Manchester architect and planner Alan Yeaton, representing 3 Weymouth Rd., LLC, presented to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) a request for a variance to build a duplex on property at 3 Weymouth Road, on a lot that has less than 52,000 square feet, as required by ordinance.
“It is a lot in an AR1 zone (agricultural/residential) and it’s about 46,500 square feet,” Yeaton said. “If you look to the north there is a single family, if you look to the left there is a small single family on the lot next door, to the east there is a vacant lot, and to the south there is the rail trail and an industrial segment and development directly below that. So the area is a mixed use area now and the lots in this area tend to be smaller than this one.”
Yeaton said a paved road leads to the property and ends in a cul-de-sac, with a manhole in the road near the property in question. “This site will be serviced by a sewer,” he said. “In the street there’s a manhole where the loop comes together. I’ve also shown a well radius because the development will also have to serviced by a drilled well, which will be within the property line and not within the confines of the proposed location of the building.”
Yeaton said the developer is proposing to build a two story building about the size of a single family house, about 44 feet long and with a maximum depth of 30 feet. The building would have a patio on each side of the building, as well as parking.
“Since a driveway already exists there and is utilized by the public, I might have to grant an easement for that road being on the property, which I don’t believe exists at the present time. I would be more than happy to do that, should the proposal be approved,” Yeaton said.
Yeaton said that 52,500 square feet was needed and he had 46,500 square feet – 90 percent of what was required to do a two-family. “If you canvass the local area you will find that there are numerous two families in the area,” he said. “Some are on smaller lots than this. The site will also provide open space, given the fact that the site is almost 300 feet long and if you consider the relative size, you’ll find that it’s the size of a football field, and we’re going to put a two family dwelling in the middle of it.”
Board member Neil Dunn asked if there was a recent survey indicating who owned the road and whether the cul-de-sac portion of the road was an easement. Yeaton said there was no easement that he could find.
Building Inspector/ Code Enforcement Officer Richard Canuel also said there was no formal easement and that an informal agreement exists between the property owner and the public works department to use that turnaround for maintenance operations such as plowing. “There was not ever a dedicated easement for the road,” Canuel said.
Board member Larry O’Sullivan said, “so the town was allowed to use it?” “There as an informal agreement,” Canuel said. Canuel said that based on the ordinance, one acre is the required minimum lot size for any residential development, and that area is increased by 40 percent for duplexes up to five bedrooms, and an additional 15 percent for additional bedrooms.
“So there will be an additional lot area well above the one acre minimum,” Canuel said. “It comes out to be 67,000 square feet – somewhere in there. So comparing that to what’s allowed by the table with a property that’s served by a municipal sewer, the minimum lot size is 52,500 square feet.” Canuel said.
Yeaton said the proposed duplex would have three bedrooms per side, or six total. O’Sullivan said only four bedrooms would be allowed per the ordinance, and Yeaton responded that there were other three-bedroom duplexes in the neighborhood.
Previously, the property had been zoned commercial and others had requested that a portion of the building be used for a dwelling. They were denied. The existing building eventually burned and was razed, and the property was now residential, which allows for the duplex.
Resident David McCurty, an abutter, said he was in favor of the variance and noted other properties had six bedrooms on the same size or smaller lots in the neighborhood. Resident Bob Merrill said the square footage of the property may be even smaller, as the state had taken part of the railroad bed adjacent to the property to widen it for the rail trail. It was determined by the board that the actual area of the land would be ascertained by the planning board when site plans were required. The board voted unanimously 4-0 to approve the project.