Town of Sutton


Pillsbury Memorial Hall

93 Main Street

Sutton Mills, NH 03221


Draft Meeting Minutes for April 17, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.


Call to Order: Chair Derek Lick called the meeting to order at 7:03pm


Roll Call: Derek Lick (DL), Chair, Joe Eisenberg (JE), Alt., Samantha Gordon (SG), Betsy Forsham (BF), Marc Beauchemin (MB). Katheryn Schneider (KS) and Zachary Brock (ZB)/Alt. were not yet sworn in and sat in the audience. Others in attendance were Planning and Zoning Administrator Peter Stanley (PS), the Applicants, Sara Wilmot (SW) and Zach Lamott (ZL), and next-door neighbors to the south at 217 RT114, Ron Bourcier (RB) and Bethany Bourcier (BB).


ZBA Public Hearing: The Chair opened the public hearing for a request for a variance from the terms of Article IV, Section C4 of the Sutton Zoning and Building Ordinance (Case 2019-03, Parcel 02-716-473),

expansion of a nonconforming structure on a nonconforming lot having less than the required side and front yard setback.


The Chair explained the rules and procedures for the meeting and then invited the applicants to present their proposal to the Board.


SB and ZB presented, explaining that their desire was to fill in a jog at the SW corner of the existing nonconforming building, expanding the first floor footprint of the building by 84 square feet, and then expanding the existing second floor over that area, while eliminating the dormers on the second floor in favor of vertical, full wall construction. This would permit a more useable second floor area. SB indicated that the overall setbacks would remain unchanged.


DL asked if the second floor would be extended over the porch at the front of the building, and SB replied that the line of the second Floor would not come forward, but remain where it is, only extending south over part of the porch and the new first floor construction.


SB & ZB explained that they had issues with their design team and admitted (stated) that the plans were not complete as a result, but the concept will be as described.


BF asked if the number of bedrooms would change, and SB said that the building would still have only 2 bedrooms, as it does now. BF further inquired about the location of the septic system, and SB responded that the tank was in the existing driveway and the field was in the back yard.  BF asked where the well was and SB explained that the well was shared with the property behind. SB further indicated that a new DES approved septic system would be designed as a part of the project.

ZB then indicated that they intended to construct a deck over the front (easterly) part of the building, accessed from door on the second floor only. DL confirmed the location of the actual second floor expansion.


ZB also indicated that the structure (shed/bob house) in the back yard, which happened to be the same size as the requested first floor expansion, would be removed in the next couple of weeks.


DL asked if the building was on piers and ZB said yes, as would the proposed expansion. DL also asked if the pitch of the roof would change and ZB said yes, but not more than a foot or so to keep the scale of the structure similar to what was there now.


JE asked if the yard was wet and ZB said somewhat., but mostly owing to the season.


DL asked about the direction of pitch of the roof and ZB said mainly toward the front.


DL asked about plans and SB explained they are in process.


JE asked about water flowing in front and SB said there was a culvert. JE also asked about silt fence and ZB replied that there would be silt fence around the project during construction.


MB asked how much taller the ridge of the building would be ZB replied that it would be 3’ or so taller than the building is now.


DL asked if abutters were present and both RB and BB came forwards and explained that they had no objection to the proposed construction.


DL opined that it was somewhat unusual to approve a variance without actual plans for what was being proposed, but that with a bit of wordsmithing in the motion, they should be able to proceed. DL also asked how tall the existing building was and ZB replied that it was 17’10” above grade.


DL closed the public portion of the hearing at 7:37, and the Board began to deliberate. A general review around the table revealed that MB thought there should be a height limitation of 25’; JE opined that there was no net increase of impermeable surfaces with the removal of the bob house; SG had no issue, but would like to see a plan, and asked if the deck was part of the variance request – DL responded that it was; BF opined that the proposal was mostly within the existing footprint, and made the building much more useable.


The Board reviewed the five tests as follows:


  1.  That granting the variance was not contrary to the public interest, since most of the change was to the rear of the structure.
  2. The spirit of the ordinance is observed since the character of the changes are in keeping with the cottage like character of the neighborhood.
  3. Substantial justice is done since many other cottages in the neighborhood have been similarly upgraded.
  4. The value of surrounding properties is not diminished by the improvement of one in their midst.
  5. Because the subject property is one of the smallest lots in the neighborhood, and nearly all the surrounding properties have similar setback issues, and because the proposed changes would not render the property proportionally less adequate, not granting the variance would result in unnecessary hardship.


DL proposed a MOTION approve the applicant’s variance request in three parts to;

  1. Allow the 7’1” X11’5” addition to the SW corner of the first floor of the existing structure;
  2. Permit the expansion of the second floor of the structure as proposed, but not to exceed a total height of 25’ above existing grade;
  3. Construct a deck over the front porch, but only within the existing footprint;


with the CONDITION that the shed/bob house in the back yard be removed from the premise prior to the start of construction in order to have no net increase in impervious surface on the property.


The motion was seconded by JE and APPROVED unanimously by the Board.


Other Business: A brief discussion of potential changes to the zoning ordinance was discussed that might include less demanding shed regulations, a more realistic cell tower height, and some easing of nonconforming use regulations.


The minutes of the March (February) 26 meeting were then reviewed and approved without changes – Moved by BF and seconded by MB. The vote to approve was unanimous.


BF proposed a change to the rules of procedure to require notices of decision to be posted on the Sutton website. After some discussion it was moved by SG and seconded by JE to add that decisions be posted on the town’s website, specific language to be provided by PS, and the motion passed unanimously.


Election of officers was the next order of business. SG nominated DL as Chair, JE second, approved unanimously, with DL abstaining. SG nominated BF as Vice-Chair, JE second, approved unanimously with BF abstaining.


There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30pm.


Respectfully submitted,


Peter Stanley, Planning and Zoning Administrator