Planning & Zoning Board Notices & Minutes

Mar 11, 2015

Approved Zoning Board Minutes Mar 11, 2015


LITTLETON ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
APPROVED MINUTES
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2015
OPERA HOUSE MEETING ROOM
2 UNION STREET
LITTLETON, NH 03561
6:00 PM

Present: Chairman Eddy Moore, Art Tighe, Guy Harriman, Heidi Hurley, Jessica Daine, and Joanna Ray (recording secretary)

Excused: Vice Chair Sean Sweeney and Jerry LeSage

Others: Fred Moody (Littleton Town Manager), Mike Norman (Horizons Engineering), Chris Hodge (Littleton Zoning Officer), Greg Eastman (LIDC), Jason Cartwright (Tender Corp), Robert Blechl (Caledonian Record), and Val Poulsen (abutter)

Chairman Moore called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM. Guy Harriman was designated a voting member for this meeting. A full board was present and no conflicts were noted.

Chairman Moore introduced the two cases on the agenda. They will be heard at the same time, but they will be voted on separately.

Fort Fairfield BP LLC, Applicant / Horizons Engineering, Agent – ZBA15-02 – Request for a Variance relating to Article V, Section 5.01 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow a front setback less than the required 40 feet at 944 Industrial Park Rd in the Industrial Zone.

Fort Fairfield BP LLC, Applicant / Horizons Engineering, Agent – ZBA15-03 – Request for a Variance relating to Article V, Section 5.01 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow a 40-foot structure at 944 Industrial Park Rd in the Industrial Zone.

Mike Norman explained that the R.O.W. along the Industrial Park Rd is 66 ft. except for the strip in front of his client’s property where it is 90 ft. Due to this change in the R.O.W., the proposed building is 16.5 feet from the front property line. The required setback is 40 feet. The proposed building is about the same amount of feet away from the center of the R.O.W. as the other buildings on this road. All other setbacks are in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.

Mike Norman stated that the proposed building is a two-story with a mezzanine level. The reason for this is to minimize the wetland impact.

Mike Norman explained that through deed research, the strip of land between the proposed building and the Industrial Park Road right-of-way was found to be owned by the town. There are no utilities or drainage outside of the 66 ft. right-of-way. Without the variance there will be an increased wetland impact and that would make this project almost impossible on the property. Mike informed the Board that other lots were looked at, but they would not work. The goal is to maintain the character of the Industrial Park.

Mike Norman said his client and the town have entered into a lease agreement with the town that will be renewed annually with the intent to bring it to the voters next March to allow the town to sell it to the developer. Mike felt this area was just a piece left over from when the road was put in.

Fred Moody said he had spoken with many people that know the history of this area of town. This extra piece of land relates back to when the Towle farm was subdivided. Val Poulsen agreed. Mike Norman said there is no obvious reason for this extended right-of-way.

Mike Norman addressed the proposed height of the building. It will be two-stories and over the allowed height of 35 ft. This is relatively consistent to the rest of the Industrial zone. The building is 37.5 ft. plus some roof units which is why he is asking for 40 ft. If the building is not two-story, then the footprint will have to be bigger and then the wetland impact will increase.

Greg Eastman stated he is in favor of these requests.

Fred Moody said the Selectboard approved the lease agreement at their March 9, 2015 meeting. Fred agreed that the intention is to go to town meeting for authorization to sell the land. This lease can be renewed for five years. History has shown that voters want land to be back on the tax roll.

Jason Cartwright stated that this is the last area for Tender to build and expand. Other locations have been tried but they would be too expensive and not possible. If this is denied, they will have to leave Littleton to find an area to accommodate them. Chairman Moore stated he appreciated the input but it was irrelevant to the board making a decision.

Val Poulsen stated the project will include removing his building, which is currently on the lot, and constructing a new one further down the road.

Chairman Moore mentioned the manufacturing standards in the Zoning Ordinance. Mike Norman stated that Tender Corp. will continue with those standards, but with better equipment. Jason Cartwright said this is a quiet facility and is inspected by the FDA as well as other agencies. Some of the work is assembly.

Art Tighe read through the findings of the facts for the first application that were submitted by the applicant. Art stated that this request is basically similar to the other buildings in the Industrial Park. Chairman Moore added the March 9, 2015 Selectboard minutes as a reference to the lease agreement with plan to purchase.

Art Tighe read through the findings of the facts for the second application that were submitted by the applicant. Chairman Moore stated that the town allows a maximum height of 35 ft. with the exception of the mixed use zone. The fire department can handle a building over 35 ft. high. The FedEx building sits higher as well.

The public input was closed. Art Tighe stated the request is cut and dry with the town willing to work with them. This proposal is not interfering with anything existing in the right-of-way. The rest of the Industrial Park Rd. is 66 ft. wide and the topography of the land is a hardship. The configuration makes this lot work and it is conducive with the park. Chairman Moore agreed that this was the best use for the lot.

The board agreed with the findings of the facts.

