Planning & Zoning Board Notices & Minutes

Jan 27, 2020

Approved Planning Board Minutes - January 7, 2020 2 Sessions


PUBLIC HEARING
LITTLETON PLANNING BOARD
LITTLETON COMMUNITY CENTER, HEALD ROOM
120 MAIN STREET
LITTLETON, NH 03561
TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2020
6:00 PM

 

MINUTES APPROVED ON JANUARY 21, 2020

PRESENT:  Chair Tony J. Ilacqua, Vice Chair Mary Menzies, Milton Bratz, Val Poulsen, Colin Trahan, Calvin Beaulier (at 6:13), and Joanna Ray (recording secretary)

EXCUSED:  Bruce Ralston, Kristyn Mueller, and Ex-Officio Carrie Gendreau                                                                                                                           

OTHERS: Jere Eames, Bruce Hadlock, Dianne Poulsen, Gopal K. Patel, Jugal Patel, Daniel Cordwell, and Nona Cordwell

Chair Ilacqua called the public hearing to order at 6:00. Quorum not present yet. Colin arrived at 6:07. 

The Board reviewed the minutes from December 3, 2019.  Milton made a motion to approve the minutes as written. Mary seconded the motion.  The motion passed by all.

Poulsen Rentals LLC, Owner / Boulanger Consulting, Agent – PB20-01 – Request for a 2-lot subdivision of 1517 Meadow Street, tax map 99-5, in the C-3 zone.  Val excused himself as he is the property owner.  Chair Ilacqua accepted the application as complete. Val presented.  The Second Chance Animal Rescue rents a building on the lot.  The subdivision complies with the Zoning Ordinance. This subdivision will allow it to be on its own lot.  It meets required setbacks.  The legal description of a 50’ ROW is included.  SCAR needs to own the property in order to qualify for grants.  Calvin arrived.  Tony designated him as a voter in Bruce’s absence.  There were no comments or questions from the public. The public input was closed.

Vice Chair Menzies made a motion to approve the subdivision request.  Milton seconded the motion.  The motion passed by all.

 

PUBLIC HEARING
LITTLETON PLANNING BOARD
LITTLETON COMMUNITY CENTER, HEALD ROOM
120 MAIN STREET
LITTLETON, NH 03561
TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2020
6:15 PM

 

Chair Ilacqua called the public hearing to order at 6:17. 

Article ___    Rezoning of Residential to Commercial

Are you in favor of changing the zoning classification of a portion of Map/Lot 93-41, a 2.57 acre parcel owned by Ganesai LLC, situated on the corner of Cottage Street and Bethlehem Road and a portion Map/Lot 93-43, a 6.94 acre parcel owned by Eames Property Investment Company LLC, situated between Cottage Street and Bethlehem Road, both currently in the Commercial-I and Residential-I zones, so that these two (2) parcels shall be in the Commercial-I zone.

Daniel Cordwell asked if there is any development proposed. Chair Ilacqua replied that the Board was approached by the land owner to make this property uniform.  No proposal was discussed. Daniel asked if the properties had the same owner. Chair Ilacqua replied they are owned by different people. Colin stated that the lot will be used commercially. Nona asked for the purpose of this. Chair Ilacqua replied that the motel strip is technically a commercial business but mostly in the residential zone. This hearing is the next step in getting it on the town warrant to let the voters decide.  Daniel was informed that since he does not reside in Littleton, only owns property, he cannot vote on this article.  Chair Ilacqua informed Daniel that he can speak at the Deliberative Session as an identified non-voter.  Nona asked why this change is requested instead of the owner applying for a variance. Milton responded that the property owner requested it be done this way.  It makes it attractive for future development. The map will change if the amendment passes in March. Calvin added that our legal advice includes a suggestion that the Board identify that this change goes along with the Master Plan.  Chair Ilacqua replied that it can also be mentioned at the Deliberative Session.

Jere Eames gave some history of the property. Perkins started the motel in 1954 before zoning came into town. What is on the lot is basically what was there originally. It was a commercial use when zoning arrived.  Even though the lot was being used commercially, the lot was zoned part commercial and part residential. This lot is a perfect example of one needing to be in one zone. The use wasn’t considered when zoning came in.  Bruce Hadlock mentioned the 12-story hotel that was once proposed there. 

Milton noted that there was an original concern regarding spot zoning, but it was pointed out that there is commercially zoned property next to it. Daniel stated he is concerned that something might be built really close and affect his property value. Nona asked about lot 44. It is also located in the Commercial and Residential zones. Vice Chair Menzies stated that she also noticed that, but it is up to that property owner if they want to propose changing it. Daniel stated he owns the house on Kelley Lane but does not live there. He asked if an AirBnb rental be considered commercial. Milton replied that the next discussion will address that.

