Planning & Zoning Board Notices & Minutes

Apr 28, 2015

Approved Zoning Board Minutes Apr 28, 2015

6:00 PM

Present: Chairman Eddy Moore, Vice Chair Sean Sweeney, Guy Harriman, Art Tighe, Jessica Daine, Jerry LeSage and Joanna Ray (recording secretary)
Excused: Heidi Hurley
Others: Mike Carbonneau, Dann, and Darin Wipperman (Courier reporter)

Chairman Moore called the meeting to order at 6:00.

REVIEW OF MINUTES: April 14, 2015
Art Tighe made a motion to approve the minutes as written. Jessica Daine seconded the motion. The motion passed by all.

Michael Carbonneau, Applicant – ZBA15-04 – Special Exception request relating to Article IV, Section 4.02.05 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance allow a general service garage with a garage apartment on Highland Ave, tax map 86-1, in the C-I and I zones.

Chairman Moore stated the hearing notice was in the newspaper, abutters were notified, and the hearing fees were paid. The application was complete.

The Board discussed a possible conflict of interest. Jessica Daine is related to the applicant, but she has no financial gain with the proposed project nor is she a partner to the project. Mike Carbonneau stated he was fine with Jessica being a voting member.

Guy Harriman was designated a voting member for this hearing. No other possible conflicts were noted. There would be five voting members for the case.

Chairman Moore had several questions about the property and the project. He questioned who the abutters were and if the properties across the river would be considered abutters. The State owns the land under the river. Mike Carbonneau said an abutter needs to be an immediate abutter and not on the other side of a river or pond. Chairman Moore was satisfied and said those on the other side of the river do not legally need to be notified. Vice Chair Sweeney said the river is a public water and then he gave the example that Baker Brook would not be considered public water.

Chairman Moore explained that there would be no need for the applicant to present the project to the Planning Board because there is only one building. Two separate uses would require Planning Board approval.

Chairman Moore discussed the original intent for a garage apartment. The original intent was for a garage, which is associated with a residence, to have an apartment in or over it. The proposal is for a general service garage with an apartment. Art Tighe asked if the ordinance explains what the intent was. Chairman Moore replied no, but the Board could ask the Planning Board what the intent was when they added it to the Zoning Ordinance. Jessica Daine said the ordinance allows this use with a special exception and it is very specific. Chairman Moore said the garage construction will need to be considered in order to protect the apartment. There have been no other similar projects to use as an example.
Chairman Moore informed the Board that Article XVI of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance might come into play for this case. Vice Chair Sweeney said the applicant would be in the clear as long as the development is outside of the floodway. Chairman Moore pointed out the ordnance refers to a building inspector, but the town does not have one. This responsibility might be delegated to the Zoning Officer. Vice Chair Sweeney discussed the flood maps produced by FEMA. There is a narrow area along the river that is referred to as the floodway. This area cannot be developed. The area just beyond that is the floodplain. Flood insurance is offered to the residents but the town cannot let people build where they are identified as flood prone area. FEMA provided the tolls for the towns to see if the development is in a flood prone area. Tonight’s proposed building is out of the floodway and also appears to be out of the floodplain. There was discussion about only the building being insured and not the driveway.

Mike Carbonneau said this land has been used since 1904. Art Tighe stated the Board needs to be concerned with the location of the building. Vice Chair Sweeney said the building should be at or above the floodplain. Mike stated he obtained a Shoreland permit from NHDES. There was no permitting to disturb within 50 feet of the shore. The building is clearly out of the floodway. Vice Chair Sweeney stated that any significant changes would need further ZBA approval.

Art Tighe asked if there was any liability to the current property owner. Chairman Moore said there is a letter in the file from the current property owner stating their approval for Mike Carbonneau to apply for this use. Mike said the land owner had to be the applicant for the State permit. Mike has a purchase and sales agreement for the parcel.

Chairman Moore discussed the railroad right-of-way. Mike Carbonneau said there was been a ROW over the railroad since 1904. Mike has applied to the NHDOT to allow him to cross. Mike said that Lou Barker assured him that the permit will be issued in about 2 to 3 weeks. Art Tighe said how Mike accesses his property is a driveway permit issue. Mike said he also has a ROW over town property near Redington Street.

There was discussion about where to connect to the sewer. Mike Carbonneau spoke with George McNamara, Director of Public Works, and a gravity line is good. Mike must hook into the town sewer if it is within 500 feet.

The fire, police, and highway departments did not have any concerns.

