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10/25/23 PB Minutes

TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
2155 Main Street
Bethlehem, NH 03574

TOWN OF BETHLEHEM

Planning Board Meeting

October 25, 2023

Minutes

________­­­­______________________________________________________________________

 

Present: Anthony Rodrigues, Mike Bruno, Martie Cook, Sean Gawlik, Kevin Roy, and Jerry Blanchard

 

Absent: Linda Moore and Alecia Loveless

______­­­­________________________________________________________________________

 

Anthony Rodrigues opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance at 6:00 pm.

 

Jerry Blanchard was appointed as a voting member for tonight’s meeting.

 

Tara Bamford presented the Board with the second draft of possible amendments to the zoning ordinances as part of the Housing Opportunity Planning grant.  The amendments are based on the results of a survey conducted by the North County Council in July and August of 2023.

 

Language to be added to the Zoning Ordinance is shown like this and language to be removed is

shown like this.

 

Draft amendment number 1 would reduce the required parking from 2 spaces to 1 space for accessory dwelling units (ADU) that are no larger than 1,000 sq. ft. to make it easier to provide an ADU, while reducing stormwater runoff and visual impact.

 

There were no changes made from the previous meeting. The Board approved as written.

 

DRAFT AMENDMENT NO. 1

 

 Article II. General Provisions

 

  1. Parking Requirements:

 

  1. Single- family dwellings, single family dwellings with an accessory

dwelling unit and two-family dwellings shall provide 2 spaces of off-street

parking per dwelling unit, either by means of open-air space or

garage space, each having an area of ten (10) feet wide by twenty (20) feet

long. A single-family dwelling with an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) that

has no more than 1,000 sq. ft. of gross floor area and no more than two

bedrooms may provide one additional off-street parking space instead of

two additional spaces for the ADU.

 

Article XXII. Definitions

 

Gross Floor Area: The sum of the horizontal area of all floors of a building, measured

from the exterior faces of the walls but not including unfinished cellars, attics, porches,

etc.

 

Draft amendment number 2 would allow a single-family home to have one detached accessory dwelling unit (ADU) up to 1,000 sq ft. There was one editorial change from the previous meeting which added the definition of an Accessory Dwelling Unit, Detached for more clarity.

 

The board approved as written.

 

DRAFT AMENDMENT NO. 2

 

Article II. General Provisions

 

  1. Except as provided elsewhere in this Ordinance Article XI Multi-Family Dwelling Unit Development or XII Cluster Development, there shall be no more than one single- family dwelling, single-family dwelling with attached one accessory

dwelling unit, two-family dwelling, or other principal use or principal building

per lot.

 

Article V, Section A Zoning Districts

 

Add “Single-Family Dwellings with Detached Accessory Dwelling Units” in use tables

as new row following single family homes with or without attached accessory dwelling

units, to be a new use allowed by Special Exception in District I Main Street and District

1 and Permitted Use in District II, District III and District IV.

 

Article XXII. Definitions

 

Accessory Dwelling Unit, Attached: A dwelling unit that is within or attached to a

single family dwelling or attached garage, and that provides independent living facilities

for one or more persons, including provisions for sleeping, eating, cooking, and

sanitation, on the same parcel of land as the principal dwelling unit it accompanies; and

contains an interior door between the principal dwelling unit and the accessory dwelling

unit.

 

Accessory Dwelling Unit, Detached: A dwelling unit in a detached accessory structure

such as guest cottage, barn or garage, on the same lot with a single-family dwelling,

containing no more than two bedrooms and no more than 1,000 sq. ft. of gross floor area.

 

Gross Floor Area: The sum of the horizontal area of all floors of a building, measured

from the exterior faces of the walls but not including unfinished cellars, attics, porches,

etc.

 

Draft amendment number 3 would make it easier to convert existing buildings to multi-family dwellings and would allow the building coverage for multi-family dwellings in District 1 Main Street and District 1 to be 25% like all other land uses.

 

There were no changes made from the previous meeting. The Board approved as written.

 

DRAFT AMENDMENT NO. 3

 

Article XXII. Definitions

 

Residential Conversion: The conversion of an existing residential structure or structure

previously used for nonresidential purposes, to multi-family, or addition of dwelling units

within an existing structure that is or with this change will become multifamily.

 

Article V, Section A Zoning Districts

 

Add “Residential Conversion” in use tables as new row following multi-family dwellings, to be a new Permitted Use in District I Main Street and District 1 and allowed by Special Exception in District II, District III and District IV.

 

Article XI. Multifamily Dwelling Unit Development

 

  1. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

 

  1. Building Coverage:

 

In all) Districts II, III and IV the total building coverage shall not exceed 10% of the lot area.

