Downloadable Minutes available here (15 pages, 160 KB)

Approved 10/26 with Corrections Noted on Page 15 - Please see here



         August 24th, 2011


Members Present:   Dan Beers,  Ken Chester, Jon Grosjean, Linda Renna, Jeff Reder, Alison Rossiter, and Linda Coughlan, Recording Secretary


Others Attending: Jonathan Gibson, John Jordan, Beth Grosjean, Marylou Cassidy, Judith Stout, Rick Simpson, Caitlin Mullin, Timothy Lord, Jackie Hill, Pat Newcomb, Elinor Johnson, Tom Ward, James Hrdlicka, Peter Mills, Eleanor Falcon, Scott Manning, Carolyn Boland, Barbara Caverly, Tom Ball, Dave Drasba, Larry Schwartz, Dennis Rossiter, Marcia Neuhardt, Margaret Carlson, Lewis Gilman, Nevan Cassidy, Peg McLeod, Barbara Coffin, Tom Bates, Ben Billings, Gay Sargent, Jarvis Coffin, Penny English, Fran Hilner, Georgiann Fallon, Mike Fallon, Attorney Tom Hanna, Nancy Musarra, Jim Mussara, Sara LeFebvre, Rich Lefebvre,  Sandra Ceres Weston, Jack Carlson, Margaret Carlson, Lois Sponsler, Diane Loomis, Eric Spizbarth, Bonnie Drummond, Steve & Eleanor Fillebrown, Alexandra Heatley, Neal Cass, Don & Rita Klug, Elizabeth Kerwin, Mary Covington, Andy Peterson, Jeannette & Lee Baker, Jane Billings, Sally Billings  


7:00 P.M.- Alison Rossiter called the business portion of the meeting to order. The minutes of the July 27th meeting were approved as written. She mentioned a brochure that had come in for a Land Use Law Update Series coming up for anyone interested in attending.  The Board decided to meet on September 14th at 7:00 to review the zoning ordinance and the new handbook that was recently handed out.


7:15 P.M. – Gibson Hearing

Alison called the hearing to order and introduced the Board. She read the published notice which stated this was a hearing for an application by Jonathan & Camille B. Gibson for a Home Based Business under Article 15.6.9. She noted that fees had been paid and the notice had been published, posted and sent to abutters. She explained the procedures that would be followed during the hearing beginning with the applicant's testimony, followed by Board comments or questions, and then the hearing would be opened for public comments in support and then to those in opposition. Alison said that Jon Grosjean was recusing himself as a voting member and Jeff Reder would be an acting member for the hearing. She said voting tonight would be Ken Chester, Dan Beers, Linda Renna, Jeff Reder and herself. Alison advised the public that any comments or questions should be directed through the chair.   


Alison read the preamble to Article 15.6.9 Home Based Business. She said the Board would be addressing 15.5 Special Exceptions – General Conditions first.


Applicant's responses to 15.5 Special Exceptions:

  1. The proposed use is similar to one or more of the uses already authorized in the District.

    There are other in home-businesses in residential areas in Hancock. We believe our hand-made pieces would blend wonderfully with Hancock's Historic Main Street.

  2. The specific site is an approved location for the proposed use.
    The house and barn at 14 Main Street, Hancock provides good visibility for the proposed home-based business.

  3. The proposed use would not adversely affect property values of neighboring properties:
    We believe our home-based business would be an asset to the town, especially on Main Street. Our customers would benefit other businesses along Main Street as well!

  4. The proposed use and the associated plans for parking, access and egress would not create a nuisance or serious hazard to pedestrian or vehicular traffic or excessive traffic congestion nor create excessive wear and tear on public streets.
    The driveway at 14 Main Street is double width and there are 8 parking spaces. Eight spaces is more than enough. Visibility from parking area is fine in both directions.

