Claremont ZBA Grants Variances

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 6/6/2016 11:59:48 PM
Modified: 6/6/2016 11:59:51 PM

Claremont — Following the Zoning Board of Adjustment’s unanimous approval Monday night of two variances for an 18-acre parcel at the eastern end of Washington Street, property owners Wayne and Jean McCutcheon expect to present a site plan to the Planning Board later this summer for a 74-unit senior housing complex.

Wayne McCutcheon said after the ZBA hearing that he first wants to build and sell 14 duplexes on the property at 492 Washington St., and use the revenue to pay for construction of a road and underground utilities leading to where he will construct a 60-unit building.

“I’d like to do the project in two phases,” Wayne McCutcheon told the ZBA, though he said he wants to obtain approval for the entire project all at once from the Planning Board. “The 14 units of duplex houses will pay for the road into the property.”

The approved variances allow multi-unit housing in the rural residential 2 district and reduce the amount of required square footage for each unit to 10,000 square feet, or a quarter acre, from 30,000 square feet, or three-quarters of an acre.

“I think it is a great use of the property,” ZBA Chairman Michael Hurd said. “We need this type of project. It provides a use the community needs.”

Board member Tracy Pope, who made the motions to approve the variances, said she also was looking forward to the new housing.

“I’m sure Wayne will do a wonderful job and I hope it fills up quickly,” Pope said.

McCutcheon likened the expected look of the duplexes to the Southbrook condominiums on South Street, but said his units will be different and will have “a bit of custom building.”

McCutcheon said the units would be “affordable” to retirees and those who may live here only part of the year, escaping to warmer climes in the winter.

Before granting its approval, the board, which has spent a couple of meetings discussing the variance requests, heard McCutcheon explain his plans to construct a left-hand turn lane into the complex, though the authority to decide whether one is needed rests with the Planning Board.

McCutcheon hired a traffic engineer to do a traffic study, which was presented to the board with a drawing of the additional lane.

McCutcheon said he has an easement on an abutting parcel to change the grade onto the property and create the necessary width on the four-lane road to build a 12-foot-wide turning lane, similar to the one going the opposite direction at the entrance to Home Depot, just to the west of the McCutcheon property.

“With 74 units of house, you are talking about serious use,” McCutcheon said about his decision to recommend a turning lane.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at

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