Development Review Board Minutes 12-04-2017

CITY OF VERGENNES

DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD

MINUTES

REGULAR MEETING

MONDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2017

Members Present: Peter Garon, Chair, Jason Farrell, Secretary, Tim Cook, Jason Mullin,

Don Peabody, Steve Rapoport, Alternate Member Lowell Bertrand

Members Absent: Brent Rakowski, Vice-chair

Meeting Guests: Christopher Lapierre, James Amblo, Anna Charlebois-Ouellette,

Ray Magill, Scott Hardy, Kathleen Rivers

Present: Zoning Administrator Mel Hawley

Chair Peter Garon called the regular meeting to order at 7 p.m.

  1. Public Hearing – Christopher Lapierre, 110 Macdonough Drive, Accessory Structure (see Section 1501.A.6 and Section 1511)

Peter Garon read the public hearing notice and swore in the applicant, Christopher Lapierre. No abutting property owners were in attendance. Christopher provided a revised site plan which was drawn to scale and more accurately indicated the location of the proposed accessory structure. Christopher also incorporated finished grade levels in the elevation drawings to evidence that the height of the structure would not exceed 24 feet. He said there will be a retaining wall off the southwest corner of the building which will enable the finished grade to be level along the street side of the propose building. Christopher also supplied a copy of the specifications for the lighting fixture planned above the garage doors. Peter Garon moved to close the public hearing and to direct Zoning Administrator Hawley to draft an affirmative decision. The motion was seconded by Lowell Bertrand with all voting in favor.

2.  Public Hearing – James Amblo, 89 South Water Street, Subdivision

Peter Garon read the public hearing notice and swore in the applicant, James Amblo, and abutting property owner, Ray Magill. James explained that his proposed subdivision was identical to what was approved about nine months ago. Zoning Administrator Hawley reported, as he did at the last meeting, that James Amblo did not submit a recordable subdivision plat within the timeframe required by the regulations and, therefore, the decision became null and void. The new application includes a subdivision plat prepared by a licensed surveyor and contains accurate information relative to the location of existing structures on the lot. Peter Garon, as he did at the last meeting, disclosed that his property on South Maple Street has a common rear yard corner but feels he has no conflict of interest in the application. Don Peabody asked if there was any change from the current proposal to the subdivision application that was previously approved. James said there was no change. Ray Magill said the existing building was converted to two dwelling units and based on information provided by the Zoning Administrator the property was too small for two units and questioned how it can be justified that the property be allowed to be subdivided. Zoning Administrator Hawley explained that the existing house is a one-family dwelling with an approved accessory dwelling unit and based on the regulations requires a minimum lot size of 7,000 square feet. Ray reiterated that the building has an apartment, there are three electric meters and, therefore, contains two living units. Peter Garon read the definition of an accessory dwelling unit as set forth in the regulations. Ray said it is still a duplex. Zoning Administrator explained the difference between a one-family dwelling with an accessory dwelling unit and a two-family dwelling. Ray said the lot size requirements for either case should be the same because there are two dwelling units. James testified that he currently resides at 89 South Water Street and no one currently resides in the accessory dwelling unit. Tim Cook asked if the regulations called for additional lot size when an accessory dwelling unit is proposed. Zoning Administrator Hawley confirmed that the minimum lot size for a one-family dwelling, with or without an accessory dwelling unit, is the same. With no further testimony, Don Peabody moved to close the public hearing and to direct Zoning Administrator Hawley to draft an affirmative decision. The motion was seconded by Jason Farrell with all voting in favor.

3.  Public Hearing – Scott Hardy, 184/186 Green Street, Modification of Subdivision

Peter Garon read the public hearing notice and swore in the applicant, Scott Hardy. No abutting property owners were in attendance. Scott explained that subdivision was approved for two lots and the proposed modification of the subdivision would still have two developable lots but there would be a third parcel in the rear (Lot C) which would be transferred with Lot A or Lot B or to an abutting property owner. Scott reported that the latest version of the plat shows a slight change in the building envelope for Lot B. Zoning Administrator Hawley pointed out that there is no building envelope indicated on Lot C since it will ultimately merge with an adjacent property which will have an expanded building envelope. Scott said that although there is no building envelope shown, there would not be a covenant restricting development on Lot C. With no further testimony, Steve Rapoport moved to close the public hearing and to direct Zoning Administrator Hawley to draft an affirmative decision. The motion was seconded by Tim Cook with all voting in favor.