  5. The proposed use, following installation of visual and noise screening measure by natural or structural means to the extent and in the manner as may be specifically determined by the Board, would not create a nuisance to neighboring properties by reason of noise, odors, fumes, smoke, dust, vibrations, light, sound, or electromagnetic or communications interference or the storage or dissemination of hazardous materials or otherwise be injurious, obnoxious or offensive:
    The proposed use will not create noise, odors, fumes, dust, vibrations, light, sound, or electromagnetic or communications interference. There will be no hazardous materials stored on site.

  6. Adequate and appropriate facilities will be provided for the proper operation of the use, including (where applicable) facilities for potable water and disposal of waste:
    We're planning on using one room (front parlor) as a showroom to start. Eventually, the showroom and workshop will be located in the barn when it is insulated and heated.

  7. The proposed use is consistent with the purposes and intent of the Zoning Ordinance and the Hancock Master Plan, after having given due consideration to recommendations if any, received from the Planning Board; and
    We believe the proposed use is consistent with Hancock's Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan. We will be living and working at 14 Main Street.

  8. The proposed use falls within and meets all of the conditions of a Special Exception hereinafter listed.
    We believe we meet all of the conditions of a Special Exception.  


The Board moved on to review the testimony as provided by the applicants in their application under Article 15.6.9: The proposed Home-Based Business is of a type which is customarily incidental to the principal use of a Lot for residential purposes:

14 Main Street will be our primary residence and my wife and I own Gibson Pewter. To start, we will use one room (front parlor) for a showroom. Once the barn is renovated the showroom & workshop will be moved there. The proposed Home-Based Business shall be owned and operated strictly by the owner or owners of the principal Dwelling on the Lot which shall be the principal and ordinary Dwelling of said owner or owners. Should the owner or owners move his/her/their residence, the owner or owners must obtain a new Special Exception or discontinue the Home-Based Business within three (3) months.

We will be living at 14 Main Street year round. My wife and I own the business. There shall be no changes to the exterior appearance of the buildings which alter the character of the Dwelling unit or Accessory Structure unless specifically approved or required by the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

We are not planning exterior changes to the house or barn at this time. We understand than any exterior changes require Historic District Commission review and approval. The proposed Home-Based Business shall normally be operated on or from the Lot of the resident's Dwelling unit, but the ZBA may expressly approve the use of an abutting Lot owned by the resident for this purpose.

The proposed business will operate on our lot only. The proposed Home-Based Business shall be operated in or from the owner's Dwelling and existing or new accessory buildings, or such new Structures as may be expressly approved by the ZBA. New Structures constructed for use by the business shall not exceed two stories, and their height, area, design, and appearance shall not alter the character of the neighborhood. In the Residential District, the height of new Structures shall not exceed that of the residence by a significant amount, and the footprint of the building shall be compatible in scale to the residence. Trailers may not be used for storage or as accessory Structures other than a mobile home used as the primary residence.   

The proposed business will be run from within the house (1 room) to start. Ultimately, the shop & showroom will be located out back, in the barn. No new structures are planned at this time. There will be no outside storage trailers. In the Residential District, no more than three (3) non-resident persons employed in a Home-Based Business may be on-site at one time. In the Rural and Agricultural District, no more than 6 (six) non-resident persons employed in a Home-Based Business may be on-site at one time.

My wife and I will own and operate the business. We will not have more than (3) non resident employees/students on the premises at one time. The use shall not result in excessive increases in traffic. No business traffic or heavy equipment activity shall occur before 6:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. except for situations when trucks are used for snow or ice removal. The ZBA may further limit the hours or days of operation to such an extent as it deems necessary to prevent adverse effects on the surrounding properties:

Business traffic will not be excessive. Two or three cars/visits per day is average. There are 8 parking spaces at 14 Main Street in the driveway area which is more than enough. Shop hours normally 9am – 5pm. One truck up to 20,000 lb. GVW, which is used in the business, may be parked on the premises. More than one truck or larger trucks and other equipment may be permitted only if the ZBA finds that they shall not violate any of the conditions for the proposed use.

Gibson Pewter does not own a truck at this time. Outdoor storage of good, materials, or equipment shall be screened from roads and surrounding properties by natural or structural means or a combination of both to such an extent and in such manner as may be required and approved by the ZBA.

