Planning Commission Meeting Minutes 9.24.20



Minutes of Meeting – Thursday September 24, 2020

Members Present: Chairman John Williams, Chis Heins, Charles Moore, Elliott Nachwalter, Garret Siegel, Michael Murno, and Bill Henry (Land Use Administrator)

Attendance Formats: Town Hall, Video Conferencing or Phone

Other Attendees:

Ali Elwell Zaiac

Denise Monte, Village Peddler

Dr. Joshua Sherman

Brandon Hodges

  1. The meeting was called to order at 7:04 pm by Chairman John Williams.
  • The minutes of the Sept 10, 2020 meeting were reviewed, and corrected prior to this meeting. The minutes were approved and accepted.
  • This meeting is a continuation of a review of the site plan and building modifications to 348 Old Mill Road, East Arlington, Vt. 05250. The building is in the commercial residential district and as it is being used commercially; it requires Planning Commission approval. Participation in the meeting is required in order to be heard at any future appeal.
  • Dr. Sherman stated that at the last meeting he was tasked with resolving four issues. With regard to issue 1, building in the floodway, he presented the data on the Elevation Certificate (EC) prepared by Ryan Downey in 2016 and stated that the document establishes that the property is not in the floodway. Dr. Sherman went on to explain the entries in the certificate; entry B9 puts the base flood elevation at 756.75, line C2. (f) places the lowest adjacent finished grade next to the building at 758.7. This data shows the building is not in the floodway. He then referred to his email to John Broker Campbell (JBC), Regional Floodplain Manager, Department of Environmental Conservation, State of Vermont dated September 23, 2020 and stated that “The property value at 348 Old Mill Road (as assessed by the town) is $27,500. The improvements to the building will be more that 50 percent of its current value. However, because of the building’s elevation, it is compliant.” JBC confirmed that the building is compliant in an email dated September 24, 2020 and stated “I will encourage the town to request an upgraded EC to ensure that no modifications occurred during construction to (unintentionally) make a non-compliant structure.” John Williams requested clarification from JBC about what he meant about a revised certificate. Chris Heins explained that JBC wants a revised EC after the construction is completed to verify that the building remains compliant. At this point Dr. Sherman requested conditional approval contingent upon final construction and continued floodway compliance.

With regard to Issue 2, substantial improvement, yes, the improvements represent a substantial improvement but since the building is compliant, this is a moot point. Michael Murno reminded Dr. Sherman that although the building is currently compliant, the revised EC upon completion of construction will establish whether the building remains compliant.

With regard to Issue 3, an updated the site plan to show the extent of the

planned modifications within the floodway. It is already established that the building is not in the floodway and the planned improvements do not encroach on it. John Williams asked if the engineer explained why the floodway changed. Chris Heins explained that the flood hazard map is computed from an algorithm created from another map and variations do occur. The true floodway migrates due to obstacles and high points. These variations cannot be accurately defined by the algorithm in 2 dimensions. 3D modeling is much more accurate.  Garret questioned whether there are wetlands to be concerned about. Chis Heins stated that he is familiar with this area; the soil is granular and the slopes are steep. These conditions do not support wetlands. William Henry stated that the area is not wetlands.

With regard to Issue 4, The need to respond to parking requirements (Section 7.5), for the site plan checklist review (Section 8.6), and performance standards review (Section 6.8), Dr. Sherman stated that the lot is large enough to support the required number of parking spaces and if it becomes an issue, overflow parking is available at the adjacent buildings. John Williams wants the site plan revised to show the parking spaces and the aisles necessary to access those spaces. Dr. Sherman is glad to provide a revised site plan showing proposed parking. Chris asked how many employees would there be. Dr. Sherman explained that because of the pandemic, it is uncertain how many employees would return to a work environment (rather than work from home). He anticipates the business manager, subscription/distribution manager and graphic design personnel would work from the office; he estimates this group to be approximately 6 to 8 people.

Denise Monte stated that each building needs its own parking; relying on overflow parking at other building, deprives people at those buildings parking spaces and creates a domino effect. Dr. Sherman stated that the parking lot at 348 Old Mill Road and the parking lot west of 288 Old Mill Road (which Dr. Sherman suggested for overflow parking) are privately owned by Dr. Sherman’s company. Ms. Monte confirmed that his statement was correct. Dr. Sherman stated that ideas for additional parking will be provided as necessary.

