TOWN OF SOUTH HERO
Planning Commission with Zoning Board of Adjustment
May 6, 2015 Meeting Minutes – Draft
Planning Commission Members Present: George (Terry) Delano, Sandra O’Flaherty, Sandy Gregg and David Roy
Planning Commission members absent: Doug Patterson
Zoning Board of Adjustment members present: Timothy Maxham, Janice Fetsch, Paula Delano, George Rice, Ken Goodwin, Sherry Corbin and Alayne Rabow
Zoning Board of Adjustment members absent: Jim Baker,
Staff Present: Mitchel Cypes
Others present from the sign in sheet: Linda Livingstone, Robert Livingstone, Hal Evans, Ben Durant, Mary Pringle, Ed Pringle, Ed Smith, Barb Smith, Emily Alger, Maureen Pidgeon Alan Pidgeon, Mark Naud and Lisa Pendolino.
7:03PM: Call to order by Tim Maxham. Board introductions were provided.
7:04PM Additions or Deletions to the Agenda: The Zoning Board of Adjustment changed their agenda by moving the deliberation of application FR033-15-46B to the end of the meeting. The Planning Commission removed the deliberation of application FR033-15-46B from their agenda.
7:06PM: ES020-15-54B / Benjamin Durant Conditional Use and Site Plan Review to convert an existing 4-bedroom residence to a processing and bottling of vinified and distilled products, tasting facility, retail sales of vinified and distilled products, host wedding and provide a prep kitchen for catering, and maintain a 2-bedroom residence. Janice Fetsch read the hearing notice.
Ben Durant and members of the Public were sworn in by Janice Fetsch. Hearing rules stated. The Applicant testified the following:
- That he met with the Boards and discussed his agricultural use of a vineyard, which the Boards agreed. They are making wine and have planted approximately 3500 grape clippings on the property.
- Processing barn was repaired and is where they have their wine making equipment.
- They have a 2-year purchase agreement with the Vermont Land Trust.
- He is applying to have weddings and other events on the property, within the 1 or 2 foot contoured area shown on the submitted site plan. This area is approximately 5.4 acres.
- The events will either be held in the existing residential building or in a flat area, labeled on the site plan as the ‘proposed wedding/assembly area’ between house and barn, and the pond. A tent may be set up in this area. This are is not clearly visible from East Shore Road since it is located at a lower elevation.
- The proposed maximum number of guests would be 106 people, which is the maximum number of people allowed based on their State septic system application. They are not proposing to use port-o-potties on site, but rather the existing restrooms and wastewater system. The Applicant provided updated drawings to show the seating for the proposed uses.
- The Applicant proposed on their application to have 33 parking spaces. 26 of these 33 spaces shown on the site plan are proposed to be located in a grass area adjacent to the gravel entrance drive near East Shore Road. The other 7 parking spaces are proposed to be located near the barn nearest to East Shore Road.
- After discussion with the Boards and feedback from the Public, the Applicant requested there be 53 parking spaces for event guest and consumers of their agricultural products, with the required handicap spaces being located near the approved deck of the existing residence and the remaining spaces to be located either adjacent to the other proposed parking areas or between the two barns.
- Employees and caterers would be able to park on side of barn, which can accommodate an additional 10 cars.
- Possible addition of gravel for the parking areas was discussed. Applicant may wish to add gravel to the parking areas in the future, should the natural ground not be capable of supporting vehicle traffic.
- The property, which the Public in attendance confirmed, needs restoration. A new deck, which will be used in the events, has been administratively permitted, but has not been built. Much of the residence including 2 of the 4 bedrooms are not finished. They are only proposing to do internal renovations, which includes adding a prep kitchen in the existing basement. They do not propose to have people stay overnight in the bedrooms.
- After some discussion with the Boards and the Public, the Applicant requested to have a maximum of 3 events per week between Memorial Day and Columbus Day. They state that will only be one event occurring at one time and that the wine tasting area will be closed during events because of septic system permit limitations.
- The proposed hours for the wine tasting and events is from Noon to 9:00PM. Event guests will not be forced to leave at 9:00PM, but the music will stop at 9:00PM.
- The Applicant discussed potential noise concerns were discussed with the Boards and the Public in attendance. The Applicant said that they will limit noise to 65 decibels as measure from a concerned neighbor’s property line. The Applicant stated that they blared music in the proposed assembly area and could not register the noise on a mobile device or hear the noise from the nearest residential neighbor. The Applicant, the Boards and the Public in attendance discussed possibly limitations for the placement of tent steaks. It was decided that no limitation should be required.
