SPOFFORD, N.H. -- The owner of the Spofford Hall property on Route 9A wants the town's approval to replace the old building with a five-lot subdivision.
Nine A LLC has formally asked the Chesterfield Zoning Board of Adjustment for a variance to split the roughly 6.18-acre site into five parcels that development consultant Jim Phippard calls a cluster subdivision. Phippard said the lots would vary in size, from 0.88 to almost 1.4 acres. He said Nine A LLC must apply for the variance because the Spofford Lake District, which was formed in 1999 and covers the former Spofford Hall property, does not allow for cluster subdivisions.
According to the application, the residential cluster would be made up of five lots on 30 acres of land. If the variance is granted, the Chesterfield Planning Board would be required to allow the proposed cluster subdivision, the application states.
Spofford Hall, which Phippard said consists of nearly 99,000-square-feet of floor space, sits on the land and was once used as a substance-abuse rehabilitation center starting in the 1970s. It remained in operation for nearly two decades and has fallen into disrepair since its closure. It is filled with hazardous stachybotrys, more commonly known as black mold. According to the application, the estimated cost of remediating the mold ranges from $885,000 to $1,180,000 in 2007.
"The building presents a huge cost to either tear down or convert to another use," the application, drafted by attorney William Saturley, reads.
Saturley claimed the variance is in the public's best interest, as it would remove a non-conforming building from the residential zone. The old building is also not compatible with the single-family homes in the neighborhood. According to Saturley, the proposed cluster subdivision would blend in nicely with other homes in the area.
The attorney also argues that a variance would be consistent with the spirit and intent of the respective ordinance because no septic systems will be placed within 500 feet of Spofford Lake. The leach fields on the opposite side of Route 9A will be used for septic disposal and, as a result, all waste will be placed outside the Spofford Lake District. Saturley said the lots will be developed to conform with the district's setbacks and lot-coverage requirements.
"The development of five single-family homes would have a smaller footprint than the existing building and parking areas and would reduce the current lot coverage adjacent to the lake," the application reads.
Saturley goes on to say the granting of a variance will not diminish the values of surrounding properties and denial would prevent reasonable use of the property by its owner.
Phippard said Nine A LLC, based in Windsor, Conn., is comprised of the children and grandchildren of John Chakalos, the previous owner of the property. He said he and Saturley are scheduled to meet with the zoning board today but he has requested a continuance because Saturley will be unable to attend. Phippard said he hopes to reschedule the meeting for Tuesday, Nov. 12. They will find out today if their request for continuance is granted.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.