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Town Seal
Board or Appeals Minutes 07/05/11
Town of Buxton  
Board of Appeals

The Town of Buxton Board of Appeals will hold a Public Hearing at the Buxton Municipal Building on the Portland Road, Buxton, Maine on:
Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

Members in attendance: Stephen Heroux, Charlene Libby, Peter Leavitt, Jack Hannah and Penny Booker.

Others Present:  Claudine Emerson, Cliff Emery and Sharon House and two more library Board of directors.  Pastor Miles Fratoni from parsonage across the street.

Call to Order:
Chairman Stephen Heroux explained the appeal process and how the meeting will proceed.
"       Motion by Stephen to open public hearing for Clarence Eldred, seconded by Charlene, the vote was unanimous.

Public Hearing:  Clarence Eldred of 86 Flaggy Meadow Road is requesting a 5-foot variance to the front yard setback for an 8' x 18.5' front porch.   Tax Map 1A, Lot 88.
Mr. Eldred said he would like to install an 18.5 x 8 foot porch on the front of his mother's home.  He wants to close it in with a roof and screen door so his 89-year old mother can sit outside for a change of scenery.  

Questions from the Board:
Charlene confirmed that the existing porch is already out 8-feet toward the road and the new porch will not be built any closer to the road, it will just be longer.   Mr. Eldred agreed, that is correct.    Mr. Eldred said there is an existing 8 x 8 covered porch (not closed in).  

Stephen clarifies this is his mothers primary residents and there is an existing 8 x 8 porch.  

Jack said he went out to look at the property and he can see why they need to go a little longer said there was a blue tarp over the porch now.  Mr. Eldred said they just put that up for the 4th of July party for the old people.  

Fred - has been to the site, he added the verbiage to the application and has taken measurements and the reference points to determine how much is available for a variance.  He said it is within the ability of the Board to grant a variance.  Stephen asked if the 35-foot measurement was a good number, Fred agrees it is.  They would only need  an 8-foot variance.   The parcel is located in the Village District requiring a 40-foot front yard variance.

Comments from the public:  None

"       Motioned by  Stephen seconded by Charlene to close the public hearing, the motion passed with a 5 - 0 vote.
Stephen said it's a classic 6.2.B.2 allowing the Board to reduce the setback by 20%, which would allow for an 8-foot reduction.    This would also eliminate the first hardship.  Stephen explained the process of the hardships:
¢       2.The need for a variance is due to the unique circumstances of the
property and not the general condition in the neighborhood:  The applicant states that due to the developer and builder of these four lots placed all four homes the same minimal distance from the road.  A vote is taken if the Board feels he meet the second hardship  The motion passed with a 5 - 0 vote.

¢       3.The granting of a variance will not alter the essential character of the locality; Most houses are single story with garages or porches and on smaller parcels along this section of the road.  The motion passed with a 5 - 0 vote.

¢       4.These conditions are not the result of action taken by the applicant for a variance or a prior owner:  The original builder placed this and the other home at a minimal distance.  The 1972 building code Section 6.A was 40 feet from the street line as established by The Town. The motion passed with a 5 - 0 vote.

"       Stephen motion to grant a variance for a front setback reduction from 40-feet to  35-feet to construct an enclosed porch in the front property of Mr. Eldred at 86 Flaggy Meadow Road, seconded by Charlene, the motion passed with a 5 - 0 vote.

"       Stephen motioned to open the public hearing, seconded by Charlene a unanimous vote was passed.

Stephen states to Mr. Eldred that a variance has been granted down to 35-feet.

Public Hearing:  The Board of Directors for the Berry Memorial Library located at 93 Main Street are requesting a 12-foot  rear lot line variance for a handicapped accessible entrance and bathroom addition, along with the installation of a holding tank.  Tax  Map 13, Lot 14.

Board member Charlene Libby is also a member of the Berry Memorial Library Board of Trustees.  Asked her to participate in the open public hearing portion of discussion, but when is comes to the voting portion the Board will ask if she wants to abstain at that time.
"       Stephen motioned to open the variance case for the Berry Memorial Library, seconded by Charlene.  The motion passed with a unanimous vote.
Claudine Emerson director of Berry Memorial Library stated the library is long overdue for an addition. We are looking to add an addition on the back that will allow for a bathroom and a computer lab.  Currently there is not a bathroom at the library.  The bathroom would be ADA compliant along with a handicapped ramp to the right side of the building.  Also instead of a septic system we are looking into 1,500 gallon holding tank to be installed near the front right side of the property.
Stephen confirmed that there is no leachfield or septic system there now and asked how much of a variance dimension wise, are you looking for?  Claudine stated they are looking for a 10-foot variance, the building currently sits 20-feet from the property line and the addition is 10-feet.  A 20 foot setback is required in the Village District.  
Charlene added the Library was built 80 to 82-years ago and was donated to the town by a local family.  Making it town property that is not ADA  compliant.  The Board considered the need for adding a bathroom and also
made it ADA compliant  with the handicapped bathroom and the ramp.    Charlene confirms with Fred there is no need for a variance to accommodate for ADA, but with the bathroom addition on the back a variance is needed.  

Peter asked if they could meet the existing setback if the addition was added on the side?  No, the building sits 20-feet from the property line on all sides.  For aesthetic purposes, it was most practical to have the addition on the back.  

