By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILMANTON — With no clarification on whether a septic inspection is needed to add a bathroom to a local home, one homeowner was given permission to move forward on the electrical and construction phase of his project.
The town's building inspector said the plumbing portion will have to wait until the Planning Board can state why the ordinance is written the way it is.
Faith Tobin, the wife and business partner of Town Building Inspector Bill Tobin, said that the wording in the town ordinance regarding bathrooms is vague. In her opinion, the town land use planner interpreted the ordinance correctly as it was written – which is to say an evaluation of the septic system is needed.
However, said Tobin, she is anticipating a letter from the Planning Board explaining what its intent was when it drafted the ordinance and it was passed by voters last year.
The particular Gilmanton home in question uses a well and a septic system. The ordinance reads that "any structure being improved by a bathroom where none exists" would require a septic system evaluation.
Typically, towns' zoning ordinances use the number of bedrooms for septic inspections and improvement, which is an indicator of how many people can actually live in the house. This is the argument presented by the homeowner and his supporters, including some members of the Board of Selectmen.
Tobin said Gilmanton's ordinance does appear to be unique but said the interpretation of what the planners meant is more meaningful to this particular situation.
Selectman Michael Jean said yesterday that if the ordinance needs to be rewritten to more clearly state its intent, then the Planning Board should do that this year and put it on the 2017 ordinance.
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