In a letter to Mark Howard, chairman of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, local developer Paul Zimmerman today* implied if the town does not reimburse him for $22,586.00 in expenses he may sue the town. Zimmerman incurred the expenses developing site plans to build a self-storage facility on the property next to the fire station at 181 Middle Road (Route 109A). Continue reading “Paul Zimmerman Implies He May File Suit Against Tuftonboro Over Decision by Zoning Board”
The Zoning Board of Adjustment voted 4-1 this evening to deny a hearing to Paul Zimmerman and his associates. Last month the ZBA voted to deny Zimmerman a special exception to the medium-density residential zoning so that he could build a self-storage unit on Middle Road (Route 109A) next to the fire station. The board found last month a self-storage facility would alter the essential rural character of the neighborhood irreparably.
Zimmerman could have appealed the decision, but instead submitted a new application for a special exception. However, the ZBA determined in tonight’s meeting that, based on the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s decision in Fisher v. Dover, 120 N.H. 187 (1980), the new application was not “materially different in nature and degree” from the first application.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment, confirms that the ZBA has received a new application from Paul Zimmerman for a special exception to medium density residential zoning to construct a storage facility at 181 Middle Road.
Zimmerman’s application for a special exception two months ago and was denied by the board based on their belief that the storage facility would alter the essential rural character of the neighborhood.
Mark Howard, the chairman of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, explained in an email to me that the board will have a meeting on November 22nd and 7PM at the Town House. The first 20-30 minutes of the meeting will be for the board to determine if the new application is “materially different in nature and degree” from the first application that was denied.
At issue is a state law known as “Fisher v. Dover, 120 N.H. 187 (1980)” which prevents an applicant from subsequent applications to a ZBA unless the new application is materially different. This legal rule is more commonly referred to as “One bite at the apple”. When we run into something like this, the advice we have been given by NH Municipal Association attorneys is to hold a public meeting, determine if the new application meets the threshold, then proceed (or not).
If the board determines the new application is not materially different, then they will deny Zimmerman a public hearing. If the application is materially different, then they will immediately open up a public hearing.
A storage facility in the middle of town would seem to be in stark contrast to the wishes of the vast majority of residents who responded earlier this year to the Planning Board’s Master Plan survey, which had a high return rate with 764 households participating.
The Planning Board has not finalized their report from the Master Plan Survey, but here are some of the raw numbers.
Survey takers were asked, “What do you like most about Tuftonboro?” And instructed to select their top three. “Scenic beauty” received the most nods with 22%, followed by “quiet lifestyle” with 21%, and “favorable taxes” with 16% of respondents agreeing.
Tuftonboro residents’ priorities are even more clear when asked, “What are the three most important issues facing Tuftonboro in the next 10 years?” 23% say “property taxes,” 18% say “development pressure,” and 15% cite “loss of rural character” as their top concern.