Jessica Daine made a motion to approve Fort Fairfield BP LLC, Applicant / Horizons Engineering, Agent – ZBA15-02 – Request for a Variance relating to Article V, Section 5.01 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow a front setback less than the required 40 feet at 944 Industrial Park Rd in the Industrial Zone based on the following facts:

  • Granting the variance will not alter the essential character of the Industrial Park. The property is in the Industrial zone surrounded and abutted by Industrial zoned properties and uses. The Industrial Park Rd right-of-way width throughout the Industrial park is generally 66 ft. with the only place being 90 ft., the frontage of these subject parcels. Many structures in the Industrial Park are placed at or around 40 feet from the edge of the 66 ft. right-of-way, or approximately 75 ft. from the centerline of Industrial Park Rd. Placing the building approximately 82 ft. from the centerline of the Industrial Park Rd. (16.8 ft. from the edge of the 90 ft. right-of-way) in front of the subject properties would not threaten the public health, safety or welfare. There are no current uses within the additional right-of-way strip of land outside the general consistent 66 ft. road right-of-way. This additional land remained when the Industrial Park was developed and Industrial Park Rd. was established.
  • The spirit of the ordinance will remain because maintaining buildings approximately 75 ft. from the centerline of Industrial Park Rd. and Mount Eustis Rd. will be adhered to and the intent of the Industrial Park was to generally have 66 ft. wide right-of-way widths, not the 90 ft. right-of-way width that exists in front of the subject properties.
  • The general public does not stand to gain from a denial of variance, and the loss to the applicant from a denial of the variance would not be outweighed by a gain to the general public. The granting of the variance will allow a productive use of the subject property which will benefit both the applicant and the general public through the improvements made to the property, jobs created, and construction of a modern, safe facility for the use.
  • The proposed use of the property will result in a significant increase in its value, while not altering the existing character or value of the other lots and abutters in the Industrial Park. The Industrial properties in close proximity to the subject parcel are in the Industrial zone, are generally abutting right-of-way widths of 66 ft., not the 90 ft. that exists in front of the subject properties. The applicant will enter into a lease agreement for the use of the .42 acres of land that is outside the 66 ft. wide area of the Industrial Park Rd. right-of-way so that it is generally consistent with uses and setbacks throughout the Industrial Park. Additionally, the applicant is prepared to purchase the lease area in the future.
  • The general purpose of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance is to require that land in the Town is used in a manner that “not disorderly, unsightly, noxious, offensive, or detrimental to the public or the owners or occupants of adjacent property, or prejudicial to the general welfare of the community.” Littleton Zoning Ordinance Section 1.01. Given the special conditions of the property, there is not a fair and substantial relationship between these general purposes and the specific restriction against placing the building within the 40 ft. setback from the 90 ft. wide Industrial Park Rd. right-of-way. As described above, the proposed use of the property would be consistent with the use of other properties in the Industrial Park.
  • The subject properties have special conditions in that they contain a significant portion that cannot be developed to the west due to steep slopes and wetlands that would make successful industrial development without granting the setback variance problematic.

The proposed location of the building 16.8 ft. from the 90 ft. wide Industrial Park Rd. right-of-way for these subject properties complies with the general purposes of the Zoning Ordinance, will not change the general character of the Industrial Park, and will allow a productive use of these properties which, due to its special conditions, would be difficult to use in strict compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.

  • Special conditions on the site; the steep slopes and wetlands on the site which severely restrict building footprint and the wider than normal roadway right-of-way (90 ft. vs. 66 ft.) create special conditions that distinguish it from other area properties, such that literal interpretation and enforcement of the ordinance would create a hardship.

The applicant must comply with all Federal, State, and Local regulations. Art Tighe seconded the motion. The motion passed 5-0.

Jessica Daine made a motion to approve Fort Fairfield BP LLC, Applicant / Horizons Engineering, Agent – ZBA15-03 – Request for a Variance relating to Article V, Section 5.01 of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance to allow a 40-foot structure at 944 Industrial Park Rd in the Industrial Zone based on the following facts:

  • Granting the variance will not alter the essential character of the Industrial Park. The property is in the Industrial zone surrounded and abutter by Industrial zoned properties and uses. The proposed maximum building height of 40 ft. will not result in a building that is out of scale with surrounding properties or cause a threat to public health, safety, or welfare.
  • The requested variance is consistent with the spirit of the ordinance because the proposed height is only 5 ft. above the allowable, and is for an Industrial use within an Industrial zone.
  • The general public does not stand to gain from a denial of the variance, and the loss to the applicant from a denial of the variance would be substantial. The granting of the variance will allow a productive use of the subject property which will benefit both the applicant and the general public through the improvements made to the property, jobs created, and construction of a modern, safe facility for the use. The 40 ft. height is necessary to accommodate the racking system that the lessee intends to use. The height is necessary because a lot with adequate footprint for the required storage space could not be secured. The largest possible footprint has been designed, and only with an increase in height could the required space be provided.
  • The proposed use of the property will result in a significant increase in its value, while not altering the existing character or value of the other lots and abutters in the Industrial Park. The Industrial properties in close proximity to the subject parcel are in the industrial zone and will not be negatively impacted by the proposed 40 ft. height. 
  • The general purposes of the Littleton Zoning Ordinance is to require that land in the town is used in a manner that “not disorderly, unsightly, noxious, offensive, or detrimental to the public or the owners or occupants of adjacent property, or prejudicial to the general welfare of the community.” Littleton Zoning Ordinance Section1.01. The requested building height of 40 ft. will not be counter to these purposes.
  • Strict compliance with the height restriction in the Zoning Ordinance will not allow the lessee to use the racking system that is necessary for the required storage space. The proposed height is reasonable because it will allow the desired use and not be counter to the spirit of the ordinance.
  • Literal interpretation and enforcement of the ordinance would create a hardship because the lessee needs a building height of 40 ft. to construct the needed manufacturing facility.

The applicant must comply with all Federal, State, and Local regulations. Art Tighe seconded the motion. The motion passed 5-0.

REVIEW OF MINUTES:
February 24, 2015: Art Tighe made a motion to approve the minutes as written. Jessica Daine seconded the motion. The motion passed 5-0.

At 7:00 PM, Art Tighe made a motion to adjourn. Jessica Daine seconded the motion. The motion passed 5-0.

Submitted by,
Joanna Ray