SPOFFORD, N.H. -- The Chesterfield Zoning Board of Adjustment voted Tuesday night to accept a variance request and let Nine A LLC replace Old Spofford Hall with a cluster subdivision on land the company owns.
William C. Saturley, the attorney representing Nine A LLC, said the board voted 4-1 to accept the request, allowing the group to move forward on the development. He said the Chakalos family controls the company, which must go through "a whole layer of permitting requirements" at the local and state levels "before the project can ever come about."
ZBA Chairman Burt Riendeau did not return a call seeking comment.
Saturley told the Reformer he is unsure how the property owner's makeup has shifted since the Chakalos family patriarch, John Chakalos, was found dead in his Windsor, Conn., home on Friday, Dec. 20. A medical examiner ruled the death a homicide and authorities have been investigating to find out who is responsible.
Nine A LLC asked for the variance in order to split the roughly 6.18-acre site into five parcels that development consultant Jim Phippard, of Brickstone Land Use Consultants, called a cluster subdivision. Phippard previously told the Reformer the lots would vary in size, from 0.88 to almost 1.4 acres. He also said Nine A LLC had to 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.
Spofford Hall, which Phippard said consists of nearly 99,000 square feet of floor space, rests on land owned by Nine A LLC and was once used as a substance-abuse rehabilitation center starting in the 1970s. It remained in operation for nearly 20 years and has fallen into disrepair since its closure. It is filled with hazardous stachybotrys, more commonly known as black mold. According to the application for a variance, a 2007 estimated cost of remediating the mold ranged from $885,000 to $1,180,000.
"The building presents a huge cost to either tear down or convert to another use," the application read.
Saturley, with Preti Flaherty Beliveau & Pachios LLP, told the Zoning Board at a meeting in October that the variance is in the public's best interest, as it would remove a non-conforming building from the residential zone. He said the building there now is incompatible with the single-family homes in the neighborhood. The proposed cluster subdivision would blend in nicely with other homes in the area, he added.
Saturley also said the variance will be consistent with the spirit and intent of the respective ordinance, as 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 told the board 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 read.
In the application, Saturley went 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.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.