TOWN OF SOUTH HERO
April 3, 2013 Meeting Minutes
Planning Commission Members Present: Todd Cox, Fred Reus, George (Terry) Delano, Carol Tremble
Planning Commission Members Absent: Jonathan Shaw,
Staff Present: Mitchel Cypes
News Crew: Fox 44
Others Present: Mitzi Johnson, Tim Maxham, Gwen Hobbs, Jeff Sikora, Kristin Decator, Bob Buermann, Dave Hobbs, Bill Bingham, Gretchen Patterson, Doug Patterson, S. Chadwick, Juli Pidgeon, Ken Kimmins, Andie Hartman, Matt Jensen, Matt Austin, Nick Lane, Chelsea Dubuque, Ruth Wallman, Charlie Tipper, Mima Tipper, Lizabeth Scott, Christopher White, Barbara Winch, Mark Thiueauh, Jenn Desautels, Matt Casey, Jim Holzschuh, Art Huse, Jill Federico, Elizabeth Bock, Susan Robistow, Janine Bellinghiri, Jocelyn Smith, James Dumont, Skip Brown, Thereza Cononi, Cindy Spence, Bethany Robinson, Jaclyn Major, Ray Allen, Pam Allen, Gail Hoine, Rebbecca Weaver, Teresa Robinson, Malcolm Allen, Emily Alger, Laura Hooper, Alec Slater, Joshua Nase, Kelly Robinson, Russ Waring and Melissa Hood.
7:00PM: Call to order for the Planning Commission by Todd Cox.
Todd Cox explained to the audience that the first item on the agenda was only the first required step to create a new lot, that there would be additional hearing in this process and that this part is not a hearing with testimony. He requested that the audience try to give everyone who wishes to speak a chance to speak and everyone who speaks to try to be concise.
7:02PM: RT269/HSE Realty, LLC â€“ Sketch Plan Review for the proposed subdivision creating 1 new lot and conversation regarding a site plan review commercial/retail use (Dollar General)
Jenn Desautels of Trudell Consulting Engineers stated that they were hired by Zaremba Corporation to do the engineering work for this proposed development. She described the lot, the proposed 2.8-acre and remaining 12.5-acre lot. That she has corresponded with Rob Hall of VTrans regarding access from US Route 2 and they agree that both the proposed Dollar General and the existing Island Racing properties should have a shared access. She stated that they would provide parking as required by zoning.
Matt Casey from Dollar General explained to the public that they have put together a conceptual plan for the site with parking on the side and rear of the building. He said that the Dollar General Company did a market analysis that indicates that the store could do well in the proposed location. The store would be a corporately owned store.
The hearing was opened for the Public Comment.
Jill Federico asked about the process. The Commission explained the steps and approvals the Applicants would need.
Jocelyn Smith expressed her concerns that the proposed Dollar General would affect the rural nature of the community, the current traditional existing retail stores in the community and how the store would fit the community.
Todd Cox asked if Dollar General had a standard size and look. Matt Casey stated that there were standard 9,100sf and 12,000sf stores, and the company could adjust the exterior look of the store.
Janine Bellinghiri stated her concern that the 9,100sf size of the store is so much larger than the next largest store in the community, McGregorâ€™s with 5,100sf, that the store would impact the townâ€™s rural character.
Barbara Winch asked and was told that the store would access US Route 2.
Charlie Tipper stated that he believes that this store would be antithetical to the Town Plan and is concerned about the affect Dollar General would have on local businesses that support local farms and the local community. Matt Casey responded that as a retail store their proposal is an allowable use according to the Town Plan and that they generally hire locally, which is economically beneficial to them.
Kathy Robinson expressed her concern on how Dollar General would affect the profits of locally owned mom & pop stores.
Jocelyn Smith asked how many employees would the store employ and what would be their wages? Matt Casey stated that Dollar General would employ between 8 to 12 people, which would vary seasonally and that he canâ€™t comment on wages.
