SOUTH HERO DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD September 12, 2018
Members Present: Tim Maxham (Chair); Doug Patterson (Vice Chair); Jim Brightwell (alternate); Ross Brown; Sherry Corbin; Nate Hayward; Liza Kilcoyne
Others Present: Martha Taylor-Varney (Zoning Administrator)
Members Absent: Gareth Hunt
Public Present: Gretchen Patterson, David Carter, Ethelyn Dubuque, Beverly Blakely, Judy M. Duval, Samera Hilliker, Bonny Rocheleau, Karola Troidl, Ruby Brezinsky
Call to Order: Meeting was called to order by T. Maxham at 7:00 p.m.
Changes to Agenda: None
Public Input: None
Hearing: 19-06-RT318 Change of Use and Site Plan Review South Hero Service Committee (Granny’s Attic) Location: 318 US RT 2. Date of notice 8/28/18.
Proposed: Change of Use from Fire Department (‘Red Building’) to retail space for use as an extension of Granny’s Attic; Site Plan review of same. The structure is owned by the Town of South Hero.
- Maxham opened the hearing at 7:05 p.m.
- Patterson recused himself.
Notice & Oath
- Brown read the hearing warning. T. Maxham administered the oath to the attending members of the public.
Appearing on behalf of the applicant:
Bonnie Rocheleau; Samera Hilliker (Secretary)
- Rocheleau said that Granny’s Attic has been established in town for over 65 years and is a 501c3 nonprofit staffed entirely by volunteers. Granny’s Attic acquires items by donation for resale; profits are redistributed to other non-profits in South Hero. By agreement with the Town, Granny’s Attic will use the red building that most recently served as the firehouse (red building) to house furniture and other large items for resale. S. Hilliker said that large items were previously stored offsite in storage units and members’ homes and had to be moved onsite for retail. These logistics limited the amount and kind of furniture that could be accepted. Granny’s Attic has moved in to the red building and has now filled the building with furniture.
At the request of the Selectboard Granny’s Attic is appearing before the DRB to request change in use and site plan review, since the building is changing from municipal to commercial (retail) use.
- Maxham asked B. Rocheleau to describe Granny’s Attic’s agreement with the Selectboard for use of the red building. B. Rocheleau stated that the red building will continue to belong to the Town, but that the Town was permitting Granny’s Attic to use the red building until the old town hall is renovated and Granny’s Attic can occupy the ground floor of that building (Granny’s Attic currently occupies the 2nd floor of the old town hall). Granny’s Attic has agreed to pay for electric, and heat and water, although they do not plan to heat the building this winter. Granny’s Attic will also be responsible for minor repairs; major repairs will continue to be the responsibility of the Town. The restroom in the building will not be used.
- Maxham asked for a description of site plan. David Carter volunteered to provide a description of the site. D. Carter said the Town owns the red building as well as the adjoining old town hall, which dates from 1816, which currently houses Granny’s Attic. The driveway around both buildings is owned by the Town and the Selectboard has decided to designate it as a municipal parking lot available for public parking. Since the fire company has relocated, the driveway to the red building can be part of the parking area and adds about 18 additional spaces. Granny’s Attic and Blue Paddle customers can use the municipal parking; the hours of the two businesses are non-overlapping. Granny’s Attic is using the property “as is”; there is no compensation to the Town so that the building can continue to be tax exempt. Granny’s Attic is responsible for the electric; any fuel (if used); water; and would have to pay for a dumpster and regular maintenance. Granny’s Attic will have additional liability insurance coverage which indemnifies the Town.
- Kilcoyne asked what is deficient with regard to the building. D. Carter said that while the building is structurally sound and the furnace recently replaced, there is no record of a permit for the septic. There is a bathroom in the building, but the leach field and mound system are on the adjoining Fifield property and there is no record of an easement. The property has a 10’ setback on 3 sides, which is too small to do anything with. The property was deemed unsuitable for continued use as fire station.
- Kilcoyne asked if the building is suitable for the proposed use as a retail space. D. Carter said the building will not collapse. B. Rocheleau said that the bathroom will be closed-off and not used. S. Corbin asked if this included the workers; B. Rocheleau confirmed that workers will not use the bathroom. S. Corbin asked if the pipes will be drained. D. Carter replied yes. L. Kilcoyne asked if this will be treated as a seasonal building, which was affirmed by B. Rocheleau and S. Hilliker.
- Kilcoyne asked about clarification of traffic flow and entrances/exits in the parking area, stating that it is not clearly defined in the sketch presented. M. Taylor-Varney said that the sketch is a site plan for the red building, not the parking area around it which is town property. S. Corbin said that the parking area needs to be part of the site plan otherwise the building has no parking.
