Town of Buxton Planning Board
February 28, 2011
Recorded by Hilda Lynch
Board Members Present: Scott Havu, David Savage, Sr.; Jeremiah Ross, III; and David Anderson
Board Members Absent: Harry Kavouksorian, James Logan and Caroline Segalla
Others Present: Fred Farnham, Henry Huntley, Jan Hill, Brent Hill, Matt Roy
Vice Chairman Jeremiah Ross called the February 28, 2011, meeting of the Buxton Planning Board together at 7 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Jan Hill of the Buxton Hollis Historical Society will give a short presentation on Re-Purpose Hanson.
Jere stated that he would entertain a motion to allow Jan Hill of the Buxton/Hollis Historical Society to speak before the site walk discussion of Matt Roy.
Jere motioned, seconded by David Savage to make this motion. Four voted in favor.
Jan Hill, of the Buxton/Hollis Historical Society, spoke of the group’s desire to repurpose the Hanson School as a Community Center for Buxton. She has provided a letter to the Planning Board. The group is circling a petition now following a public meeting they held to obtain signatures from residents to lease the Hanson School building from the School District for a year and to get this issue on the ballot so the building can be used right away as a Community Center. The group thinks that this will be a wonderful opportunity for community programming with the new school being there and the Sebago Educational Alliance leasing the Jewett School.
Jan thanked the Planning Board for the suggestion of lease/sharing parking at the Hanson School since this was an issue they’d discussed before when the Historical Society came before the Board. She later heard this suggestion from the Facilities Committee of the School Board. They have begun thinking about this as an option. It is the wish of the Historical Society to keep the Planning Board informed of their work.
One of the issues Jan is interested in is the amount of land needed in the Village Zone for use of the building, which she believes is two acres. She doesn’t feel the building really fits nicely into the criteria usually used as the septic for the building is leased and on another piece of land. They’re looking for some creative solutions from the Planning Board in which the land use issue might be addressed as well as any advice on additional permitting issues the Board might have. They have been working closely with the School District, particularly the Facilities Committee, and have met with the Superintendent. They are supportive of trying to get things worked out so that the Hanson School might be used as a Community Center.
The Historical Society believes that the District is looking into costs for tearing the Hanson School down. They believe that $40 - $50,000 is a waste of taxpayer dollars to tear down a building worth $1.2 million when taxpayers in the District have already paid for new windows, siding, and a new boiler. They first investigated turning the building into housing but found that more land was needed and that it was very difficult to turn a gym into housing. After talking with many people in the community, they decided that there was a real need for the gym and meeting space and that a Community Center would be the way to go. They’ve gathered a great deal of information from the District including any issues, operating costs, etc. so they would be ready with
answers for people who have questions.
Jan understands that there are some Codes that the Town has that they want to be able to work with. They’ve had conversations with Fred Farnham, the Code Enforcement Officer. Jan believes he might be able to help with their discussion this evening. They’ve had informal conversations with the owners of the land where the septic is located and believe that they will be supportive of the use of the building as a Community Center. The Fire Chief has been in the building a couple of weeks ago, and a letter that he has submitted has been included in the information submitted to the Planning Board. He had very few issues of concern. She mentioned that some exit lighting and ceiling tiles would need to be replaced. There was some paint stored that
would have to be moved and any furniture in the way of emergency exiting of the building. The Historical Society has already done this, as they held a meeting there on the 17th of February.
Jan has included a plan done by Semple and Drane in 2001-2002 regarding the addition of an elevator to the building. The Society is considering this for the future after the Town takes back the building. Fred has mentioned some painting of the walls that would need to be done because of water runoff from the roof that has seeped into the foundation. Some asbestos abatement has already been done by the District. They’ve been told that there are still some remaining tiles, which would not be a problem as long as they’re sealed properly.
David A said he was under the assumption that the Buxton Center Elementary School (BCES) was on a 9.6 acre parcel of land and that the Hanson School is not on a separate lot. Is that correct? Jere agreed that it was correct. Jan asked if they were to get into a lease/share agreement, how would that work? Jere stated that they would have to seek legal advice on this. David asked if they would consider this commercial recreation?
