Zoning Board Approves Three Variance Requests

by Alex Malm

During the April 21 Londonderry Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting the Board approved three different variance requests.

One of the variance requests came from Enterprise Drive Recovery LLC who requested a variance to reduce the landscaping buffer zone between a commercial and residential zoning district from 50 feet to 15 feet of vegetation at Four Enterprise Drive.
Jason Lopez of Keach Nordstrom Associates was at the meeting representing the owners who said that their plan is to build a 3,900 square foot garage and an impound lot for his business he owns which is across the street.
Lopez explained that the site plan was originally approved in 2016 however, it expired due to the fact that no construction had been done on it.
“That’s why we’re here tonight,” Lopez said.
He said that the owner Brian Bachman bought the property with the knowledge that the site plan had been approved before and they could modify it to meet his needs.
When they went to the planning board Lopez said that it then became apparent that there was never a variance approved for the original site plan that they were requesting.
Lopez said that they also met with the Heritage and Conservation Commission who were supportive of the plan but asked that they plant more trees and shrubs for the property.
“We will make the adjustments and add that vegetation,” Lopez said.
Lopez noted that the main reason why they needed to seek a variance is because of the fact that they abut the Rail Trail which is considered residential property meaning that they are required to have 50 feet buffer of vegetation.
He said that other properties around them have either the same amount of vegetation buffer reduction and in one case a neighboring property has none at all.
He noted that the spirit of the ordinance is to diminish the adverse effects of commercial properties in residential areas but said that the Rail Trail is for recreational use only and no houses can be built there.
“One can suggest that the application of the ordinance to this property creates an unnecessary hardship not shared by the other properties in the C2 district.”
The Board approved the variance request with a vote of 5-0 with the conditions that they follow the request made by both the Heritage and Conservation Commission to add additional trees and shrubs on the property.
Another variance request that the Board heard during the meeting was in regards to allowing William & Katelyn Nette to build a shed on their property with a setback of only 10 feet instead of 15. Their proposal was to build a 12×18 foot shed at their 22 Griffin Road property.
William explained that they needed to seek a variance because of the way the property is shaped and anywhere else they would put it would either require a variance or wouldn’t be ideal for them or their neighbors.
For example he consulted with two site preparation professionals who both recommended that they didn’t put the shed in the part of the backyard that they were originally looking at due to weather concerns.
Another part of the backyard that they were going to put in was a concern of one of their neighbors whose deck overlooks their backyard. The neighbor was concerned that if they placed the shed there then they would be overlooking the shed and the property would lose value.
He said that they also looked at placing the shed in the middle of the yard which his neighbors had concerns about saying that by having it there the surrounding properties would lose value. He said that he also talked to a professional who said that sheds shouldn’t be placed in litchfields which would’ve been the case if they placed the shed there.
Ultimately he said that the most reasonable place to place the shed would be where they proposed.
“This is the most reasonable and appropriate location for the shed,” he said.
During the deliberation the Board agreed that it was a reasonable request and decided to grant the variance with a vote of 5-0 with the condition that the shed built is 12×18.
The Board also approved a variance request made by Vine St. Rentals to build a single family home with no frontage at 22 Gerry Lane.
The variance was approved with a vote of 5-0.
In other news Town Council Liaison Deb Paul announced that she brought up to the Town Council and Planning Board that they should take a look at the chicken ordinances and sign ordinances since it comes up often at the Zoning Board meetings.
Her thought is that might help to alleviate those cases from coming to the Zoning Board on a continuance basis.
The next Londonderry Zoning Board of Adjustments meeting is slated for Wednesday, May 19 at 7 p.m.