ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
April 10th, 2013
Members Present: Ken Chester, Hunt Dowse, Jon Grosjean, Jeff Reder, Linda Renna, Alison Rossiter, and Linda Coughlan, Recording Secretary
Others Attending: Kathy Roper and Benjamin Bell
7:00 P.M.- Perner Hearing
Alison called the hearing to order. She noted that the fees had been paid, the notice had been posted and published and abutters notified. She introduced the Board and identified the members who would be voting tonight who would be herself, Hunt Dowse, Jon Grosjean, Ken Chester and Linda Renna. Jeff Reder would be an alternate.
Alison 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 to the public for those who wished to speak in favor of the application and then to those who wished to speak in opposition. The public portion of the hearing would then be closed for the Board's deliberation. Alison read the notice as it had been published which stated that this was an application for an area variance to Article 10.4 Septic Setback.
Alison asked the applicant or applicant's agent to come forward to begin their testimony.
Chris Guida from Fieldstone Land Consultants came forward and said he was representing the owner of the property, Guenther Perner. Chris said the septic system had failed on the Perner lot which was an old lot of record. He had a copy of the original subdivision for the Board to review. Chris said the house was a three bedroom house that has been there since the 1970's. He said there is not enough room on the property to meet the 125 foot setback. Chris said the system will meet the state's requirement of 75 feet and will be 75 feet from the drainage ditch. Chris said there are not a lot of options with the property. The system will be a pump system that will be raised up.
Jeff Reder asked if the soil was moist back there. Chris said it was and that was probably why a drainage ditch had been installed. Jeff asked if a drainage ditch is considered to be part of the wetlands area conservation district. Jeff asked what the size of the tank was and Chris said it was a 1250 gallon tank. He added that it was an environ system. Hunt asked what the size of the leach field was and Chris said it would be 15 x 20 square feet.
Alison asked if the Board had any questions or comments before moving on to review the application. There were none and the applicant read the following criteria and responses from the application.
A variance is requested from Article 10.4 of the Hancock Zoning Ordinance to permit:
The installation of a replacement septic system within 125 feet of the wetland conservation district on an existing lot of record. There is no increase in sewage loading proposed, existing 3 bedroom dwelling.
1) Granting the variance would not be contrary to the public interest because:
The proposal is for the replacement of an old failed septic system with a new system which meets all state regulations and local regulations to the best extent possible. The replacement system will effectively treat sewage effluent prior to entering the groundwater, whereas the existing system is most likely in direct contact with groundwater in the area.
2) If the variance were granted, the spirit of the ordinance would be observed because:
The replacement system has been designed to be as far away from the wetlands conservation district to the greatest extent possible given the restrictive nature of the existing lot of record which was created prior to the ordinance.
3) Granting the variance would do substantial justice because:
It would allow for the continued occupancy of the existing dwelling and reasonable use of the property while improving the existing situation and removing a potential health hazard from the community.
4) If the variance were granted, the values of the surrounding properties would not be diminished because:
The allowance of a replacement septic system will maintain the surrounding property values by removing a potential health hazard, an unpleasant source of sewage odor and improving water quality.
5) Unnecessary Hardship
A. Owing to special conditions of the property that distinguish it from other properties in the area, denial of the variance would result in unnecessary hardship because:
i. No fair and substantial relationship exists between the general public purposes of the
Ordinance provision and the specific application of that provision to the property
The existing lot and dwelling pre-existed the ordinance and a wetland area transects the lot in such a manner and location that compliance with the ordinance is not possible due to the size of the lot. The location of the wetland area and additional restrictive features with additional setback requirements. The system has been designed to maximize all setbacks to the greatest extent possible.
ii. The proposed use is a reasonable one because:
It allows for the replacement of a failed septic system with one which will effectively treat effluent in accordance with state standards and local standards to the best extend possible.
B. Explain how, if the criteria in subparagraph (A) are not established, an unnecessary hardship will be deemed to exist, if, and only if, owing to special conditions of the property that distinguish it from other properties in the area, the property cannot be reasonably used in strict conformance with the ordinance, and a variance is therefore necessary to enable a reasonable use of it.
A hardship exists within the existing lot features and configuration as it is not reasonably feasible to comply with the required 125 FT setback for wetlands with septic system components. Although the replacement system as designed meets state regulations, it is not possible to install a system on the lot which meets the required local setback and therefore would prevent the use of the property without a variance to the ordinance.
Alison asked the Board if they had any comments or questions relative to the testimony in the application. There were no comments or questions from the Board and Alison opened the hearing to the public.
Benjamin Bell asked how close a leach field could be located to an abutter's property. Chris said the setback for a leach field was 10 feet back from an abutter's property line. Benjamin then asked if all of the abutters had to be notified. He was told that they were and he said he had not been notified. After reviewing the map, it was determined he was not an abutter of the Perner property. He said he had no further questions.
Since there were no other comments or questions from the public, Alison closed the public portion of the hearing and the Board moved into deliberation.
Alison asked if the Board had any further comments or questions. There were none and she asked if the Board wanted to vote on each of the criteria separately or on the entire application as a whole. The consensus was to vote on the application as a whole.
Hunt moved that the application for a Variance under Article 10.4 Septic Setback be granted given the applicant has met all of the requirements under that article as shown by the application, plan and testimony provided. Jon Grosjean seconded the motion and the Board voted unanimously to approve the application. Alison thanked the applicant for coming advised him of the 30 day appeal period.
In other business, Alison said she had received a note from Dan Beers in which he said he would be stepping down from the Board since he no longer lived in Hancock. She said she has been reappointed until 2016 along with Dave Carney and Jeff Reder. Jim Mose will continue on as the liaison for the Select Board. Alison said Hunt and Ken are on the Board until 2014, and Jon and Linda are on until 2015. She asked the Board to think about finding a replaced for Dan. She said Barbara Caverly has said there hadn't been any response from the announcement in the Happenings.
Two residents were mentioned and they will be asked if they might want to consider serving.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:40 P.M.