CITY OF VERGENNES
DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD
MONDAY, MAY 21, 2018
Members Present: Peter Garon, Brent Rakowski, Tim Cook, Jason Farrell, Jason Mullin,
Don Peabody, Steve Rapoport, Alternate Member Lowell Bertrand
Members Absent: None
Meeting Guests: Robert Feuerstein, Grace Meyer, Michael Dunn, Missa Aloisi,
Danelle Birong, Diane McCarthy, Mary Bargiel, Jeff Fritz,
Dr. Maja Zimmerman, Laura Mack
Present: Zoning Administrator Mel Hawley
- Public Hearing – Denecker Real Estate Investments II, LLC (Owner), Rockfire 14, LLC (Applicant), 14 Main Street, Change Use from Motor Vehicle Sales to Manufacture, Storage, Distribution and Sale of Wine and Hard Ciders, and Retail Sales
Peter Garon read the public hearing notice and swore in the applicant, Robert Feuerstein, principal of Rockfire 14, LLC. Robert explained that Shacksbury Cider is one of his tenants at 13 Main Street, and they have grown out of their space, and need additional space that is nearby for storage and distribution. He also reported his desire to create up to 1,500 square feet for retail in the front of the building. He reported the mercury vapor floodlights have been removed. Discussion ensued about pedestrian access to the property. Don Peabody asked about how parking would be delineated. Robert reiterated there are no proposed changes to the exterior of the building or site but a sidewalk would be painted on the existing pavement and the concrete curb-stops would run along the street right of way. Robert explained there are two garage doors on the front of the building and that access is required along the front of the building but would be rarely used. Robert said that he had no plans to create a landscaped area in front of the building but noted that a potential retail tenant might make that improvement. With no further discussion, Tim Cook moved to close the public hearing and take the matter up in a deliberative session later in the meeting. The motion was seconded by Jason Mullin with all voting in favor.
2. Public Hearing – 99 Panton Road, LLC (Owner), NPM Properties (Applicant), 99 Panton Road, Production of Alcohol Spirits, Retail/Tasting Room, Site Plan Review, Conditional Use Review, Local Act 250 Review
Peter Garon read the public hearing notice and swore in the applicants, Grace Meyer and Michael Dunn, representatives of NPM Properties, Missa Aloisi of Hinge Architecture, Attorney Diane McCarthy who was representing abutting property owners David and Carrie Hathaway, Mary Bargiel, principal of Corsair, LLC which is also an abutting property owner, and Danelle Birong. Zoning Administrator Hawley reported the application had been supplemented by more detailed exterior lighting specifications. He also noted the site plan has been modified to accurately reflect the minimum setback requirements as the earlier site plan did not take into account that the parcel abuts a residential district which requires greater building setbacks. The application is to develop the property at 99 Panton Road for production of alcohol spirits (potato vodka and potato gin) and associated retail/tasting room. The site plan showed a proposed one-story structure with a footprint of 4,307 square feet. There is also a proposed mezzanine of 1,000 square feet. A patio that is 1,140 square feet and stone wall is planned in front of the building. A fifteen-car parking lot is planned to the east of the building. The site plan also incorporated a landscape plan using deciduous trees and conifers. Elevation drawings were provided as well. Jason Mullin asked if everything related to manufacturing would be contained within the structure. Grace said there might occasionally be outside cold-storage of potatoes but, generally, the operation would be contained within the building. When asked about the frequency of delivery and distribution trucks, Grace Meyer reported there would only be a couple trucks per week on average. Brent Rakowski asked Zoning Administrator Hawley about the ownership of the sewer main that runs along the south side of Panton Road. Zoning Administrator Hawley confirmed that the sewer line was turned over to the City in 1989. Brent also suggested that the parking lot provide a turn-around. Missa said she would make that change. Grace Meyer said the normal business hours would be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days week but would likely be only four days a week initially. Zoning Administrator Hawley reported that Diane McCarthy was in attendance on behalf of David and Carrie Hathaway who could not make the hearing but had submitted a letter which was entered into the record. Diane said their concerns were adverse impacts including odors, noise, safety, and their sight lines. Michael Dunn said the operation is fully contained so there should be no odors or anything impacting air quality. Grace said that the property is considerably lower than the Hathaway property. Relative to stormwater, Zoning Administrator Hawley reported that there is an existing stormwater permit that was issued for the subdivision. Danelle Birong reported that, as a member of the Vergennes Partnership’s economic development committee, they are excited about this proposal. With no further testimony, Jason Farrell moved to close the public hearing and take the matter up in a deliberative session later in the meeting. The motion was seconded by Steve Rapoport with all voting in favor.
3. Dr. Maja Zimmerman and Peter Voorhees (Owner), Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vergennes (Applicant), 20 Armory Lane, Change Use from Medical Services Facility to Community Center, Site Plan Review, Conditional Use Review
Jeff Fritz, President of the Boys and Girl Club of Greater Vergennes, presented an application involving the property at 20 Armory Lane. A majority of the building was last used as a medical services facility. Zoning Administrator Hawley reported that in his interpretation of the regulations, the club falls under the definition of a community center which is allowed in the Commercial District as a conditional use. There is currently an office in east end of the building that develops medical software. Since the office does not fall under the definition of a medical services facility, designation of the office is included in the application. Jeff explained they plan to purchase the property and move the club from School Street to this location if approved. He said the existing medical software office would remain for the time being. There is an existing parking lot containing twenty-four parking spaces. Jeff reported there are two employees in the existing office. The club serves 26 youths per day on average and there are typically three employees. No changes are planned for the building other than security lighting that would be on a motion sensor. Path lights are planned along the existing sidewalk that is in front of the building. Jeff said that a sidewalk is planned to connect with Armory Lane. Jason Farrell moved to deem the application complete and that a public hearing be scheduled for June 18, 2018. The motion was seconded by Don Peabody with all voting in favor.
