SOUTH HERO PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES February 10, 2016
Joint Hearing with Zoning Board of Adjustment
RT456-16-31B – Keeler Bay Marina Campground and Marina Request for Revision to Specific Conditions of Conditional Use and Site Plan Approval Application #RT456-15-23B (approved November 12, 2014)
Planning Commission Members Present: G. Delano (Chair); D. Roy; S. O’Flaherty; S. Gregg
Planning Commission Member Absent: D. Patterson
ZBA Members Present: T. Maxham (Chair); P. Delano; R. Brown; J. Fetsch; K. Goodwin
ZBA Members Absent: S. Corbin; A. Rabow; J. Baker
Applicants: Keeler Bay Associates – David Crawford; Michael Gammal
Public Present: P. Velasquez; J. Montani; Martha Taylor-Varney, ZA
7:10PM – G. Delano (for the PC) and T. Maxham (for the ZBA) opened the hearing, noting each Board had a quorum present. The warning was read, introductions made, and interested persons sworn in.
- Maxham explained that the discussion was open to only 4 specific conditions from the previously-approved [decision] of November 12, 2014:
- Condition #7 – Referencing parking
- Condition #4 – Dates of Operation
- Condition #13 – Date of Completion
- Condition #8 – Lake-access structures
- Maxham stated that parking had not been discussed at the January 20, 2016 meeting with the applicants, so would not be re-visited in this hearing. Mike Gammal said they were not prepared to discuss parking and had not planned to. The ZA gave the Planning Commission Chair a copy of email communications showing that the applicants had requested the Boards consider changes to Condition #7. G. Delano questioned if the parking areas were marked. David Crawford told the Boards that the areas were marked with yellow rope during the months of operation.
Dates of Operation:
- Delano noted that the Campground/Marina brochures stated dates of operation as May 1st to October 15th. Condition #4 had dictated dates of May 15th to October 1st. David Crawford requested the dates include the time that temporary workers can camp on the property before and after the open and close dates for the campground/marina, identifying them as independent contractors. He said this person or persons would occupy only one campsite. Mike Gammal asked if the dates could be at “owners’ discretion.” The Boards said no. After discussion, the Boards agreed to move back the opening date for operation to May 1st and extend the closing date for operation to October 15. Employees are allowed to camp on the property as early as April 1st and can remain no later than November 30.
Condition #13 had required all work approved in RT456-15-23B be completed by November 1, 2015. This included upgrades to the entrance to the property from RT 2, requiring a VTRANS permit. Mike Gammal stated that the State never issued a permit, only a Letter of Intent. VTRANS agreed to a September 1, 2016 completion date for the entrance upgrades and the applicants requested that the Planning Commission and ZBA extend the earlier-approved date to match the VTRANS deadline. They stated they intend to complete the work sooner, preferably before they open on May 1st. The Boards decided that they will extend the deadline for completion to no later than September 1st, without exception. This condition is tied to the installation of the third dock, approved in the November 12, 2014 decision. T. Maxham stated the entrance upgrades must be completed before the installation of the third dock. Further discussion included a business sign and flag pole within the State ROW. These are dictated by State regulations and are not the Town’s jurisdiction. P. Delano reminded the applicants to contact the Zoning Administrator if they re-install the sign to assure that it will be out of the setbacks and meet all other requirements for signs in the Town’s Development Regulations.
Condition #8 of the November 12, 2014 decision had limited the number of allowed lake-access structures to four. Photographs taken by G. and P. Delano on the date of the hearing showed nine lake-access structures remaining. J. Fetsch moved to accept the photographs as exhibit 1; S. O’Flaherty second. All in favor. T. Maxham accompanied the Delano’s at that visit. Mike Gammal stated both applicants had misinterpreted what a lake-access structure was (specifying temporary vs permanent) and had pulled out all structures in late-November. David Crawford asked for clarification between temporary and permanent structures. P. Delano read the definition of Lake-Access Structure from Section 609 of the Development Regulations, showing no specification between temporary and permanent. Mr. Crawford showed on a site plan the structures he called “temporary.”
He stated that the Army Corps of Engineers recommended 3 trees (for the eventual 60 approved slips) and 3 small docks to minimize shore impact. Docks identified as photos 8 and 9 (on the north end of the shoreline) are dug into the bank and preceded the applicants’ ownership of the property. Their removal would impact the integrity of the bank. Keeler Bay Associates built structures A, B, and C (identified as photos 5, 6, and 7) as trees for the 60 slips (20 on each tree). Two of the docks in photos marked 1, 2, and 3 (south of the trees docks) are falling down and the applicants plan to rebuild. Photo #4 shows metal stairs.
- Brown asked why there were 9 access structures. The applicants stated that lakefront campsites each currently have their own access to the lake. It was agreed by the Boards that the lakefront had been cleaned up by the current owners and was much improved over previous conditions. Applicants stated they had removed trees, poles, and tires from the site.
- Roy asked if any structures could be consolidated. David Crawford said the structures to the south of the tree docks could be, and said the 3 campsites in that location needed privacy from the general camping population. Mike Gammal said they wanted to minimize impact here on the shoreline.
Individual Board members stated their thoughts regarding the structures as follows:
-R. Brown: asked if what was there was in compliance.
-K. Goodwin: Stated the docks to the south (#’s 1-3) looked shabby and need to be consolidated.
-J. Fetsch: Wants to consider the impact to the lake and the aesthetics. How many access are really needed? Wants to discuss further in deliberative.
–P. Delano: Suggests leaving structures #8 and 9, but reducing the number of #1-4, leaving #4 for kayak access.
–G. Delano: Maintain access #4 for campground use; consolidate #’s 1-3 (resulting in 7 total structures.
–S. O’Flaherty: Consolidate #’s 1-3, and keep #4.
–D. Roy: Concerned about structures #1-3. Wants them consolidated; #4 can remain.
–S. Gregg: Agrees with D. Roy
–T. Maxham: Suggested using landscaping rather than a structure for a kayak access at access #4. Leave #’s 8 and 9, and consolidate 1-3. Some structures could be removed while avoiding damage to the bank. Resulting number of structures would be 6. G. Delano expressed concern about uneven ground for handicap access if landscaping stones are used. David Crawford questioned whether landscaping could withstand damage by the elements (ice/rain/etc).
After discussion, the Boards agreed to allow 7 lake-access structures – the 3 dock trees (identified as A, B, and C), 2 accesses to the north of the trees (#8 and 9), and 2 to the south (consolidating #1-4).
- Montani asked about requirements for the designated parking areas. He stated they were not marked and campers were parking in areas not designated for parking. He also complained about problems with noise, camp fires, and a boat trailer that has been parked on his leach field. J. Fetsch noted the applicants must adhere to conditions. T. Maxham told Mr. Montani that these were code enforcement issues that should be directed to the Zoning Administrator or the Sheriff’s Department. There were no other questions from the public.
9:07PM – S. Gregg moved to close the hearing; S. O’Flaherty second. All in favor.
Martha Taylor-Varney, Zoning Administrator
Signed: _______________________________________ Date: _______________________
For the Planning Commission
These minutes are not official until approved at the next regularly-scheduled meeting. All motions were unanimous unless otherwise indicated.