Historical Society Gains Variance For Railroad Tracks

David Colglazier, treasurer of the Londonderry Historical Society, successfully petitioned the Zoning Board of Adjustment for a variance to allow a structure within five feet of a rear property line where 15 feet is required, so that the Historical Society could put donated railroad tracks on the back of the Society property at 140 Pillsbury Road.

“We’re asking for a variance on the back line because we want to have installation of some donated track, railroad track and ballast, ties and a switch that are coming from an area off of Old Mammoth Road,” he told the Zoning Board at its Wednesday, Nov. 20 meeting. “People are interested in preserving it. It’s going to be donated by the Railroad Historical Society and we have gotten approval from the Heritage Commission to have it brought down and have this put in place.”
Colglazier said it would not be contrary to the public interest because it would not be visible from the abutters’ property. Colglazier said the abutters are Moose Hill School and Orchard Christian Fellowship.
“Along the back line now there is some low vegetation that was planted there, there’s a sloping bank to the north that goes back 5, 6, 7, 8 feet, maybe more, and then it drops down into a ditch, and there’s another rounded bank on the other side and it tapers away,” he said. “The overall width of this installation is about 40 feet wide from the property line. So therefore I thought that by being able to get within five feet of the property line, we would not have a crowding situation and we would not be introducing something that would be visible from their side.
“We would be about 40 feet away from anything they would like to do and actually be another five feet beyond that,” he added.
He said the Society would like a bit more space but is landlocked with the church and school and cannot expand in those directions. “We want to make the most use of the property that we have,” Colglazier said.
He added that the value of the surrounding property would not be diminished.
“We can continue to operate without the variance, but we would like to have the variance so we can continue to serve the public a little bit better by having more space for our collections,” Colglazier said.
Board member Larry O’Sullivan asked Code Enforcement Officer Richard Canuel how railroad track qualified as a structure.
“If you look at our definition in the ordinance, a structure is anything that is constructed that requires a permanent location,” Canuel responded. “I spoke to Mr. Colglazier about this issue and that at some point in the future if they are fortunate to have donated a rail car, that’s likely going to be the location of that car. It made sense now to approach the board and get this variance issue addressed.”
Canuel said railroad track is not exempted from being a structure.
Board member James Totten asked if there was a square footage requirement to be a structure and Canuel said no.
O’Sullivan asked if the track would be covered and Colglazier said that it would not.
Colglazier said the track would be 60 feet long, 56 inches wide, with two sets of rails side by side.
During deliberation, O’Sullivan said that he had no objection to the request and Totten agreed.
“Given the nature of the particular piece of property and what its purpose is and where it’s located, I think it’s a fit,” Chairman James Smith said.
Board member Jackie Benard agreed.
The variance was granted unanimously.

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