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Derry father’s family subdivision plan hits zoning board snag

Union Leader Correspondent

May 21. 2013 9:04PM

DERRY — Louis Saab has owned a nearly 15-acre parcel on Scenic Drive for 24 years and recently came forward to the town with a plan to develop three house lots on the property for his three children.

Because of the limited frontage on his property, Saab requested a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment to build a driveway through his 50 feet of frontage to access the land to develop the lots.

Unfortunately for Saab, the ZBA unanimously denied his request for the variance, with members stating that the severe lack of adequate frontage was too large of an issue to approve the subdivision.

Under the town regulations, Saab requires 125 of frontage on a town-accepted road for each lot.

However, Saab said that building a road meeting town and state regulations through his property would be too great of a cost for him.

“It would nullify any value of the lots to build the road,” said Saab, adding that it would cost over $230,000 to build a road that was up to regulations.

Saab’s son-in-law, Shawn Sullivan, said it would be more affordable to build a driveway to access the property.

“He can’t build on the lot right now,” said Sullivan. “He’s just trying to get at it.”

Saab noted that he has been paying taxes on the property for 24 years. He said he would like to get one house on the property initially for Sullivan and his daughter and have the other two lots available in case his other two children wanted to build homes.

“Your point is admirable and I admire what you’re doing, but you are asking us to alter a zoning ordinance for you when this is speculative and you don’t know who is going to be living there for sure,” said ZBA member Lynn Perkins.

Perkins said he could see possibly approving the variance for one lot on the property, but not for three.

When the ZBA has approved a variance in the past for a driveway for access to a subdivided lot, it has typically been for two houses, not three, noted ZBA Chairman Allan Virr.

Saab said he has received an offer for a developer to purchase his land, adding that the developer would likely construct a road to meet town regulations and possibly build more than three homes on the property.

“He would have the frontage if he put the road in,” said Saab. “I’m reluctant to sell. I would like my children on (the property).”

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