2020 Chester Planning Board Meetings


Chester Planning Board Approves Edward Jones Financial Services Site Plan
Penny Williams   5-14-20

The Chester Planning Board held a Public Hearing on Wednesday evening, May 13, regarding the application of NASR Enterprises (Sam Nasr, owner of the Chester General Store and the building at 4 Haverhill Road that will house the Edward Jones Office)  and approved the site plan for the lease space for the Edward Jones office.

The site plan, developed by Eric Mitchell, Eric Mitchell & Associates, was discussed at length on May 6, during a Planning Board meeting and the main sticking point was marking parking spaces that include spaces on Town Owned property.

Selectman liaison Chuck Myette had raised the concern about such identification of specific parking spaces potentially leading to a liability for the town and Mitchell was asked to remove the planned parking space stripping from the plan. Concerns were also discussed on May 6, regarding the location of the handicap parking space and it was determined that the handicap parking would be identified by placing the handicap parking sign on the building at 4 Haverhill Road.

Wednesday night, the board accepted jurisdiction of the site plan for the Public Hearing discussion. It was noted there are 9 waivers requested and Mitchell noted they are all unnecessary requirements for this site plan and would be an unnecessary use of time, paper and money.  Mitchell reviewed the revised plan that addressed the board's concerns noting the changes to site are minimal and all that is added is the lift added to the exterior. He indicated the planned striping of parking spaces will be eliminated from the plan.

He stated the DuBois & King, Town Engineers, letter had been answered. While Chester Zoning requires 16 spaces for the site plan area, the national standard requires only 12 and the plan has 12 spaces. The issue raised about the dumpster's location has been addressed and it will be moved and screened.

  The specific conditions of approval include increasing the hours of operation for the General Store to 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. while the Edward Jones office will be open from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.

The Variance granted to the application by the Chester Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) on November 25, 2019,  permitted a professional office space, namely Edward Jones Financial Office, to be located at 4 Haverhill Road. The Variance was granted without conditions. Nasr stated Wednesday night that the area on the second floor of the building to house the Edward Jones Office will be used only by him for storage and/or an office for him.

The board decided the plan would have to seek a Variance to allow only 12 rather than 16 parking spaces. In addition, although the vegetation will be removed to allow for snow storage, because it is then only 6 feet it will need a variance since 8 feet is required.

The nine waiver requests from Mitchell were read into the record but the board voted on them as a package, approving all the requests.

  It was noted that the board had received comments supporting the proposed plan but had not received any in opposition. This use of the building will actually have less associated traffic and use than the previous nail salon occupant. There was no public comment so the board closed the Public Hearing to deliberate.

Regarding the placement of the handicap parking space, Myrick Bunker, Code Enforcement and Building Inspector said he was a little concerned about the safety of the location. However, Mitchell stated there was no other available location.

  The board, after a brief discussion, approved the site plan with the specific conditions, and routine conditions.

In Other Business:

* The board discussed the issue of four wheelers and ORV destroying property, private and town owned, as they continue to utilize the improved power line pathway created by Eversource when they repaired and replaced poles.

* Member Aaron Hume suggested it might be time for Eversource to meet with Conservation, Fish & Game and the Planning Board to discuss this issue.

* It was noted that Fish & Game have been in town enforcing the law to the extent they can but the destruction of property is a concern.


Chester Planning Board Discusses Edward Jones Financial Services Office
By Penny Williams     4-30-20

The Chester Planning Board met Wednesday evening, April 29, and held a conceptual discussion regarding the requirements for the Site Plan Review for the Edward Jones Financial Services Office that will be located at 4 Haverhill Road. 

Present Wednesday evening was Sam Nasr, owner of the Chester General Store and the building at 4 Haverhill Road in which the Edward Jones Office will be located and Eric Mitchell, Eric Mitchell Associates, the engineer and designer of the site plan. 

The plan was before the Chester Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) in November, 2019 and the ZBA approved the requested Variance by Angela Hayden, Sage Legal, LLC on behalf of Nasr Enterprises, LLC to permit the conversion of the former nail salon located at 4 Haverhill Road to a professional office space for an Edward Jones Financial Services Office.

This location was initially residential but for the last 30 years it has been a commercial site for a variety of businesses including, a bank, a laundry mat, and most recently the nail salon. This proposed new  professional commercial use would have the least impact in terms of traffic in the many iterations.
     
    Carla Beck, who is planning to move her Plaistow Edward Jones Office to this location in Chester, plans to make improvements to the interior of the first floor of the building but the only exterior change would be the addition of a handicap  lift. This proposed use  would be a consistent use and represents the most reasonable use of the property, generating less traffic and fewer parking issues.   

Monday night the conceptual discussion focused on the parking that exists on the thruway to the General Store and the building in question that enters off of Route 102 and exits out onto Route 121A. The plan calls for stripping the parking spaces with one handicap space in front of the new office.

