Planning & Zoning Board Notices & Minutes

Mar 27, 2018

Zoning Board Minutes - March 27, 2018


6:00 PM




PRESENT:  Chair Jessica Daine, Vice Chair Eddy Moore, Jerry LeSage, David Rochefort, Ralph Hodgman, and Joanna Ray (recording secretary)


EXCUSED:  Guy Harriman and Jim McMahon


OTHERS:  Tom Fenoff, Shari Fenoff, David Aubin, Melina Aubin, Linda Lafrance, Alan Venus, and Russ Tetreault


Chair Daine called the meeting to order at 6:00 and announced the case on the agenda.


Thomas & Shari Fenoff, Owners / David & Melinda Aubin, Applicants – ZBA18-02 – Request for a Special Exception related to Article IV, Section 4.02.04 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow a General Service Garage at 67 Mount Misery Road, tax map 6-19, in the Rural zone.


A full Board was present and no conflicts noted.  Chair Daine explained the process for the meeting.  The abutters will have time to ask questions after the presentation.


Chair Daine read from the application. The proposed use will be to have a single location to maintain vehicles and equipment, short term storage of materials used in the line of work as landscapers, and a location to house and process firewood. Since 1991, the property has been used as the shop for a sole proprietor.  The garage has been used for maintaining vehicles and various equipment used for site work i.e. truck, excavator, tractor, and trailers.  The pole barns have been used to store the various equipment and firewood.  The yard has been used to store small amounts of sand for winter maintenance, loam and mulch for summer projects, and log length wood that is cut and split by the current owners to heat the garage and their home.


The application stated the site was appropriate because the area is rural and the buildings are set back from the road.  The property is buffered on all sides by woods so the abutters are not looking directly at the yard and buildings.  The applicants did not feel the property values would decrease because the proposed use is the same type of use that has been on the property for 27 years.  The values of abutting properties have not been adversely impacted by such use. The proposed use is in keeping with the use of the property for the past 27 years and as such, poses no unreasonable hazard or nuisance.  The owners have been mindful of the neighbors who live there and observe appropriate quiet times.  The existing garage, pole barns, and shed are more than adequate for the proposed use and will provide ample space for maintaining the vehicles, storing equipment used for a landscaping business as well as a single location to house and process firewood.


Melinda Aubin added that they will not be bringing in a mechanic.  The hearing notice was interpreted as the proposed being a commercial garage with work on other people’s vehicles.  This is a landscape company with a couple seasonal employees.  The jobs are at the client’s houses.  This location will be to store and service the company vehicles only and the maintenance will be indoors. The used oil will be recycled.  The heating will be the current system.


Chair Daine read the letter that was submitted by the Aubin’s. A copy of this letter will remain in the case file.  Chair Daine explained that the zoning definition of general service garage is very broad.  Russ Tetreault thanked the Board for the clarification and understood that the applicants would be servicing their own equipment. 


Jerry LeSage asked what a pole barn is.  Shari Fenoff explained that the pole barn has no walls.  It is open on all sides.  There are two of them on the property.


Ralph Hodgman stated that he had taken a look at the property and the proposal appears to be the same as the current use.  Joanna explained that there was no special exception on file for the current owners.  Ralph asked the applicants where they currently keep their equipment.  David Aubin answered that the equipment is kept in various places.  Melinda Aubin explained that they could keep all of their equipment in one place with this property.  One truck is a 1-ton and the others are two pickups.  Chair Daine stated that this is a landscaping business for homeowners and it will be less of an impact than the current construction business. There will be no residence on the property.


Jerry LeSage asked the Aubin’s if they plow snow in the winter.  They replied yes.  They have local clients.


Abutter Alan Venus understood the proposal and stated that the use really will not be much different than the current use.


Abutter Linda Lafrance stated that the current use appears ok because the Fenoff’s live next door.  The new people will not be living next door.  This makes it different.  Linda asked if the new use will change the taxes.  Chair Daine stated the special exception will not change the lot to commercial.  It will remain rural.  This approval will allow the Aubin’s to do what the lot is currently used for.  The current owners should have had this approval in the past.  Linda stated that equipment sometimes damages the road and the Fenoff’s have been there to fix it.  Chair Daine explained that the proposed use of the property will cause less damage to the road than the Fenoff’s construction equipment.  Tom Fenoff stated he plans on still living next to the property and will still do the same as he has been in regards to any damage caused to the road.  


