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Planning Board Minutes 04/23/2012
Town of Buxton Planning Board
Minutes
April 23, 2012

Recorded by Hilda Lynch

Board Members Present:  David Savage, Sr.; Jeremiah Ross, III; Harry Kavouksorian; James Logan (arrived at 7:25 p.m.); Susanne Schaller; and Lawrence Curtis.

Board Members Absent:  John Vedral  

Others Present:  Jean Harmon, Fred Farnham, Henry Huntley (arrived at 8:10 p.m.), Jake Stoddard   

Chairman Harry Kavouksorian opened the Buxton Planning Board meeting of April 23, 2012, at 7 p.m.

Pledge of Allegiance

Review site walk for Patterson Companies, LLC, is requesting a Conditional Use Permit for Auto Parts Retail & Warehouse Facility at 780 Narragansett Trail.  The property is located in the Light Commercial District on Tax Map 8, Lot 41-1.

The Board did a site walk.  John Caramihalis spoke about the property they are planning to purchase for an auto parts retail and warehouse building.  The Napa Auto Parts Store is currently being operated at the Plummer’s Plaza is going to be moved to this property.  They went over various issues at the site walk.  They’ve changed some plantings around.

Harry mentioned a list of hazardous materials that they wanted to know how Napa handled.  

Harry asked Board members if they had any questions.  Sue has been to the site.  She saw that some information had been submitted on the lighting.  She looked for the lighting to be brought into compliance with the ordinance.  She doesn’t know how high the lights are going to be mounted on the building.  John asked what the requirements were.  Sue said that he shouldn’t have light going off his property.  She referred to the table in the ordinance.  John says that he thinks the lighting goes up and down but doesn’t really go off the property.  Sue thinks that the height of one story would be sufficient, but this is not mentioned in his paperwork.  Harry clarified that it is 80 ft.  Sue said there is a 40 ft. radius at 10 ft. high.  Sue says it is also part of the “dark sky” issue so as not to be lighting in an undeveloped area.  She is looking for John to specify the height of the lighting.  John asked for some clarification.  

David said he didn’t make the site walk but went to look at the property.  What is the width of the driveways off Rts. 22 and 202?  He clarified that he’s looking for the width coming onto the property.  John said there would be no change in what is there now.  The parking lot will change because of Jim’s concerns about impervious area.  They’re going to remove some paved area, loam and seed it.  David says that the driveway opening can’t exceed 26 ft. in width.  David asked Fred how he measured the driveway entrances.  Are they in conformance with today’s ordinances?  Jere clarified that this width refers to more than one opening on the same street.  John asked how they wanted them to address this?  10.7.A.2 is the section being referred to by David.  John says the DOT has jurisdiction so they don’t want to change anything that exists now.  They’re going to have some striping and arrows in the entrances.  

Fred says he doesn’t know what the original plans were.  He mentioned that the other business was going to have heavy equipment entering and exiting so DOT may have required something wider.  John says they generally have one delivery a day after hours.  Harry thinks they should research the original application for the driveway widths.  Harry mentioned having Patterson’s engineering firm check on this.  John says he believes the Town would most likely have it in their files.  

Jere said he didn’t make the site walk but went by on his own.  He doesn’t have any issues.  Harry asked if Jere was satisfied with the information on the hazardous materials that was supplied.  Jere said he was.

Sue mentioned that they might reduce their maintenance if they found a ground cover that didn’t have to be mowed.  Mowing so the height is no less than six inches would maintain their drainage.  John pointed out where their storm water drainage is located.  Sue thought it was draining across and out to a pond?  John doesn’t have the drainage plan with him tonight.  He thinks it drains towards the real estate business.  Sue believes some of the drainage goes around the Mustard House, under Rt. 22, and over to Duck Pond.  John asked if they wanted them to restrict nitrates.  Sue gave him some things that they could do that are not required under the ordinances.  John says they’re looking at stabilization with the loaming and seeding.

Jim asked if there had been changes to the plantings.  John Bell took pictures of the plants and gave them to Shawn Frank of Sebago Technics.  Harry mentioned some of the plantings on the Plan state that they’ll be removed.  

David asked about the parking.  He mentioned the retail and warehouse parts of the building - 13 spaces needed for the retail section (150 sq. ft. per space).  John says they have a lot more than 13.  David asked about the warehouse, which only requires 8 parking spaces.  Jere says the ordinance is based on the use.  Sue questioned whether they would allocate the parking spaces according to two uses or one.  Fred clarified that two different types of uses would require two different requirements.  David wanted to be sure they didn’t need any more than 21 spaces.  John says he believes the layout went by the 2,000 and 4,000 sq. ft. requirements that Buxton has.  Jere says 18 are shown on the plan; Harry thought there were 20.  John says there are 19 and 1 handicapped space.  Jere says they should show 21 on the plan, so John says he’ll add two more spaces.  

Sue asked if they could show the square footage of the floor space on the Plan.   Sue asked if they could label what would be retail and what would be warehouse.  They don’t have the area of the building, so they might need one or two more parking spaces.  Jere asked if the warehouse would be 4,000 sq. ft. and the retail would be 2,000 sq. ft.  That would be the condition that the Board would hold them to.  John says it was.  Jere says if they decided to have more retail space, they’d have to come back before the Board to add to their parking spaces.  John thought there was a copy of the layout of the building.  The Board members found that they had one from the last meeting.  NAPA does their internal layout of the building, John said.

  • Motioned by Harry, seconded by Jim, to set a public hearing for Patterson Companies, LLC, on May 14, 2012 at 7 p.m.  Six voted in favor.        
CEO Report

None this evening.

Approval of Minutes - April 9, 2012
  • Motioned by Jere, seconded by Harry, to accept the minutes as amended.  Four in favor; Jim and Sue abstained.
Approval of Bills:
No bills at this time.