There will be no outside storage of equipment or goods. There shall be no window displays or other additions or changes made to the property which are normally associated with business or commercial use.

There will be no window displays or changes made to the property which are normally associated with business or commercial use.


15.6.911) Signs shall be permitted for a Home-Based Business provided they comply with other applicable sign requirements, except that they may not be illuminated and may not exceed an area of 3 square feet per side.

We will want to have a professionally made sign which will not exceed three square feet as per zoning ordinance. The Special Exception shall become void if any significant changes in the business occur, if any conditions of approval of the use are violated, or when the business ceases operation. If the business is proposed to continue following sale or transfer of the property where the business is located, a new application for Special Exception must be approved before continuation of the business use.

 We fully understand Section 12.


Alison said having heard the applicant's testimony and per direction of the Board of Adjustment in NH Handbook dated October 1010,  testimony will take place first of those in favor, followed by testimony of anyone in opposition.  She asked the Board if they had any comments or questions relative to the testimony as presented on the application and they did not.


Alison moved on to read a letter in support of the application from Jean MacFarlane who said this was the sort of home based business that should be in the Historic Zone and a letter from Mary Garland who said Gibson's presence will bring life to an otherwise sad and spooky part of Main Street. 


Alison asked anyone who wished to speak in support of the application to please announce their name for recording the minutes.


Tom Ward – Tom began by saying that he agreed with all of the sentiment in Mary Garland's letter. He said the only issue seems to be if all of the criteria can be met and he believes that he does meet the criteria. Tom said he feels the addition of Gibson Pewter would be a vital part of Main Street.


Andy Kerwin – She said she there are homes on that end of Main Street with part time residents and she would enjoy having a full time family move in.


Don Klug – Don said he does live in the spooky area of Main Street that Mary Garland referenced. He said both he and his Rita as direct neighbors are in approval of the application.


Jane Billings said she came from another era and a much more vital time. She said she would welcome anyone coming to town with children making the street more vital and is in favor of the application.


Mary Covington – She began by asking the Board if she could read a letter from Polly Curran who was not able to attend the hearing. The Board approved her request and it was noted for the record that Polly was in favor of the application. Mary went on to say that she was also in approval of the application and thought it would be an enhancement to Main Street, not a distraction. As far as property values, she said Hillsboro center where the pewter shop is presently located in the Historic District, is in a beautiful, very attractive setting. Mary added that she feels this would fit in perfectly with Hancock's Historic District. Regarding traffic, she felt that there would be very little traffic compared to the heavy truck traffic on Main Street. Mary said there would be good visibility and we could use more families in town with young children.


Tim Lord – Tim said he lives at 19 Main Street and he is one of the few full time residents. He feels this would be a good thing and a benefit to the Inn, the market and Fiddlehead's as well as bringing vitality to town.


Judith Stout –Judith read a letter from Regina Bringolf with the Board's permission in which Regina indicated that she was also in favor of the application. Judith said she has backed out of most of the driveways on Main Street and doesn't feel that this would be an issue. She said she would very much like to see a family there full time maintaining the property. Judith added that she knows the business and feels it would be a great addition to Hancock and was very much in support.


Dennis Rossiter – Dennis began by saying he would like to address the safety issue. He said while serving on the Village Planning Committee, NH DOT had done a traffic study on Main Street as part their study. Dennis said approximately 4,200 vehicles pass through on one day, equivalent to 125,000 a month. He said out of 16 driveways with approximately 30 cars a day and 1,200 a month backing out onto Main Street, he can't recall there having been a serious accident. Dennis added that the site line for the property is probably the best in the village.


Neal Cass – Neal said he lived at 38 Main street, the non-spooky section. He said it was important to the town's vitality to have people living and working in town. He added this use is consistent with the purposes of the Master Plan and intent of the Zoning Ordinance. Neal said living next to an empty house isn't good and some people had questions when Fiddlehead's came in and that has worked out very well as another vital part of Main Street.

