TOWN OF SOUTH HERO
Planning Commission with Zoning Board of Adjustment
July 16, 2014 Meeting Minutes
Planning Commission Members Present: George (Terry) Delano, Doug Patterson, Sandra O’Flaherty, Sandy Gregg and David Roy
Planning Commission Members Absent: None
Zoning Board of Adjustment members present: Timothy Maxham, Gwen Hobbs, Paula Delano, Steven Nedde, Courtland Perry, Jim Baker and Alayne Rabow
Zoning Board of Adjustment members absent: George Rice,
Staff Present: Mitchel Cypes
Others Present from sign-in sheet: Michael Wichrowski, Jim Burke, Andrew Lavelle, Bill Bingham, Warren Steadman, Helen Douglas, David Giannuzzi, David Carter, Paul Boileau, Richard Bingham, Joan Norton, Clayton Norton, Dan Troial, Karola Troial, Ruby Brezinski, Clyde Wigness, Michael Walker, Dean Rousseau, Richard Phinney, Gail Phinney, Fire Chief Kim Julow, Betty Heywood, Laurie Arora, Marylyn Chase and Anne Zolotas
7:02PM: Call to order for the hearing by Tim Maxham. The members of the Boards were introduced. Tim Maxham provided introductions to the Public and described the hearing process.
7:05PM: FL005-14-71B / Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, Conditional Use, Site Plan Review and Subdivision Amendment for Public Boat Launch Facility and realignment of Featherbed Lane.
Court Perry offered to recuse himself, since as an employee of Munson Excavating, he has done work for the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife. Hearing no concerns, he did not recuse himself. Gwen Hobbs read the hearing notice.
Michael Wichrowski, Jim Burke and members of the Public were sworn in. Michael Wichrowski introduced himself stating he manages the boat accesses for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. Jim Burke stated he is a licensed professional engineer, who designs projects like this for the State. The applicants testified the following:
- The property was purchased by the State 2 years ago.
- The project is to upgrade the larger field as a parking area and to upgrade boat launch.
- The Department of Vermont Fish & Wildlife was required to acquire many State and Federal permits for this project.
- The entrance by the portable toilet structure is being improved to be the main entrance.
- The entrance to Featherbed Lane is proposed to be realigned and upgraded to make it safer and to add land to the expanded Public marina. The existing Featherbed Lane entrance will be removed.
- Stormwater drainage improvements are proposed.
- The Parking area would consist of gravel access way and grassed parking areas to minimize impervious areas. Proposed are approximately 40 parking spaces, 3 of which will be posted for ADA use only. The access way will have Sure-pack without concrete.
- An ADA conforming walkway is proposed between the ADA parking spaces and the docks.
- A solar light is proposed adjacent to the realigned Featherbed Lane and the ADA conforming walkway.
- They are proposing to remove the current asphalt single-launch boat ramp and replace it with a new double-launch concrete boat ramp, which will be placed further from Apple Island marina.
- In response to Staff comments, they will update the plans.
- The Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife is willing to work with the Town to place a dry hydrant with a construction amendment. It was acknowledged that the Town has received a grant and has a design, but will need to acquire all necessary permits.
- The proposed entrances to the parking area and the proposed Featherbed Lane and the portion of Featherbed Lane adjacent to the proposed marina are to be paved. The other road/accesses are to be gravel.
- The parking area entrance is proposed to be able to accommodate two vehicles entering at the same time.
- A stop sign from the parking area access across Featherbed Lane to the proposed marina will provide people traveling on Featherbed Lane with a right-of-way. Motorist on Featherbed Lane will have to give right-of-way to pedestrians at a crosswalk.
- A private road sign will be placed on Featherbed Lane.
- Most of trees, which will be affected by this project are towards the end of their lives and are proposed to be removed along with many small plants.
- Warren Steadman stated his strong support for the Featherbed Lane realignment. He raised concerns that the existing signs are too small, that traffic has increased and that the property has become a park & ride. He requested to know the policy on parking. Tim Maxham clarified that the application did not include a park & ride. Michael Wichrowski stated that vehicles can park for up to 72 hours if they are using a boat and/or fishing and for enforcement people should call the State Police Barracks.
- Ruby Brezinski expressed appreciation of the applicants for working with the residents and raised concerns with whether there was sufficient paving of the accesses. The Applicants in response stated that portions where the surface of Featherbed Lane is in the worst condition is the area by the entrance to US2 and by the marina, which are the areas that are proposed to be paved. Also the proposed realignment of Featherbed Lane will allow for a smaller slope of 3% and will be built to current State standards. It was also clarified that the Department of Fish & Wildlife pays the road association the same amount as homeowners to maintain Featherbed Lane.
- Ruby Brezinski raised the concern of use a prior approved use of the property as a park & ride. Staff explained that since the prior approved conditional use was not used for 2-years, the use per Town regulation is abandoned.