 

  1. Residential Conversions:

 

Existing structures may be converted to multi-family, apartments or have additional

dwelling units added, if off-street parking private parking can be provided as required.

(General Provisions Article II H) This conversion shall not be considered to be an

expansion or change of use due to nonconformance with These properties do not have to

meet the minimum parcel size or setbacks. However, in no case shall the density exceed

that allowed under paragraph 3 of this article.

 

Draft amendment number 4 would incresase housing opportunity by allowing dwelling units above first-floor businesses. There were no changes from the previous meeting. The board approved as written.

 

DRAFT AMENDMENT NO. 4

 

Article XXII. Definitions

 

Mixed Use: A structure with nonresidential uses on the first (street level) floor and dwelling

units or a mix of dwelling units and nonresidential uses above the first floor.

 

Article V. Section A Zoning Districts

Add “Mixed Use” in use tables as new row, to be a new Permitted Use in District I Main

Street and District 1 and allowed by Special Exception in District II, District III and District

IV.

 

Article II. General Provisions

  1. Except as provided elsewhere in this Ordinance Article XI Multi-Family Dwelling

Unit Development or XII Cluster Development, there shall be no more than one

single- family dwelling, single- family dwelling with attached one accessory

dwelling unit, two-family dwelling, or other principal use or principal building

per lot.

 

Draft amendment number 5 would add Cluster Development as a Permitted Use everywhere except District I Main Street and the Landfill District, provide additional guidance for the Planning Board when reviewing proposed Cluster Developments, and provide a density bonus for development with homes no larger than 1,200 sq.ft.

 

Minor changes made from the previous meeting include title change for section 5 from “Roads and Streets” to “Responsibility for Facilities”; added ADU in Cluster Development needs a Special Exception, and a new section, Article V Section A Zoning Districts that still needs formatting work to fit into the Zoning Ordinance table.

 

The Board approved as written.

 

DRAFT AMENDMENT NO. 5

 

Article V. Zoning Districts

 

Add “Cluster Development” to the use tables as a Permitted Use under Dwelling Units in

District I, District II, District III and District IV.

 

Article XII. Cluster Developments

 

  1. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

 

This ordinance is an innovative land use control to provide some flexibility in overall

subdivision design, lot layout, and shape for single and two- family individual dwelling

units on a single lot, or on lots of reduced dimensions. The purposes to which any such

proposed development must adhere are:

 

  1. To promote the conservation of the natural and scenic environment, and the

development of community uses in harmony with the natural features of the land.

 

  1. To establish living areas within Bethlehem that provide for a balance of community needs, such as a diversity of housing opportunities, adequate recreation and open space areas, easy accessibility to these and other community facilities, and pedestrian and vehicular safety.

 

  1. To provide for the efficient use of land, streets and utility systems.

 

  1. To stimulate imaginative and economical approaches to land use and community development.

 

  1. DENSITY

 

  1. The maximum number of single- family lots and/or, two-family duplex lots, or single family and/or two-family duplex dwelling units, permitted in any cluster development

shall be determined by dividing the net tract area of the parcel by the minimum lot size

for the particular zoning district. The net tract area of a parcel of land shall be defined

as the total area of the parcel less all nonbuildable land, including all area within the

mapped flood hazard areas, wetlands all area with poorly or very poorly drained soils,

and all area with a slope of 25 percent or greater. The net tract area concept may be

waived by the Planning Board with a special exception to be requested from and

granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustment when a parcel is to be serviced by both

Bethlehem Village District town water and sewer, in which case, the number of units

shall be based on the gross land area.

 

  1. For cluster subdivisions with permanent covenants restricting homes to no more than

1,200 square feet gross floor area with a two-car garage (no more than 480 sq. ft.) and

prohibiting use as a short-term rental, the density may at the applicant’s discretion be

increased to 150% of that which would normally be allowed in the district provided

that the applicant demonstrates the provision of water supply and wastewater treatment

in accord with NHDES requirements. The net tract area shall not be reduced by the

acreage of floodplains, wetlands or steep areas when calculating the allowed number

of dwellings for this category of cluster subdivision.

 

  1. FRONTAGE AND SETBACKS PROJECT SIZE

The Planning Board shall evaluate the natural features of the land, the suitability of

proposed lots or dwelling units, and overall layout requirements of the development,

and may approve reduced interior setbacks and reduced frontage requirements on

interior roads. The setbacks from existing roads and from abutting properties not part

of the application shall not be reduced. When approving three or more dwellings on a

single lot, the Planning Board may require increased setbacks and/or vegetative

screening from existing roads and/or abutting properties. permit the reduction of any

required road frontage on individual lots to not less than 75 feet in width for a proposed

cluster subdivision.

