Business owner will have to wait on zoning issue

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MANCHESTER — The Manchester Planning Commission won't be making any decisions related to the Aquifer Protection Overlay district including the request from a local business owner that his self storage be included in the permitted uses allowed there.

The planning commission revised its zoning regulations but, at the direction of the select board, have been going back to look at how those changes are working out and making some additional modifications as needed.

Andrew Tarantino, the owner of A Safe Place Self-Storage, has challenged the planning commission's changes that left self storage out of the permitted uses in the Aquifer Protection Overlay district that comes with heavier restrictions to protect the aquifer.

The commission offered Tarantino a conditional use permit that would allow him to continue to operate but Tarantino said that would limit his options.

The planning commission decided at a recent meeting to separate the discussion about permitted uses in the Aquifer Protection Overlay district after more questions were raised about permitted uses in the overlay district.

But Tarantino, through his representatives, Christian Heins, of Woodland Service, Inc. Environmental Planning, and attorney Jim Dingley, have kept up the pressure on the committee, challenging the town's assertions that self storage may carry a risk that needs to be regulated to protect the aquifer.

At the Planning Commission's meeting Sept. 9, Heins and Dingley delivered a report from Lincoln Applied Geology, a firm hired by Tarantino, which backed up his assertion that his storage unit business did not present a risk to the aquifer.

"Lincoln Applied Geology found no connection between aquifer protection and self-storage," Heins said. "We respectfully ask you to allow self-storage."

Boshart said he was inclined to allow it, but he wasn't done.

"I think the risk may be low but there is risk there," Boshart said. "I agree there are a lot of measures in place to monitor it and ensure things are done property."

Boshart then said that he had decided that self storage should be allowed.

"My recommended path forward is to make it a conditional use in the second zone (of the Aquifer Protection Overlay district)," Boshart said.

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Boshart also pointed out that nobody from the public had appeared to give an opinion on the issue.

But, Boshart had harsh words for the way Tarantino and his team had conducted themselves.

"I'm making that decision not because of what's been done, but in spite of what's been done," Boshart said.

"I feel like we're being bullied here," Boshart said. "I think you guys should be somewhat ashamed of how how you've been pushy. This is a process we have to go through. It just was not done in a professional way in

my opinion."

Following Bosharts comments, Hurley reminded the commission that they had previously chosen to separate the Aquifer Protection Overlay district."

"I was not under the impression you were prepared to be making a decision on this today," Hurley said. "You made a decision to separate this from all the other decisions. I think it would be problematic to include it with these other decisions."

Hurley said she thought it was important to hear from more experts on the issue.

"Our professionals should be part of your information gathering and part of your decision making on this," Hurley said. "I think you should ask [water and wastewater superintendent] Eric Severance and [town engineer] Chrissy Haskins and the water commission to come on the record here at a meeting before you make a decision."

In the end, the planning commission chose to keep the Aquifer Protection Overlay district discussion separate and complete the rest of the zoning revisions first.

The commission will then circle back to take a deeper look into the overlay district.

"We're going to table it until after modifications to the zoning that are on our slate now are completed through the select board," Boshart said. "I don't want to talk about this every month for the next six months to have the same information presented.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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