- Clyde Wigness requested that signs be placed stating that the parking area is not to be used as a park & ride and that long term parking is prohibited.
- David Carter expressed appreciation of the applicants for working with the residents and for the proposed redesign of Featherbed Lane. He discussed how the placement of a new dry hydrant would provide a good winter time fire truck refilling location, that fire trucks would not need to chop ice as they do now in the winter time and that loaded fire trucks will be better able to go up the hill on Featherbed Lane.
- Fire Chief Kim Julow, talked about the benefits, design and grant for the dry hydrant. Also that the grant requires a Town match and that the fire department had pipes that could be reused. A plan showing the design for hydrant was provided to the Boards. It was noted that the proposed dry hydrant would be located near former power pole, and that new electrical lines to be placed underground. Concerns were raised regarding the functioning of the dry hydrant during high water.
- Marylyn Chase concern location of intersection with Mott Lane. The Applicants explained that the project would not reach the Mott Lane intersection.
- Paul Boileau expressed his support for the relocation of Featherbed Lane. He stated his concerns regarding the public use of Featherbed Lane, where people are going to park when the parking gets filled up, and the water quality when the water during boat launching is stirred up. He suggested making it hard for trailers to turn on to Featherbed Lane. He also stated that the area by the marinas was wetlands in the past. The Applicants stated that the shoreline area where the boats could stir-up sediment would be protected by the concrete docks.
- Helen Douglas requested and was provided information on the access to Apple Island Resort (AIR) marina. The Applicants stated that they would install a stop sign by AIR marina, that AIR was consulted and is fine with the proposed marina access and that the State AOT will not permit a separate entrance on US 2 for AIR marina. When asked Michael Wichrowski explained that legally AIR can not have their access limited by this project.
- Richard Phinney expressed concern regarding stormwater runoff. The Applicants described the proposed drainage system and that the grass channels slow down the stormwater discharge flow. Tim Maxham and Richard Phinney discussed how a culvert, which discharges stormwater across US 2 is currently near capacity and that there was erosion on the existing Featherbed Lane in that area.
- Richard Phinney also expressed concerns regarding a current lack of signs and that pedestrians often walk across Featherbed Lane without realizing they are walking across a street.
- Andrew Lavelle expressed concerns regarding drainage, lighting and access for the hydrant.
- Richard Bingham expressed concern regarding winter plowing. Michael Wichrowski stated that the the State will plow from US2 to marina staging area and that in other similar areas, there was no real demand for parking and plowing the parking area in the winter.
- Ruby Brezinski questioned the traffic analysis stating that no traffic light is required since it was done in November, which is not in peak time. She also asked about how homeowner easements for Featherbed Lane are listed. Michael Wichrowski stated that the homeowners have prescriptive easements, which are not difficult to legally modify.
- Mike Walker in response to the fact that AIR boaters can use Featherbed Lane to get to the AIR marina and that the general Public has to use the western entrance, that there is no way of knowing which boat is utilizing the AIR marina and which boat it going to use the proposed Public marina.
- Karola Troial expressed her request that fees paid to maintain Featherbed Lane needs be proportional.
- Ruby Brezinski wanted to know if the warden would be routinely visiting the property to ensure that the parking area was not used as a park and ride and for overnight use. Michael Wichrowski encouraged the Public to call the warden if there is a concern.
8:19PM: A motion to add dry hydrant data to the submittal list was made by Jim Baker, seconded by Sandra O’Flaherty and was approved unanimously.
8:26PM: A motion for a scheduled site visit for Wednesday, July 30, 2014 at 6PM was made by David Roy, seconded by Jim Baker and was approved unanimously. Tim Maxham stated that no testimony was going to occur and that the purpose of the site visit was to see the layout of the proposed development. Tim Maxham requested that the features like new Featherbed Lane be staked out. Michael Wichrowski said that Kevin Burke of the State Shorelands division could be at the site visit and answer a lot of the environmental questions.
The Boards, the Applicants and Public discussed the following:
- Michael Wichrowski clarified current and proposed ownership of the land where Featherbed Lane is located. Currently Featherbed Lane begins of US2 on Fish & Wildlife land, is then split between Fish & Wildlife and AIR lands, then comes back on to Fish & Wildlife land before entering homeowner’s association land. After the realignment, the entire road from US2 to the homeowner’s association land will be owned by Fish & Wildlife. Also since the easement is not described by meets and bounds, the new easement, according to the Applicants, does not need to have meets and bounds.
- On the subject of requiring AIR boaters to use the western entrance, David Carter clarified that such a restriction would not be legal.
- Michael Wichrowski explained in response to a Board question, that permits are required for tournaments and events. If such is big enough then the applicant is required to have people work to assist with the parking, which allows more vehicles to park in the parking area. No parking is reserved.
