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Minutes of 12/13/2007

December 19th, 2007

December 13, 2007

These minutes of the Town of Carroll Zoning Board of Adjustment have been recorded by its Secretary. Though believed to be accurate and correct they are subject to additions, deletions and corrections by the Zoning Board at its next meeting when the Board votes its final approval of the minutes.

Minutes recorded by Susan K. Kraabel, Secretary Pro Tem

Members of the Board present, Joan Karpf, Chair; Leslie Bergum, John Goodney, Paul Bussiere, Pam Walsh

Members of the Public present: Jeff Duncan, Matt Dieterich, Walter Elander

The board reviewed the minutes of the August 9, 2007. Leslie Bergum moved to accept them as written. Paul Bussiere seconded the motion, and it was passed 4-0. Pam Walsh abstained, as she had not attended the meeting.

Chairman Karpf stated the purpose of this meeting was to review the application for an area variance from Bretton Woods Resort Management for their Story/Sales Center.

Walter Elander said they are seeking a variance over and above the 33’ standard height in the zoning for the Story/Sales Center on the lot adjacent to the existing Sports Center. He indicated the location of the building on the plans, at the corner of Rte. 302 and Ski Area Road, close to the tennis courts. The building will be 11,000 sq. ft. and has parking associated with it.

Matt Dieterich said the building will house the story center (sales center), theater, dioramas, plans, and sales agents. There will be a selection center where buyers will pick out tile, fixtures, etc. All this will be on the first floor. The second floor will be offices for the development staff, some resort personnel and some ski personnel. Mr. Dieterich said they need higher ceilings for the theater and display area. This permanent building is sort of the first piece of the proposed village, and will work into the future fabric of its surroundings. The ceiling is 12’ clear on the first floor, 9’ on the second floor. The top above will be in the style to come and need the extra height.

Leslie Bergum said she hadn’t seen the plans and was out of town for the Planning Board meeting on December 6th. She said since the minutes had not been posted in the state mandated 144 hours, she wasn’t fully informed on what was planned for the Story Center. The secretary reported she was aware of the RSA that mandates the 144 hour rule, but since the office is short handed, had not had the opportunity to finish the minutes.

Paul Bussiere asked if there is going to be a floor in the space above the 33’ height, and was told no. Their will be no storage; it will be attic space only. Mr. Bussiere asked if Fire Chief Duncan had seen the plans and was told he had not. They had just discussed plans with him. The building will be sprinklered, and the roof line will be 31’ or 32’ high, so they will have access to the roof. Chief Duncan was asked if it was a fair assessment to say that he had no concerns. He answered yes.
It was stated that the ground is about 7’ lower than Rte. 302. That the beginning of the handicap ramp is base level, and the high point of the building from there is 44’. The highest point of the building will be at the corner of Rte. 302 and Ski Area Road, and Rte. 302 is higher than Ski Area Road. When asked about setbacks, Mr. Elander said there are no setback regulations in the R-2 zone.

Mr. Dieterich said they made an agreement with CNL who owns the roadway prior to closing in 2006, and they will get an easement or do a lot line adjustment.

Mr. Bussiere asked if the building was designed with the village in mind, and was told yes, it will be the first building of the village. However, they don’t know exactly what the village will look like. They are working with the Planning Board on zoning issues such as parking. They don’t want a sea of parking lots. Ms. Bergum asked if they will be setting a precedent with this building, and was told in architectural style probably.

Four light poles were pointed out and there will be some lighting of the building front. All will be designed to be dark sky friendly.

Chairman Karpf asked if there’s anything unique in the property – wetlands, etc. She was told no. It was stated that the closest wetland is across the street. Mr. Dieterich said the current sales building across the street will continue to do re-sales and house the property management operation. Mr. Elander stated that traffic impact would not be changed with this proposal. The second island is being removed, trees will be limbed and one large tree removed. The NH DOT driveway permit for change of use has been received.

When asked, Mr. Elander said the height of the roof from the ceiling of the second floor to the top of the roof in the center is approximately 18’.

Mr. Bussiere asked Chairman Karpf if their major concern is aesthetics or safety. She replied that their major concern was to make sure all 5 criteria for granting a variance are met, not our interpretation of safety or looks. It was asked if there will be a fireplace, and the board was told the chimney serves as a mechanical chase – encloses vents, etc. There will be no fireplace.

Pam Walsh asked why they’re not using the basement space. Mr. Dieterich said the 8’ basement will be used for storage.

Pictures of the precedent setting Sports Center were shown. It is 52’ high. The top of the tower on the new building will come about to the roof ridge line of the Sports Center. Mr. Elander said the ridgeline of the Sports Center is at 1616’ above sea level, and Story Center ridgeline will be 1618’ above sea level, but still 5’ lower than the top of the Sports Center tower.

Ms. Bergum asked about future use of the attic space, and was told that it was not planned in the design. There are no stairs to the attic, and the elevator does not go that high.

Mr. Bussiere asked if abutters have been noticed yet, and was told we have the list, but procedures call for notices for the Public Hearing only, not for the meeting to accept the completed application for a variance. He also asked how many 44’ buildings would be in the village. Mr. Dieterich said they’ll be having this discussion on a regular basis, which is why they are talking with the Planning Board about zoning changes. Mr. Bussiere asked if there isn’t some way they could do a “group” variance, or a “project” variance, rather than on individual buildings. No one knew if this would be legal, but Chairman Karpf said we could ask Town Counsel. Currently, each tall building would require a variance and have to meet the 5 criteria.

Ms. Bergum said that while tonight Mr. Dieterich mentioned the possibility of 2-3 story buildings, she’d heard 4 story buildings mentioned in other meetings. Mr. Dieterich said they just don’t know yet what the village will look like.

Chief Duncan stated that the state building code defines a story as 10’ in height (above ground or below ground); in this case the building is designed as a 4 story building.

Paul Bussiere made a motion to accept this application as complete. John Goodney seconded, and the motion was passed unanimously. The Public Hearing was set for Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 7 pm in the town hall.

Chairman Karpf noted that the selectmen had recently confirmed land use board term expiration dates for all board members, and in the interest of maintaining consistency, all terms will expire in March of a given year at Town Meeting time. She said the ZBA procedures manual calls for the annual election of officers in November. The board did not meet in November, so she asked if the board want to elect officers tonight, or change the election time to March to coincide with the term expirations. After some discussion, Paul Bussiere moved to change the procedure to read to elect a chairman and vice-chairman in April, and affix his/her signature in the name of the board in that month. Pam Walsh seconded the motion, and it was passed unanimously.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:10.