, Applicants – ZBA19-05 – Request for a Special Exception related to Article VI, Section 6.12 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow Keeping of Livestock at 676 Slate Ledge Road, tax map 74-27, in the R-2 zone with the following conditions:

 

  • The applicant is limited to three acres of pasture as outlined in section 6.12.01 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance.
  • The applicant must comply with all other State, Federal, and Local regulations.

 

Vice Chair LeSage seconded the motion.  The motion passed by all.  The applicant was informed of the 30-day appeal period.

 

Review minutes

April 9, 2019 – After a minor wording edit, Vice Chair LeSage made a motion to approve the minutes.  Jim seconded the motion.  The motion passed by all.  

 

At 7:45, Chair Daine made a motion to adjourn.  Vice Chair LeSage seconded the motion.  The motion passed by all.

 

Submitted by,

Joanna Ray