ZBA Plows Through Long List Of Variance Requests

On Sept. 19, the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) worked through a heavy agenda.

One of the items on the busy evening involved CC Properties, owner of historic property at 2 Litchfield Road. The request was for a variance to allow the property to be used as a single-family residence. Since it is in a Commercial-3 district the variance was required.

Owners of this property had earlier made multiple attempts to get approval from the ZBA and Planning Board to convert the property into a credit union. The ZBA granted the approval for the property to be used as a residence. This decision is aligned with a special town ordinance passed several years ago that restricted the allowed use of the property with residential being an allowed use.

In another case, they reviewed a variance request from Londonderry Baptist Church (LBC) to permanently keep a portable storage container on their property. The church also sought permission for a 40 foot container when zoning regulations limited containers to 20 feet.

They were before the ZBA because a Londonderry building inspector noticed the container and pointed out that Londonderry limited the size of such containers and the duration they are allowed on a property. LBC had been given a six-month approval for the container after which they had to remove it or get a variance from the ZBA.

Pastor Jonathan Roe presented the case for LBC. He shared that LBC has had the container on their property for many years and that is used to store lawn care equipment and seasonal supplies such as those used during Old Home Days and vacation Bible study. In the past, LBC had problems with vandalism and theft of the lawn care equipment, so they bought the container for secure storage.

He said that only one side of the container was visible from Mammoth Rd. and that use of the container prevented vandalism and theft. He also stated that it would be a financial burden for LBC to build a permanent storage building.

ZBA members asked about converting the container into a permanent structure by putting it on a foundation which would then make it allowable, but LBC did not think that was feasible economically. Members also asked about moving the container behind the church building to fully block its view from Mammoth Rd.

In the end the ZBA voted 4-1 to deny the variance citing the fact that it was twice as large as allowed as one of several reasons.

In the next case, the ZBA was asked to grant a variance to allow construction of a two-car garage within the required 40-foot setback in front of the existing house at 34 Brewster Rd. As proposed, the corner of the garage would have been only 6 feet from the edge of the road.

The applicant was hoping to get approval so that the garage would be aligned with the current driveway and because they felt that their options for placement of the garage were limited by the location of their septic system. Citing safety concerns with the garage being that close to the road, the ZBA unanimously denied the variance request.

Nicholas and Ashley Cuzzupe came before the ZBA seeking permission to construct a fence at their 2 State Tree Circle property that otherwise would not be allowed. Normally, fences in the front of a house can be no higher than four feet and no closer than to the roadway than 40 feet.

Because their property is at an intersection, both the front of their house and one side of it are considered frontages. They sought the variance to construct a 6-foot high privacy fence 5 to 10 feet from the roadway along Moulton Drive.

The ZBA granted the variance subject to the conditions that the fence not obstruct, impede, encroach or otherwise interfere with an existing slope easement; the required sight distance profile (northerly direction) at the State Tree/Moulton intersection; and the stopping sight distance at State Tree Circle. These conditions would be verified by the town public works and engineering department.