Town of Buxton Planning Board
Monday, November 10, 2008 at 7 pm
Recorded by Hilda Lynch
Board Members Present: David Savage, Sr.; Jeremiah Ross, III; Keith Emery; Harry Kavouksorian; James Logan
Board Members Absent: Emily Walsh, David Anderson
Others Present: Robert Lowell, Patsy Leavitt, Pat Leavitt, and Larry Oliva.
Chairman Harry Kavouksorian called the November 10, 2008, meeting of the Buxton Planning Board to order at 7 p.m.
Patricia Leavitt of PMT Properties, LLC, is requesting to expand the existing Business/Commercial Zone back to the property line of Tax Map 8, Lot 20A.
Patricia Leavitt spoke about her sole ownership of the PMT Properties, LLC. She has recently placed under contract, Tax Map 8, Lot 20A. Currently, the lot is half business/commercial zone and the back half is rural zoning. The thought she has is that this is a piece of property, which could contribute over the long haul to the economic growth of the community. She foresees this being useful for small business development. In order to do that, she is proposing moving the business/commercial line back to the property line. The copies of the map the Board has are all in dark colors, so she clarified what they were seeing. Business/commercial zoning goes back 500 ft. They have talked with the other business owners in this
clump of businesses. They’ve supplied a letter from Rt. 202 Trailer Sales. She supplied a copy of the letter from Dearborn in support of this idea this evening. She thought this would lend some consistency to what is happening in the area. They’d like to see it grow carefully and thoughtfully. Harry asked if they had any businesses interested in this area. Patricia said that they’re just starting the process and have come before the Board as a first step. Harry said that zoning changes generally go to the Selectmen and then before the Town meeting. The Planning Board can recommend this. Keith thought they needed to come up with numbers.
David S asked if the abutters on Pheasant and Partridge Dr. have been notified. Patricia said it was the very beginning of the process so she’s not sure that any formal notice has gone out. Harry didn’t think a notice would go out before the public hearing. Jim said that he thought it would be important to get input from the residents. Jere asked if she owned it currently, and she said it was under contract. Jere said he noticed that all of it had been clear-cut. Patricia stated that she owned the timber rights to the property and that she has selectively cut some of it. He would like to see input from the residential abutters. He is curious to know how they’d get to this back land. She hasn’t answered these questions yet. She is doing some surveying but they haven’t made any decisions yet. Jim asked if they were having a land survey done, and Patricia said they were. Jere has some concerns about zoning being changed for one owner. It is spot zoning and
generally not a good planning practice to do. He isn’t sure of the legalities. He’d like to see something from the property owner of 20-1 and other residents.
Pat Leavitt (Patricia’s husband) spoke about his familiarity with the property. He says the Town doesn’t know where the property lines are, who owns what, etc. He’s been through this with the Town. He’s agreed to straighten it out for them, which is why he’s having the survey done. If you go up Atkinson and take a right on Pheasant, the right of way past those houses is really incorrect. He met with a resident today. That portion does not lend itself well to commercial use. The residents were concerned that if the trees were cut they would be looking at the back of Aceto’s and Dearborn’s. They aren’t pursuing that part as part of the zoning change. Jim suggested they leave that area as a buffer and not request that as a
zone change. Pat said the Town’s records are wrong. There is no right of way. It’s an estate right now, and they are trying to get a feel for it this evening. He doesn’t think it is the best thing for the Town to leave the zoning the way it is. Jere mentioned on his Lot 36-2 that since some land has been cleared, he could see lights and vehicles from 202 Trailer Sales. He hears more road noise and noise from Dearborn equipment. This cutting has impacted some of the residences in back. From another resident’s house, there are no trees left; it is completely cut, Jere says. Pat said there are some trees left. Jim said there doesn’t have to be many trees left. Jim says he can see why they’re looking at this property as commercial. There was some question about access. Jim said there is access to Route 202. His concern is re-zoning right up to the residential lots. He would suggest that the line
not go right to the residential area. Jim showed them on the map where he thought the line should be on the map. Jere mentioned a large wet area towards 202 Trailer Sales. The rest of the frontage provides a way into the back of this area, Jim stated. He thinks the justification makes sense. Jim recommends doing a little more resource work – determining where the wetlands are and things like that. Patricia didn’t see today’s conversation getting into too many of the details. She liked Jim’s suggestion about squaring off the property.
