The Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) exists as a constitutional safety valve to ensure that ordinances are applied equitably to all property. The ZBA is made up of five (5) permanent members, and up to five (5) alternate members. The State of New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) 672-677, along with the Zoning Ordinance as voted on by Bristol residents, provide the legal basis for the ZBA. Board members and alternates are appointed by the Select Board to terms of three (3) years.
The ZBA meets regularly at 6:00 pm on the first Tuesday of every month, if there is business to undertake. Meetings are held in Meeting Room A at the Town Offices, unless otherwise noticed. All meetings are open to the public and the public is encouraged to attend. Minutes for each ZBA meeting are public record. They can be viewed on the website or at the Town Office.
Any person wishing to bring business to the ZBA should fill out the necessary paperwork — either by downloading the appropriate form from this website or by picking up a copy in person at the Zoning & Planning Office. All appropriate fees must be paid and abutter’s notices sent prior to the Board hearing a case.
The ZBA is responsible for the following applications and processes:
- Administrative Appeals - Any decision by the Land Use Officer, Select Board or other official or Board that involves an interpretation of the Zoning Ordinance can be appealed to the ZBA per RSA 676:5. Under RSA 674:33, the ZBA possesses all of the powers of the administrative officer whose decision has been appealed. The ZBA can affirm, reverse or modify the decision based on the current Zoning Ordinance.
- Equitable Waivers of Dimensional Requirements - The ZBA can legalize existing violations of the Zoning Ordinance relative to physical plot layout or dimensional requirements where the violation occurred unknowingly and is discovered later. This refers to such zoning provisions as frontage, setbacks and building height. The property owner must prove the four elements set forth in RSA 674:33-a in order to receive an equitable waiver.
- Motion for Rehearing - The ZBA may rehear a case if an applicant determines that they have new relevant information, or something was missed during the case review.
- Special Exceptions - To seek permission to do some property changes that the Zoning Ordinance permits under certain circumstances - check the Zoning Ordinance for conditions related to this type of request.
- Variances - To seek relief for something the Zoning Ordinance doesn't permit, you must get a variance. State-mandated criteria are laid out in RSA 674:33, I(b)
|Richard LaFlamme||Vice Chair|