Jerry LeSage asked the hours of operation.  Monday through Friday approximately 7:00 AM until 4:00 PM.  There might be evening maintenance of the equipment.  The firewood processor will not be run in the evenings.  Jerry stated that he did not think the taxes would be affected, but he could not say for sure.  Chair Daine agreed.  There was discussion about how many trips would be made to and from the property on a daily basis.  Melinda Aubin stated that they usually go there in the morning to pick up what is needed and then return in the afternoon.  Sometimes a trip mid-day if necessary.  One employee will meet at the job site and other one will ride in with Melinda.


Jerry LeSage asked Linda Lafrance if she felt better after some questions were answered.  Linda replied she felt a little better.


Russ Tetreault asked if there would be noise.  Shari Fenoff replied that the noise would not be different than the current use.  There has been no previous nuisance.


The public input was closed.

David Rochefort questioned the need for a special exception.   There does not appear to be a change is its current use.


The Board discussed the submitted findings of the facts.  The buildings are set back off the road and has a buffer on all sides.  There is no change in zoning and no variance required.  The proposed use is basically the same use that has been going on, but with less impact.  The property is laid out well for the proposed use.  There will be no new buildings and the current buildings are more than adequate for their equipment.


David Rochefort identified the harvesting of forest products and the open storage of timber and lumber as being permitted uses.  They should also be able to store their equipment on site.  David informed the Board that he did not see why they needed to apply for this special exception.  Ralph Hodgman did not agree with the Zoning Officer’s interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance.  Open storage and lumber is permitted without a special exception.  Chair Daine stated the use could be interpreted as a commercial use to maintain their business.  If the Board chooses to approve the request, it will protect them as well as the abutters.


Melinda Aubin read the definition of agricultural business and thought it was more suited to her business than a general service garage.  Ralph Hodgman and David Rochefort agreed.  


The Board agreed with the findings of the facts:

  • There is no change in its current use.  The yard is set back off the road and has a buffer.
  • There is no variance.  This is the same as the current use.
  • The use of the property will not be changing from how it has been used for 27 years.
  • The property is laid out appropriately and will be an appropriate use.


Jerry LeSage made a motion, based on the findings of the facts, to approve ZBA18-02 with the following conditions:

  • The applicant must comply with the findings of the facts and their submitted letter
  • The applicant must comply with all Federal, State, and Local regulations


Ralph Hodgman seconded the motion.  The motion was approved 5-0.


The Board reviewed a letter that was submitted by June Hall.  The letter was received as an appeal to the Littleton Motor Sports special exception request, ZBA18-01, for a fence over 6’ high. Vice Chair Moore said the Board approved the height of the fence and that the fence is on Littleton Motor Sports property. Chair Daine shared a map that the Board had requested during the hearing. The map had a surveyor seal on it and confirmed that the fence is on Littleton Motor Sports property.  Vice Chair Moore stated there is no need to grant a rehearing. David Rochefort agreed with Vice Chair Moore.  Ralph Hodgman stated the fence does not overhang onto the neighbor’s property.  David added that the letter does not state an appeal to the height of the fence, rather the existence of the fence altogether and according to the ordinance, a fence up to 6' is permitted without board action.  


David Rochefort made a motion to deny the request for a rehearing based on the fact that the appeal letter was not appealing the Board’s decision to allow a fence over 6’ high.  Vice Chair Moore seconded the motion.  Jerry LeSage and Ralph Hodgman recused themselves from the vote because they were not present for the original hearing.  The motion passed 3-0. 


Review Minutes

October 24, 2017.  Page 4, paragraph 2, 10th sentence, should read: Jim stated that improving the road to Town standards would be an unrealistic condition. Page 4, paragraph 3, 4th sentence, should read: Vice Chair Moore stated that in this district, there are residences and there are no other home occupations or businesses in that area. Page 4, paragraph 4, last sentence, should read: Ralph’s interpretation is that there cannot be a business on this road that will create additional traffic.  Page 4, last paragraph, first sentence, should read: David asked Vice Chair Moore if a home occupation or business has been allowed in other neighborhoods.


Chair Daine made a motion to approve the minutes as amended.  David Rochefort seconded the motion.  The motion passed by all.


February 13, 2018.  Chair Daine noted a grammar error.  Chair Daine made a motion to approve the minutes.  David Rochefort seconded the motion.  The motion passed by all.


At 7:00, David Rochefort made a motion to adjourn.  Jerry LeSage seconded the motion.  The motion passed by all.


Submitted by,

Joanna Ray