Communications:
Info from State Planning office re floodplain mapping news

Other Business:
Harry said there are some corrections to the ordinance amendments.

Jean Harmon, from the Board of Selectmen, has some concerns in regards to the ordinance changes -that we’re not creating any type of spot zoning.  Their concern may be about the footnote which gives dimensions/formula for calculating buildable area in nonconforming lots.  Some of the Board are concerned that this could create some spot zoning.  Harry says that he personally feels that the change relaxes the buildable area which allows building on more lots than the ordinance currently does.  He thinks this is worth some discussion and asks Fred if he can address this.  

Fred thinks the change came about last year when the section of the ordinance was changed from building area to buildable area.  

Harry doesn’t think this came about because of a change that occurred in 2011.  He thinks this type of language requires the land to fit the ordinance rather than the other way around.  He thinks it will make the ordinance work for each individual lot.  

Fred goes back to whether it is buildable area.  The vacant lots are or have been allowed to be built upon even though they don’t meet the lot size or have the street frontage.  4.2.F.1 is the section Fred refers to in the ordinance.  Fred says if we don’t want nonconforming lots to be built on, let’s just say it.  There is a section in the ordinance that does allow nonconforming lots to be built upon.  Harry read the ordinance.  Sue says this sounds like currently these people can build if they go to the Board of Appeals.  Harry refers to 9.6 which lists the dimensions of lot sizes for various types of buildings - the buildable area becomes a limiting factor.  

Fred says the buildable area refers to conforming lots.  Fred stated what the buildable area is in the village zone - 20,000 sq. ft.  Jere says this is half of the normal lot size.  All lot size requirements’ buildable area would be reduced to 40,000 sq. ft.  Jim wondered if the current provisions would allow for spot zoning.  Harry says, “No, because they are consistent.”  Jere is confused about “spot zoning.”  They’re not talking about changes of use.  It could be construed as a twisting of the ordinance if the Board of Appeals allowed this.  If there was a change of use in a particular zone which would benefit an individual, he sees this as possible spot zoning.  Jere says he doesn’t see how the Board of Appeals can allow a decrease in the buildable area.  Jim has a lot of experience in other towns and situations - there is usually a mechanism to address ordinance changes that have occurred since a lot has been created.  Then, there is a 4-part test of hardship.  Jere doesn’t see how they’re allowed to waive buildable area.   Fred refers to 6.2.B.  Fred mentioned “lot coverage” for which they might want to have a definition.  If they can issue a variance on the lot size, he doesn’t see why they can’t issue a variance on buildable area.  This is why Fred thinks it should be in the ordinance.  In No. 5, they’re allowing some reduction in required district buildable area by proportion of the nonconforming lot to that district lot size.  In the village area, if the lot size is 80,000 and the buildable area is 40,000; for a nonconforming lot, they would take that proportion 40/80 and one-half of the nonconforming lot size would be the buildable area.  Fred feels this is the fair way to do this - make it the same proportion.

Jean says that the Board of Selectmen have discussed it and are not all in agreement.  Some of the concern is around the footnote defining the formula.  Jere asked if she would agree that there are numerous nonconforming lots on the tax rolls now.  There are 23, 19, 4 and 5 over 1 acre - 51 might be buildable.  Jere asked if Jean’s nonconforming lot is taxed as a house lot.  She says it isn’t and the assessor looks at the regulations for this.  What people need to remember is that the onus is on the owner to make sure they’re being taxed correctly.  There are a certain number of parcels that are grandfathered.  Harry asked if before zoning went into effect, there were still requirements.  Yes, there was a 1-acre minimum to build in Buxton.  Are we requiring that the rights go back to ’75 in 1976 or further back?  Jean says she would interpret it that way.  

Sue thought if they had a minimum of a 40,000 sq. ft. lot, they would be consistent.  Jean says this article will be on secret ballot.  

Jim mentioned that they’ve never taken a vote of the Board on ordinance changes.  Harry’s experience is if the Planning Board voted in the majority to send something to the Selectmen, they were endorsing the change.  Jim asks if they’re following the procedures they would follow with applicants.  Larry says that things are placed on the agenda, but he hasn’t been given the opportunity to say “yeah” or “nay.”  The public hearing would be the appropriate time for individual Board members to state their positions, Harry thought.  He would like to investigate whether the Board should take a vote or not.  Personal opinions might differ from their job on the Planning Board.  Jim thinks they should send it off with or without their endorsement or not send it off at all.  

Sue says there have been nonconforming lots for over 40 years.  If the minimum size were changed from 40,000 to 20,000 sq. ft., 28 lots would be buildable.  It was voted to send this to the Selectmen; they’ve come back and said that it was going on the ballot.  Jean said they’ve received the draft and discussed it.  By 4:30 next Monday, they have to have anything going on secret ballot to John Myers.  What is put into the Town Report is draft, and they have time for that.  

  • Sue motioned, seconded by Jere, to amend that no lot less than 40,000 sq. ft. shall be built upon in Section 4.2.F.4.  Amended by Larry to replace 40,000 sq. ft. lot size with 20,000 sq. ft.  in places where this is referenced.  (Jere clarified that 23 lots are being eliminated.  Fred believes it is a good compromise.)  Five in favor; Harry abstained.
Jean says that by the time the public hearing is held, the absentee ballots have already been printed.  

Larry says that it has been made known to him that Sue will be leaving on May 1st.  Larry wants to thank Sue for her help and others agreed.  Her position will be an appointed one until June, 2013.        

  • Motioned by Sue, seconded by David, to adjourn the meeting at 8:36 p.m.

Approval Date:          May 14, 2012            

_________________________________           _______________
               Harry Kavouksorian, Chairman                    Signature Date



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