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.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment will hold another public hearing tonight at the Town House at 7PM to decide whether to grant a special exception to Paul Zimmerman to build a self-storage facility with at least 100 units next to the fire station on 109A.
Zoning Board member Bob Theve is also a member of the budget committee, which has a meeting tonight at 6:30 (at the Town Office). Reached on the phone yesterday, Theve said he would attend the budget committee for about 25 minutes and then go to the public hearing.
Whatever the decision of the board tonight, state law allows for an appeal within 30 days (starting the day following the vote of the board) either from the applicant (if the special exception is denied) or from “any person directly affected” (if the special exception is granted). The statute does not define the narrowness of the term “directly affected.” Certainly abutting property owners would qualify.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment will hold a public hearing on September 20, 2016, at 7PM at the old Town House on 109A.
Paul Zimmerman is seeking a
zoning variance special exception to the zoning ordinance to construct four self-storage buildings on three acres of land next to the fire station on 109A, according to a letter sent to nearby property owners alerting them to the public hearing, and notices were displayed at the Melvin Village and Center Tuftonboro post offices, and published in the Granite State News. The property is currently zoned residential and requires a special exception for use for storage buildings.
This is the plan for the proposed storage buildings next to the Fire station:
The building outlined in red sits closest to the road and is proposed 160 feet long, with up to 20 storage doors. There would be another building directly behind it, and then two buildings up behind on the hill.
Chris Sawyer, the chairman of the planning board, stated in a post on Facebook that if the ZBA grants the variance to the zoning, the Planning Board will still have to sign off on the project.
Correction: this post originally stated Zimmerman needed a variance instead of a special exception. See this post for the difference between the two: Zoning Board Grants Continuance to Zimmerman