SOUTH HERO ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT DRAFT MINUTES
May 11, 2016
Members Present: T. Maxham (Chair); K. Goodwin; J. Fetsch; R. Brown; S. Corbin
Members Absent: P. Delano; J. Baker
Public Present: Christopher and Una Ro (Applicants for Variance); Michelle Godwin (Landowner of 308 US Rt 2); Christine Mack (Applicant for Change of Use); Naomi King; Hobart Tracy; Cynthia Spence; Kate Laud; Bill Demming; Martha Taylor-Varney, ZA
7:32PM – T. Maxham called the meeting to order. He noted that with 4 members present (as of 7:30) they had a quorum.
Additions/Deletions to the Agenda
7:33PM – Reconvene from April 13: 16-32-LE028Z: Christopher and Una Ro Request for Variance to build a garage within the setback at 28 Lands End Way
The warning was read and introductions made. Interested persons remained sworn-in from previous 3 hearings (3/9/16, 3/23/16, and 4/13/16). T. Maxham asked the Ro’s if, since there were only 4 members of the Board present, they wanted to come back at a later date when there may be more members there. S. Corbin arrived at 7:45. With 5 members present it was decided to continue.
The hearing was re-opened for an update from the Ro’s. Christopher Ro presented to the Board an updated site plan showing a proposed 12’ x 24’ garage, placed on the front of the home to the left of the front porch, with a 7’ x 15’ addition on the south side for storage. The southeast wall of the addition is parallel to the ROW with a 2-ft. clearance, forming an angled wall from the corner of the garage to the south-side wall.
-J. Fetsch was concerned the garage was too close to the leach field which could be damaged during construction. The Applicants said they would be aware.
–K. Goodwin noted the location of the ROW on the site plan showed the 25-ft measurement was from the back property line, not the edge of the ROW, making the southeast corner of the proposed garage only 1-ft. from the ROW.
–S. Corbin asked what the minimum length of the garage could be. Christopher Ro stated 22’. She reminded them that any variance authorized would represent the minimum variance and the least deviation from the Regulations. The Applicant stated that decreasing the length to 22’ would increase the distance from the ROW.
–T. Maxham reminded the Applicants that measurements need to be from the edge of the overhang/drip-line, not from the foundation. The Applicants request for a 24’-long garage would actually be 23’ and that they are asking for a variance where there is almost no room.
–T. Maxham asked Bill Deming (abutter to the south) if 18’ was too close to his property line. Mr. Demming said he was okay with that; he is more concerned with the front of the garage and its distance from the driveway.
8:00PM – J. Fetsch moved to enter the Site Plan presented by the Applicants as Exhibit #1; K. Goodwin 2nd. All in favor.
- Maxham explained the stipulations to the Ro’s concerning the distance to the ROW; that measurements are from the overhang of the structure; the specific size of the garage to meet a variance. The Board has 45 days to give the Ro’s their decision. Christopher Ro stated that it had all been a learning experience and he thanked the Board for their patience.
8:02PM – T. Maxham closed the hearing.
[*The ZA will write the document’s submittals and findings-of-fact, and J. Fetsch will write the Conditions or the Board to consider.]
8:03PM – 16-45-RT308Z – Christine Mack: Request for Change of Use to replace Remedies Pharmacy with an 18-Seat Café
The warning was read, introductions made, and interested persons sworn in. T. Maxham opened the hearing.
Christine Mack explained to the Board that she was proposing an 18-seat café, to be called Cook Sisters Café and Catering, in the space currently occupied by Remedies Pharmacy. She would be serving mainly lunch, dinner to go, perhaps breakfast to go, and occasional private dinners, food and wine tasting and cooking classes. She will utilize the existing kitchen and the seating area will be in the current Pharmacy space. An outdoor deck located at the rear of the building, when in use, would be included in the 18-seat capacity. The entrance to the café will be in the back of the building, from the parking lot. Christine proposes 10AM to 8PM for her hours of operation. The change of use will only be for the downstairs of the building. The second floor continues to be utilized as professional use (South Hero Land Trust; and physical therapy office, with occasional evening yoga classes). By Jay Buermann’s estimate in his Planning and Zoning Specs, there are adequate parking spaces for the entire building to meet the requirements of the change of use.