Thereza Cononi asked the applicants to describe hire locally and do they bring people in from elsewhere or out of state. Matt Casey said that hiring is based upon interviews and that they usually do not bring people to a community to work from elsewhere.
Wayne Carol asked how many Dollar General stores are in the area and why does Dollar General wish to place a corporately owned store in this area. Matt Casey responded that he did not see the relevance in how many stores were in the area and that the company did market research before choosing this location. Some in the audience listed towns that had a Dollar General store.
Mima Tipper requested more information on the marketing research, which Matt Casey explained that it was internal marketing.
Barbara Winch stated that island businesses are owned by people who live on the island. She asked where the applicants were from. Matt Casey said he was from Cleveland Ohio. Jenn Desautels stated that she lived in Fairfax and works in Williston.
Laura Cooper asked who are the target demographics, residents or tourist? Matt Casey responded â€˜Bothâ€™.
Nick Lane asked how Dollar General gives back to the community. Matt Casey explained how Dollar General has a literacy campaign and that local managers can add additional help to the community like supporting little league teams and local events.
Karen Brown asked if Dollar Generalâ€™s marketing cares what the Town wants. Matt Casey said that they do consider the feedback from the community.
Matt Jensen state that he does not want Dollar General to be located in South Hero.
Joe Solomon stated that many live here to escape big business and like the solace and lack of excitement. He asked how does Dollar General fit in to this place?
Art Huse expressed concern regarding traffic and whether a new traffic light would have to be installed. Todd Cox explained that placing a traffic light is a State decision and not a Town decision. He recalled how the Town was unsuccessful getting a traffic light placed for South Street. Jenn Desautels stated that according to the trip generation manuals (I.T.E.), the proposed retail store would produce an additional 10 trips during its peak hour, which is low compared to the 8,700 Average Annual Daily Trips (AADT).
Susan Robistow commented that the traffic volume triples in the summer. Jenn Desautels commented that the additional traffic produced by the proposed Dollar General would be small compared to the existing traffic volume.
James Dumont commented that Dollar General should share its marketing data to help determine the anticipated increase in traffic.
Malcolm Allen commented that traffic is already a concern and that it is hard for them to get out their driveway.
Ray Allen questioned the feasibility of having a Dollar General in that location citing that most of the traffic from people who live in New York and work in Vermont, and these people generally are not going to stop during their commute.
Jocelyn Smith stated that she believes that Dollar General fits the classification of a strip mall, which is not allowed in South Hero according to the Town Plan.
Melisa Hodd questioned the placement of the store in the location of the speed change.
Bethany Robinson states that she agreed with Joslyn Smith and added that the Town Plan encourages the reuse of existing buildings, which Dollar General does not conform.
Barbara Winch raised concerns regarding signs. Staff stated that there are very specific regulations regarding signs and what could be allowed. Todd Cox said that this issue could be discussed during the site plan hearing.
7:38PM: on a motion by Carol, seconded by Fred and approved unanimously to approve the sketch plan as a major subdivision application that will create one new lot.
7:43PM: SV077-13-35WWB/ Waring Final Subdivision Review for the creation of 1 new lot.
Russell Waring, Jay Buermann, Barbara Winch and Bob Buermann were sworn in. Jay Buermann and Russell Waring testified the following:
- Â· That the propose house has been shifted 40-feet and rotated 2-degrees to better fit solar panels.
- Â· The creation of a new lot will require a State 9015 stormwater permit, which will be acquired prior to construction.
- Â· The wastewater permit has been issued.
- Â· There is existing landscaping around the proposed house and no additional landscaping is proposed where grass is currently mowed.
- Â· They will bring down the garage, which by the creation of the new lot would become a non-conforming feature, by the end of May. They would accept the removal of the garage prior to approval of a building permit.
- Â· They will provide Staff with the maximum driveway grade as soon as possible.