Jere asked if Fred would speak about this. Jere asked about the School District’s leasing of the Jewett School to the Sebago Educational Alliance. Is that public, private, not for profit? Fred said he hadn’t been contacted about that. Jan offered that she knew this was a consortium of school districts’ program that is currently being housed in Gorham for children who weren’t able to be educated in the regular school setting. Although Jere thinks that they’ll need to seek legal advice, it really concerns him how the Town and School District are involved in this as far as ownership.
The Board was requiring 280 parking spaces for the new school: 126 parking spaces were created for the new school. There were 44 by Jewett and 52 by Hanson. Fred is unable to find 280 parking spaces for the whole complex. He’s not sure if there are spaces further down from Jewett that he should be counting. This is one of the questions he is grappling with. The whole parcel is 21+ acres. SAD 6 went out and purchased an additional 12 acres to site the new school. He’s trying to research the acreage for the buildings, parking, etc. so is unable to give an answer at this point. Fred is at the basics stage right now - what will be leased, what will go with it, etc. David S asked how many parking spaces he was short right now. Fred said about 36. Jere asked if the Jewett and Hanson Schools would be grandfathered as far as parking goes. Would that change if the use changes? Fred thinks it might. If the use is similar, he thinks they would stay the same.
Do you have any idea where this would fall in the Land Use Table for the Town of Buxton Zoning Ordinance? Jere says Municipal Use is there as a land use and permitted in that zone. Like any application, Jere says it first goes to the Code Enforcement Office. Fred will make a decision whether he can issue the permit or whether the application has to go before the Planning Board as a Conditional Use application. Jere thinks the major question is conveyance or ownership of the property. There are specific requirements laid out in the Findings for the new school regarding a conveyance of the Hanson School. Is a lease a conveyance? He thinks that will have to be looked into by Town Counsel. Once they know that, they will be able to go
from there. From what Jere knows, the land is not subdivided. Jere mentioned taking 4 acres out of the parcel of BCES, and he doesn’t know what that would do. David A mentioned that if they’re already short parking; and parking was taken out, that would make needed parking that much less.
Jan mentioned that if the District were to convey land, the Town would in turn have to lease/share land back to the District. Jere said that this is something the school and town’s attorneys would have to work out. Jan mentioned some shared parking where the old municipal building used to be and sharing parking with the Buxton Center Baptist Church. She mentioned the future potential of some land across the street where the old town garage is located and the food pantry.
Jere mentioned that any other code issues would be handled by Mr. Farnham. Fred mentioned that many of the things that needed to be done had been done by the school, as they were required for use as a school. He was surprised that the building was in as good a shape as it is. He believes the building would be usable. Jere asked if the Town would receive some kind of waiver for ADA accessibility, or how would that be approached? Fred said that after the year’s lease, they would need to be moving in the direction of satisfying that. They might start out initially with ramps and eventually move towards an elevator. Jere asked if they should wait for the results of the petition and vote or move forward now. Fred thinks some of the basic
issues around parking and the land will need to be addressed no matter what happens.
Jan mentioned that people could go to the Saco River Community TV site to watch the three videos that have been done. There has been an article in the American Journal, and an article is planned for the Press Herald. They are in the process of updating a brochure that has been done to have available for people. There is a DVD available of the first tour done by the architect. They have a new website: buxtonhollishistorical.org if people are interested. There is a survey in the brochure and online that they would like to have people fill out - particularly if interested in some use of the Hanson building. Jan thanked Fred and the Fire Chief for the work they’ve done and the Board for their time.