Peter Mills – Peter said he was the owner of Sarah's Hat Boxes and thought there was a need for USA craftsman and was tired of seeing everything made in China. He said he applauds Gibson for trying to move his business to town. Peter said they also moved their business here and live here and it has worked out very well. He said the quality of Jon's work would be a great fit and he is very much in favor of the application and wishes him well.


Jarvis Coffin – Jarvis said as many know he has developed a recent interest in Main Street with the purchase of the Hancock Inn by his son. He said he has visited the Gibson shop many times and can't think of a better quality business to be on Main Street.


Sally Billings – Sally said she has more time in town than many. She said her father had been a minister here and she was quite sure he would have approved of such a business.


Ben Billings – Ben said he can't see how the business would hurt the town and thought rather it would be a boon.


Steve Fillebrown – Steve said he was on the Planning Board when the Home Based Business Ordinance was written and he thought this would be a good fit under the ordinance and a good fit for the town.


Jeanette Baker – Jeanette said in speaking for herself and her husband Lee, they thought that this business was a perfect fit and they both welcome Gibson to town. She added that soon the town would be bragging of the addition of his business.


Jane Billings – Jane said as a kid she remembers there being a butcher and ice cream shop and she sort of objects to there not being more business in town.


At this time Alison asked if there were anyone else who wished to speak in favor. There were none and she asked Jon Gibson if he wished to address any of the comments made.


Jon said he wished to thank everyone who spoke for their kinds works. He said he wanted to address the issue brought up regarding traffic and said he wanted to point out again that half of his business was on line.


Alison said the hearing would now be open to those who wished to speak in opposition to the application. She said she would request of those speaking, to address the specific criteria that you feel there is an issue to.  Alison referenced for the record two petitions signed by James and Nancy Musarra, David Robinson, Jim Hrdlicka, Michael & Georgiann Fallon, Warren and Lois Sponsler, John Hayes, Howard Weston & Sandy Weston, and Fran Hillner which listed the following concerns:

  1. Create a parking and traffic nuisance and excessive traffic congestion.
  2. Produce fumes and noxious odors
  3. Adversely affect residential property values in the District
  4. That the application is inconsistent with the purposes and intent of the Hancock Zoning Ordinance and the Hancock Master Plan.

 There was also letter in opposition from Kathy Hatab who has property on 15 Main Street and Anne & Nathaniel Peirce of 6 Main Street.


Lois Sponsler – She said her husband couldn't attend the hearing but she read a letter in opposition. In her letter, she stated that they are not in favor of a manufacturing and retail business which would create noise, fumes and odor in the residential district. Also, her letter went on to say that what good are zoning requirements if they allow a commercial business to locate in this part of town.


Attorney Tom Hanna – Hanna came forward and stated he was a land use lawyer from Keene who was here representing Mike and Georgiann Fallon. He said there was a lot of emotion tonight in this room and his clients have nothing personal against the Gibson family or business. They would just like to preserve their peaceful, historic neighborhood and to see the zoning ordinance properly enforced as they interpret it.


At this time, Attorney Hanna gave copies of a Memorandum of Law to the Board. Alison noted for the record that this was the first time that the Board had seen this memorandum.  


Attorney Hanna said normally Gibson Pewter would be required to obtain a variance to conduct a business of this nature in the Residential District. Hanna said in his view the application tests the spirit of the ordinance. He referenced the Village Commercial District portion of the Zoning Ordinance and stated in his memorandum that "the purpose was to protect the predominately residential character of Main Street and to provide a clear demarcation between areas designated for commercial use and those designated as residential."


Attorney Hanna went on to say that in his view the goals set forth in the Village Commercial District would become muddled if the application were to be granted. It would increase the use of a non-conforming lot where the frontage is slightly more than what is required at 25,352 square feet than the required frontage of 40,000 square feet.  Hanna said the lot is grandfathered for an existing use as a non-conforming lot. Hanna submitted to the Board copies of a survey of the property which shows the lot to have 83.43 of frontage where 150 feet is required.


