Development Review Board Minutes 05-08-2017

CITY OF VERGENNES

DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD

MINUTES

SPECIAL MEETING

MONDAY, MAY 8, 2017

Members Present: Peter Garon, Brent Rakowski, Vice-Chair, Tim Cook, Jason Mullin,

Don Peabody, Steve Rapoport

Members Absent: Jason Farrell

Meeting Guests: Scott Hardy, Paul Seyler, Amanda Relyea, Dennis Relyea, Sheila Burlock, Ashley Robinson

Present: Zoning Administrator Mel Hawley

Chair Peter Garon called the special meeting to order at 7 p.m. Zoning Administrator Hawley requested that the agenda be amended to accommodate discussion of an application by Paul Torrey and Jennifer Moulton. Don Peabody moved to amend the agenda as requested. The motion was seconded by Brent Rakowski with all voting in favor.

  1. Public Hearing – Scott Hardy, 186 Green Street, The Fisher Farm, Planned Unit Development, Subdivision, Accessory Structure, Site Plan Review and Conditional Use Review

Peter Garon read the public notice and swore in the applicant, abutting property owners and interested parties. Scott Hardy gave a brief overview of the project which consists of a 1.85 acre parcel which currently has a structure that once contained a flower shop on the ground floor and a dwelling unit on the second floor which will be demolished. The proposal is to develop a planned unit development for six one-family dwelling sites, one of which being designated as an elderly housing unit. A seventh site is also shown which would be developed if the density bonus for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified projects is changed to alternative standard. Scott referred to the units as “alternative housing” as they would be high performance net zero homes which are currently not an available option in the city. Scott explained that his application involves a waiver to construct a 26’ x 84’ seven-car garage along Green Street. He said the structure will be screened by existing trees. The site plan showed a number of so-called “hammerheads” for parking for each unit. He remarked that the so-called “structural lawn” for fire trucks is reflected on the plans. A total of eleven parking spaces are shown on the plans which does not include the available spaces in the garage. Mel reported that garages, although intended to be used for vehicles. are not counted in the number of parking spaces. Mel also clarified that the public hearing notice referred to the project as a seven-unit planned unit development but is actually a two-phase project with six units in the first phase and specifically Unit #7 being in the second phase which requires a change in the regulations. Two off-street parking spaces are required for each unit. Scott said that a parking waiver is being requested. He also remarked that the “hammerhead” at the end of the drive should be expended so there is a guaranteed space to turn around if one finds that all spaces are occupied. Scott explained that the placement of the garage in front was to limit that amount of traffic into the development. He said some additional conifers are now planned to the east and south of the garage for added screening. Don Peabody expressed some concern with the proximity to dedicated parking spaces for Units #5 and #6. Brent Rakowski expressed concern with the width of the driveway being only twelve feet along with being specified as gravel. Don Peabody said that in some instances the use of gravel is preferred for driveways and pathways to be of a “country lane” feel rather than pavement. The hearing was then opened for comments from the abutters. Ashley Robinson noted that her property has a historic building and therefore is concerned with impact in light of the large garage proposed from an aesthetic standpoint. Scott said that if necessary, the garage could be removed from the project. Ashley suggested that fencing run along much of the common boundary. She supported additional conifers and elimination of the walkway south of the garage. She also wanted assurance that the parking easement that benefits her property is respected. Dennis Relyea said that the site of the proposed garage fills with water and expressed concern with where stormwater will go as a result. Mel noted that the plans identify that stormwater will be directed to the middle of the site and not directed onto abutting properties except for that which swill shed onto the City-owned property to the west. Amanda Relyea expressed concern with the garage and traffic on their shared driveway. Paul Seyler said that he hopes own one of the units. He said he currently rents an apartment in the city and feels this project is a great opportunity for one to own a net-zero home in the city. Sheila Burlock said that she felt that development appeared to be very crowded on the lot. Amanda Relyea said that with seven units, with potentially two cars per unit, is concerned with fourteen cars traveling up and down the driveway on a regular basis. She also felt that the two parking spaces proposed near the back corner of her property appeared to be very close to the property line without sufficient room for snowplowing. The matter of clustering was also discussed and Scott said that the layout shows about 20 percent of the lot in the rear will remain undeveloped and the area in the middle will act as a common green. Tim Cook wondered about how the mixed housing types would be accommodated as required by the regulations. Scott said there are three options of homes and that a limit could be set on the number of a particular design. Scott said that ownership interest in a garage would not be automatic for a purchaser of a unit and said that those not acquired would be rented to others. Mel said that would be considered a self-storage facility in a residential district which is not allowed. Don Peabody said that he had never experienced a garage that was constructed as part of a project as not being automatically transferred with a unit. Mel said the City Attorney James Ouimette has not completed his review if the declarations. Don Peabody moved to recess the public hearing and reconvene on May 15, 2017. The motion was seconded by Tim Cook with all voting in favor.

2.  Paul Torrey and Jennifer Moulton, 190 South Maple Street, Accessory Dwelling Unit in Detached Structure, Accessory Structure in Front of Building Front Line

Paul Torrey and Jennifer Moulton presented a zoning permit application and site plan involving a proposed one-family dwelling and accessory structure located in front of the building front line which would included a shop and an accessory dwelling unit. Mel said that an accessory dwelling unit in a detached accessory structure requires conditional use review. In addition, Development Review Board approval is required to locate an accessory structure located in front of the building front line and the building might need to be redesigned to meet the requirement in Section 1511. Paul and Jennifer said they would consider a revised plan. Mel asked if the Board would be comfortable in authorizing a June 5, 2017 public hearing if a revised plan was submitted by May 12, 2017 resulting in the need for Development Review Board involvement. Peter Garon moved to authorize the scheduling of a public hearing for June 5, 2017 if necessary based on the Zoning Administrator’s review of a revised plan. The motion was seconded by Brent Rakowski with all voting in favor.

  1. Mahaiwe, LLC Decision and Judgement Order

Zoning Administrator Hawley shared a copy of the Judgement Order which affirmed the conditions in the decision involving the project on Norton Grist Mill Island.

3.  Review and accept minutes of previous meeting

The minutes to the regular meeting of March 27, 2017 were reviewed. Brent Rakowski moved to approve the minutes as corrected. The motion was seconded by Tim Cook with all voting in favor. The minutes to the special meeting of April 17, 2017 were deferred.

4.  Report of Zoning Administrator – deferred

5,  Other Business

Members asked about the ongoing improvements of the property owned by WESCO, Inc. located at the intersection of Main Street and Panton Road. Mel said that the existing permit expires in June and will likely need a one-year renewal. They also asked about the crushed stone walkway along the entrance drive to Champlain Valley Christian Reformed School and the stone walkway that leads from the senior housing project on Armory Lane Extension to the Main Street. Mel said he will inspect these areas and contact the responsible party when he has time. Members also brought up the exterior storage of bicycles at the property owned by Pflaster Investments, LLC. Mel said he had written to Dan Pflaster in the past and will follow up.

6.  Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mel Hawley

Acting Recording Secretary