TOWN OF SOUTH HERO
ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
March 18, 2015 SPECIAL MEETING
7:00 p.m. Hearing (joint with Planning Commission):
– FR033-15-46B/Cota Family Trust – Conditional Use Application and Site Plan Review for Proposed Propane and Wood Pellet Retail Businesses and Proposed Commercial Use / Storage Structures.
A) Board members in attendance
- Delano, K. Goodwin, J. Fetsch, S. Corbin, G. Rice, A. Rabow
- Baker, T. Maxham – Recused
- None – Absent
B) All other active participants in the meeting
- Cypes – Zoning Administrator
- Delano, D. Patterson, D. Roy, S. Gregg – Planning Commission
- Cota, T. Cota, K. Ravdin, G. Ravdin, D. Smail. J. Baker, T. Maxham
- The Zoning Board and Planning Commission hearing was called to order by Jan Fetsch at 7:03 p.m.
- Paula Delano read the notice of the hearing and gave the oath.
- Motion made to accept the edited As Built Site Plan as evidence as exhibit #1 was made by Paula Delano, seconded by Kent Goodwin and approved unanimously.
- Motion made to accept the Memorandum from the Applicant to the South Hero Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment, dated February 19, 2015, as evidence as exhibit #2 was made by Doug Patterson, seconded by David Roy and approved unanimously.
- Motion made to accept the letter from Glenn Ravdin, Kimberly Ravdin, Andrew Ionta, Audrey Magram, Elissa Giroux and Rocky Giroux to the South Hero Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment, dated March 18, 2015, as evidence as exhibit #3 was made by Terry Delano, seconded by Sherry Corbin and approved unanimously.
- Motion made to schedule a site visit for April 1, 2015 at 6:00PM was made by Sherry Corbin, seconded by Sandy Gregg and approved unanimously
- Motion made to recess the hearing to 7:00PM on April 1, 2015 was made by George Rice, seconded by Sandy Gregg and approved unanimously.
- Jan Fetsch announced that Tim Maxham and Jim Baker have recused themselves from this hearing. Jan also announced that she and Kent Goodwin bought propane from the Cotas. They did not believe this would impact their objectivity. No one else seemed to think so either.
- The members of the 2 Boards introduced themselves.
- Kelly Cota read a memo (exhibit #2) they submitted describing the project. The current approved uses on the property include a commercial garage with an office, sand, salt and firewood retail, a snow plow service and lawnmower repair shop.
- Hours of operation are from 7AM to 7PM, Monday through Friday, and 8AM to 6PM on Saturday and Sunday for all businesses, except the snow plow business which requires 24 hour access. No change in hours of operation are being proposed.
- The previous conditional use and site plan approvals stated that there were 20 parking spaces on the property. This includes 2 parking spaces near and for the trailer, used as a residence, adjacent to Ferry Road. No new parking will be added.
- They do not proposed to add additional landscaping to that which was placed for a prior approval. This included 5 or 6 6-foot tall (evergreens) which was placed along Davis Hill Road. There is also 3 red maples placed near Ferry Road.
- The traffic on to the property has not changed, except they have found that the time of the afternoon peak traffic hour is 4:30PM to 5:30PM instead of 3:30PM to 4:30PM as stated on past applications. The peak hour listed in this application reflects the new time. The maximum truck traffic is usually 2 sometimes 3 per day.
- The applicants are proposing to add a retail propane business. They propose having 2 500 gallon tanks which would be used to fill customers’ BBQ tanks, forklift tanks, and construction tanks. The applicants noted that 1000 gallons is a typical residential size.
- The applicants have customers come to either have their tanks filled or to swap tanks. The applicants would also deliver full tanks and collect empty tanks using a side loader truck, which is filled 2 or 3 times a week.
- The proposed structures, which already exist but were no previously permitted, were labeled with numbers for clarity on an edited plan (exhibit #1) and include the following:
- Proposed structure #1 is a 300sf+ pie shaped storage.
- Proposed structure #2 is a 150sf+ storage area on an existing slab.
- Proposed structure #3 is a 175sf+ non movable cargo trailer for storage.
- Proposed structure #4 is a 214sf+ open walled structure on an existing slab, which would shelter the existing and proposed 500 gallon tanks.
- Proposed structure #5 is a 242sf+ open walled structure on an existing slab.
- Buildings 4 and 5 have roofs supported by metal studs and no walls. The perimeter of Building #4 is fenced.
- There is a trailer located near the Ferry Road boundary which is used as a residence.
- Two (2) movable road trailers are parked in the driveway leading to the residence and contain BBQ tanks and commercial tanks. Neither are used for propane retail.
- The lower bunker is used for storing salt and wood pellets.
- There is equipment from the fire wood processing business stored in the lower area near Ferry Road.
- There is a 500 gallon double walled diesel tank and a 500 gallon gas tank located near the office for personal and business use, but not for retail.
- They currently have 1 500 gallon propane tank on the property. They are proposing to place a 2nd 500 gallon propane tank on the property. They own and operate a bobtail tank truck (#16) that has a capacity to hold 2,600 gallons of propane and a bobtail tank (#11) that has a capacity to hold 3,000 gallons of propane. They may have up to 250 20lb (4 gallon) canisters. The maximum these tanks can be safely filled is 80%. The total proposed propane capacity was calculated to be about 6,200 gallons.
- The Applicants also own a bobtail tank truck (#14) that has a capacity to hold 2,600 gallons of propane which is currently not being used as it is not registered.
- The bobtail trucks are filled at Patterson Fuels in Richmond. The trucks fill, or would fill, the 500 gallon propane tanks and not vice versa.
