Planning Commission Meeting Minutes 1.19.23



Minutes of Meeting – Thursday January 19, 2023

Members Present: Garret Siegel, John Williams, Tom Williams, Jane Jenkins, Michael Murno, Joan Nash (Land Use Administrator), Nick Zaiac (Town Administrator).

Attendance Formats: Town Hall, Zoom Video Conferencing or Phone

Other Attendees: Chris La Croix, Kimberly Barnes, Rick Baum

The meeting was called to order at 7:08 pm by Chairman Garret Siegel.

The minutes of the December meeting were approved unanimously as revised.

Public Comments Unrelated to the Agenda

There were no public comments.

New Business

  1. Rick Baum of the Arlington Animal Hospital presented an overview of three potential concept alternatives to the proposed site plan and goals. The first concept shows an expansion of the existing building, incorporating a drop off area in front of the building. Since the Twin Brooks Property was purchased, a parking lot is provided to the west within both the residential and commercial zones. One or two walkway bridges spanning the brook to a new hospital entrance on the backside of the building would be required for access. Limitations to this concept were discussed including potential problems with getting ZBA approval for a parking lot in the residential zone for a commercial building. After some consideration this didn’t seem to be an unsurmountable problem as parking areas exist for the residents of the condominium complex. Other limitations discussed were the potential confusion of the parking lot location, the steepness of the area on which the parking lot is proposed, cost for the bridge(s) and the fact that it does not correct the current building deficiencies. There was some discussion about constructing a culvert upon which the parking lot could be constructed, thus eliminating the cost for the bridge(s). It was concluded that this option has merit, subject to cost and the factors mentioned above.

The second concept discussed was the construction of a new building to the west and behind the existing building, demolition of the existing building and the construction of a larger parking lot fronting on Rte. 7A with a separate entrance and exit lane. The new building would straddle the residential and commercial zone boundary line. This alternative was discussed at length, including the potential to relocate the zone boundary line so that the new building would be totally in the commercial zone. Although the construction of a new building would solve the existing structural deficiencies associated with the existing building, APC thought it would be difficult to convince the ZBA of a zoning change. In addition, it was felt that a larger parking lot fronting on Rte. 7A would have the strip mall type appearance not consistent with the character of the Town. It was concluded that this option was the most problematic and was discarded from further consideration.

The third concept discussed was the construction of a new building south of the existing building, demolition of the existing structure, construction of a larger parking lot in the location of the demolished structure, relocation of the Twin Brooks driveway to accommodate the new building location, and the construction of an overflow parking lot to the west and behind the proposed building. This option would require the use of the existing property south of the existing building. This option was also discussed at length and compared to the first one. As a result, a hybrid of the first and third alternative became evident. The hybrid discussed consisted of centering the new building in the between its existing location and the property to the south, while keeping the building within the commercial zone. This would not require the existing Twin Brooks driveway to be relocated. It would also maintain the parking lot concept as in the first option behind the new building. It was felt that this concept would be more in character with the Town in that the strip mall appearance would be avoided and new parking area could be screened from the highway. One of the neighbors thought that screening the parking area would invite undesirables to the area. APC suggested that low level lighting and security cameras would solve that problem.

Rick Baum thanked the APC for their input and will approach his architects with our suggestions. Rick will then return with a potential site plan.

Next, Kimberly Barnes discussed her sawmill operation at 3383 Vt. Rte. 313W as a base of operations for a firewood business. She explained that a log delivery truck parks on Rte. 313 at the northwest corner of her property and deposits the logs in the vicinity of the shelter where the processing equipment is housed. John Williams stated that he has viewed that location from the road and stated that the logs are too close to the road; they should be placed so that the edge of the road to the edge of the log measures 50 feet adhering to the 50 feet setback required by Arlington’s Bylaw. John also pointed out that the setbacks shown on the plan are not properly depicted. For example, there should be a dimension arrow between the edge line of the wetland to the pile of split logs shown on the site plan. It was also pointed out that the truck parked on Rte. 313 for delivery is probably illegal. Clearance with the state as well as the ZBA must be secured in the future for such activity. Kimberly explained that the truck is parked for about 10 minutes maximum. She also explained that it doesn’t seem possible that the delivery truck can place the logs 50 feet setback from the edge of the road. The truck picks the logs off the truck by means of a boom, which has a limited reach.

The discussion then focused on the gravel driveway shown on the plan. Kimberly suggested that in lieu of the truck parking on Rte. 313, the driveway can be used for delivery. John Williams pointed out that the driveway shown may in fact not be an approved state driveway location as there is a large drop off from the road at that location, in addition the geometry of the driveway may be inadequate to allow trucks to enter and exit to and from a state highway without obstructing the opposing lane. The APC instructed Kimberly that she would have to get state approval from the state regarding the legality and geometry requirement of the driveway before a permit is issued. Kimberly’s husband joined the meeting to be brought up to date on the proceedings to this point. He agreed with what needed to be done and what he would have to do to make the business more accessible and operational from the existing driveway location. The logs would be deposited on the property in the vicinity of the driveway and transported by him to the processing unit. To do this, he recognized that he would have to purchase additional heavy equipment to move the logs. He also recognized that he would have to turn the equipment around in the processing shed to receive the logs from the driveway side. APC strongly advised Kimberly and her husband to get state approval before proceeding with the alterations. They agreed and will return at a future date, pending approval, with a revised site plan showing the approved operation. For their convenience, The LUA provided state office location at 359 Bowen Road in Bennington, Vt.

Old Business

  1. As Janet Hurley was not present to go over revisions to the Bylaw, the review was postponed till our next meeting in February. Both John Williams and Garret Siegel pointed out revisions in the Bylaw in Section 4 that were previously approved yet revised again. It was agreed that Section 4 needed further review to ascertain the revisions and that Section 5 also needed further review. It was agreed to review these sections and to be prepared to discuss them at our next meeting. Garret requested that APC send him comments on Sections 4 and 5.

As there was no further business, Michael Murno made a motion to adjourn; seconded by Jane Jenkins. Motion carried and the meeting adjourned at 10:14 pm.

The next APC meeting will be held on February 23 at 7:00 pm.

Respectfully Submitted By Michael Murno

Land Use Administrator’s Report for APC meeting of 1/19/2023

Date range: 12/14/2022 – 1/17/2023

Permits issued

No new permits issued

Permits Pending APC

3358   BARNES, KIMBERLY                     3383 VT Route 313 West   R         03-3-02                      Base of Operations, waiting on approval

3359   BARNES, KIMBERLY                     3383 VT Route 313 West   R         03-3-02                      Sign permit, waiting on approval

Permits Pending ZBA Decision

3360   WHITE, STEPHEN                          57 VT Route 7A                   R         09-3-01                      Accessory building, back setback variance

3362   ARLINGTON COMMON            3960 VT Route 7A                  VR      16-1-04                      New building discussion

            (Arlington Arts and Enrichment)

3354    Big Big, LLC                                    5827 VT Route 313 West   R         01-1-10                      Base of Operations

Violation letters:

TSCHORN, DOUGLAS & NANCY           3351 VT Route 313 West   R         03-3-03                      Operating Kayak business w/o permit

Tenant: Josh Enzensperger                       3353 VT Route 313 West   R         03-3-03                      1/17/23 Letter to confirm no longer doing business

No Compliance Letters Issued for the period

For February 2023 APC Meeting:



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