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Thread: Cog Railroad building new platform at the base station

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Gorham NH

    Cog Railroad building new platform at the Waumbek station

    The Coos County Zoning Board has a meeting on August 30th to review an application for a zoning variance for the Cog to build a new 28' long by 110 feet platform with a portion of it within the setback (presumably with the abutting WMNF) Prior to a several years ago this never would have come up, but Coos county has been enforcing planning and zoning rules of late. The application or any details are not posted on the Coos County planning site. it is difficult to determine if it would meet the variance guidelines that the state has issued in the past. The ZBA only meets when there is business before them (which is rarely). They would have to rule for a similar variance if the Lizzies Station project is applied for so this would be an opportunity to see how the board handles the application for this variance.

    When I was involved in zoning for a NH town, the guidance for a variance is that most variances should be denied as their intent is misunderstood by the general public. A variance is setting aside the published intent of zoning ordinances. Economic hardship/opportunity was not a valid reason for a variance. Generally, what would be accepted was a defect with the land that could not be foreseen by the owner. An example would be a landowner of a property that is impacted by a flood event during their ownership making part of the property unbuildable, the owner then can go for a variance of other zoning requirements to be able to build a structure within other setbacks to compensate for the loss of usable property. What generally would not fly is a person picks up a property with an obvious defect and files for a variance to build within setbacks.

    The WMNF rarely gets involved with zoning disputes so I expect that there will be no abutter comments, in this case the zoning board is supposed to uphold state guidelines but in many boards the temptation is to rule for the applicant.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 08-29-2022 at 04:46 PM.

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