To the Editor,
As chair of the ZBA, I received a number of letters, both for and against, the proposed four-unit condominium project at 34 Tappan Street. It is fair to say that most of the members of the ZBA Board liked the project. Unfortunately, the ZBA must follow the Zoning By-Law approved by the residents of Manchester which restricts the uses allowed in each District. 34 Tappan Street is located in Single Residence District A. District A does not allow multiple family housing. After conferring with Town Counsel twice, several members of the Board indicated they felt the application did not represent a request for a change to an existing nonconforming use (storage facility), but rather a request for a new nonconforming use (multiple family housing) which would require the Board to grant a Variance for a new nonconforming use. Our By-Law specifically prohibits the ZBA from granting a Variance for a use not permitted in the district. By-Laws in some other towns are more liberal. The Applicant chose to withdraw his application since it appeared unlikely it would be approved; however, due to the withdrawal, the Board did not take a vote on the matter and did not reach a formal decision on the application.
The Planning Board is currently working on a recodification of the Zoning By-Law and various changes. They are holding open public meetings, will be holding a public hearing and will present the changes at Town Meeting for approval by the residents of Manchester. I implore you to attend the open meetings, public hearing and Town Meeting if you have an opinion and want your voice heard regarding desired By-Law changes.
The ZBA received 64 percent more applications in 2021 than it received in 2020. We are trying the best we can to abide by the Zoning By-Law approved by the residents of Manchester.
11 Bennett Street