- The Applicants stated that their septic permit is current, which includes a monitored Vantex system. There are bedrooms and a bathroom in the residence (trailer). The office has a bathroom.
- Employees have been trained to work with propane. The applicants have worked with the fire department on training to deal with a propane emergency.
- The applicants stated that they have a $5,000,000 insurance policy.
- There are no proposed changes to the existing utilities.
- There is a gate by the driveway near the lower bunker used to stop vehicular traffic from entering the property after hours and it can be padlocked. Concern was raised whether the propane tanks were an attractive nuisance.
- Parking is on either side of the drive between the upper work area and Ferry Road. They have had no problem with truck vehicle circulation on the property.
- The approved propane pump station use for filling of small tanks at 1 Ferry Road is not currently being used. Small tanks are exchanged at this location.
- The Boards and the Applicants discussed the multiple propane retail uses at 1 Ferry Road and also at 33 Ferry Road and possible ways to combine the uses. The Board and the Applicants discussed whether there should be a condition restricting the transferability of the business to another property owner. Applicants stated that the pump station located at 1 Ferry Road would be removed if the Applicants sold the business at that location.
- Glenn Ravdin introduced himself and said he is a resident of Davis Hill Road. A letter (exhibit #3) signed by him and 5 other residents had been provided to the Boards. He stated his concerns that the woods adjacent to property, which contain 13 residents, could catch fire in an accident. He said he originally thought 10,000 gallons of combined propane tanks were proposed, but is more accepting that only 1,000 gallons tanks are proposed. From the letter he raised/stated the following questions/comments:
- Ravdin asked how often do trucks enter and exit the property? The Applicants responded that the side loader is filled once or twice a week.
- Ravdin asked how often the tanks would be filled. The Applicants responded that the tanks are filled daily in morning and most of 400 gallons of propane is used to fill the cylinders at night to be sold the next day. The Applicants confirmed that the trucks are registered.
- Ravdin commented that if the propane on one of the trucks exploded the blast would affect anything within 500 feet.
- Ravdin asked if the Fire Department was able to contain with foam a propane fire. The Applicants responded that last fall they provided training for the local Fire Department on how to extinguish a propane tank fire. The exercise included igniting a 500 gallon propane tank.
- Ravdin asked if the Applicants have chemicals on site to available to stop propane fires. The Applicants responded that they have fire extinguishers which can extinguish propane fires. The Applicants stated they have fire extinguishers on the trucks, 6 in the buildings and 4 more on the exterior of the buildings. They keep fire extinguishers current and will be putting bags on the ones outside to protect the extinguishers from elements.
- Ravdin expressed concern regarding enforcement. Mitch Cypes explained the process.
- Ravdin commented that the 2 500 gallon propane tanks should not be allowed to be combined, because doing so would create a greater danger.
- Jim Baker expressed concerns regarding the visibility of the storage trailers currently parked in the drive near the Ferry Road boundary, that the trailers were not in the hearing warning; that there are a lot of tanks stored near Ferry Road; that the amount of propane use on the site will continue to increase; and that the business does not fit the character of the neighborhood. In response, the Applicants stated that they agree the usable area on the property is small, which is why they proposed to move to 15 Ferry Road or may move elsewhere. Jim Baker requested screening for the trucks and equipment that are stored close to Ferry Road
- Jim Baker stated that the Fire Marshall had jurisdiction to review the Applicants proposal.
7:00 p.m. Board Business:
E) Board members in attendance
- Delano, K. Goodwin, J. Fetsch, S. Corbin, G. Rice, A. Rabow, J. Baker (after 8:50 pm), T. Maxham (after 8:50 pm)
- None- Absent
F) All other active participants in the meeting
- Cypes – Zoning Administrator
- The Zoning Board hearing was called to order by Jan Fetsch, acting Chair at 7:03 p.m.
- Motion was made by Kent Goodwin, seconded by Jan Fetsch, to approve as written the March 11, 2015 minutes. All so voted to approve.
- Motion was made to adjourn the meeting by Sherry Corbin, seconded by Kent Goodwin at 9:20 PM. All so voted to approve.
- There were no adjustments to the agenda.
- There was no public input
- The minutes of the March 11, 2015 meeting were reviewed and discussed.
- Mitchel Cypes gave the Administrative Officer’s Report.
- There was discussion about what development work is administratively approvable. The example shown was a dormer which did not change the height of the structure or increase the footprint. It was determined that this was administratively approvable even though the structure was within the 75 ft setback from the lake. There was some discussion of whether or not a building permit was even needed as the current regulations don’t seem to have a complete definition of what constitutes a change to a structure.
- There are no new applications on the schedule. However there are possibly some coming soon.
- Mitchel Cypes has been asked to review a boundary line adjustment between 2 very small lots. This may end up in need of a hearing.
- Remedies may be back with a new request for a Conditional Use and Site Plan Review.
- The Blow family for a Final Subdivision Review
- Mr. Spies has a crane coming on Thursday, March 19th to move the conforming building from the beach to a trailer. The doll house was not moved by March 15th as per an agreement reached at the Zoning hearing. It was surmised that the building may be frozen in place at this time and hence not moveable. There was also an issue with the South Hero Road Department when Mr. Spies had some fill delivered, which was dumped, at least partially, on the town road.
- The Zoning Board had asked for a draft of the Town Plan to be made available prior to the March 30th Fifth Monday Meeting. A draft version was sent to all ZBA members on Wednesday, March 18th.
- The sign regulations were reviewed. The consensus was that sign permits were not required for internal signs and new permits were not required for changes to existing signs.
- There was consensus that a permit was not required for reconstruction of a building in kind, which would be considered maintenance
Tim Maxham, Chair Paula Delano, Clerk