Fred Farnham, Code Enforcement Officer - Stephen asked if the ramp on side of building does not need a variance due to ADA?   Fred said that is correct, the variance if for the addition to the back not for the ADA ramp or bathroom.  Another reason for the addition on the back is due to the abutter directly behind the library the land is occupied by a leachfield for the neighbor's house.  
The State requires a servicing agreement when installing a holding tank and it is now permitted.  

Cliff Emery, Selectman - the main goal was to continue the use of the towns historic building.  The purpose of the rear addition is for the aesthetics, we don't want to lose the historic character of the building.  The existing building is not handicapped accessible, but when you add something new, you add on to the outside of the realm of the grandfathered status.   With no homes and tree enough growth behind, it will not be detrimental to any ones sight.  We want to continue to use this historic building

Peter - We have denied private citizens variances based on hardships one and four, how can we grant this variance based on hardships one and four because it's the Town?   
        Question one - The land in question cannot yield a reasonable return under the requirements of this ordinance;
Cliff said lets spin this the other way and say it will not get a reasonable return to be able to provide services to ALL the community.  It would be a great return for the investment to the community.  Charlene added it is not the financial concern,  but is a greater asset to the community to have a bathroom with children and the programs we will be able to offer.

Question four - These conditions are not the result of action taken by the applicant for a variance or a prior owner:  Not created by the applicant The lot was set out by individuals and donated to the town in 1929 before zoning or setback.  Did not have the opportunity to purchase or move the property.  It looks like they just plopped the building in the middle of the lot.  Charlene adds that at that time the school across the street was the high school.

Stephen asked Fred to step back up to the podium - the handicapped bathroom does not need a variance because it's ADA.  Fred said that it was part of the building addition.  The access (ramp) would not need a variance.  If just the bathroom was added would it still require a variance?  Fred said yes.

Library Board of Directors:
Sharon House has been on the Board for a very short time Charlene has done all the architectural plans and Claudine had done a beautiful job introducing new programs for the kids, but with no bathroom for the children, it is difficult.  The added space will give computer access for so many members of the community and will be a great draw for the people in the village.   It would be foolish not to allow this addition, you can check to see how the numbers have increased with the new programs.  It's a beautiful building.

Kathy Miles Fratoni new member but long time visitor.  Library director for West Buxton - they had a gas fired toilet - an outhouse is better.  I saw a transformation when they got a real bathroom.  The West Buxton library did better since the bathroom was installed.  Many people did not stay due to not having a bathroom. A huge improvement needed.

Charlene said Claudine has raised $75,000 in grants from the Davis Foundation to put the addition on and a combined total of $35,000 came from Steven King alone.  

Stephen asked if the abutter who owned the property behind the library was in the audience.  They were not.   Krystal did not receive any calls or questions from abutters either.

Question or comment s from public :  Pastor Fratoni from the parish house across the street came to the meeting as an interested neighbor.  He likes what he is hearing and thinks the people of the church would like it as well.  

Stephen motioned to close this portion of the public hearing, seconded by Jack  the motion passed with a 5 - 0 vote.

Stephen asked Board member Charlene if she wished to participate in the discussion and vote.  Charlene stated she will abstain from voting.

The applicant will have to meet all four cases of hardship:

¢       1. The land in question cannot yield a reasonable return under the requirements of this ordinance;  The library presently lacks handicap access, a bathroom and computer stations.  These items are essential for providing services that will attract and allow more patrons to use the library:  Without it, the library will be limited in patronage and financial resources.  Stephen asks the if the Board feels the applicant has met the first case of hardship 3 - 0 - 2 abstained, the motion passed.

¢       2.      The need for a variance is due to the unique circumstances of the
property and not the general condition in the neighborhood:  In comparison to most of the other properties along Main Street and in the village area, this property is among the smallest, especially for a public building. Stephen asks the Board if they feel the applicant has met the second case of hardship 4  - 0 - 1 abstained, the motion passed.

¢       3.  The granting of a variance will not alter the essential character of the locality:  The variance will allow the needed facilities to be placed along the rear of the building, thereby preserving its historical front façade.  Stephen asks the Board if they feel the applicant has met the third case of hardship 4 - 0 - 1 abstained, the motion passed.

¢       4.  These conditions are not the result of action taken by the applicant for a variance or a prior owner:   The land was acquired in 1926 and the library built in 1929.  Both were in existence prior to the Land Use and Zoning Ordinance that require this setback.   Stephen asks the Board if they feel the applicant has met the fourth case of hardship = 4 - 0 -1 abstained, the motion passed.

"       Motion by Stephen to approve a 10-foot rear setback variance for the construction of a 10' x 32' addition for a handicapped bathroom and computer room connected with a handicapped accessible ramp, seconded by Peter, the motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.

Approval of Minutes:    
June7, 2011 - Motioned by Stephen, seconded by Charlene to approve minutes of June 7th as written   3 - 0 - 1  Peter abstained from voting.

CEO Report:  None

Approval of bills:  
"       motioned by Stephen, seconded by Charlene to pay Portland Press Herald in the amount of $28.10 for legal ads, the motion passed with a
5 - 0 vote.

        Maine Townsman

Other Business
  Stephen explained his reasoning for abstaining on the first vote - by doing some preliminary research there are cases of historical properties getting variances for construction not just ADA, but required construction to maintain the building.  If he had a copy of it, he would have voted in favor.  

"       Motioned by Stephen, seconded by Charlene to adjourn at 7:36 p.m. A unanimous vote.

Respectfully submitted by Krystal Dyer

________________________________                Date ___________________
Stephen Heroux, Chairman

Town of Buxton
  185 Portland Road, Buxton, ME 04093 (207) 929-5191
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