Jere called attention to the Findings of Fact for BCES, in particular 14a, b, c and d which pertain to the Hanson School. Krystal has copies. Elsewhere in the document is the parking issue which can be investigated. Copies of minutes and tapes are available from the elementary school meetings. Jan stated that they really want to meet the codes. She hopes that somehow they can come to agreement on how this building can be used. The Planning Board will deal with it if an application is submitted. The Board has no enforcement capabilities; Fred has to make sure things are enforced. They’d be dealing with land use. Jan asked if the next step is to get a preliminary application started. Jere suggested they talk with Fred about
the next steps. Jere asked if they were putting a petition together to get this item on the ballot, and Jan stated they were.
Discussion of site walk for Matt Roy of 219 Back Nippen Road who is requesting a Conditional Use Permit for a storage and wood processing activity. The property is located in the Rural Zone, Tax Map 4, Lot 39B-1.
Matt stated that he’s applying to have an area of his land to process and store firewood. The site walk was held on Saturday, the 29th of January. David A, David S, Caroline, and Harry attended.
David S thinks he has the best set up for buffering for noise. He saw only one neighbor in the back. David A goes along with David S’s comment. There seems to be adequate parking - a little tight for trucks to get in and out of the area. It is not a well-traveled road. Matt was very open to questions they had. Jere asked if the Board felt they had sufficient information.
David A motioned, seconded by David S, that they set a public hearing for the 14th of March at 7 p.m. David A mentioned that the application has been amended with some additional documents. Four voted in favor.
Public Hearing to hear public comment for the proposed changes to the Town of Buxton Shoreland Zoning, Shoreland Map and Town of Buxton Zoning Ordinance.
David A motioned, seconded by David S, to open the public hearing. Four voted in favor.
Henry Huntley has been formulating his opinion as a resident and a landowner. He is not uncomfortable with the proposal to drop the buffer from 300 to 250’. Some areas will be dropped to 75’. He thinks there will still be plenty of protection. The 300’ setback was probably put in to protect from development in the 70’s. He thinks a lot of safeguards have been put in since the 70’s. The State has put in a lot of safeguards.
He hasn’t heard anyone supporting the 300’. Henry referred to people’s right to own property, but along with that comes some responsibilities. There are a lot of environmental protections in place now. He’s glad to see that things have been separated out on the ballot for the public. The feedback they’re getting is from neighbors in the Town. He mentioned the proximity to Portland, and York and Cumberland Counties being the most populated. No one is disputing regulations along the Saco River and Bonny Eagle Pond. There’s a lot of property in tree growth in the Town. We’re not using up everything that people have. He thinks the forum to present this is the Town meeting.
Jere mentioned two questions to be on the secret ballot. The first question will be about reducing the setback from 300 to 250’. The Town of Buxton protects 7 or 8 streams listed in the ordinance that are considered protected in the shoreland zone. They’re also afforded the 300’ setback. According to the DEP, none of them meet their requirements for the 300’ setback, so the setback would be reduced from 300 to 75’. David A mentions that this protection is for any running water. Jere says we’d be bringing the Buxton ordinance into line with the State minimum standards set by the legislature and enforced by DEP. There will be a formal public hearing sometime in April or May. They’re always interested in comments from the public.
Two maps have been drawn up: one is the existing conditions imposed by the town now and the other shows what it would be if the Town approves the minimum standards. Jere clarified what can be seen on maps available at Town hall.
Motioned by David A and seconded by Scott to close the public comment section. All voted in favor.
January 24, 2011 - minutes to be considered at next meeting
Approval of Bills:
None. David A said that he submitted the budget as the Board had suggested. He has not received a date for a Budget Committee presentation.
Copy of budget
A shoreland stabilization one-day conference - may contact Krystal for more information.
Flyer for a zoning newsletter or update
“Maine Townsman” - Feb., 2011
Krystal mentioned submission for the Town Report. Jere thought they could look at this at the next meeting. Jere mentioned there would be a public hearing on zoning and shoreland zoning changes at the next meeting.
Motioned by David S, seconded by Scott, to adjourn the meeting at 8:08 p.m. Four voted in favor.
Approval Date: ___3/28/11______
Jeremiah Ross, III, Vice Chairman Signature Date