Zoning Board reviews applications for special use permits

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 2:15pm

The Zoning Board of Review began its meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 22 with the election of officers.

Elizabeth Connor was re-elected chair, and Kate Butcher re-elected to be the vice-chair.

Applications were the first items on the list, with Champ Starr’s application for a variance for the construction of stairs leading to a dock. Board member Keith Stover read over the requirements for the application, and the board voted its approval.

The other two decisions were tabled to the next meeting on Feb. 5: Applicant Overlook Realty, LLC submitted an application for a special use permit for the construction of five additional rooms for employee housing in the lower level of the Overlook, which is located next to Champlin’s Marina. Applicants Peter and Marea Mott submitted an appeal of a notice of violation and cease and desist order issued by Building Official Marc Tillson regarding Mott’s auto repair and towing business.

The board moved its discussion to the applications from B.I. Harbor View Partners II, LLC. The application is for a variance to demolish an existing kitchen and to construct a 32-feet x 40-feet on the east side of the original structure.

Attorney Nick Gorham was representing Harbor View Partners principal Richard Hayes.

Connor had concerns about the size of the project.

“On the small site plan, you see a little, tiny house... and then there’s this really big addition, going on almost all entirely outside of the building,” Connor said. “I’m assuming that they looked at moving the whole thing, because it seems kind of weird that they are tearing down at least a third of the house anyway.” Connor asked “why [the addition] is not designed to go back into the area, as opposed to out of the area?”

“I understand that,” responded Gorham, agreeing to pull back the size of the addition on the property.

Connor suggested reconfiguring the positioning of the addition’s footprint.

Connor began to draw an example of what she was talking about to Gorham.

“With the variance, we are looking at the least relief necessary. There’s all sorts of extra space in this house, but it’s going to be hard to convince me that we should, if necessary, include all” sitting areas, bedrooms, bathrooms. “You didn’t seem to spend much time trying to figure out how to make this work.. it just seems a little backwards in the way of thinking. Even financially...  it may make more sense to scrap the house and build a house that fits in their envelope, rather than try to retrofit an addition. I think you are going to have a tough sell with this application,” said Connor.

The board asked Gorham if the site plan called for a class three survey or a class one survey. A class one survey of the lot’s borders is more detailed and appropriate for the project than a class three survey.

“The survey is a class three,” said Gorham.

The board suggested Gorham apply for a class one survey.

“We certainly, in this neighborhood, have found lots of issues with measurements,” said Connor.

“I talked with Mr. Hayes today. He said that he is supremely confident that this can be transformed to a class one,” said Gorham.

“If you were talking about putting a little porch onto the original house that would be one thing, but you are talking about three times the size of the house,” said Connor.

Connor went on to say, “these are all questions that are going to be asked. Be prepared to address” at the public hearing.

The board approved the application and scheduled a public hearing on March 19 for B.I. Harbor View Partners II, LLC’s application.

OpCo constructing an inn for employee housing

OpCo, LLC has submitted an application for a Special Use Permit to construct a building for employee housing and relocate a single family dwelling on Lot 123, known as The Grove. The parent company is the Lark Hotels group.

Lark Hotels attorney Joe Priestley spoke on behalf of the project, and listened as Butcher counted off the recent updates and submissions for the special use permit.

Lark Hotels purchased and operates The Surf and the property known as The Grove, both of which are located on Dodge Street. The accessory hotel use would require new buildings on the Grove property, which is located in the Historic District.

The housing proposal has now been split into two separate buildings, but Landry stated it may be more conforming to redesign the housing back into one building. “In any case, it’s a good idea to have it be a single building, because that [second building] looks like a separate dwelling,” said Attorney Bill Landry.

The board shared thoughts on the dwelling, and whether it meets the 20,000 square footage requirement for a new structure. “An inn needs 20,000 square feet, and a hotel needs 40,000 square feet,” said Landry.

“Can we just go back to what you said about the 20,000 square feet for the inn, and 20,000 square feet for the dwelling, and how that works? If the uses are permitted, the many uses in that zone, you just need 20,000 square feet, or 40,000 square feet?” said Butcher.

“You need 20,000 square feet — a dwelling is 20,000 square feet,” said Landry.

“A single family dwelling in Old Harbor Commercial requires 20,000 square feet... Joe has categorized it as an accessory use, it’s not an inn or a hotel, it’s a full dwelling,” continued Landry.

The application is to construct an Inn and connected accessory structure for employee housing, and a cottage for a manager’s housing on the lot.

At a previous Planning Board meeting on Dec. 11, Priestley spoke on behalf of the project, proposing an updated amendment for the minimum lot size. “Our proposal would change the square footage in the Old Harbor zone... from 20,000 to 30,000 square feet.”

In the narrative submitted in support of zoning ordinance amendments by the Lark Hotels group, “The New Shoreham Zoning Ordinance as it is currently written and interpreted under existing law by the New Shoreham Zoning Board effectively prevents the construction or enlargement of hotels in the Old Harbor Commercial Zone, even on 20,000 square foot lots... The proposed amendment creates specific special use standards for hotels and inns in the Old Harbor Commercial Zone, which will allow, with very stringent size restrictions, the construction of new hotels or inns on lots of 20,000 square feet or larger and the expansion of existing hotels or inns on such lots. It also creates a new use, the Accessory Hotel Room, which will facilitate creative design of hotels and allow flexibility in the use of the limited land area available for their construction.”

The board did not approve the application, but during the review agreed to a public hearing on April 22. The board referred the application to the Historic District of Commission, the Conservation Commission, and the Planning Board; the application must go through three boards before returning to the Zoning Board.

Construction to an existing garage

Will Murray was present for his application for a variance for the construction of a 48-square foot addition to an existing garage.

Murray’s application was approved  and a public hearing on it will be held on March 19.