Downloadable Minutes (PDF 111 KB)
ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
June 27th, 2012
Members Present: Ken Chester, Hunt Dowse, Jon Grosjean, Linda Renna, Alison Rossiter, and Linda Coughlan, Recording Secretary
Others Attending: Sarah Laeng-Gilliatt, Julian Laeng, Stephen Fillebrown and Dave Anderson
7:04 P.M.- Laeng-Gilliatt Hearing
Alison called the hearing to order and introduced the Board. She noted there was a quorum tonight and all members present would be voting. Alison read the published notice which stated this was a hearing under Home Based Business Article 18.104.22.168. 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 or questions, followed by the Board's deliberation.
Alison asked Sarah Laeng-Gilliatat to come forward to begin her testimony.
Sarah began by thanking the Board for meeting with her again and said after she was granted approval for her home based business; she thought it might be helpful to have the goats on location. She read the following introduction:
Committed as I am to grass-based dairy practices, I stated in my original application that I would be keeping the goats elsewhere, where they'd have access to plentiful browse. This continues to be my plan, however, I would like to be able to keep my options open, and be granted permission to have goats on Main Street, should I deem that beneficial.
For example, I have since realized that it might be wise to have the kids on Main Street during the warm months, 1. For more human contact, and 2. For ease in the weaning process, not to mention that it would be fun to have them "part of the family" as it were. I also may want to bring birthing goats up to Main St. if I anticipate a difficult birth or birth in the middle of the night, or any such thing. So, as you see, it would be helpful to have this option available for any unforeseen reasons that might crop up.
Our back yard is in the residential district, though some of it is also in the historic district. I would like to build a small barn (primarily for shelter from rain, or doubling as a kidding stall in late winter/early spring) in the location with the greatest solar gain (probably in the residential district) and will get all the building (and Historic Commission, if necessary) permits prior to building. (I may use a "garage in a box" or temporary shelter for budget reasons, if that is allowed.) I plan to use portable electric netting for fencing.
Sarah went on to read her responses to the criteria in her application that she believed were relative to her request to keep goats on the property.
On March 27, 2012 a Special Exception was granted allowing Main Street Cheese to operate and have an honor system shop at 37 Main Street. Contrary to that application, I would now like to request permission to keep the goats at 37 Main Street.
Criteria 4) 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 abuttin Lot owned by the resident for this purpose.
Two enthusiastic neighbors have kindly said that I could use their back yards also, if needed.
Sarah added to her written testimony that there won't be lots of goats and they will be on her property but the Inn has said if she needed could use part of their lot.
Criteria 5) 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 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.
The only planned additional structure would be a barn – either a garage in a box and fencing, or a small built structure in the character and scale of the neighborhood, together with fencing also. I will get all necessary permits and approval. Sarah added to her written testimony that she hopes to put solar panels on the barn for heating in the cheeserie.
Criteria 12) 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 us
I understand that keeping the goats at Main Street represents a significant change to my original application, and am therefore submitting this request. Thank you for your consideration.
Sarah added to her written testimony that she had not responded to each of the criteria since she felt she had answered them on her original application for the Home Based Business.
The Board then reviewed the applicants' responses to 15.5 Special Exceptions – General Conditions:
I understand there have been sheep in the neighborhood previously as well as chickens. There are goats on Norway Hill.
We have one and a quarter acre behind our house. This is more than adequate for the number of goats I am considering.
Sarah added to her written testimony that when the Inspector has visited he had encouraged her to keep the goats close at hand.
Many people have expressed delight at the idea. It certainly is consistent with Main Street alive! Goats are quiet and amicable creatures. I won't bring a buck to Main Street – so they won't be smelly. I will make sure that flies will not be an issue. (that is beyond the ordinary). Sarah added to her written testimony that if flies were a problem she could get some chickens.
This is so.
None of the above. As stated above, no bucks to Main Street!
I will have a compost for manure. If it becomes a lot I will take it elsewhere.
I believe the proposed use is consistent with the Zoning Ordinance & Master Plan.
I believe this falls within and meets all of the conditions of a Special Exception.
At this point Alison opened the hearing for public comments.
Steve Fillebrown began by saying he had no feeling one way or the other. He was just interested in hearing the case and no opinion either way.
Dave Anderson said he had no comment.
Since there were no further comments or questions from the public, Alison closed the public portion of the hearing.
Alison asked the Board if they had any comments or questions relative to the testimony. She said she had a question on how much of the lot fell under the Historic Overlay District. The Board looked at a map of the lot as well as a lot which showed the Historic District. Sarah also had a plot plan which showed how far the Historic District went into the lot. She said the Historic District looks as though it goes approximately 200 feet into the property. She said Dave Drasba from the Historic District had been out to the property but she hadn't submitted a plan yet. Alison noted the reference in the Zoning Ordinance which defines the Historic District on page 32 Section 8.2 District Defined. Hunt said all of the lot is in the residential district with the overlay of Historic District. Alison said if the structure was built on the portion that wasn't in the Historic District, it would make the process easier.
