Hampstead Zoning Board Approves Seasonal House for Undersized Lot

HAMPSTEAD – Kevin McCarthy and his fiancée, Nancy Gorman, are eager to purchase a lot at 130 Mill Shore Drive from Marie and Edward Lombardi. Thanks to Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) approval of their request for a Special Exception to build on an undersized lot and for a variance to allow the rear setback for the proposed dwelling to be 30 feet rather than the required 50 feet, the sale is expected to go forward.

At the Thursday, Aug. 1 meeting, the ZBA learned that the vacant lot was once three separate small lots that were combined into one in 2006. Attorney Jim Troisi presented the hearing requests for McCarthy and Gorman and described the steep lot as challenging, as it is 100 feet deep but has 230 feet of frontage on Mill Shore Drive.

According to Tim Lavelle of Lavelle & Associates, all the other setbacks meet the Hampstead Zoning Requirements. He said he received a Shoreline Permit from the state as well as a septic system permit.
Asked if the dwelling could be placed closer to the road to lessen the 20-foot discrepancy for the back setbacks, he said the proposed location, due to the configuration and topography of the lot and the fact that ledge was found, is the only viable spot.

Troisi had a proto-type picture of the style of house being proposed and said it would be a two-bedroom home with 1,389 square feet and a 20- by 20-foot garage. However, Troisi said after consulting with a second builder, they would like to expand the size of the dwelling to 1,500 square feet and to 24- by 24-feet for the garage. The extra square feet would only impact one wall of the bottom floor, extending it six feet and not bringing it into any issues with setbacks.

ZBA member Neil Emerson was unhappy with the last minute changes and reminded the board that approval is based on “per plan submitted.” The board decided to allow Troisi to mark up the plan to reflect the changes. During public comment, three family members who own property across Mill Shore Drive from the lot had questions and concerns. Jim, Dave and Dan Boissneault expressed concern over the size of the proposed building and whether it would fit in. They took umbrage at a remark made by Troisi that suggested the proposed house would be better than most of the cottages on the road, and as such would increase property values. And they expressed unhappiness that instead of having trees to look at across the road there would be a house.

They also pointed out that the proposed plan has three bedrooms, and suggested the third bedroom would be included even if the approval were for two bedrooms. Troisi was asked by Emerson if the plan was for this dwelling to remain seasonal or whether they planned to seek conversion to a year-round dwelling. Troisi said their intention is to get it approved and built as a seasonal dwelling and then come back and seek conversion to year-round status. Troisi also said that only two bedrooms are planned, with the third room a den or office without a door.

ZBA member Dale Blaine noted that while the deck was initially proposed as 12 feet by 12 feet, they had changed it to 12 feet by 16 feet. Emerson said this was too many last minute changes and after some discussion, McCarthy and Gorman said they would stick with the original deck size, as long as the garage and dwelling size changes were approved.

The ZBA first voted unanimously to approve the special exception request to build on an undersized lot and then voted unanimously to approve the variance for the rear setback to be 30 feet rather than 50 feet. The change from 1,389 square feet to 1,500 square feet for the dwelling size and the 24-foot by 24-foot garage was approved also. During the proceedings, ZBA Chairman Geoffrey Dowd stepped down because he is acting as attorney for the applicant.

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