Jim asked for Fred’s input. Fred thinks that this would be an extension of an already existing business/commercial area. It’s not a new zone. In consideration of the road frontage, the existing lots go back 1000 ft., and the commercial zone is basically 500 ft. It makes it a little restrictive. He thinks it would be good to get continuity. There are other businesses on Justin Merrill Rd. Ira Stockwell is in the commercial zone. Then, the residential district continues on the other side of Justin Merrill Rd.
Keith doesn’t see it as being adjusted for just one landowner. All of the existing back lots would be converted. Jim pointed out a line on the map for Patricia. Keith said it could be squared so easier to explain to the public. Jere would like to say that regardless of the process it would be voted on by the townspeople. Patricia understands that. Most likely, the vote would come in June, Keith stated.
Harry asked if Board members would like to see anything more of a plan. Keith thought that once the survey was done, that might be helpful. Pat believes the survey is off various footages in different areas. Jere would be more inclined to border along Lot 20A-33 – to extend that line back and make that area a box. Jere pointed out his ideas on the map to the Leavitt’s. Pat thought this would accommodate some nice small business. They aren’t sure of the size of the parcel. Jim mentioned that the amount of acreage would show on the survey, exactly what they’re looking for as a zone change. He thought it would be nice to know some of the wetlands, topography, etc. Pat said they’re trying to keep their costs down right now. Jim felt the vote would be more favorable with more info for the Town.
Patricia said that maybe a couple of options would be beneficial. Is this the place where they should come back? Jere said that if the Board recommends the zone change, then they would put it on the ballot in June. If they didn’t recommend it, they would have to get a petition with 10 percent of the voters in the last gubernatorial election signing. Harry believes they should bring back the survey, and they can discuss the merits of the plan and make a determination whether they would recommend it or not. Patricia clarified that it would be pending for now. Keith believes she should keep in mind that speed is necessary in case they need to get a petition going. Jere mentioned checking with John Meyers about the dates that petitions
would have to be in. Jere thinks it is near the middle of March. Some Board members would like to see a little better map. She appreciates the Board’s time and their considerations and questions. The Board will leave the process open. Information has to be in the Monday before the Board meetings. Jere mentioned the Board only meets once in December.
Discussion of the Blueberry Ridge subdivision located off Church Hill and Webster Road; Tax Map 7, Lot 30.
Bill Thompson, Project Manager, from BH2M, spoke about the Blueberry Ridge Subdivision. Property owner Stephen Joffe is also in attendance and requesting. another site walk since a lot of time has elapsed since the prior site walk. Some things have come out of the joint meetings with Gorham. He’s provided another plan, which he illustrated. The other part of the subdivision does come into Gorham, which the Gorham Planning Board liked. They’ve moved the entrance road down the Church Hill Rd. and would come out the Webster Rd. He thinks the changes add a lot more character. The lot sizes are roughly an acre; they exceed the minimum cluster requirements. More test pits will be done for the new lots indicating the septic
locations. The entrance was pulled down 400 ft. or so, and the location off the Webster Rd hasn’t changed. There would be 22 lots in Gorham and 7 lots in Buxton.
Jim asked about the density calculations, and he believes the numbers do look right for seven lots. The seven lots come under cluster subdivision for Buxton, reducing to 40,000 sq. ft. per lot. Jim read Section 11.6.B.6. He’d like to see a computation. Bill mentioned they have 15 acres of open space for the Buxton part. Lot B-7 – Jim asked Fred if this will be covered under the 40,000 contiguous square ft. Jim says that when the buffer is looked at with protections, take out the wetland area, he believes that it might be less than 40,000 square ft. of useable area. Bill asked if the ordinance asked if it were useable or upland. Jim believes that it is “build able.” The definition is on page 2-3. There are two
conditions Fred read. Jim asked if Fred was comfortable with the way the lot is set up now. Fred said he was. Jim stated that they have test pits on that lot. Jim doesn’t think these would apply anyway. He thought it looked like an awfully small lot. Jim asked for at the last meeting that well exclusion zones might be indicated—where wells could go in relation to the septic. Once they get a design of each lot, Bill says this will be totally updated. Was the area of the detention pond deducted from the net calculations? Jim asked. This is a question for Fred. Jim says it’s a “head scratcher” to him that they would give credit for land area for housing that wasn’t able to be housing. Bill says it wasn’t there originally; it’s part of the improvements to meet the storm water rules.
David S asked if they requested a position for where the wells would be. Bill said they would update this based on the nitrate analysis. David S asked about test pits for 5 and 6 and 2. They could have them done this week, so they could have a site walk. He thinks the soils are all consistent so doesn’t see any issues.