- Michael Wichrowski explained in response to a Board question, that the State is required to maintain the facility, including plowing and the portable toilets.
- Additional portable toilets are going to be provided by the ADA sidewalk near Featherbed Lane.
- The prior permit approval for the existing Kiosks were discussed and how these were placed with insufficient setbacks and how Fish & Wildlife will need to address this situation.
- Michael Wichrowski explained in response to a Board question, that western entrance is a shared driveway where the easements do not have meets and bounds.
- The Applicants explained in response to a Board question, that the State would like construction to begin this fall and that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not allow the work in water to begin before September 15th. It is the work in the water where time is limited. The timing to complete the rest of the project is more flexible. The work could, but does not have to be phased. Work will probably begin in October, giving the contractor time to mobilize.
- The Applicants stated in response to a Board question that the proposed Featherbed Lane will have a 24-foot wide road surface, have an 8-inch gravel subbase and a 4-inch gravel op course, will have a reinforcement fabric for strength and are not sure what the Town road standards happen to be.
- The note on the plans ‘Docks to be supplied by others’ is to let a possible contractor for this project know that the docks are not a bid item for the proposed work.
- Michael Wichrowski explained in response to a Board question, that the docks will be floating and will be removed to parking area to winter, and that ice fisherman will probably use ramp, which is neither encouraged nor discouraged.
- The Applicants in response to a Board question stated that the water depth is about 6-feet deep by the docks. The plan is to dredge down to 88-feet elevation. The proposed hydrant intake is at 91-foot elevation. The concrete dock will limit erosion caused by a quick launch.
- The Board and Public commented on need for proposed contours and section through parking lots to show how whole storm water will flow for whole site.
- Michael Wichrowski explained in response to a Board question, that the proposed solar light will be downward casting.
- Avoidance of conflicts between utility and dry hydrant lines was discussed. The Applicants stated that they may keep utility poles and only bury the power lines between poles by marina to allow use by sailboats.
- The permitting requirements for the proposed dry hydrant were discussed. Anne Zolatas stated she will work on this. Michael Wichrowski stated that Fish and Wildlife would provide a memorandum of understanding for maintenance and use.
- Michael Wichrowski explained in response to a Board question, that Fish & Wildlife was working with a State forester on how to best manage the trees and to know how the vegetation would look and function.
- Concerns regarding the stone ditch undermining and pipe sizing were discussed.
- Warren Steadman stated culvert on Featherbed Lane not a concern, but rather the culvert that traverses across US2. He stated his belief that the new design will solve many issues. However, it was discussed how proposed contours on the drawings would allow stormwater design to be more easily reviewed.
- Paul Boileau stated that when lake is high, the culverts do not drain.
- Terry Delano reminded the Applicants that any new utilities are required to be placed underground.
- Some Board members request that contour steaks be placed on site visits.
- A discussion regarding whether the change of the entrance, by making it wider, will increase traffic.
- It was noted that AOT approvals are required for signs on US2.
- Ruby Brezinski stated that having a Featherbed Lane address for the Fish & Wildlife property could increase traffic on Featherbed Lane. Staff said he will discuss possibly changing the address with the Selectboard and if the Selectboard agrees, with the Listers.
8:52PM: During the discussion, a motion to approve the requested subdivision waiver not to show the entire subdivision on the application was made by Sandy Gregg, seconded by Sandra O’Flaherty, and was approved unanimously.
9:12PM: A motion to recess the hearing on July 30, 2014 at 7:30PM at Town Hall was made by David Roy, seconded by Paula Delano, and was approved unanimously.
9:24PM: A motion was made to approve the Minutes as written for July 2, 2014 by Sandy Gregg, seconded by Doug Patterson, and was approved unanimously.
9:25PM: Public Input: No Public remained.
9:25PM: Administrative Officer’s Report:
- The new Open Meeting Law was discussed.
- Some mail to the Planning Commission was reviewed.
- Municipal Planning Grant application was discussed. The deadline for submittal is September 30, 2014. It was noted that a current Town Plan was required for eligibility to receive a municipal planning grant. Staff will investigate whether the current plan could be extended without adding a flood resilience plan and village designation center information to allow the Town to remain eligible for a municipal planning grant. If it is possible to extend the current Town Plan, then Doug Patterson will discuss this with the Selectboard.
9:35PM: Town Plan:
- Submitted updates to the draft plan were discussed.
- Hearing and notification time lines were reviewed. The ‘October’ plan was the consensus choice of the Commission. Doug Patterson will present this timeline to the Selectboard.
- The new portions and missing parts of the Town Plan were discussed. Some remaining tasks to update the Town Plan were delegated to Commission members.
9:54PM: A motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Sandy Gregg, seconded by Sandra O’Flaherty, and was approved unanimously.
Respectfully submitted by Mitchel Cypes, Administrative Officer.