 

  1. LOT AREA

 

Each individual lot, or single family or duplex dwelling unit shall have a minimum area

accounted for in the development as determined by the regulations governing the

District of its location. The building lot size in a cluster subdivision may be reduced in

the cluster development so long as the remaining balance of square footage is accounted

for in contiguous open space or recreational space.

E.D. LOT SHAPE

 

Long, narrow lots or lots with very irregular shapes shall not generally be accepted by

the Board, especially if, in the opinion of the Board, these lots will create unusable or

inaccessible areas of land.

 

  1. SEPARATION DISTANCE

 

Dwellings shall be separated by a minimum of 20 feet, measured at the nearest point

of any architectural feature such as eave, deck, or bulkhead.

 

  1. COMMUNITY DESIGN

 

The arrangement and design of a cluster housing subdivision should include elements

that will facilitate neighborhood character, such as arrangement of homes facing each

other around a common area, front porch sitting areas, garages to the side or rear

and/or shared parking areas, and a combination of private and shared outdoor activity

areas.

 

F.G. OPEN SPACE

 

Where applicable, oOpen space areas should be located and designed so as to protect

important resource areas such as agricultural land, wetlands, shorelands or other

important habitat. and/or to result in At least 50% of the total property shall be left in

the form of open space. At least 20% of the property shall be comprised of open space

that is realistically and conveniently usable recreational area(s) for future residents.

for recreational purposes by the future residents. All permanent open and recreational

space areas referred to in Section D shall be protected by legal arrangements,

satisfactory to the Planning Board, sufficient to ensure its maintenance and preservation

for the designated purpose. Open space land cannot be further subdivided.

The common open space area shall not be developed except for features that enhance

or facilitate its use for nonmotorized outdoor recreation. Examples may include, but

are not limited to, picnic areas, gardens, or playing fields. Common open space may

include amenities such as seating, landscaping, trails, gazebos, outdoor cooking

facilities, covered shelters, playground equipment, or the like.

The Planning Board may allow at its discretion a portion of the open space area to be

utilized for water supply, wastewater treatment, and/or stormwater treatment purposes

compatible with other open space purposes.

 

  1. Parking

 

May be in a combination of individual spaces/garages and shared parking areas.

 

G.I. ROADS AND STREETS

 

The developer (original or subsequent) or the homeowners association of any cluster

development shall have the responsibility to develop, repair, and maintain all roads and

streets, stormwater facilities and any shared water and/or wastewater facilities.

 

H.J. CONDOMINIUM COMPLIANCE

A proposed condominium project must comply with all other required local, state and

federal regulations, including the Subdivision Regulations of the Town, and RSA 3567-

B, the Condominium Act.

 

  1. ACCESSORY DWELLING UNITS

 

Any accessory dwelling unit (ADU) associated with a single-family home in a cluster

development receiving a density bonus must be an attached ADU and shall be limited to

750 sq.ft. gross floor area. The ADU may not be used as a short-term rental.

 

Article XXII. Definitions

 

GROSS FLOOR AREA: The sum of the horizontal area of all floors of a building,

measured from the exterior faces of the walls but not including unfinished cellars, attics,

porches, etc.

 

 

Draft amendment number 6 would add Short-Term Rentals as a Permitted Use in all homes with some basic health and safety requirements, define renting one or two rooms in an owner-occupied home to be an accessory use not requiring any special permission, make Bed and Breakfast a Home Business, and provide a definition for all other Public Accommodations which would now include Campground.

 

Prior to the meeting Tara Bamford supplied the Planning Board with examples of STR ordinances from other towns.

 

A conversation took place regarding owner occupied STR vs STR whose owners do not live in the area and have little oversight of their guests. The board discussed requiring Site Plan Review for STR where the owner lived outside of Bethlehem.

 

Board member Martie Cook is concerned about the lack of Long-Term Rentals (LTR) in the area and feels there needs to be an initiative to incentivize them.

 

Mike Bruno raised the concern that neighbors have no voice when a single-family home in their neighborhood is purchased by a corporation specifically for a STR. He sees this as a Change of Use, which would require PB oversight.

 

Tara suggests that owner occupied STR be an acceptable use and those not owner occupied would be a change of use and require SPR. This option gives residents a voice.

 

Anthony remakes that he is sensitive to the lack of LTR, but there needs to be some level of fairness, a balance between businesses’ and residents’ rights.

 

Tara raised the subject of “Condotels,” which is a new model where resorts sell condos to individuals and then those individuals turn it over to the resort to rent them out.

 

The Board has decided to move Condotels to public accommodations.