- Corbin said she felt that the sketch presented was not a site plan in that it did not show parking, traffic flow, and current neighbors. R. Brown said that the parking information would have to come from the plans for the municipal parking area developed by the Town, as this is not an issue that is within the control of Granny’s Attic. L. Kilcoyne said that she felt that the board needed to see the parking plan as a part of this application. She stated that we have seen a summer’s worth of activity with Granny’s Attic in this building, and people clearly don’t know where to park. M. Taylor-Varney said that the Town has elected at this time not to stripe the lot. R. Brown said that Granny’s Attic cannot have a parking plan different from the Town’s; L. Kilcoyne said we need to see the Town’s plan in conjunction with this application.
- Corbin said we have to look at this as a seasonal retail establishment. We do not need an engineered site plan, but we need something that is more than an old plat. Granny’s Attic should go to the Selectboard and ask them for the parking plan.
- Maxham said that he understood the points that S. Corbin made about what we normally require as a site plan – what was submitted has a lot missing. D. Carter suggested that there is a plan that was written up for VTRANS that shows parking and traffic flow. M. Taylor-Varney said that plan was shown to the Selectboard at which time the Board then decided they didn’t want to have lines painted.
- Brown said that perhaps the DRB should pursue parking with the Selectboard since Granny’s Attic did not have control over or information about the municipal lot. S. Corbin said she felt that Granny’s Attic should pursue this with the Selectboard and present their parking plan to the DRB. L. Kilcoyne agreed that parking should be presented as a part of the plan, and that the issue for her is that there is a mix of vehicular traffic and pedestrians in the same space.
- Corbin said that the DRB should require of Granny’s Attic what is required from anybody who is doing a retail venture, to include expected daily travel in/out; entrances/exits, designated parking areas, even if it is a rectangular area not showing individual spaces. N. Hayward said that we have many applications where parking is gravel and unlined, but the site plan shows designated spaces in order to demonstrate that required parking is available. Other items the Board suggested for the site plan included square footage, handicap parking, easements, property and zoning boundaries, existing structures, adjacent properties, access points on adjacent properties and on Rt. 2, including those across the street, sidewalks, and any other relevant items that appear in Section 305 p. 10-11 of the Development Regulations. Granny’s Attic should provide a letter asking for waivers for any items they feel are not relevant.
- Corbin said that she is not suggesting that Granny’s Attic hire an engineer.
- Maxham said the Board will recess this hearing and continue on another day when the additional information is available. T. Maxham said we need to have a clear idea of the vision of Granny’s Attic and how they will deal with the property, including designated parking spaces and handicapped parking. This needs to include how the parking area will appear after the white fire building is razed this fall per what was presented by the Town to VTRANS. M. Taylor-Varney suggested designating a handicapped parking space close to the red building in the back so that handicapped customers don’t have to cross the entrance from the designated handicapped spaces at the Blue Paddle.
- Carter expressed concern that the Town may not be able to designated parking in the municipal lot for specific businesses. S. Corbin suggested that Granny’s Attic come up with the number of spaces that are required per the Regulations, based on their square footage, and show those on the plan to document that required parking is available. Granny’s Attic should then work out with their landlord (the Town) whether and how to designate parking. Designation can be temporary (for example sawhorses) given that Granny’s Attic is open approximately 7 hours per week.
- Maxham said that the Board needs any requests for waivers in writing, and recommended that Granny’s Attic work with the Zoning Administrator to come up with a site plan, so that the thought process for the site gets translated to paper that the DRB can act on.
- Corbin made a motion to recess the hearing to October 24th. The motion was seconded by N. Hayward. The motion passed by acclamation. T. Maxham recessed hearing to October 24th at 7:00 p.m.
- Patterson rejoined meeting.
Review of Minutes
- Patterson moved to accept the minutes of August 22nd; R. Brown seconded. S. Corbin and L. Kilcoyne did not vote as they were not in attendance for that meeting.
- The Administrator’s Report was delivered by Taylor-Varney (Zoning Administrator).
- The upcoming DRB schedule is tentatively as follows:
- September 26th: one hearing
- October 10th: two hearings
- October 24th: continuation of Granny’s Attic hearing
- November 14th: one hearing
- Board members should hold Saturday, September 29th @ 8:00 a.m. for site visits for upcoming hearings.
- Board members must fill out a tax form for the Clerk as they receive a stipend.
- The Zoning and Planning Forum is October 19th. The Town will pay registration fees for board members who wish to go. Registrations are due the first week in October.
- Patterson move to adjourn the meeting; the motion was seconded by L. Kilcoyne and carried by acclamation at 8:35 p.m.
James G. Brightwell
Clerk for S. Hero Development Review Board
Signed: ____________________________________________ Date: __________________
For the Development Review Board
These minutes are unofficial until approved at the next regularly-scheduled meeting. All motions were unanimous unless otherwise indicated.