DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD MINUTES
August 19, 2019
Members Present: Vice-Chair Don Peabody, Steve Rapoport, Tim Cook, Jason Mullin, Teresa Hyndman
Members Absent: Chair Brent F. Rakowski, Carrie Macfarlane
Guests: Aliceanne LaValley, C.R. LaValley, William Houston, Connie Houston, Bill Benton, Gabe McGuigan, Kevin Theiss, Rebecca Hassan, Daniel Hassan, Beverly Biello, Edward Biello, Julie Peddie, Donald Peddie, Renny Perry, Theresa Matocha, Donna Blais, Joanne Blais, Bob Feuerstein, Julie Basol, Heidi Mahoney, Ketherine Werthmann, Leonard Duffy, James Amblo
Present: Zoning Administrator Peter Garon
Vice-Chair Don Peabody called the regular meeting to order at 7 p.m.
- There were no changes to the agenda.
- Public Hearing – To consider the request by D&T Clark, Trustees, owners, and Daniel and Rebecca Hassan (Grand Senior Living), applicants to demolish the existing structure at 40 North Street. The request will be considered under Section 1604 of the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations.
Vice-Chair Don Peabody read the warning and swore in interested participants: Rebecca Hassan, Daniel Hassan, Renny Perry, Julie Peddie, Donald Peddie, Beverly Biello, Connie Houston, Julie Basol, and Kevin Theiss. The hearing was recorded (A-4/8).
Daniel Hassan read an opening statement and provided a written version for the Board to be entered into the record along with their formal documents. Steve Rapoport noted that he and other members of the Board had received the formal statement on Friday and would likely need more time than just tonight to review the material.
Bill Benton told the Board that he thought the ultimate project would be good for the City. Don Petty agreed, but indicated as an abutting property owner he was concerned about potential noise or visual impacts. Renny Perry also felt it would be a good project for the
City and hoped that a building without historical significance would not hold up the project. Beverly Biello agreed with Renny Perry. Connie Houston echoed their views, noting it would be both a community and economic asset. Julie Basol mentioned the importance of new jobs coming into the community. During the comments from interested parties, Vice-Chair Don Peabody reminded everyone that this hearing was only about the demolition application, not about the future building possibility.
Upon motion by Tim Cook, seconded by Teresa Hyndman, and approved by all, the hearing was closed and moved to deliberative session.
- Public Hearing – To consider the request by Shenandoah, LLC for Local Act 250 review for an adaptive reuse project at 1 & 2 Canal Street (Havilland Shade Roller Mill and Annex). The request will be considered under Article XI of the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations.
Vice-Chair Don Peabody read the warning and swore in Heidi Mahoney. The hearing was recorded (A 5/8).
Heidi Mahoney provided a written request for Local Act 250 Review dated August 16, 2019; written statement from Vergennes Area Rescue Squad, Inc.; Municipal Impact Questionnaires from Matt Chabot, City Manager, and Sheila Soule, Superintendent of Addison County Schools; letters from Matt Chabot, City Manager, about fire department coverage, sewage capacity, and Public Works ability to serve the project; a letter from Jon Deming, Superintendent of the Vergennes Panton Water District; a letter from George Merkel, Chief of Police.
The Board reviewed the requirements of Article XI. On motion of Steve Rapoport, seconded by Tim Cook and approved by all, the hearing was closed and Zoning Administrator Garon was directed to draft an affirmative decision for the Chair to review and sign.
- Public Hearing – To consider the request by L.F.Benton Co. Inc. for site plan approval and conditional use approval for a change of use for Unit A at 300 Main Street from a place of worship to medical services, residential, and office uses. The request will be considered under Article VII, Article VIII, and Section 1610 of the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations.
Vice-Chair Don Peabody read the warning, and swore in Bill Benton. The hearing was recorded (A 6/8).
