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Minutes of 4/12/2018

April 23rd, 2018


APRIL 12, 2018

Members Present: Chair Dave Scalley, Diane Hogan, Joan Karpf, Aaron Foti and Janet Nelson
Public: Paul Bussiere, Carl Brooks, Lisa Miller, Jon Warzocha, Josh DeBottis and Chris Ellms
Minutes taken by: Rena Vecchio
Pledge of Allegiance: 7:00 PM

Approval of Minutes
Chair Dave Scalley opened the meeting stating that the last Zoning Board meeting was in October of 2017. At this point there is not a quorum and will not be a quorum to approve the minutes as three members of the board that were at that meeting were no longer members. This happens sometimes when terms run out and new members are voted in.
Nomination of Officers and Alternates
Diane Hogan made a motion to: nominate Dave Scalley as Chairman. Aaron Foti seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Dave Scalley made a motion to: nominate Aaron Foti as Vice Chair. Dianne Hogan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Dave Scalley made a motion to: nominate Andy Smith as an alternate of the Zoning Board for one year. Joan Karpf seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Chairman Scalley opened this by reading a statement to Carl saying he had been with Carl as the Code Enforcer inspecting the sandpit. He asked Carl if he felt that Dave could sit on the board this evening with no bias to Carl. Carl said he felt Dave could sit on the board with no bias. (A copy of the statement will be attached to the hard copy of minutes in the office.)
The Chairman asked Carl to explain why he was in front of the board tonight. Carl said in 2013 he was approved to remove 30,000 square yards of material from the pit but at this date had only removed about 15,000 or 16,000. He realizes his permit runs out January of 2019 but wanted to know what to do to extend that permit.
Chairman Scalley said that he had inspected the pit and found that all requirements had been met. And under “Section 610. Duration of Permit”, that after the duration of the permit, a reapplication shall be required.
Chairman Scalley opened the Special Exception by reading a statement saying he had worked with Carl as Code Enforcer. Dave said he felt he could sit on the board and felt he could make decisions that were not biased. Carl Brooks also said he felt he could make decisions with no bias. Dave Scalley remained sitting on the board.
Jon Warzocha, engineer for Horizons Engineering and spoke person for Carl Brooks/Mt. Deception Campground, said they were before the board for a Special Exception. Mt. Deception Campground has been in existence since the 60’s. He said the campground is in RES 2 district which if you are not part of the Concept Plan for Bretton Woods you automatically revert to RES 1. This is a campground that was allowed because it existed before the start of the Zoning Ordinance in 1979. There have been expansions since then, with no applications to the Zoning Board. They were seeking a Special Exception because of Article III, Section 306 a..
Joan Karpf said she did not believe that a Special Exception was the right application. She said the only time the Special Exception would be needed is for a expansion. She believed the application should be for a Variance. And she wasn’t sure they should be before the board now at all.
Aaron Foti said that the application should have been filed when the expansions were made. But we also don’t have a way to retroactively approve an expansion in the past. So our best path forward is to approve the existing expansions as prescribed in 306a to allow Mr Brooks to operate legally. We are not, however, looking to approve future expansions at this time.
Janet Nelson asked if the Special Exception could be withdrawn and then vote on a Variance. Chairman Scalley said he believed they should accept the application for a Special Exception.
Aaron Foti made a motion to: accept the application for a Special Exception for Mt. Deception Campground/Carl Brooks, Map 419, Lot 15, 1 Old Cherry Mountain Road, Bretton Woods, NH, referencing Article III, Section 306, as complete. Dianne Hogan seconded and the motion passed with 4 ayes and one nay. Joan Karpf voted no.
The board then went thru the three criteria referencing Article III, Section 306:
1. The proposed use shall not adversely affect the capacity of existing or planned community facilities.
The current Non-Conforming Use campground includes a bathhouse and outhouse serving the campground community as well as septic systems for eleven (11) individual sites. There is no proposed expansion to adversely affect the capacity of these systems.
The board agreed.
2. The proposed use shall not adversely affect the character of the area affected.
The current Non-Conforming Use campground is setback at least 125 feet from Route 302 (Crawford Notch Road) within a wooded area. The property is generall cleared fo r gravel roadways and campground site locations only. Within five miles of the campground entrance, there are at least eight other campgrounds, one ski resort, as well as multiple White Mountain Trailheads which are accessed from Route 302. There is not proposed expansion t adversely affect the character of the immediate area.
The board agreed.
3. The purposed use shall not adversely affect the traffic on roads and highways in the immediate vicinity.
The current Non-Conforming Use campground has 49 sites. Compared with other developments in the immediate area, the campground has a low traffic flow. The campground entrance is on an existing Town Road (Old Cherry Mountain Road). There is no proposed expansion to adversely affect the traffic on roads and highways in the immediate vicinity.
The board agreed.
Aaron Foti made a motion to: approve the application for a Special Exception for Mt. Deception Campground, Map 419, Lot 15, 1 Cherry Mountain Road, as a ZBA Approved expansion of a Non-Conforming Use per Article III, Section 306 a, with the condition that this approval applies only to the Site Plan to be approved by the Planning Board, and any future expansion must be applied for and approved by the ZBA. Janet Nelson seconded and the motion passed with 4 ayes and 1 nay. Joan Karpf voted no.