Vice Chair Sweeney mentioned the ROW through Vaughn Newton’s property. Mike Carbonneau said it has been there since the early 1920’s. It covers utilities and vehicular travel. Chairman Moore said if it has been there almost 100 years, it gives you the ability to do what you want.

Mike Carbonneau explained his proposal. Mike is self-employed in town and wants this building to maintain and clean his equipment. He also wants his business office there. Mike thought it would be handy to have someone live there for protection of the equipment on site. Mike has received the Shoreland permit and has spoken with Littleton Water & Light, Highway, and Vaughn Newton. Deed research has also been done. Chairman Moore said he spoke with Vaughn Newton today and Vaughn said he was aware of the meeting and the ROW topic. Vaughn did not attend so Chairman Moore took that as he has no objections.

Art Tighe asked if thinks could be put in the floodway temporarily. Vice Chair Sweeney said parking equipment is not considered fill or encroachment. That area can be used, but nothing ground altering.

Jessica Daine asked if the increased traffic and large equipment would be a hazard because of the nearby recreation field. Mike Carbonneau said the garage will be to fix his own equipment and not for the public. There will probably be only three cars a day to the site. There is already heavy traffic in the area. Art Tighe stated that it is a similar kind of traffic that flows through there. Jerry LeSage asked about when his equipment would be using the road. Mike replied that the heavy traffic would be between the typical business hours of 7:00 AM and 3:30 PM on weekdays and an occasional Saturday.

There was discussion again about keeping the building out of the floodway as well as out of the floodplain. Mike Carbonneau said the map he submitted is a starting point. He will determine where he will need to build when he locates the edge of the floodplain. Art Tighe said there will be a little leeway after the approval. Vice Chair Sweeney said approving the use is tied to this plan.

Art Tighe asked about the ROW over the railroad. Jessica Daine said the Board is to approve the use and not the access. Vice Chair Sweeney stated there is adequate access and the State permit to cross the railroad is out of the Board’s purview.

There was discussion about the “abandoned” sewer line that Mike Carbonneau is considering hooking into. Mike was told by George McNamara that it is ok to tap into it if it works. There are other options if this one does not work.

There were no abutters present.

Dann asked about if there was a cave in for the “abandoned” sewer line. Mike Carbonneau said that is the story is has heard from people in town, but he could not say for sure.

Art Tighe read the findings of the facts submitted by the applicant:

  • The site was chosen in a low impact area on the lot. A majority of the planned impact area has been previously disturbed. A Shoreland permit was applied for and granted (permit #2015-00568).
  • The properties in the immediate vicinity are a commercial vehicle repair, towing, heating oil, and pellet and coal delivery service. I have planned for a new garage and hopefully office and apartment which will be built to current code.
  • There are no expected hazards on site. The structure will have video surveillance and insured for general liability. 
  • I have planned an interior office and apartment to the garage. I have also considered an outbuilding for the office and apartment.

Chairman Moore said it is an appropriate facility and will be attached to a sewer system and electric. Mike Carbonneau said he might build two separate buildings because it would be more cost efficient. Chairman Moore reminded Mike that two separate buildings would need Planning Board approval. Mike said he would stick to the original single buildings.

Chairman Moore closed the public input. All Board members agreed with the submitted findings of the facts.

Vice Chair Sweeney said he would like to reference the plan regarding the building size. If it is too large, it might change how the Board looks at the request. Mike Carbonneau said the application does not cover the size of the building. Sweeney said the Board was basing the decision of appropriateness and lack of hazard on the use depicted on the plan. A much bigger building would have a different impact. Mike said a 40’ X 80’ should cover it. Art Tighe suggested going with what is presented. Sweeney suggested the building be in substantial conformity of the application.

The public input was closed again.

Vice Chair Sweeney made a motion to approve Michael Carbonneau, Applicant – ZBA15-04 – Special Exception request relating to Article IV, Section 4.02.05 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance allow a general service garage with a garage apartment on Highland Ave, tax map 86-1, in the C-I and I zones with the following conditions:

  • There shall be no encroachments, including fill and structures, within the regulatory floodway
  • All buildings shall be elevated at or above the FEMA 100 year flood elevations
  • The development shall be in substantial conformity to the submitted site plan
  • The applicant must comply with all Federal, State, and Local regulations

Art Tighe seconded the motion. The motion passed 5-0. Chairman Moore informed the applicant of the 30-day appeal period.

At 7:45, Art Tighe made a motion to adjourn. Guy Harriman seconded the motion. The motion passed 5-0.

Submitted by,
Joanna Ray