- Â· The septic system is a gravity system and does not need a pump.
The hearing was opened to the Public. Bob Buermann stated that he is an adjoining neighbor and he supports this project.
7:52PM: on a motion by Terry, seconded by Fred and approved unanimously to accept the application as complete and to close the hearing for deliberative session.
7:54PM: WS546-13-03PC / Sikora Final Subdivision Review for the creation of 2 new lots.
Jeff Sikora, Ken Kimmins, Lizabeth Scott and Christopher White were sworn in.
Jeff Sikora testified the following:
- Â· He is proposing to create 2 new 1-acre lots from his existing 11-acre property.
- Â· The 2 new lots will access West Shore Road. He has met with the Town Highway Department, who told him that and he will need to acquire a permit, which will include proposing to place a culvert under the proposed driveway, which was the only addition specified condition.
- Â· When confronted about the water service letter of May 2011, Sikora testified that he did have a letter for the 2 proposed 3-bedroom homes, which he will provide to the Town shortly.
- Â· Should a waterline have to travel through the septic shield, it will be placed in conduit.
- Â· The waterline on West Shore Road is on the west side of the road. To connect to the proposed lots on the east side of the road, pipe will need to be placed to cross the road.
- Â· He would like to be able to build the proposed building anywhere within the building envelope.
- Â· He described the additional foliage not shown on the plans adjacent to the Scott property. He showed the other foliage shown on the plans and stated that the other areas are open meadow.
- Â· He described the existing septic easement for â€˜lot 11â€™ that is located on his property.
- Â· All proposed utilities will be underground. Each lot will have to pay for hook-ups and maintain their own septic systems.
- Â· The two proposed lots will have a shared driveway maintenance agreement.
Todd Cox read a letter from Ken Kimmins, an adjoining neighbor, who listed some concerns. In response to this letter and questions from Mr. Kimmins, Jeff Sikora testified to the following:
- Â· Iron pipes will be placed to mark the property boundaries.
- Â· He described the septic system impact zones shown on the plans.
- Â· Between the proposed houses and the Kimmins property will be the proposed driveway.
- Â· Pets will be restricted by homeowners and Town ordinances.
- Â· Traffic should be typical of a residence.
- Â· Proposed utility lines will not be placed on the Kimminsâ€™ property.
- Â· The proposed septic systems will be in a wooded area and many of the trees will be kept for screening.
- Â· They will try to keep many of the trees in place in front of the buildings.
- Â· The only known historical structure on his property is a stone foundation located behind his existing house, which will not be affected by this proposed development.
Todd Cox reminded Jeff Sikora of the Townâ€™s erosion control requirements that are a part of the Planning Commission decisions. Jeff Sikora presented an updated survey plat to show what the proposed mylar would appear. On a motion by Carol and seconded by Fred and approved unanimously, the Planning Commission agreed to accept the new drawing.
Staff made an extra attempt to those in attendance for additional Public comments. Hearing none the Commission made the following motion:
8:21PM: on a motion by Terry, seconded by Carol and approved unanimously to accept the application as complete and to close the hearing for deliberative session contingent on receiving a water service letter for the 2 proposed houses.
8:25PM: Staff and the Commission with contributions from Jay Buermann had an open discussion regarding site plan amendment and conditional use regulations and procedures.
8:45PM: Minutes from the March 20th meeting were reviewed and comments were provided. It was agreed to vote on the minutes at the April 10th meeting.
Â8:55PM: on a motion by Terry, seconded by Carol and approved unanimously to close the hearing for deliberative session inviting Tim Maxham and Mitchel Cypes.
9:13PM: on a motion by Fred, seconded by Terry and approved unanimously to come out of deliberative session.
9:19PM: on a motion by Fred, seconded by Terry and approved unanimously to adjourn the meeting.
Respectfully submitted by Mitchel Cypes, Zoning Administrator.