Chairman Scalley said he has been involved with the hotel and the expansion because of his role as Code Enforcer. He read the statement saying so and said he believed he could sit on the board for this application and not be biased. He asked the representative for Omni, Chris Ellms, how he felt. Chris said he believed Dave could sit on the board with no bias.
Chris Ellms started to explain the project:
• This is a variance for height for a cupola
• The zoning ordinance says a building has to be 33 feet or two and a half stories
• They are asking for 35 feet from the high side of the building
• The building will be sprinkled
• Strictly all hotel rooms
• You will get to the buildings from existing roads and new fire lanes
Fire Chief Jeremy Oleson said:
• There isn’t a lot to go by and it is hard to approve something you can’t see
• It will definitely have an impact on a volunteer fire department
• The fire department has a 36 foot extension ladder so a 33 foot building works. The height of this building is beyond their means.
Jon Warzocha, Horizons Engineering, said they were going by the Zoning Ordinance, Article II, Definitions, “Building Heights-Measurement made from the uphill side, ground level next to building, within one foot of the foundation of building to a height of 33 feet to the highest point of roof. (Amended March 1988), page 3. With that they are asking for an additional 2 feet.
The board discussed that they were not happy with the definition of Building Height and it really didn’t leave much room for them to decide. Their concern was the ability to reach the rooms if there was a fire.
Aaron Foti said that though the two additional feet aren’t going to change this safety concern, the “spirit of” the ordinance is to respect the limited resources of our fire department and equipment. He also expressed he would have appreciated something in the application about safety, and not just the aesthetics.
Paul Busiere said he hoped the board remembers that height is a safety issue. The new proposed addition to the hotel fits the area completely. He feels the area needs this.
Chairman Scalley said if the hotel dropped the building addition 2 feet, then the way the definition was written, they wouldn’t even need to come to the board. But he does agree with Joan and Aaron that the height of the building does bother him. The definition is a definite problem here.
In applying for a Variance, the applicant must meet 5 criteria. The facts supporting the criteria:
1. Granting the variance would not be contrary to the public interest;
As an addition othe existing Mt. Washington Hotel, the proposed building recognizes the resorts significant contribution to the regional hisrory and its importance as a tourist destination. The addition will expand the core buildings of the Resort in a manner that respect the existing architecture style and is deferential to the visibility of the historical building while improves the Hotel’s guest offerings.
The historic Hotel building sits atop a hill on the site and is a highly visible regional landmark from all sides, particularly the iconic view of the Hotel with Mt Washington in the background. The addition will be located at the lowest portion of the site, below the level of the Hotel and recently added Spa/Conference . the majority of the building will be screened by the hill.
The board agreed.
2. If the Variance were granted, the spirit of the ordinance would be observed because:
The building addition has been discretely sited to allow minimum visibility from the surrounding area. The location was chosen to be adjacent to the hotel center, with minimal visibility from the highway. The highest point of the new roof is lower than the lobby level of the original hotel and is similar to the height of the approved Spa/Conference Center. In addition, setting the building into the hillside reduce its apparent size.
The board agreed.
3. Granting the variance would do substantial justice because:
The addition will be integrated with the lobby of the existing Hotel and will provide the up to date accommodation that the Hotel has determined are necessary. Because of its central location at the resort core, the addition is designed to complement the architectural style and specific vocabulary of the Hotel and Spa/Conference Center. This includes matching the window types, stucco exterior, red roof and details in order to make a unified whole.
The board agreed.
4. If the variance were granted, the values of the surround properties would not be diminished because:
The addition would have little or no impact on surrounding properties because it is confined to the center of the resort property. Locating the addition adjacent to the Hotel and Spa/Conference Center results in a compact group of unified architecture rather than a sprawl of low rise buildings. in addituin to being lower than existing historic hotel, from the southern view, the new addition will overlay the mass of the existing Spa/ Conference Center. Because it is built into the hillside there will be no change of the views of property views of properties to the west and north.
The board agreed.
5. Unnecessary hardship:
A. Owing to special conditions of the property that distinguishes it from other properties in the area, denial of the variance would result in unnecessary hardship because:
i. No fair and substantial relationship exists between the general public purposed of the ordinance provision and the specific application of that provision to the property because
scenic nature of the Mt. Washington Resort. The design and planning approach has been to create a compact, 4 story structure that is integraed into the existing Hotel and Spa/Conference Center. The building is the same height as the Spa/Conference Center and lower and less visible than the Hotel. Nevertheless, some of the design elements such as the corner tower that will connect the architectural complex will exceed the letter of the maximum allowable building height. We feel that the resulting opportunity to create a cohesive Resort Center is appropriate.
ii. The proposed use is a reasonable one because:
Like the siting and architectural design, the function in the Hotel addition will complement the existing Hotel and Resort. The new building is limited to additional hotel rooms that will be tied to the existing lobbies, dining and amenities of the existing hotel. This makes good economic sense and preserves the historic atmosphere that is so compelling to visitors.
The board agreed.
B. Not applicable
Joan Karpf made a motion to: approve the application for a Height Variance for Omni Mount Washington, LLC, Map 210, Lot 008. Mount Washington Hotel Road, Bretton Woods, NH for a height variance of 2 feet. The board will approve because the height variance because it does not impinge on the views, it will not diminish the value, it is a minimal height variance that is not occupied so no life safety in the 2 feet and it goes with the architecture of the existing hotel, with one condition:
1. That the Planning Board address the issue of fire safety.
Janet Nelson seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.
Chairman Dave Scalley made a motion to: adjourn. Janet Nelson seconded and the vote was unanimous. The meeting ended at 9:40.