The question was asked on how many goats Sarah planned to keep on the property. She said she would probably start with 2 milkers and 11 kids. She would do the breeding of the kids in the fall which could bring the number to an approximate number of 20 kids. The highest number of kids would be in March and April when the new kids were born. Hunt asked what she would feed the kids. Sarah said pellets and alfalfa hay. She added they don't usually eat much grass.
Hunt asked if Sarah knew what the suggested ratio was for goats per acre. Sarah said yes said she does have that figure which she would bring in to the office. And that number did fall within the paddock area.
Hunt asked what the size of the structure she was planning. She said maybe 15 x 25. Sarah had a photo of the proposed structure for the Board. She also had a photo of the proposed fencing.
Linda Renna asked how long Sarah anticipated using the structure. Sarah said approximately 2 years. She said she might use it for a greenhouse later on.
Alison asked if Sarah planned to use all of the existing barn for cheese making and if there were prohibitions for keeping livestock in the same barn. Sarah said there was nothing to prohibit it but she didn't think it was a good idea.
The Board discussed the impact of noise from the goats which might create a nuisance for abutters. Sarah said the kids don't create much noise. She said they are pretty quiet animals. Hunt said he has heard some informal concern about noise. Sarah said she hopes that people would feel comfortable in speaking to her if there was a noise problem. She said she would consider if it was a reasonable complaint and then address it. Sarah added that if noise became a big problem she could always keep the goats at Valley Farm. Hunt said it's good that she is expressing interest in being responsive to concerns.
Linda asked how big a herd she would need to support the operation. Sarah said the ideal number might be 20 to 30 with the upper limit of 35. She said she would not have more than 30. She said the milking would be done at the Valley Farm. Alison asked if there was enough room for browsing and if there were a maximum number that she would be allowed to keep. Sarah said she had the number for adults but not for kids. She said she would provide the number of adults and call the UNH CO-OP for the number of kids and provide that number as well.
Alison mentioned the RSA 672:1 III-d which states that whenever agricultural activities are not explicitly addressed with respect to any zoning district or location, they shall be deemed to be permitted there as long as conducted in accordance with best management practices adopted by the commissioner of agriculture and with federal and state laws, regulations and rules. Alison said agriculture trumps a lot in NH and Hunt added that town requirements still need to be addressed and that's why there is the need for this process.
The question was asked if anyone checks the herd. Sarah said the kids that she is buying are coming from New York and will all have health certificates as well as blood tests. She said the Health Department will check the milk and also where the milking is done. The milk quality would be impacted if the goats were not properly taken care of. Sarah said again she would provide the Board with the number of goats recommended by the CO-OP Extension and ask them for the number of kids recommended.
Alison asked the Board if there were any other questions or comments. The question was asked on what the plan was to get started. Sarah said she planned to get the kids this week. She asked about the 30 day period for appeal and if she should wait until that was over, depending on the Board's decision. Hunt said it was up to her whether she implemented her plan or to wait. Alison said an appeal would only be heard if new information were to be brought forward that had not been brought up at this hearing.
Linda asked again about the number of goats and Sarah said she would not exceed 35 goats. Notwithstanding this number (35) she said she wouldn't exceed the number recommended by the CO-OP extension for the size of her property.
The Board was in agreement that a condition of approval would be Sarah providing the recommended number of goats and kids allowed by the CO-OP extension.
At this time, there being no further comments or questions from the Board, the discussion portion was closed.
Alison asked the Board if they wanted to vote on each of the criteria under Article 15.6.9 individually or as a whole and did they also want to vote on each of the general conditions under 15.5 individually or as a whole. The consensus of the Board was to vote on Article 15.6.9 as a whole and 15.5 as a whole.
Hunt moved that under 15.5 General Conditions the applicant has met the conditions as shown by the application and testimony provided. Linda seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Hunt moved that the application for a Special Exception Article 15.6.9 be granted given that the applicant has met the criteria as shown by the application and testimony provided. Jon Grosjean seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Hunt moved that the application be granted with the condition that the applicant abide by recommendation from the UNH-OP Extension relative to maximum number of goats and kids for the size of the property. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the condition.
Alison advised Sarah of the 30 day appeal period. Sarah said she would supply the information on the number of goats and kids to the Board. She thanked everyone for coming out for this hearing.
The Board voted unanimously to approve the minutes of the May 9th meeting.
Alison brought up for discussion that she had been notified by Barb Caverly that the Board had too many full Board members. It was decided that Jeff Reder, Dave Carney and Dan Beers would be alternate members.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM.