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Town Seal
Planning Board minutes 03/26/2012
Town of Buxton Planning Board
March 26, 2012

Recorded by Hilda Lynch

Board Members Present:  David Savage, Sr.; Jeremiah Ross, III; Harry Kavouksorian; James Logan; Susanne Schaller; and Lawrence Curtis.

Board Members Absent:  John Vedral  

Others Present:  Fred Farnham, Henry Huntley, Cliff Thomas, Keith Emery, 2 men did not sign in.   

Chairman Harry Kavouksorian opened the Buxton Planning Board meeting of March 26, 2012, at 7 p.m.

Pledge of Allegiance

Review proposed ordinance amendments with Code Enforcement Officer:
Harry stated that Chief Grovo came to talk about a mass gathering ordinance at the last meeting.  Although the chief didn’t see a pressing need, he thought it might not be a bad idea to be proactive.  The Board has gone through a couple of different versions - one about 10 years ago.  It was crafted by the then Chief of Police, Jody Thomas.  

Harry would like to poll the Board to see if they have an interest in working on this.  It would have to be in to the Selectmen by April 11.   

David was under the impression that everything needed for mass gatherings is covered under State law.  Harry said that this would be for 2,000 or more people.  Harry has some concern about being prepared for any health and safety issues that might come of such a gathering.  He thinks that some kind of warning of 12 hours or more would be a good idea.  

Jim and Larry don’t think there is time to complete a mass gathering ordinance.  Jim asked if Harry would officially suggest postponing action until next year or would they put it on the back burner until someone pushes for it.  Harry stated that one Board member felt that a mass gathering ordinance infringes on the right of free assembly.  A couple of Board members think that infringement cuts both ways.  There is agreement that the Board does not have time to get something done before April 11.  

Harry stated that there was some confusion about whether the Selectmen wanted to have something like this.  Jim and Harry thought there were some things that would be of concern, such as, parking, water, medical, etc.  Harry polled the Board, and they do not think they have time to do anything with mass gathering or adult entertainment at this time.

Code Enforcement Ordinances:
Fred asked the Board what information they have before them.  The Board has the changes recommended by Bill Plouffe regarding nonconforming lots.  

Fred stated that one of the things they had to consider was buildable lot and buildable area.  The buildable area was basically the area available for a building on a lot.  It is referred to in six different items, such as excluding wetlands and slopes of 20%, thus reducing the size to build on.  The wording of some of the definitions of a nonconforming lot changed and this created a problem.  Fred’s trying to get that straightened out.  

Fred read the current definition of a nonconforming lot, which talks about area, but it is not apparent what area the definition is talking about.  He assumes that frontage refers to area along a road - street frontage.  What he wants to do is go back and use the terms that are in the dimensional requirements in the definitions of the different sections.  Fred read the new definition by Bill Plouffe.  This would clarify what the words “frontage” and “width” mean.  They’re currently in the table but not in the definitions.  

Frontage (Frontage, street) is defined in the definitions, p. 2-7.  What Fred’s trying to do is take wording from the dimensional requirement chart and include these words in the definitions.  This will help clarify the ordinance.  Vacant Lot and Contiguous Lots use different terms, also.  Fred went over the definition in Section 2, 4.2.F.1, Section 3, 4.2.F.4 as revised by the Town’s attorney.   These changes will bring consistency in the use of terms and references.

Sue asked what Variance of yard means.  Fred thinks it refers to side yard and rear setbacks.  Sue wonders if that should also be changed.  Jere says “variance of other dimensional requirements” is what it should say.  Fred clarified the wording in place of “variance of yard.”  Harry asked whether septic and other such things would be included there.  Jim says there is something down below in the ordinance that would take care of this.  

Looking at 9.6.A, 4.2.F.1 mentions lot size and street frontage--buildable area, lot width and yard (3 subcategories for yard).  Larry asked about front yard and street frontage.  Fred stated that the difference is the setback from the street.  

Jim asked if Fred’s looking for another way to calculate buildable area in these non-conforming lots.  Not all non-conforming lots will be able to meet buildable area, Fred stated.  In the village zone and residential zone, it is 40,000 ft. and 60,000 in the rural area.  How can we be fair to the nonconforming lots or allow them in some way to be buildable? He asked.  As long as they would be proportionately the same as what would be in a full-size lot, that would pass muster, Fred thinks.  Harry clarified that taking the lot size and the existing size of a nonconforming lot; and say it is half the size, you’d want to make the buildable area also 50%.  Fred gave an example:  the village requires a lot size of 80,000 sq. ft.; the buildable area needs to be 40,000 sq. ft.  If you have a nonconforming lot in the village zone of only 30,000 sq. ft., the buildable area would be 15,000 sq. ft.  Harry says that you’d be making a different lot size for each nonconforming lot.  The ordinance would be fitting the land--not the land fitting the ordinance.  Basically, you’d have to do this, Fred says, because if you didn’t allow it, in the rural zone, you’d have to have 60,000 sq. ft. of buildable area.  

Jim says the State Plumbing Code would not allow a septic system on a lot of less than 20,000 sq. ft. without a variance.  They’re generally granted if there are no other things needing a variance.  He argues for the landowner before Planning Boards because the owner has not done anything to cause the lot to be nonconforming; landowners should get some kind of relief, he thinks.  The requirements we have in the ordinance are generally for the forming of new lots, Jim stated.  

Where would you put the threshold of a 1500 sq. ft. house? Jere asked.  Jim says it is the minute the lot doesn’t conform--in an environmentally sensitive area.  Sue doesn’t think it is in the best interest of the community if we are trying to narrowly fit buildings in with septic systems and wells.  Jim likes the concept Fred is proposing because it already is stated in the ordinance.  

