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Town Seal
Board of Appeals Minutes 06/04/13
Town of Buxton  
Board of Appeals

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.

Board members in attendance: Charlene Libby, Peter Leavitt, Jack Hanna and Dennis Santolucito.

Board members not in attendance: Stephen Heroux.

Others in attendance: Ronald Roberts, Code Enforcement Officer Fred Farnham and Cliff Thomas.

Call to Order:
"       Peter began by making a motion to open the public hearing, seconded by Charlene, the motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.

Ronald & Emily Roberts of 204 Parker Farm Road are requesting a variance for an unattached garage.   Referencing the requirements set forth in Article 6.2.B of the Town of Buxton Zoning Ordinance.  The parcel is located in the Rural District; Tax Map 1, Lots 199.
Mr. Roberts stated he would like to build a 24' x 32' unattached garage in the same location as the existing portable temporary garages. The maintenance keeping them cleared off in the winter and wind spun one of the garages around.  Down back the land is very wet and mushy, would need a lot of fill.  Charlene asked how far the current garage is from the side lot.  She figured it's about 88 feet push the garage back behind the current garage?  Charlene felt the Board has more of an opportunity to reduce the side setback, than the front setback.   Mr. Robert said the water drains through the back.  Charlene said I can't find anywhere in the code for a front yard setback.  There is not a lot of leeway for a front yard setback.

Code Officer Fred Farnham verified that the measurements are correct on the site.  There is already a blacktop turn-a-round where the fabric garage is.  It does drop off substantially in the back and off on the left side of the existing garage, it had to be filled for this garage.  
Dennis asked if the driveway already exists.  Fred confirmed that the paved driveway would be used as the base for the proposed garage. Peter asked Fred if he had an opinion on the front setback.  It does allow for dimensional variances.

Dennis asked for clarification for the distances on the diagram.

Charlene's concern is if Route 112 ever expands, DOT could push the road back into the 33 foot ROW.  The existing garage is approximately 11 years old; it is conforming to the setbacks.

"       Having no abutter or public comment Peter moved to close the public hearing, seconded by Charlene.  The motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.

Discussion amongst the Board:
Starting with Jack, he is pretty familiar with the area and the canvas garages with the platforms are already there. Have to bring all the fill, they have not bothered anyone.  
Charlene does not disagree with jacks comments, but the decision has to be based on the four hardships.  The code gives us guidelines to go by and not sure if she can support.
Dennis has been by the property and has to review the four cases.
Peter feels the board has a lot of leeway and what he looks at is if it alters the character and the hardships.  It's very hard to meet all four hardships.  Also if there are any abutters against the application.  There are no abutters present this evening.
"       Peter motioned to re-open the public hearing, seconded by Jack the motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.
The Board asked Mr. Roberts to comment on the four hardship questions.  Mr. Roberts read the answers listed on the application.
Dennis asked how many square feet is the lot.  Mr. Roberts believes it is plus or minus 2 acres.
"       Peter motioned to close the public portion of the hearing, seconded by Jack the motion passed with a 4 - 0 vote.

The Board will read and vote on the four cases or hardship:
1.      The land in question cannot yield a reasonable return under the requirements of this ordinance;
The applicant stated on the application - the use for this property is not for financial gain.  We have had two temporary garages on the land for the last eleven years.  It's been a lot of maintenance to keep them standing.  Being allowed to have the temporary garages, the next step for us is a permanent building that would be easier to maintain and look better in the neighborhood.   
        Dennis confirms, that we are voting on each criteria and the applicant has to meet all four hardships.  
"       Peter asked if you believe the applicant has met this hardship. The vote does not pass with 2 yes votes, and 2 no votes.    

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 stated on the application - What makes this property unique is the way the buildings are set.  They are all on the front of the property, the land drops off into a natural swale, which is sixty to seventy feet wide and two hundred feet across with a pond.  Also my lot goes around lot # 198A, which takes away from my setback.
"       The Board members that feel the applicant has met this, the vote passes with 4 yes votes.

3.      The granting of a variance will not alter the essential character of the locality; and
The applicant stated on the application - The property was zoned residential when bought, is now zoned village.  Everything will be done by the building codes of the Town of Buxton.
"       The vote passes with 4 yes votes

4.      These conditions are not the result of action taken by the applicant for a variance or a prior owner.
The applicant stated on the application - We are not trying to change the use of the property only trying to use the land.
"       The vote passes with 3 yes votes and 1 no vote.

The Board is not able to grant the variance due to the vote on the first hardship.  It was a tie vote and the first hardship.  Charlene explains it has to have three yes votes to pass.  

"       Motioned by Peter, seconded by Charlene to close the public hearing.  The motion passes with a 4 - 0 vote.  

Charlene explains question one.  This is the hardest of the questions.  What it is saying is that your property is still valuable to you without approving the variance.  It will not cause you hardship by not granting the variance.
Peter Said I look at the property and say he can meet the town's codes by expanding the existing garage.  It may cost more money, but you can meet the requirements
We have to the best we can

Mr. Roberts asked "What is the purpose of the forty feet?"   Charlene thinks it's mostly for safety, ascetics and future growth.  Not sure if it came from the State or Planning Board.
All new construction has to meet the current setback requirements.  

Jack said "the land in question is the land he wants to build on.  Is that right?  It would be worth more if it had the garage on it, and it's all graded for a garage."  The board agrees it is a tough one, everyone has a different interpretation.  

Approval of Minutes:
December 4, 2012
"       Motioned by Peter, seconded by Charlene to approved the minutes as written.  The motion passes with a 4 - 0 vote.
March 5, 2013
"       Motioned by Peter, seconded by Jack to approved the minutes as written.  The motion passes with a 4 - 0 vote.

CEO Report:  none at this time.

Approval of bills:  
"       Peter motioned to approve to pay Portland Press Herald $27.90 for the legal ad at the March 5, 2013 meeting. The motion passed with a 0 - 4 vote.
Maine Townsman - March, April and May, 2013 issues

Other Business:
None at this time.

"       Motioned by Peter, seconded by Charlene to close the meeting at 7:35 p.m.; a unanimous vote.

    Approval Date:  __________

___________________________________                             ______________
Peter Leavitt, Vice Chair                                               Signature Date

Town of Buxton
  185 Portland Road, Buxton, ME 04093 (207) 929-5191
Town Office Hours: Mon, Tues, Thur, Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm & Wed: 11:30am - 7:30pm
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