Gibson went on to state that the proposed business does not constitute an accessory use and the threshold determination for the Board is whether Gibson Pewter has met its burden of proving that its proposed business is accessory to the home under NH law.  He noted the bar is set high under NH case law. In the memorandum, Hannah had written the applicants must prove that their business – manufacture and sale of the finished products is:

a)     Customarily associated with a residential use of property in the area,

b)     Incidental to the residence, and

c)      Subordinate to the residence.


 He added that all of the criteria under Article 15.6.9 must be met in order to grant the application.


Hanna asked that the testimony from the prior hearing could be added to this meeting. Alison responded by stating this was a different application, that application had been withdrawn at that hearing. Hanna wanted it stated for the record that he objected to not having the testimony from the prior hearing included as part of this hearing.


Attorney Hanna referenced the NH DOT report that stated there were approximately 4,200 cars per day on Main Street while the existing location currently has approximately 260 cars a day. This will mean more traffic and more customers on Main Street and this will not be an appropriate location. 


Hanna went on to say that the applicants must prove that their business, the manufacture of pewter items and the separate retail sale of the finished products is customarily associated with a residential use of property in the area, incidental to the residence and subordinate to the residence. He cited Marchand v. Town of Hudson and also Becker v. Town of Hampton Falls, copies of which he provided to the Board.


Hanna stated in his memorandum, that "Gibson Pewter must prove that its manufacture and retail sale of pewter is customarily associated with the principal residential use and that Gibson Pewter must produce evidence that demonstrates that its businesses have "commonly, habitually and by long practice" been established as reasonably associated with the primary residential  use in the Town." He cited case Becker v. Town of Hampton Falls. Hanna said the proposed uses clearly do not qualify under Section as types of uses that are "customarily incidental to the principal use of al lot for residential purposes.   


Hanna said there is no reasonable relationship between a primary residential use and the manufacture and sale of pewter. He went on to say that the proposal is to incorporate Gibson Pewter at 14 Main Street represents an effort by the applicants to relocate their existing successful commercial enterprise at and near their home. His memorandum stated, "The business proposal calls into question which use – residential, manufacturing or retail – is the primary use and which is the accessory use.


Hanna mentioned the hours of operation which were stated as Monday – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and noted that the ordinance provides that no business shall be conducted before 6:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m. He noted that Gibson Pewter is proposing a use which will encompass 75% of the available hours of operation during 6 days of the week. He said this clearly fails under the definition of a use "subordinate" to the principal use of a residence.


Hanna noted another "flaw" in the application which was there was no plot or site plan or sketch to allow the Board to evaluate whether the site qualifies for a Special Exception. He said it should have been part of the application.


Hanna added that the Gibson Pewter business will adversely affect property values, contrary to 15.5, paragraph 3. He said they had engaged a NH licensed appraiser to consider the impact of the home based business at 14 Main Street on neighboring residential properties. He submitted the letter from Martin S. Doctor, a Real Estate Appraiser & Consultant for the Board's review, in support of this.


Hanna said he believes that the proposed uses do not satisfy the general conditions for special exceptions under Section 15.5. The businesses are not at all similar to the uses already permitted in the district. In conclusion, Hanna state that the proposed businesses are not an accessory use, are not an appropriate location and do not satisfy the special exception criteria and that the application must be denied.


Alison asked if anyone wished to speak in opposition to the application and asked again, that they address the specific criteria that they have an issue with.


Jim Hrdlicka – Jim began by saying he was opposed to the special exception on Main Street based on the rural character of Hancock. He wanted to ask the applicant if they planned to advertise. Alison said the questions should be addressed to her as Chair and not to the applicant. She said there is nothing in the ordinance that precludes advertising. Alison asked him to keep to the criteria and advertising is not addressed in the current ordinance.