Article___  Short-term Rentals

Are you in favor of amending the Littleton Zoning Ordinance by adding the definition of “short-term rental” and permitting them in the R-I, R-Ia, R-II, Rural, MU and all Commercial zones?  The definition shall read “The providing for compensation of one or more rooms in a residential dwelling unit for stays of between one and thirty consecutive nights, where the dwelling unit would not generally be associated with a commercial activity, including but not limited to such commercial activities as a hotel, motel, rooming, boarding, tourist or lodging house, dormitory, overnight cabin or bed and breakfast.  A short-term rental shall not be considered a Neighborhood Commercial Use.”

Vice Chair Menzies stated this article means that short-term rentals are permitted in all areas. Milton stated that Littleton has many short-term rentals. The current ordinance says they are not allowed. The Littleton Zoning Ordinance is a permissive ordinance. It states what is permitted. If it is not listed as permitted, then it is not permitted. As new uses are proposed, our ordinance gets outdated. Without this zoning amendment, short-term rentals will be prohibited in the Town of Littleton. The purpose is to make this use legal under the zoning ordinance. Bruce asked what will happen if the article does not pass. Milton replied that if there is no issue, he will not have anything to respond to. Most times we do not know if someone is renting their house because there is no problem. Chair Ilacqua stated the State is also addressing this. Milton added that the room and meals tax is also part of this. Milton also added that he is not looking to shut people down that are renting their houses for short-term. 

Jere Eames stated that short-term rentals are competition for commercial places. Other areas are not liking these because of parties. Vice Chair Menzies heard that Laconia just voted down short-term rentals unless they are in the commercial area. Bruce told the Board that they should study this more. This approach is not the answer. Calvin replied that caution is good, but the effects are known because people have been doing this a long time. Vice Chair Menzies said the full impact is not felt yet. It will ramp up. Milton added that people do not always advertise on places such as AirBnb. Sometimes it is just an ad in the newspaper. It was difficult to identify how many might already be in town, but it could be up around 100.

Bruce stated that people without a license to rent are in violation. Calvin asked if the Town already had a nuisance ordinance. Milton stated the alternative would be the $100 violation. If the article passes, Vice Chair Menzies said that nobody would be policing them and she is not suggesting a license or fee. Chair Ilacqua added that next year there might be an amendment based on how the short-term rentals are going. Each community needs to look at this differently and this conversation keeps the topic moving to what works. We are in the early stages. Bruce stated you cannot put a huge amount of people in a house with limited bathrooms.

Jere Eames asked to discuss the proposed rezoning again. The property has been used commercially since ownership in 1985 and he would like this cleared up. Does the Board have any objections? Every Board member present supported the proposed zone change. Joanna Ray added that she was informed that the Selectboard also supported the zone change during a work session.

Article___  Update to Floodplain Ordinance

Are you in favor of updating the Littleton Zoning Ordinance, as proposed by the Littleton Planning Board and recommended by the NH Office of Strategic Initiatives Floodplain Management Program, the Flood Plain Development Ordinance, Article XVI? This update clarifies the current regulations by adopting the Model Floodplain Management Ordinance developed by the NH Office of Strategic Initiatives, Flood plain Management Program.

Milton explained that the State is recommending that Towns update their Floodplain Ordinance. He also explained what is in the draft update. The draft explains things in more detail including the permitting process. This permitting process hasn’t changed, but the updated ordinance explains the process. The sections of the current ordinance and the proposed draft were discussed.

Bruce Hadlock informed the Board that the Town must pay into the Floodplain program.  If they do not, then people cannot get loans when flood insurance is required. Maps are been upgraded by the Federal government.  

Milton explained that the mention of a Floodplain Administrator is new.  The current regulations refer to the Town having a building inspector, which the Town does not have. The permitting section is longer, but it is not asking for more than what has been required. Colin asked if this has been a problem. Milton replied no. Chair Ilacqua stated that if this does not pass, then the Town will still use the current version.

Bruce Hadlock stated he does not want to pay more money for someone to do this work. He asked if this is added to the job description and if Milt will be asking for more money. Milton replied that he has suggested that we use current staff to make up a Floodplain Administration.  Perhaps the Zoning Officer, Planning & Zoning Administrator, and the Fire Chief.  Bruce said it would be helpful if the maps were updated. Milton added that more discussion on this can happen at the Deliberative Session. The request for an update was made by the NH Office of Strategic Initiatives so it will now go to the voters.

A clarification is needed in a couple sections of the proposed update. Joanna will contact OSI for recommendations that will be discussed at the January 21, 2020 second public hearing.

OTHER BUSINESS

Master Plan Implementation Chapter.  This review will happen on January 21, 2020.

At 7:47 PM, Calvin made a motion to adjourn.  Val seconded the motion. The motion passed by all.

Submitted by,

Joanna Ray