–J. Fetsch questioned the number of parking spaces available and if they would indeed be enough. S. Corbin felt that the change of use should be for the entire building, not just the first floor, since the available parking spaces diminish the use of the upstairs offices. R. Brown noted the specs state “no combination of uses to exceed 11 spaces.” T. Maxham asked about available space for Monday night Board meetings for the South Hero Land Trust. Christine said she planned to close at 7PM on Mondays. Michelle Godwin told the Board that the large shed shown on the site plan had been removed and the smaller shed moved back 20’ (and could be moved further if necessary). She said she could add 4 additional parking spaces to the current area for a total of 15.
-Hours of operation on the application are shown to be 10AM to 8PM. Current approved hours are 9AM to 9PM. The Board recommended staying with the current hours, allowing for additional time should she decide to serve breakfast or to accommodate the occasional private dinners.
–J. Fetsch asked about the number of signs. Christine state that she will maintain the same number but may have a slightly larger sign than the current Remedies sign for her café. This will require a separate permit and approval by the Zoning Administrator. There is already a previously-approved variance for the location of the sign within the setbacks from an earlier Conditional Use approval.
–T. Maxham voiced his concerns that previous Conditional Use approvals in the same area as this location had still had problems related to numbers of cars, parking in the breakdown lane of Rt 2, and other issues resulting in larger numbers of people and amounts of traffic. He stated that the conditions of approval for this application would need to be very detailed to regulate how the site can be used, specifying that parking use can only be in the back and none in the front. Michelle Godwin agreed that that was a concern for her, too. S. Corbin was concerned that people may want to park in front when they’re running in to pick up take-out instead of using the designated parking area.
–R. Brown asked how many meals/day would be served? Michelle stated that they were limited by the size of the building, the septic capacity, and the Health Dept. These criteria were septic-based. Ross was also concerned about the number of cars should there be people waiting to be seated, and supported adding to the number of current parking spaces.
–S. Corbin recommended to the Applicant to ask for the most she could ever want, reducing the chance that future possible changes (such as increased hours) would need a revision from the ZBA. Christine agreed to stay with the current approved operating hours of 9AM to 9PM.
-Hearing Public Input:
Naomi King stated that Christine had a lot of support. She stated that since the entrance is in the back, there be a sign saying “Parking and Entrance in rear” directing all traffic to the rear of the building to prevent parking in front. Christine stated she planned to do that; Michelle reminded the Board that that was already a condition of the previous approval for Remedies Pharmacy. Cindy Spence said she would love to see Christine do this.
Michelle Godwin stated they wanted to create a welcoming place for people to meet, and would be a benefit to the Town. She stated it would be a positive use of the building.
8:40PM – T. Maxham closed the hearing.
[*The ZA will write the document’s submittals and findings-of-fact, and R. Brown will write the Conditions or the Board to consider.]
There was none.
- Fletsch moved to accept the corrected minutes from the April 13, 2016 ZBA meeting; R. Brown second. All in favor.
Administrative Officer’s Report
- The ZA informed the Board that the VLCT Spring Planning and Zoning Forum will be held on June 15, 2016 at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, VT.
- The June ZBA meeting will be a joint hearing with the Planning Commission for a Site Plan and Conditional Use Review for Island Physical Therapy. This will replace the regular June 8 ZBA meeting and will start at 7PM rather than 7:30. The ZA will send reminders to all ZBA members of the date/time change.
- Date TBA – There will be a training session held jointly with the Planning Commission to be given by NRPC. These sessions are recommended as a brush-up for longtime members and an introduction to required procedure for new members. NRPC conducts these sessions for member Towns in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties as a part of their responsibilities to their members.
8:49PM – T. Maxham closed the meeting.
8:50PM – S. Corbin moved to enter deliberative; J. Fetsch second. All in favor.
Martha Taylor-Varney, Zoning Administrator
Signed: ____________________________________________ Date: ___________________________
For the Board
These minutes are unofficial until approved at the next regularly-scheduled meeting. All motions were unanimous unless otherwise indicated.