Jim said he would like to address the safety issue. He said backing out on Main Street is hazardous and there can be a long wait with cars in all directions. Jim said driving to the post office and that area is already hazardous and that's why a speed table had been set up. Alison again asked him to speak to the criteria. He mentioned the eight parking spaces and 3 employees that could be allowed and where would they park. Alison said parking on Main Street is the purview of the police department, not part of the criteria. She asked if he had anything else relative to the criteria. Jim said he was concerned about small children being run over as cars were backing out of the driveway and with people taking out large products from the backs of their cars in the driveway.


Scott Manning – Scott began by saying that in relation to the criteria, he would like to make a statement on the impact on abutters on Main Street. He said he had been living on 20 Main for a good portion of 20 years. He said he is saddened to be speaking against the application and agrees with the Fallon's that it would be a good addition to the town, but not in this location. Scott added that in the 2002 Forum, the census was in keeping Historic Main Street protected.  Relative to that, Scott presented the Board with a letter from Maggie Stier, Field Service Representative from the NH Preservation Alliance that spoke to the potential negative impact of making changes to building structures within a National Register Historic District. In the letter, Stier states in part, "In considering a request for a variance, a zoning board always needs to weigh a number of factors. In this case, we would encourage them to consider the fact this this building is designated as a contributing structure within a National Register historic district. It is an honor to have such a designation, and changes should not be undertaken lightly". Scott said as an abutter and as a citizen he was not in favor of the application.


Alison asked if there was anyone else who wished to speak in opposition relative to the criteria. Since there was no one, she said Jon Gibson would have a time for rebuttal to the people who spoke in opposition.


At approximately 9:00 P.M. Alison polled the Board to see if they wished to continue on with the hearing or to continue it to another meeting.  The consensus was to move forward tonight.


Mary Covington asked if she could ask a question which Alison said to go ahead with. She asked if she could address or ask questions on what the attorney had presented. Alison said questions could be addressed but some of the information provided was not specifically germane to the case.


Jon Gibson began his rebuttal to the testimony provided by those in opposition to his application. He said his existing location is in the Hillsborough Historic District so he is very aware of the requirement to meet approval of the Hancock Historic District if he were to make any changes to the building. Jon said at this time he is taking care of his elderly mother and will have the showroom in Hancock, but the shop will remain in Hillsborough for a year or two. 


As far as the parking issue, Jon said he doesn't have employees, but the ordinance allows for up to three. If he did have 3 employees or students, he could demand they park in public parking lots at the town office or behind the library.


As to the incidental to residential use aspect, Jon said his existing showroom is 15 x 15 square feet. The workshop here would be 600 square feet in the barn which is still less than the square footage of the entire house. He said he would be living there, not having a machine in every room of the house.


There being no other rebuttal from Jon or comments or questions from the Board, Alison said the hearing would move on to any rebuttal by the opposition to the rebuttal by the petitioner.


Attorney Hanna brought up the nature of people visiting the shop on tours or by bus. Alison that testimony had been brought up at the previous hearing when the application had been withdrawn.

Jon addressed the issue anyway, by stating that at times the elementary school children would be welcome to walk down to see the shop. Or a group of seniors might come from Rivermead in a van or small bus which could drop them off and pick them up afterwards. Jon said these types of visits are always planned and happen infrequently. He said the driveway would not be plugged up as a result.


Attorney Hannah asked if there were aspects of the business that were different than had been presented last time. Alison said the Board is held to abide by the current application that has been submitted for this hearing, not the application that had been withdrawn. Attorney Hanna said for the record he objects to that.


Andy Peterson – Andy asked to speak and was given permission by the Board to do so. He said the Sweeney's who own the property in question are very supportive of the application and sensitive to the fact the Gibson's wish to raise their children here. They believe the addition would add value to town. Andy added that again, he was impressed with the process and the way the hearing was managed and pleased to see all of the participation. He said from hearing from people who drew up the master plan, this seemed to be in keeping with the town's rules based on the fact that in this situation it's a young family and would have no more impact than an antique business. He said the Sweeney family strongly supports the application.


At this point there being no further comments or questions concerning rebuttal or other issues, the public portion of the hearing was closed and the Board moved on to begin deliberation.