Bill Benton discussed his plans to change the use of Unit A. His request is to use the rear 1732 square feet for a residence, and the front 748 square feet for an office or medical services. There would be no exterior changes to the building. Prior plans have noted sufficient parking spaces for these uses.
Upon motion by Steve Rapoport, seconded by Jason Mullin, and approved by all, the public hearing was closed and Zoning Administrator Garon was directed to draft an affirmative decision for review and approval by the Chair.
- Public Hearing – To consider the request by Donna Blais for a waiver to replace a single story structure at 130 Green Street with a single story building. The request will be considered under Section 1604 of the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations.
Vice-Chair Don Peabody read the warning and swore in Donna Blais, Joanne Blais, and Aliceanne LaValley. The hearing was recorded (A 7/8). Aliceanne LaValley told the Board that she had looked at a variety of options to replace the current structure with a 2-story structure. She was unable to find any manufactured homes that met that standard. Stick built options were too expensive for the applicant. Her application material included pictures of other houses on Green Street to show that her proposed replacement was similar in size to the Blaise’s neighbors. Steve Rapoport noted that the house was in the Historic Neighborhood District while the houses on the opposite side of Green Street were in the Medium Density District which has different requirements for rebuilding. Teresa Hyndman said that there are houses on Victory Street in the Historic District which are similar to the houses pictured on Green Street.
On motion by Tim Cook, seconded by Teresa Hyndman, and approved by all, the public hearing was closed and the application was moved to deliberative session.
- Public Hearing –
- To consider the request by 29 Short Street LLC for site plan approval and conditional use approval for a multiple-family residence, and a waiver of lot size for a pre-existing structure at 29 Short Street. The request will be considered under Article VII, Article VIII, and Section 1604 of the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations.
Vice-Chair Don Peabody read the notice and swore in Gabe McGuigan. The hearing was recorded (A 8/8).
Gabe McGuigan explained that he is seeking approval for a pre-existing multi-family dwelling at 29 Short Street. The structure was only approved for a two-family dwelling but has contained three dwellings for at least 17 years. It is currently being billed for three sewer hook-ups.
In 2002 there were communications between the City and the prior owner with regard to the zoning violation, but there was no follow-up and no decision with regard to the property. Steve Rapoport noted that the size of the lot would not permit a two family residence. He also said that there are many other similar structures on comparable size lots in the vicinity of 29 Short Street.
Upon motion by Tim Cook, seconded by Steve Rapoport and approved by all the public hearing was closed, and the application was moved to deliberative session.
- The public hearing for an application from Vermont Redemption, Inc. was continued as the applicant was ill.
- The public hearing for an application from Colin Davis of Shacksbury Cider was continued as the applicant was unable to be present due to family considerations.
- Conditional Use Review of an application from Michael Borrello and Theresa Matocha for a B&B (Airbnb) at 142 Commodore Drive. The applicants explained that they are moving and want to be able to rent out their home for short periods of time through Airbnb during the transition. The Board did not feel that this use was comparable to a B&B arrangement, but was more of a general rental situation. The Board did not feel that any zoning action was needed.
- Change of use request by James Amblo from retail to professional residence-office; change of use request from vacant space to residence; addition of new use as professional studio at 210 Main Street.
James Amblo presented plans and documents related to his request. The third floor has an unused portion which he would like to now use as a third apartment. The first floor use is currently permitted for retail. His plan is to utilize the front portion of the first floor as an office space, and the back portion as a professional studio for massage therapy and reflexology.
In the discussion of the three options, the Board noted that a parking waiver would likely be needed. In addition they wanted more clarity for the ground floor plan dimensions. They also asked him to provide specific details about the use of the office space as there were questions about what category the proposed occupant falls into, and whether it could be considered as an office use.
Upon motion by Teresa Hyndman, seconded by Tim Cook, and approved by all, the application was moved to public hearing on September 16, 2019.
- Review of the minutes was postponed until the next meeting.
- The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 pm.
Peter Garon, Acting Recording Secretary