Development Review Board Minutes 5-20-19



MAY 20, 2019

Members Present: Chair Brent Rakowski, Vice-Chair Don Peabody, Steve Rapoport, Jason Mullin, Teresa Hyndman, Tim Cook.

Members Absent: Jason Farrell

Guests: Aliceanne LaValley, Dutch LaValley, Joanne Blais, Donna Blais, Tina Booska, Heidi Mahoney, Daniel Hassan, Rebecca Hassan

Present: Zoning Administrator Peter Garon

The meeting was preceded by a site visit to 40 North Street.

Chair Brent Rakowski called the regular meeting to order at 6:50 p.m.

  1. With no objections the Chair amended the agenda to consider approval of the minutes, and begin the Zoning Administrator’s report prior to the stated time for the first public hearing.
  2. The minutes of the April 15, 2019 regular meeting were reviewed and non-substantive changes were made. Upon motion of Tim Cook and seconded by Jason Mullin, the minutes were unanimously approved.
  3. Chair Brent Rakowski read the notice for the public hearing to consider the request by Ed and Tina Booska to demolish an accessory building (garage) at 77 Green Street. The request will be considered under Section 1604 of the Zoning and Subdivision Regulations. Tina Booska was sworn in. The hearing was recorded.

Tina Booska presented her plan to demolish the garage at 77 Green Street as it presents a safety issue. She provided a letter from her insurance company about the hazard posed by the building at this time. An email from John Stroup, an adjoining landowner, in favor of her project was read into the record by Chair Brent Rakowski.

Tina Booska told the Board that there were no setback issues as the building is well within her property boundaries. Don Peabody asked who was responsible for issues such as asbestos abatement if that were needed. Zoning Administrator Garon explained the notification process puts landowners on notice that they need to verify if other permits are needed for their project.

On motion by Steve Rapoport , seconded by Jason Mullin, and approved by all, the hearing was closed and moved to deliberative session.

4.Demolition of the structure at 130 Green Street – Aliceanne LaValley presented the request of Donna Blais to remove her trailer at 130 Green Street and ultimately replace it with a new structure. The Board had a short discussion about replacement issues which the Zoning Administrator will take into consideration if and when the replacement application is made. The Board noted that as long as the replacement met the two story requirement of the district and did not increase the degree of non-conformance, the decision on replacement remains a Zoning Administrator decision. A request to replace with a one-story structure is a decision of the DRB.

On motion of Tim Cook, seconded by Don Peabody, and approved by all, the request is moved to a public hearing on June 17, 2019.

5.  Daniel and Rebecca Hassan presented their request to demolish the building at 40 Green Street. Ultimately it is their intent to expand the Vergennes Residential Care into a more viable business operation. Daniel Hassan told the Board that he did not see that the building had any historic value as it exists now.

It became apparent as the Board discussed the request that this was a different type of demolition request which raised new questions about the definition and standards of “historic significance”. Although it is ultimately up to the applicant to make the case as to the historic significance of the structure, it was clear that the Board also wanted more information on the topic so they could provide more information to the applicant.

Upon motion of Chair Brent Rakowski, seconded by Steve Rapoport, and approved by all, the Zoning Administrator was asked to research the issue and provide the Board and the applicant with further guidance for site plan review continuation at the June 17 meeting. Suggestions included discussions with Planning Commission Chair Shannon Haggett, state historical guidance, historic property maps, lister or zoning records, court definitions, and information from other towns. It was also suggested that the applicant consider the need for or the usefulness of a historical consultant.

6.  Shenandoah, LLC application for adaptive reuse of the Haviland Shade Roller Mill and Annex – Heidi Mahoney presented plans for 23 residential units for the property. The plan is similar to prior plans reviewed by the DRB, except that there are 23 units currently planned. There has also been a change in the number and type of residential units with a focus on smaller units. Ms. Mahoney noted that because this is a historical building, they have been working closely with the National Park Service. Their rules limit some of the changes which Shenandoah, LLC can make. For example, siding and windows must be substantially similar.

Ms. Mahoney described parking, lighting, and access plans. The Board noted safety concerns due to the proximity to the falls on the backside of the building. Ms. Mahoney is working to address those issues with GMP and the City.

Upon motion by Tim Cook, seconded by Jason Mullin, and approved by all, the application was moved to public hearing on June 17, 2019.

7.  After deliberative session on the Ed and Tina Booska’s application for demolition of an accessory structure (garage) at 77 Green Street in the historic district, Steve Rapoport moved and Tim Cook seconded a motion to direct Zoning Administrator to draft an affirmative decision for Board review. All were in favor of the motion except Teresa Hyndman who voted no.

The Board reviewed the draft decision. Steve Rapoport made a motion, seconded by Jason Mullin to direct the Chair to sign the decision. All were in favor of the motion except Teresa Hyndman who voted no.

8. The Board continued to discuss the request by Otter Creek Holdings, LLC for a variance at 135 Main Street to allow a change of use from retail/office to residential on the first floor. Upon motion by Tim Cook, seconded by Jason Mullin, and approved by all, the Board directed the Chair to sign the decision of denial.

9.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

Peter Garon, Acting Recording Secretary