Planning & Zoning Board Notices & Minutes

Jun 3, 2020

Draft Zoning Board Minutes - May 12, 2020


 

LITTLETON ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

In accordance with Governor Sununu’s Emergency Order #12, this public body is authorized to meet electronically

TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2020
6:00 PM
DRAFT

 

Present via phone: Chair Jessica Daine, Jim McMahon, Ralph Hodgman, George Morgan, and Joanna Ray (recording secretary)

Excused: David Rochefort

Others present via phone:  Zoning Officer Milton Bratz, Lori Wescott, and Bill Wescott

The public had access to this meeting by calling 1-929-205-6099 and entering meeting ID 824 8773 6852.

Chair Daine called the hearing to order at 6:02.  The application was reviewed and accepted as complete. 

William & Lorianne Wescott, owners & applicants – ZBA20-06 – Request for a Special Exception relating to Article IV, Section 4.02.04 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow a Commercial Greenhouse (retail establishment) at 971 Foster Hill Road, tax map 52-6, in the rural zone.

Lori gave a summary of the application. The property is currently used as their residence and landscaping business.  There are greenhouses as well.  The plan is to be open from mid-May to mid-December.  There will only be traffic through those months.  Lori is also involved with the Littleton Coop.

Ralph asked about the hours of operation. Lori replied that she is currently at home with her kids because school is closed.  She would like to be open every day from 9-5, but it is up in the air.  Chair Daine mentioned that there are signs right now indicating the business. Lori replied that she put up the greenhouses last year and thought it was alright because it just a small farm stand.  She also sells Christmas wreaths.  Lori was unaware a special exception was needed. Chair Daine stated that is sort of a home occupation or hobby, but it generates traffic. Lori replied that the sign is for the trees and wreaths.  She uses the greenhouses to grow things for the business. Moving forward would mean more advertising. William added that the traffic is minimal.

George stated that he is friends and neighbors with the applicants, but he lives a mile away. He has seen the signs and noted that there is minimal traffic on the road.

Ralph stated that this request is not a home occupation, but a greenhouse for a commercial venture. Traffic issues are talked about when applying for a home occupation. He noted other permitted uses that are happening at the property such as growth and harvesting forest products, raising livestock, and raising crops. Retail, including gifts and flower stores, are permitted through a special exception. Chair Daine clarified that she mentioned home occupation because some people might see it that way. She agreed that it would not qualify as a home occupation.

Jim visited the property and noticed there was a house across the street. Lori stated that she has spoken to those neighbors and has their full support. Chair Daine added that the Board has received letters of support from abutter Schuyler Sweet as well as Nancy and John Goodrich.

Jim asked how much traffic would be generated on a good day. The road was recently improved and he did not want to see damage with parking along the side of it. William said there would be parking on their property and not on the street. Lori replied that the traffic will be busy in the spring and then it dies down mid-June through the summer. It might pick up again in the fall with the sale of pumpkins and mums. She did not anticipate a steady stream. Jim added that they should be aware of the load limit on that road.

Jim asked if there would be manure stored on site. He was concerned about odors. William said the compost is broken down without any odors. Lori added that it is organic and has no odor.

Ralph voiced concerns about the parking. The driveway seemed muddy and asked if there would be adequate spaces off the road for customers during the muddy season. Lori replied that there will be a gravel area for parking and distinguish which areas not to drive on. William added that nobody will be driving around the back side of the greenhouse where it is muddy.

Ralph noted that the application stated the proposed would not decrease property values because it would be aesthetically pleasing from the road.  He added that this is important for the people living out there and the proposed area for the business is pretty much in one area.  Ralph stated he just wanted to make sure this does not become a cluster in that one area as the business grows.  William replied that he did not want it to be an eyesore. Ralph added that it should be pleasing to the business and the other owners.

Jim asked if there were any comments from town departments. Joanna replied no.

There was nobody else present asking to speak. The public input was closed and the submitted facts were discussed. The site is an appropriate location because it basically will remain as it is and it blends in well with the rural character. Nobody disagreed. The Board agreed that due to the characteristics of the rural setting, property values would not be reduced. There would not be a nuisance or unreasonable hazard because other than a few extra vehicles, the property appearance would be unchanged. The few extra vehicles would only be during regular hours.  Adequate and appropriate facilities would be provided for the proper operation and maintenance of the proposed use because the lot is large and offers onsite parking.

Everyone agreed with the findings of the facts. Based on the submitted and discussed facts, Ralph made a motion to approve William & Lorianne Wescott, owners & applicants – ZBA20-06 – Request for a Special Exception relating to Article IV, Section 4.02.04 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow a Commercial Greenhouse (retail establishment) at 971 Foster Hill Road, tax map 52-6, in the rural zone with the following conditions:

Adequate and safe off-street parking shall be provided

  • The applicant must comply with all Federal, State, and Local regulations

 

George seconded the motion.  The motion passed by all. Ralph wished the applicants the best of luck.

Lori asked who would check to make sure they have done the parking correctly. Joanna told Lori that Milton would stop by at some time.  We do not have parking regulations to go by, but he would check that it was adequate.

At 6:30, Ralph made a motion to adjourn. Jim seconded the motion.  The motion passed by all.

 

Submitted by,

Joanna Ray