Jere would like to see some documentation on an agreement for the common space. Bill says there will be a homeowners’ association. Jere referred to Section 11.6.C through 11.6.C.7... There would need to be a performance guarantee. He asked about fire prevention. Others commented on the buildings being sprinkled. He asked about road names. Bill said he thinks they’ll have names for the streets from Gorham tomorrow. They’ll submit it to Buxton to make sure it doesn’t overlap with any current ones. Bill has written a letter to public works, solid waste, the fire chief and the school department.
Keith mentioned that the fire and police depts. would give them the mutual aid agreement between the two towns. The public works will be an issue, Keith believes, because it will cause some problems with plowing. He described how he would plow it now—coming in off Webster. Keith talked to the Road Commissioner this morning. Jere said that if it were an approved road by the Town, then the Town would plow. Keith asked about an alternate phase of the building—come in Webster and go out Churchill. Bill said they’re still talking about phases and asked if the two towns would alternate plowing. Harry asked if they needed some kind of documentation, and Keith stated that they absolutely would.
Harry asked if the Board had enough info to set a site walk.
The Daisy Lane right of way – David S wanted to know if that could be developed. Bill said it would be very expensive to do anything there. Bill doesn’t think anything would ever be built there.
Jere counts nine lots counting the open space lots in Buxton. Keith believes the open space has to be a lot number. Bill said it has to for assessment purposes. He doesn’t believe they are counted for this development purpose. Jim agrees. Jere mentioned a lot of record but one couldn’t build on them. Keith mentioned a problem they’d had in a prior year. Jim says “remaining land” would need a lot number but “open space” wouldn’t. Jere asked if they were in agreement that there were seven lots. The application says eight lots. The original says eight, Jim clarifies, but their most recent correspondence says that it is seven. Jim asked what permits they were seeking. A site location application is being done,
Bill says. Submission will probably be done in January and then in early summer it would come out. Jim asked if Bill thought the Town of Gorham would condition the approval on the site application, and Bill thought they would. Jim asked if the Buxton Board could condition their approval based on their site application acceptance. There was some discussion about some wetlands on the Gorham piece. Jim asked if they had downgraded to a Tier One, and Bill said they had. He said Inland Fisheries and Wildlife had already looked at it. There’s a little finger of forested wetland on the Buxton piece, Bill said. Jim asked about footpaths. Bill said there’s nothing proposed, but they have passive open space so homeowners could develop what they wanted.
- Motioned by Keith, seconded Jim, to hold a Site walk on Sunday, November 16, 2008, at 1 p.m. for the Blueberry Ridge Subdivision. All voted in favor.
Bill asked what they’d like to see. The Board would like to walk all the way through. They’ll have the lots and road staked out. Steve Joffe said they could park in the driveway of the farmhouse, and he’d meet them there.
SMRPC has started to work on the zoning maps revision. They’re going to try and have a written description of each zone as well as what will be applied on the maps.
Approval of Minutes: October 27, 2008
Under additional conditions for Jeanette Dodge, an additional condition would be her State license. This should be included in the Findings.
- Jere motioned, Keith seconded, to approve the minutes for October 27, 2008, as amended. Four voted in favor, Jim abstained, as he was absent.
Approval of Bills: No bills.
Shoreland Zoning Newsletter – the Board is having a shoreland zoning workshop on the 17th of November. Caroline Segalla and J.T. Lockman from SMRPC will attend. The Board encourages members of the public to attend as some changes may have an impact on landowners.
Sign findings for the following:
Katherine Cady – change the back page as Keith is listed as Chairman
- Jere motioned, Keith seconded, to approve the Findings of Fact with the name of the chairman corrected. Five voted in favor.
Gloria Steiger –
- Keith motioned, Jere seconded, to approve the Findings of Fact for Gloria Steiger. Four in favor; Jim abstaining.
Jeanette Dodge – see note for correction in minute’s approval – letter from DHHS stating she
has a valid license to be added as a condition.
- Jere motioned, David S seconded, to approve the Findings of Fact with the amendment of No. 8 that Jeanette Dodge has a daycare license. Four in favor; Jim abstaining.
- Jere motioned, seconded by Keith, for a Conditional Use Permit for an in home daycare for Jerice Goulet. Four in favor; Jim abstaining.
- Keith motioned, seconded by Harry, to approve the Findings of Fact for Deborah Cote. Four in favor; Jim abstaining.