Alison said she would like to respond to Neal Cass and Steve Fillebrown's comments regarding the Master Plan that allowed for this type of commerce. She said in the past there have been the Pierce and Harding Antiques Shops, and the video store which had also been a gift shop and hair salon. She said these had all been approved to operate on Main Street. She mentioned the Historic District Commission which also does sell items there. Alison said the town has been very attentive in keeping things so that people can both work and live here.


Linda said the 1st Master Plan's intent had been to maintain both home based businesses and home occupations which was also the intent of the zoning ordinance.


Jon Grosjean said regarding the incidental use issue, the square footage of the proposed shop is less than the living area of the house. He added that the barn shouldn't be counted since it's not living area.


Alison read the definition of accessory use, "A use which exists on the same Lot as the principal use and which is customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal use." She said the principal use is to live in the house. Less notable would be the business use and more notable would be the house which has the larger use as a residence. She added that it looks like a residence and functions as a residence. The business use is incidental to the residential use. Alison said the attempt of the Master Plan is to allow for business in town but not for industry.


Jeff Reder said the ability to grant the special exception doesn't necessarily set a precedent. Each case is different and would have to be considered individually. He added that home based business is allowed and the criteria doesn't have anything to do with square footage.


Dan Beers said he is feeling the same way. The primary use of the property would be the family living there.


Linda said regarding the non-conforming lot, there is nothing in the regulations for home based business as to whether the lot is non-conforming. She added that most of the lots on Main Street would be considered to be non-conforming. It is a lot of record. Linda also said she didn't believe a site plan would be required since this is not a new building.


Alison referenced the comment made about moving a well-established, successful business and noted that there is nothing in the criteria for the special exception relative to the reason why a business is moving or that asks for the board's judgment on the reason for the move of a business.


Jon Grosjean agreed that the ordinance doesn't say you can't move an established, successful business to town.


Alison addressed the issue of the potential impact on the historic neighborhood by saying that Fiddlehead's may not have the same look as it had once historically, but it's now a very attractive, engaging business that lends itself to the vitality of Main Street.


Linda said that there is the protection of the Historic District Commission and that doesn't fall under the ZBA.


Dan Beers said the testimony shows that there will be no changes to the exterior of the buildings and if there were, the applicant has stated he would contact the Historic Commission.


Linda went on to say that the difference between commercial and residential had come up both in the Master Plan and zoning ordinance by design. They had wanted to keep business as allowed by the ordinance. She said in a commercial district people don't live there, but in a home based business, people can both live and work there.


Alison asked the Board if they had any other comments or questions.


Jeff said he would like to address one of Attorney Hannah's comments relative to the granting of the special exception not being an appropriate use. He said the hours of operation are 9-5 6 days a week which is not 75% of the time. He said there is much more time involved with living there rather than the business use.


Dan said he agrees with Jeff.


Linda asked how they should consider the appraisal letter which stated that the use would decrease the value of the Fallon property. She said she isn't certain how the Board would evaluate this or would be capable of interpreting this. Linda said the property would be lived in and maintained which would be an improvement to leaving it empty with no maintenance. She said the Board has a model to what the property can be expected to look like from the well maintained Gibson property in Hillsborough, if her opinion is as good as the appraiser.


Ken Chester said he believed the property would be vastly improved and the more likely scenario based on common sense. He added that there is currently the yellow house on the corner of School Street that has a fence in bad repair which could be said to affect values.


Dan said its common sense judgment on whether you believe it will be better or not.


Jeff said the character of the business is not a stable or McDonald's and how can the appraiser make a determination when he hasn't seen what's coming yet.


There being no further questions or comments from the Board,  they began to review the criteria under 15.5 Special Exceptions – General Conditions and  the criteria under 15.6.9 Home Based Business.


Criteria 1 - Alison began by saying we do not have another home based business in the residential district now but there have been in the past. 


Linda said the special exception goes with the business. They must retain the requirements agreed upon tonight. If the business changes they would need to come back to the ZBA.