- The Applicant is proposing to place one down-casting light in front of barn with the wine processing operation for security. They also propose to have small solar powered lights on the ground to create a path between the tent and the building. They may also or instead place ‘tee-kee’ torches to create this path. It was noted by the Public and the Boards that since the events are limited to the longer days of summer and end by 9:00PM. The need for such lighting will be limited.
- The Applicant edited the Site Plan to show the location of the proposed free standing sign depicted on the submitted drawing, which would be adjacent to the East Shore Road right-of-way approximately 20-feet north of entrance. This sign post will be no greater than 8-feet in height and 2 feet in depth. The Applicant testified that the proposed unlit building sign would be placed on the gable are in the front of the existing residence.
- The Applicant testified that the State Department of Liquor requires limitations to serving people that appear to be drunk and that they have received the required training to conform to State laws.
- In response to concerns that the entrance has enough room for 2 cars to pass, the Applicant stated that a tractor trailer was able to back up in the driveway, which showed the ability to accommodate two cars.
- The Applicant testified that a fire truck could turn around in the driveway loop.
- The Applicant testified that the existing open water storage shown on plan is a part of property, but will not be utilized by the proposed uses.
- The Applicant stated that he needs to fix up the property prior to using the property for events. He stated that he will need at least 2 months to do so, unless he can get help from volunteers. Staff confirmed that no Town permit is required for maintenance, repair and upkeep.
- Ed and Mary Pringle, abutting neighbors, were concerned that the portion of the property north of Landon Road would be used for the events. The Applicant testified that the area north of Landon Road is only proposed to be use for agriculture.
- Mark Naud stated his opinion that the proposal is more restrictive than many other uses in Town and his support of the application, including longer times of operation and greater parking. He stated his belief that the Boards should only have jurisdiction on commercial activities. He stated his appreciation of the cleaning up the property.
- Alan Pidgeon expressed his appreciation of the clearing up of the property, his support of the application, including longer times of operation and greater parking. The Boards explained to him that according to State law, permits run with the land.
- Ed Smith, who lives on Contentment Lane, also expressed his appreciation of the clearing up of the property, his support of the application. He stated his opinion that the winery would add value to the area. He said that he had no concerns regarding lighting, noise and the placement of tent stakes. Per his request an explanation of how the regulations are enforced was provided.
- Maureen Pidgeon expressed her support for project and concern that Boards did not want the Applicant to succeed.
8:50PM A motion to accept the updated seating plans into evidence as exhibits #1A and 1B was made by Paula Delano, seconded by Janice Fetsch and approved unanimously.
8:52PM A motion to accept the edited Site Plan, plan 2 of 4, to show the proposed sign location into evidence as exhibit #2 was made by Janice Fetsch, seconded by David Roy and approved unanimously.
8:57PM: A motion to accept the application as complete was made by Sandra O’Flaherty, seconded by David Roy and approved unanimously.
8:59PM: Tim Maxham closed the hearing for the Zoning Board of Adjustment
8:59PM: A motion to close the hearing for deliberative session was made by David Roy, seconded by Sandy Gregg and approved unanimously.
9:02PM: Public Input: All the Public have left the meeting.
9:03PM: Administrative Officer’s Report included updates on the Pest Pro (RT238) decision appeal, code enforcement update on Spees (WS146) and others, informed the Boards that Jeff Spees is scheduled to meet with the Selectboard on Monday, May 11th, confirmed the sending of the sketch plan decision for Kinney application ES056-15-05PC, informed the Commission of the scheduling of the Kinney preliminary subdivision hearing for June 10, 2015 and a review of recent mail to the Commission.
9:12PM: The Boards deliberated application ES020-15-54B. Sherry Corbin will write the ZBA decision, and David Roy will write the PC decision.
9:26PM: A motion was made to approve the Minutes for April 15, 2015 as corrected by Sandy Gregg, seconded by David Roy and approved unanimously.
9:27PM: The Planning Commission discussed the Town Plan update and review schedule.
10:16PM: A motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Sandy Gregg, seconded by Sandra O’Flaherty and approved unanimously.
Respectfully submitted by Mitchel Cypes, Administrative Officer.