The issue that concerned the board members is the easement and portion of the property owned by the Town where parking spaces are located and whether marking the parking spaces could result in a liability issue for the Town.

Mitchell presented 8 waiver requests that the board reviewed. Most dealt with items that would be needed on a site plan for a new development but nothing is going to be changed or developed so the board found most of the waiver requests would be approved without much discussion. It was noted that lot lines and the entrance and exit areas and adjoining properties need to be added to the site plan and Mitchell said he could do that.  

The only issue appeared to be the question of actually identifying the parking spaces or not and whether the town's interests were being properly protected. Planning Coordinator Andrew Hadik said the proposal needs to be brought to the Board of Selectmen because of the fact that the town owns part of that overall lot and  Selectman Liaison Chuck Myette said he would do that. The Planning Board wants selectmen input prior to the Public Hearing on the site plan scheduled for Wednesday,  May 13.

 


Chester Planning Board Reviews Kerry’s Dance Studio Conceptual Plan
 By Penny Williams     4-23-20 

The Chester Planning Board met electronically Wednesday evening, April 22, and held a Conceptual Discussion with Jennifer Morin regarding the Board's expectations of her application following her purchase of Kerry Bacheller's Kerry's Dance Studio.
       
   Morin and Bacheller had been before the Zoning Board of Adjustment in February, and received a Variance to permit the operation of a dance, yoga studio on the property known as Map/Lot 006-014-000, 8 Deerwood Hollow in the R1 (residential) Zone.

At the February ZBA hearing Attorney John Cronin presented a review of the history of the home, which was constructed by the former owner, John Bacheller, as a dance studio.  The Bachellers' had a home occupation business as a dance studio. When Jennifer Morin bought the property, as a dance studio, she wasn't aware that because she has four employees, making her a commercial enterprise in the residential zone, she would need to go the ZBA for a variance.

Morin has been told by Myrick Bunker, Building Inspector, that she cannot have a permit to operate her dance studio until the Planning Board approves her site plan.

Her site plan has been prepared by Benchmark Engineering, Inc. and she and Bacheller were there before the Planning Board to find out what information the Planning Board wants. Morin wants to complete this process as quickly as possible so if the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted she will be able to complete the dance studio season.

While the ZBA Variance took care of allowing the commercial enterprise to  be within the residential zone, the permit for occupation/use can't be provided until her site plan is approved by the Planning Board.

Planning Coordinator Andrew Hadik pointed out there are several issues the Planning Board needed to deal with mainly because they slightly encroach on setbacks, which include:
* paving/parking on south side
* paving/parking on west side
* small shed
* percent of lot coverage - impervious surface
* outside staircase
  
   These items were all discussed at length and for some, such as the parking areas, and the outside stairway, it was thought there were probably permits already on file in the Town. The board pointed out the shed issue was minimal because all that is needed was for its relocation out of the setback zone to be noted on the site plan and the shed so moved. The impervious surface allowed is 15 percent and it appears there is about 20 percent plus but the board acknowledged this could be waived.

The board wants the setbacks of the property properly noted on the site plan and the relocation of the shed shown. The board wants a waiver request form for overage of impervious surface filed along with the site plan review application.

The board voted that the site plan does not need to go to the Town Engineer, DuBois and King, for further review. The board hopes to have this process ready for a public hearing within the next three weeks.

In other business:

• The board discussed at length with Selectman Liaison Chuck Myette the issues surrounding Hart Robert's Road/driveway since the board will be reviewing the site plan for the Buchanan Riding Arena that is accessed off Hart Roberts.

The upshot of that lengthy discussion was that a decision has to made regarding the road - is it a road or is it a driveway - and, is a town road or a private way. A title search is needed and Town Administrator Debra Doda is starting that effort on behalf of the Board of Selectmen where the final decision on this has to be made.

• Hadik told the board he will also be requesting a board site plan review for the Edward Jones Office that is going to be in the old nail salon building next to the General Store.

This came before the ZBA in November, 2019 and that board  approved the request of Angela Hayden, Sage Legal, LLC on behalf of Nasr Enterprises, LLC for a Variance to permit the conversion of the former nail salon located at 4 Haverhill Road to a professional office space for an Edward Jones Financial Office.

Hayden made the point that was reiterated by Sam Nasr, owner of the General Store and the property owner, that this professional commercial use would have the least impact in terms of traffic in may iterations.
      
•  Carla Beck who is planning to move her Plaistow Edward Jones Office to Chester to this location. She has plans to make improvements to the interior but the only exterior change would be the addition of either a handicap ramp or a lift with the thinking going more towards the lift.
 
•  The ZBA approved the Variance at that time because it was felt the planned improvements were positive and the generation of  less traffic and fewer parking issues also positive and were critical components of the reasonableness of this proposed use.


NH RSA 675:3 gives the Planning Board the authority to submit an ordinance or zoning amendment to the voters.


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