Criteria 2 – Alison said it's a residence, a home, therefore an appropriate location for a home based business. Jeff said historically there have been home based businesses all over Main Street. Ken said Woody Huntington manufactures kitchen cabinets on Depot and it's hardly noticed. Dan said he can think of a number of cases that wouldn't be appropriate but this would.


Criteria 3 – Alison said it would be very difficult to identify how one element could affect property values. Linda said the house isn't in the best condition and it could be argued that this use would be an improvement. Ken said he doesn't believe Gibson Pewter would affect property values. Jeff said he thought it would enhance property values; there would not be bus traffic, just foot traffic.


Criteria 4 – Alison said this is a moot point. Jon said the site lines are much better than most of Main Street. Alison said it's pretty clear for both directions. Jon and Linda both said they drove in the driveway and backed out and said it was better than most driveways. Jon Gibson said again, he only has one car that will be parked at the residence.


Criteria – 5 – Jon said there would be no odors, fumes or smoke. He said there would be one exhaust fan over the casting furnace. He said that he has a quiet, smooth running machine and it's a one man band. The furnace is a 140 lb. casting furnace and the metal spinning lathe is quiet. He does plan for a dust collection system. Dan asked if felt the need to ever use a dust mask and Jon said he has used a 3M dust respirator at times.


Criteria 6 – There is potable water on the property but no plumbing in the barn, no gray water coming out.


Criteria 7 –Alison said based on the testimony of people in the audience who contributed to the Master Plan, the use is consistent with the purpose and use of the Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan.


Criteria 8 – The Board feels this has been met.


Criteria for Home Based Business:


Criteria – Ken asked Jon how many square feet were in the two stories of the house and barn. Jon said approximately 2000 plus 600 in the barn. Ken said based on the shop in the barn with 600 square feet, only 23% of the whole property will be shop, the rest considered living area.


Criteria –Testimony showed the applicant will be living at 14 Main Street which is the principal lot.


Criteria – Testimony showed there will not be any change to exterior of the building.


Criteria – Testimony showed there is no abutting lot. And that the business will not operate right away, they will just have the showroom for a year or two.


Criteria – Testimony showed there will be no new structures or trailers.


Criteria – Testimony showed the applicant will comply and if he has any, he would not be allowed to have more than 3 employees or students.


Criteria – Testimony showed the hours of the business as 9am to 5 pm on Mondays through Saturdays.


Criteria – Testimony showed that has no need for a truck for business purposes.


Criteria - Testimony showed there will be no storage.


Criteria – Testimony showed there will be no window displays or addition or changes made to the property which are normally associated with business or commercial use.


Criteria – There will be one sign which will not exceed 3 square feet. It will be professionally made and a handout was passed around showing what the proposed sign would look like.


Criteria – Testimony showed this criteria was understood by the applicant.


There being no further comments or questions by the Board, Alison asked the Board if they were ready to vote on the application which they were.


Jeff moved that the application for a Special Exception under Article 15.6.9. Home Based Business be granted given the applicant has met all of the criteria under Article 15.6.9 and all of the conditions under Article 1.5. Special Exceptions – General Conditions as shown by the testimony provided.  The motion was seconded and the Board voted unanimously to grant the Special Exception for a Home Based Business.


Alison advised the applicant of the 30 day appeal period during which time an appeal could be brought forward for a rehearing if new information that hadn't yet been covered were to be brought forward.


Linda mentioned that under state RSA's, if the conditions for a special exception are not met, the Board can't allow the special exception. If all of the criteria are met, the Board is required to allow the special exception.


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:15 P.M.


Respectfully submitted,



Linda Coughlan 

Recording Secretary

Corrections to 8/24/2011 minutes:
Page 7 paragraph 7, starts out as Gibson, should be Hanna.
Page 10 paragraph 4, should read, “Shop here will be approximately 600 square feet.”
Page 14 criteria should read, “Shop hours normally 9 am - 5 pm. Application did not state which days.


Downloadable Minutes available here (15 pages, 160 KB)
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