 

DRAFT AMENDMENT NO. 6

 

Article V. Zoning Districts

In use tables- Replace “Motels, hotels, guest homes, and overnight cabins” with “Public

Accommodations” throughout. Add “Short-Term Rental” as a new Permitted Use in District I Main Street, District I, District II, District III and District IV.

 

Article XXII. Definitions

 

Accessory Building or Use: A building or use located on the same lot as the principal

building and the use of which is considered customarily incidental and subordinate to those

of the principal building, such as detached garages, swimming pools and equipment sheds.

Also includes offering one or two guest rooms in an owner-occupied dwelling for

compensation by up to three lodgers.

 

Bed and breakfast: An owner-occupied single-family dwelling, where the owner or a livein

manager is present overnight during the period of rental, where three to five guest rooms,

all within the principal building, are offered for transient use for overnight accommodation

for compensation. May offer breakfast only exclusively for guests.

 

Campground: A parcel of land on which 2 or more campsites are occupied or are intended

for temporary occupancy for recreational dwelling purposes only, and not for permanent

year-round residency, in compliance with RSA 216-I.

 

Home Business: An accessory use of a dwelling or accessory structure on a residential lot

that involves the on-site manufacture of goods, provision of services, or outdoor storage or

activity, which use is clearly incidental and secondary to the use of the dwelling as a

residence and shall not change the residential character thereof, with any retail sales only

incidental and occasional, operated by a resident of the same premises. Includes Bed and

Breakfast and owner-occupied Short-Term Rental.

 

Owner-occupied: Describes the principal residence or seasonal dwelling of a person or

persons that holds title to the property, where at least one such person is physically present

within the dwelling unit on said property for at least three months each calendar year.

 

Public Accommodations: A building or group of buildings in which more than one

dwelling unit, or guest rooms (three or more rooms if in an owner-occupied dwelling where

the owner or a live-in manager is present during the period of rental) are provided for

lodging, or lodging and meals, for transient or seasonal guests for compensation; or a

residential building with rooms (three or more rooms if in an owner-occupied dwelling

where the owner or a live-in manager is present during the period of rental) that are

provided to lodgers who may not be transient or seasonal. Public accommodations include,

but are not limited to, motels, hotels, condotels, inns, lodges, bed and breakfasts, and

boarding or rooming houses. Includes multiple cottages, camps or cabins operated under a

single management entity and offered only for transient or seasonal use. Also includes

campgrounds. May include customary lodging amenities and facilities such as restaurants

and meeting rooms.

 

Short-Term Rental: A single-family dwelling, owner-occupied two-family dwelling, or

owner-occupied single family dwelling with accessory dwelling unit, where one unit only

is offered for transient use for compensation. Refers only to dwelling units that would

normally be considered residential living units not associated with Public

Accommodations.

 

Transient: Describes a room, number of rooms, or dwelling unit that is offered for rent in

increments of less than 30 days.

 

Article XVII Short-Term Rental (New Article XVII. and renumber as needed)

 

Each of the following must be documented to the satisfaction of the Building Inspector

prior to the issuance of a Zoning Permit for a Short-Term Rental:

 

  1. Access to the dwelling is provided by a Town or State-maintained road, or private

road that has not been the subject of a waiver pursuant to RSA 674:41 and that has

been approved by the Planning Board

 

  1. The dwelling is served by one on-site parking space for each permitted bedroom

plus one additional parking space.

 

  1. The septic system is properly-functioning, with a NHDES permit on file for the

number of bedrooms. For systems without a NHDES permit on file, an evaluation

by a NH Certified Septic System Evaluator will be required, along with a current

NHDES-approved design to be constructed in the event of system failure.

 

  1. For dwellings not served by a public water supply, documentation must be provided

prior to the issuance of a permit of a test for total coliform by a New Hampshire

Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program-accredited lab showing the

absence of coliform bacteria.

 

  1. The dwelling is in compliance with all applicable building, health and life safety

codes.

 

A date is set for the Public Meeting, November 29, 2023, at 6:00. Kaela Tavaras and Tara Bamford will be in attendance.

Tara reminds the board that there was a draft amendment regarding Impact Fees from last year that was tabled. The board requested this amendment be added for the 2024 vote.

Tara also reminded the board that a new Aquifer Ordinance was drafted last year but didn’t make it to the ballot. The board felt there was already a lot happening and it can wait until next year.

The board sets a date of December 13, 2023 for the first public hearing regarding the Amendments discussed this evening. A second public hearing will be schedule for January 10, 2024 if needed.3

A motion to adjourn was put forth by Kevin Roy and seconded by Sean Gawlik. Motion passed 6-0.

Respectfully submitted,

Dawn Ferringo, Planning and Zoning Board Clerk