As far back as 1975, Harry says you had to have an acre of land to build.  Sue likes the idea of scaling, can it be applied to shore frontage?  Jere says it would have to be excluded.  Jim thinks that someone needs to go through the ordinances and date them, so people will know when such things went into effect.  Jim doesn’t think we can hold people accountable for lot size before the ordinances came into effect.  

The minimum lot size would be 20,000 sq. ft., which would be in accordance with the State, Fred said.  He distributed a table to the Board.  He said that Krystal did a great job in going through and locating all of the vacant lots in Buxton.  Fred listed all the lots of 20,000 or less (27 lots), which would not be buildable.  He then looked at 20,000 sq. ft. to an acre, 1 - 2 acres, 2 - 3 acres, and 3+.  There are 78 vacant lots.  Some are assessed as buildable lots.  Lot size does factor in on the value.  Sec. 3, 4.2.F.4 refers to 20,000 sq. ft.

Jere thinks that he would add that a lot of less than 20,000 sq. ft. would not be a buildable lot.  Jim says there is a mechanism that would allow this in the Plumbing Code.  There was some discussion about lots in Portland.  Jim says that it seems to him that they’re talking about a relatively small number of lots.  

Harry asked if the Board is satisfied with the language that Fred is proposing.  Jere asked if Fred is in favor of adding “lots less than 20,000 sq. ft. would not be buildable.”  Harry thinks that it is stated in 4.2.F.4.  A note could be added under Section 5.  

Sue has a question about deductions for excluding minimum shore frontage.  Nonconforming means you aren’t meeting a standard.  Jim asked if they want to include this for all lots.  At the very bottom where the scale is, add a note regarding less than 20,000 sq. ft.  Sue suggested they use “lot size.”  “No lot size of less than 20,000 sq. ft. shall be built upon,” Jere suggested.  

Going back to the table given to the Board by Fred, the first column refers to lots of less than 20,000 sq. ft.  The 20,000 would refer to “lot size.”  “Each buildable area will have a lot size of 20,000 sq. ft.,” Sue suggested, in the 3rd sentence from the bottom of Section 4.2.F.4.  Jim says it needs to be somewhere else on this page.  Under No. 5, he would add it.  Jim asked Fred if he was doing this so people could get authority from Fred rather than them having to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).  Those with less than 20,000 sq. ft. would have to go before the ZBA and to the State for a waiver.  (Sue added three commas for easier readability to 4.2.F.4.).  Some discussion about whether the Board would have to review the changes at the next meeting.  The Board would like to review these on the 9th, vote on them, and get them to the Selectmen by the 11th.

Jim wants to know if the Board is making a recommendation.  Will they have the changes back from the Attorney?  They may want to make an endorsement this evening.  
  • Jere motioned, David seconded, that they approve amendments to modify Section 1, Article 2, Section 2, Section 4.2.F.1, Section 3, Section 4.2.F.4. and rely on the written material as proposed.  Four in favor; Harry and Sue abstained.
Fred will have to look further on the definitions for automobile graveyards.  Jim says they may not want to move forward as they don’t have anything before them.  They may want to state that they’ll change the Buxton ordinance to say that they will conform to the State’s definition to simplify things for now.   Jere asked if he could get the difference between the 3752 and 3754 - A(7) by the next meeting.

The phasing in of subdivisions is already covered by the Ordinance.

The Board is all set with the Animal Husbandry ordinance question.

A question was asked by the Board regarding “Forever Farm.”  Fred stated they will be coming before the Board as they will need to have a Conditional Use Permit.  It will be for wedding receptions, dancing, a small bar.  The house will have several rooms for the bridal party.  Gail Landry is the person who’s doing this.  She’s done one in No. Yarmouth called Walnut Hill.  There is a website which Fred will get to Board members.  Gail is interested in using local resources.  Where would it fall on the land use table? Harry asked.  Fred says it is similar to the facility on Turkey Lane.  Jim hopes that the applicant knows that she’s doing work that is at her own risk, since she hasn’t yet come before the Board.    

CEO Report
Approval of Minutes:
        March 12, 2012 -
  • Motioned by Sue, seconded by Larry, to approve the minutes as amended.  Five voted in favor; Jere abstained.
Approval of Bills:
        Pay Portland Press Herald in the amount of $21.60 for posting legal ads for the Stanley public hearing.
  • Motioned by Larry, seconded by Sue, to approve the above.  Six voted in favor.
  • “Locating and Documenting Vernal Pools”
  • Cliff brought a copy of a letter to Jan Hill dated March 19, 2012, which says that the “Bar Mills proposed historic district…”  He has a copy of an article from Bill Nimitz.  Sue says that we don’t have an historic district, but it is eligible for nomination.  Larry clarified that the Bar Mills Elementary School is eligible for nomination to the National Historic Register.  Larry gave some history on what has happened.  The old Bar Mills Elementary School (formerly Central Office Building) is going to be listed for sale to someone who is interested in moving the building.  Jim clarifies something that Bill Nimitz says.  Hilda read a section of a letter from Maine Preservation to the Superintendent regarding Bar Mills being considered an historic district by the Maine Department of Transportation.  
Other Business:
  Review and sign Findings of Fact for Amanda Stanley’
  • Motioned by Jim, seconded by Larry, to approve the Findings as amended.  Five voted in favor; Jere abstained.
  Review and sign Findings of Fact for Fogg Brook Subdivision
  • Jere motioned, seconded by Larry, to approve the above Findings as amended.  Six voted in favor.
  • Motioned by David, seconded by Sue, to adjourn the meeting at 9:28 p.m.  Six voted in favor.
Approval Date:          4/9/12                  

_________________________________           _______________
               Harry Kavouksorian, Chairman                    Signature Date

Town of Buxton
  185 Portland Road, Buxton, ME 04093 (207) 929-5191
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