.  There is also a known problem of storm water flowing down on the adjacent properties. It was noted that the town has a storm drain project that will address that issue.

Denise Monte mentioned the Remember Baker Memorial on site and questioned access to it and parking availability. Dr. Sherman stated that it is a public memorial that his team maintains for the town. The memorial faces the roadside, and it is accessible to the public there. There is no legally-required or designated parking for the memorial. There was some discussion that there was supposed to be parking at the roadside. Parking is not an issue there. Garret asked if there will be designated supplemental parking; the response was no.

Regarding responses to all items of performance (landscaping and lighting); there will be no trees. For lighting, there are motion sensors already in place, not steady burn lights because of the proximity to residences. A question of whether there will be vestibule lighting came up and Dr. Sherman responded that they will be similar to those at the mill; nothing fancy.  Chris Heins requested a lighting location layout with the wattages designated. John Williams added that they can be shown in plan view only.

Dr. Sherman requested conditional approval since he wants to move the plan forward as soon as possible to avoid further delay.  Chris Heins said a motion for conditional approval was premature as there is still a lot to be done to the plans. Dr. Sherman stated that he addressed the 4 points he was tasked with at the previous meeting and requested that conditional approval be reconsidered. Since this application needs to go before the ZBA (October 14) and there is lead time until then, the following motion was made by Chris Heins. 1. The application must include available parking spaces added to the site plan and other important elements on the checklist in Section 8.6 and 2. Add that a confirmation was received from JBC that all improvements are subject to floodway construction requirements. Elliott seconded the motion and the motion was approved.

John Williams asked Bill Henry if he was going to schedule a ZBA meeting per Section 7.12.3.a and if so, when did he need a revised site plan. There was some discussion on whether this was a change of use, but in the end we decided that the reconstruction would require ZBA approval. Bill decided to schedule a meeting on October 14, so the required site plan would be ready to support that meeting.


September 23, 2020          

           Activity since last reported on July 22, 2020:                        

            Zoning permits issued:

#3233 – Henry and Kathleen Hall, 2636 VT Route 313 West, Rural District, minor subdivision, final plat approved by the Planning Commission.

#3234 – Roger and Anne Cooper, 1346 E. Arlington Road, Village-Residential District, two sheds reconstructed and a new greenhouse, approved by the ZBA.

#3235 – Margaret and Albert Godreau, 519 Berwal Road, Rural District, new greenhouse.

#3236 – Travis Hess, 180 Gordon’s Way, Rural District, new two car garage.

#3237 – John Whalen, Hale Road/Buck Hill, Rural District, Boundary Line Adjustment.

#3239 – Matthew Broomhall, 0 River Road, Rural District, new residence.

#3241 – Anna Rockwell, 938 Tory Lane, Rural District, new garage.

#3243 – Grace Seventko, Emmaus Road, Lot 5, Rural District, new residence.

Zoning permits pending:

#3210 – 780 UBU Lane, LLC (Owner), Old Depot Road, Rural District, change of use of residential barn to commercial activities. Requires Bylaw change. No current activity.

#3219 – Shane Leland, 855 Butternut Gutter, Rural District, new residence on existing property, pending completed documentation. No current activity.

#3229 – David Watkins/ Mary Anne Holmes, 1456 River Road, Rural District, new residence, pending FEMA approval of fill and receipt of State Water Supply and Wastewater Permit.

#3233 – Henry and Kathleen Hall, 2636 VT Route 313 West, minor subdivision pending final plat approval from the Planning Commission.

#3238 – Arlington Rescue Squad, 66 Chittenden Drive, two sleeping sheds, pending Planning Commission site plan review, evaluation of septic by a Licensed Designer and ZBA variance review for setbacks.

#3240 – Eugene Cronin, 1268 Berwal Road, new garage, in process.

#3242 – Joshua Sherman, 438 Old Mill Road, pending Planning Commission site plan review and ZBA conditional use review.

#3244 – Daniel Wood, 112 Gingerbread Hill Road, house addition, pending review of septic capacity.

Zoning compliance letters issued:

            1471 Black Hollow Rd, Forest-Recreation District

            1023 East Arlington Rd., Village-Residential District

            124 High Pine Drive, Rural District

            William G. Henry, Land Use Administrator

Meeting was adjourned at 8:15 pm.  Our next meeting will be on Thursday

October 22, 2020 at 7:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted Michael Murno

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