Discussion of proposed ordinance changes:
Jere asked the Chairman to look at the Sherburne County kennel ordinance. Jere mentioned that they differentiate between private and commercial kennels as stated on page 2 with a change in the number of dogs. Jere thought there were some pretty good things in the ordinance, i.e., on page 2, paragraph A, line 2, 500 ft. vs. 100 ft in Buxton. Jim says he doesn’t think they want to accept this in its entirety. It was agreed that they liked parts of it. Keith likes the minimum of two and a half acres for animals. Jim thinks it does a good job describing the difference between private and commercial. He thinks they may also suggest different standards need to be created. He mentions no more than 40 dogs – would limit the
largest kennel. This might be something they’d want to change. Jim thought this was a good discussion they would want to have. They would move slowly unless some emergency presented. Harry likes the requirement to submit an operational plan. Keith thought they should pick this apart on their own. Jere mentions page 3, paragraph B, refers to unannounced annual inspections. Jere thinks they should go home and pick this apart to clarify the things they’d like. Jere believes that barking dogs is more of a civil issue to be dealt with by the Animal Control Officer, the Board of Selectmen and the Police Dept. Keith doesn’t think the animal husbandry changes would be many, but they should consider the size of the property for animals. On the second handout from Columbia County, they had a situation similar to Buxton. More than ten dogs would be considered a kennel operator. Keith mentioned the fee license of $175. Keith mentions that on page 2, it says they must address the
rights of the landowner who moves in next to someone with a large number of dogs. Jere felt they should work on these.
Hilda gave Jere an article that Krystal would hand out to the Board regarding windmills. Jere mentioned an article in the newspaper where he was surprised to see that of ten properties, only two made it as acceptable for windmills. Jim suggested getting copies from Cape Elizabeth and possibly Kennebunk or other State ordinances regarding windmills. David S mentioned the most efficient windmill is the circular one, which is multidirectional. Jere thought that it would take 10-15 years to pay back the costs. He thought the average installation would be about $15,000. Harry mentioned height restrictions on such structures. They’re not to be concerned about things other than the height restrictions, Jim thought. Do they want to have
a limit on the number of windmills people could have? The density could be determined based on the fall zone—on them not falling and hitting another or going over the property line if they fell.
They’ll be working on the shoreland zone, Jere stated. He mentioned working on some of the sections of 8.2.B. – some of the conditions the Planning Board would have the right to waive if they didn’t apply, i.e., 8.2.B.7 – if there is no earthwork being done, they could waive this. Jim mentioned it saying in 8.2.B. “where appropriate” and wondered if this would cover it. Jere thought they technically should vote on each one of those. Procedurally, Jim thinks this has what they’ve been doing – waiving things that aren’t appropriate. He wondered if the Town Counsel should be consulted on this. Jim feels there are waiver request potentials that they should have. They should consider wording it in such a way for submission requirements,
also. They would revise wherever appropriate, Jim thought. Jere thought they could ask the town attorney if this is something they could do. They might have to present this at Town meeting in order to get this authority. The provisions of animal husbandry were discussed.
Keith mentioned that Wednesday night at 5:30 people who have volunteered for the Comprehensive Plan would be meeting with the Selectmen. Keith says that he was told that just because a person volunteered didn’t mean they would be on the committee. Jere thinks that anyone who volunteered to serve would be welcome to serve on any committee regardless of political views. The more diverse, the better they work. He thinks there is a lack of participation. Anyone who shows any interest should be appointed, he thinks. Keith thinks they have five people. Jim thinks there were 10 or 11 when they began. The core came down to 6-8. If people drop out, there could only be a couple of people left. If anyone is interested in being
on the Comprehensive Plan Committee, they are urged to get involved. Jim stated that it is a revised plan for the next ten years for the Town of Buxton. He would encourage people to get involved who have opinions. Harry asked if there were financial ramifications for the Town. Jim stated that there is some potential funding for certain projects. He hasn’t heard of a town denied yet. It makes sense for a Town to reconsider where it is going every ten years or so, and Buxton is overdue. An earlier Comprehensive Plan was approved but rejected by the State. The question is do they start all over or amend what they’ve got. The 13th of Nov. at 5:30 p.m., people interested should meet with the Selectmen. Anyone who would be interested should come in. They’ll set up a night to meet. This plan should work with the Charter. The Comprehensive Plan is a guideline, Jim says, until the Town makes a change in
the way they make zone changes. There’s a compelling reason why the Town should do a comprehensive plan. Someone could take the Town to court if a zone change is in complete disagreement with the Comprehensive Plan.
- Motioned by Jere, seconded by David S, to adjourn at 8:29 p.m. All voted in favor.
Mapping workshop November 17, 2008
Next scheduled meeting is Monday, November 24, 2008
Approval Date: __________________
Harry Kavouksorian, Chairman Signature Date