On March 25, Christopher McGowan of Blue Lobster Detailing went before the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) and petitioned to allow an existing building to remain within the front 60-foot structure setback, to allow a parking area within the front 30-foot green space, and to allow a parking area to be unpaved at 199 Rockingham Road, within the Route 28 Performance Overlay District.
The board denied the variances at the time, with David Paquette the lone vote in favor.
Last month the ZBA decided to rehear the case, and approved two of the three variance requests.
On Wednesday, June 18, the ZBA heard from property owner Charles Evans, who requested that the board reconsider. Paquette read letters from abutting property owners S&S Metals Recycling and S&F Realty Trust in favor of granting the variance request by Blue Lobster Detailing.
Evans thanked the board for rehearing the case. He said Blue Lobster Detailing is a good “transitional” business for the property until something larger can go in.
“As my letter states, I’m requesting a re-hearing of a case that was denied,” he said. “Currently the building is set back 40 feet from the street. This in itself has created a hardship. It’s zoned commercially, it’s grandfathered residentially, but obviously it’s not any use or benefit to any residential use of the property.”
Evans said the proposed use is Commercial zoning.
“It’s well received by the neighbors, and our point is that until a more substantial commercial development can take place on this property, this is a good transitional use until that time comes,” Evans said.
Paquette said he remembered from the last hearing that McGowan was looking at a two- to three-year time frame for his business at that site, and that he thinks that should be added as a restriction to any variance.
Code Enforcement Officer Richard Cancel said the restriction would be assessed to the business, not the property.
Board member Jackie Benard asked what had been done to the building that would allow a business to operate in it.
Evans said the building was up to code, had bathrooms and had electrical updates.
McGowan said operating hours would be Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Acting Chairman Neil Dunn said he had driven by the property and had a concern with the gravel being “stable.”
“There appeared to be loose gravel towards Route 28,” Dunn said.
McGowan said he would be washing cars at the Primrose car wash, compounding and waxing the car, and then detailing the inside of the car. “It would be virtually new when it leaves the lot,” he said.
During deliberations, board member Jim Tirabassi said a sunset clause would be good.
Canuel said because this is a change of use, the proposal has to go before the Planning Board for site plan review. “This is only the first step in the process,” he said.
Dunn said the Planning Board could determine the suitability of the gravel.
Paquette suggested restrictions of sunsetting the length of time the business could operate on the property and that it would be contingent on site plan approval.
“We could grant the first two variances with restrictions and deny the third, which is the paved parking,” Paquette said.
The board voted unanimously on a motion by Paquette to grant the variances pertaining to the setback and the parking area in front of the 30-foot green space because of the grandfathered nature of the building, with the restrictions that there be a three-year sunset for the business and it be contingent on site plan approval. The board also denied the request for the unpaved parking area.