4.  Public Hearing (continued) – Scott Hardy, Comfort Hill, 4-Lot Subdivision

Peter Garon read the public hearing notice. Chair Garon then swore in the applicant, Scott Hardy, and adjacent property owner Kathleen Rivers. Chair Garon reminded everyone that the public hearing was continued without any restrictions. Scott submitted a copy of a e-mails from the Vergennes Fire Department and Vergennes Area Rescue Squad evidencing that they can serve the development. Kathleen said that the plans show a pedestrian trail that runs close to her property and is concerned that, without clear indication of the property line, one might not be aware they are on private property. Scott said that the existing fence along the boundary will remain. Kathleen also expressed concern for any adverse affects on her property as a result of run-off. Scott said there would likely be eaves on the homes but generally, there is no collection of stormwater and sheet-drainage will remain as it currently exists. Kathleen also wondered about the proposed septic tank in close proximity to the property line. Zoning Administrator Hawley explained there will no be septic tanks but rather a gravity line to a pump station that will pump the wastewater to the City sewer main on Comfort Hill. Don Peabody said there is a history that when walkways are developed, they typically are allowed to become overgrown and unusable and was concerned that it is not accessible year-round. Zoning Administrator Hawley said that the draft declaration of covenants has been preliminarily reviewed by the City Attorney and asked the Board to not close the public hearing until the City Attorney has signed off on the document. Scott said that the proposed path should be considered a seasonal walking path. Don Peabody reminded the Board that when Hopkin’s Ridge was developed, the developer was required to build a sidewalk along the Hopkins Road that would be later joined with a sidewalk anticipated to be extended for Claybrook. Don Peabody felt there needed to be connectivity and Steve Rapoport said that he could use clarification as to whether the regulations require such in this proposal. Zoning Administrator Hawley said that there has been some inconsistency in this regard as a four-lot subdivision across from the Prospect Cemetery was not required to construct a sidewalk along the front of the lots. Hopkin’s Ridge, on the other hand, was required to construct sidewalk as stated by Don Peabody. Zoning Administrator Hawley said that Lots 1 and 2 do not appear to have deeded access to the proposed path. Scott said that it was his intent that Lots 1, 2 and 3 would have deeded access to the path. Steve Rapoport wondered if the path would be open to the general public and Scott said, that due to liability issues, it would not be generally open to the public. The Board then went over the draft covenants that contained notes from the City Attorney and will be regarded as a work-in-progress. Of particular concern is the way the covenants are drafted. The owners appear to be responsible for developing the shared drive and have the responsibility of finishing the road. Jason Farrell and Zoning Administrator Hawley said that document as drafted is atypical as it is customary that the developer construct infrastructure which would be guaranteed through some form of surety as opposed to transferring that to a buyer. Zoning Administrator Hawley pointed out that this proposal is somewhat unique in that each lot will have frontage on a City street, however, access to the lots are served by a privately-owned shared driveway. Don Peabody said that if the Board elects to continue the public hearing that discussion should not be limited to the covenants as he still has concerns with pedestrian connectivity. Jason Farrell moved to recess to deliberative session and to continue the public hearing on January 8, 2018. The motion was seconded by Don Peabody with all voting in favor.

5.  Review and accept minutes of previous meeting

The minutes to the regular meeting of November 6, 2017 were reviewed. Don Peabody moved to approve the minutes as corrected. The motion was seconded by Steve Rapoport with all voting in favor except Lowell Bertrand abstaining since was not in attendance as an alternate member at the November 6, 2017 meeting.

6.  Deliberative Session – Scott Hardy, Comfort Hill, 4-Lot Subdivision

The Development Review Board conducted a deliberative session regarding the application by Scott Hardy involving his proposed 4-Lot subdivision on Comfort Hill

7.  Report of Zoning Administrator – none

8.  Other Business

Don Peabody reported that he has a recurring conflict with Development Review Board meetings being held on the first Monday of the month and wondered if the Board would consider changing the schedule. Zoning Administrator Hawley reported that the Planning Commission currently meets on the fourth Monday of the month so that Monday is not available. He also reported that the City Council generally meets on the second and fourth Tuesday and respectfully requested that the second Monday not be chosen so as to avoid back-to-back night meetings and preparation and distribution on the agenda packets on the same day. By consensus, the Board will hold its January meeting on the 8th and beginning in February, regular meetings will be held on the third Monday of the month.

9.  Adjournment

At 9:55 p.m. Tim Cook moved to adjourn the meeting. The motion was seconded by Lowell Bertrand with all voting in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Mel Hawley

Acting Recording Secretary