4. Scott Hardy, Comfort Hill, Subdivision, Preliminary Sketch Plan Review
Brent Rakowski disclosed that his employer, Otter Creek Engineering, is providing engineering services involving this property and removed himself from the table in light of his conflict of interest. Scott Hardy presented a preliminary plan involving his property on Comfort Hill. The plan showed the creation of three lots just north of the property at 30 Comfort Hill with the remaining property retained for future development. Scott explained the all three lots would have frontage on Comfort Hill but would be accessed by a shared driveway to the east of the lots which would also be used as access for the retained parcel. Much discussion ensured relative to the access road. The Board acknowledged approving the proposed privately-owned shared driveway for the three lots at the east end of the property, but it was clear that this proposal contemplated an access road that would serve future development and should be built to City street standards. Members felt that a site visit would be beneficial and was scheduled for June 18, 2018 at 6 p.m.
5. Doug Hawley and Mel Hawley, 185 Main Street, Business Sign for “lu·lu”
Zoning Administrator Hawley again explained that he acts on all exterior signs, but in this instance, since he is a part owner of the subject property, he has an obvious conflict of interest and asked the Development Review Board to continue to be involved. Laura Mack, principal of Harmack, LLC, reported that “lu·lu” will soon be open to the public. She reported her desire to locate her so-called “cone sign” on the building. Zoning Administrator Hawley reported that he and his brother did not favor the “cone sign” being located above the entrance to “lu·lu” as it would block the view for employees of the insurance agency on the second floor. He said they favored the “cone sign” being located on the corner. He further reported there once hung a huge “Foote’s Insurance Agency” neon sign decades ago. He suggested that the Board first determine if the sign was within the dimensional standards for the district. The sign is three-dimensional and is considered a projecting sign. The maximum size of a projecting sign is twelve square feet. Zoning Administrator Hawley explained that only one face of a two-sided projecting sign is used to calculate the size and suggested a calculation of the silhouette of the “cone sign” be used. It was concluded the size was slightly under eleven square feet and within the standards. Jason Farrell said that the regulations require projecting signs to be at least seven feet above the travelled portion of the sidewalk but suggested in this instance the “cone sign” be affixed to the building such that the bottom be a minimum of eight feet above the sidewalk. Jason Mullin expressed concerns with setting a precedent as he felt the sign was not appropriate for the historic downtown and worried that other businesses might follow by desiring such unique signs. Laura explained that those concerns were raised in Bristol, where “lu·lu” was previously located, and no other business followed suit. Zoning Administrator Hawley reported neither the regulations nor statutes address when a zoning administrator has a conflict of interest and he was simply having members provide their interpretation of the regulations in this instance. In the end, there was consensus that the proposed “cone sign” complied with the regulations.
6. Deliberative Session – 99 Panton Road, LLC (Owner), NPM Properties (Applicant), 99 Panton Road, Production of Alcohol Spirits, Retail/Tasting Room, Site Plan Review, Conditional Use Review, Local Act 250 Review
The Development Review Board conducted a deliberative session regarding the application by NPM Properties which concluded with Tim Cook making a motion that Zoning Administrator Hawley be directed to draft an affirmative decision for review at the next meeting. The motion was seconded by Steve Rapoport with all voting in favor.
7. Deliberative Session – Denecker Real Estate Investments II, LLC (Owner), Rockfire 14, LLC (Applicant), 14 Main Street, Change Use from Motor Vehicle Sales to Manufacture, Storage, Distribution and Sale of Wine and Hard Ciders, and Retail Sales
The Development Review Board conducted a deliberative session regarding the application by Rockfire 14, LLC which concluded with Jason Farrell making a motion that Zoning Administrator Hawley be directed to draft a decision for review at the next meeting reflecting approval of changing the use from motor vehicle sales/enclosed service and repairs to warehouse and denial of the proposed retail in the front of the buildings due to the lack of a sufficient site plan to determine compliance with the specific standards for the district. The motion was seconded by Tim Cook with all voting in favor.
8. Pending Decision – H.V. 2005, Inc., Housing Vermont/Addison County Community Trust, Armory Lane, Multiple-family Dwelling, Site Plan Review, Conditional Use Review, Local Act 250 Review
As directed, Zoning Administrator Hawley drafted an affirmative decision approving the application by H.V. 2005, Inc. Lowell Bertrand moved to authorize Peter Garon to sign the decision in its final form on behalf of the Development Review Board. The motion was seconded by Tim Cook with all voting in favor.
9. Review and accept minutes of previous meeting
The minutes to the regular meeting of April 16, 2018 were deferred.
10. Other Business – deferred
11. Report of the Zoning Administrator
Zoning Administrator Hawley reported that Superior Judge Thomas Durkin has again affirmed the September 12, 2016 decision of the Development Review Board approving the application Mahaiwe, LLC including the condition on fencing.
The meeting adjourned at 10:25 p.m.
Acting Recording Secretary