Town of Buxton Planning Board
Monday, September 10, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Recorded by Hilda Lynch
Board Members Present: John Vedral, David Savage, Sr.; Christopher Carroll; Keith Emery; Nicholas Murray; and Lawrence Curtis
Others Present: Henry Huntley, Cheryl Huntley, Code Officer Fred Farnham, Jason, Shannon, and Hayley Grant, Cliff Thomas, Bob Gorham, Harry Kavouksorian.
" Chairman Keith Emery opened the Buxton Planning Board meeting of September 10, 2012, at 7:01 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Public Hearing: for proposed amendments, additions or deletions to The Town of Buxton Zoning Ordinance.
" John motioned, David seconded, to open the public hearing for the above. All voted in favor.
John gave some background on the reason for the change in the ordinance regarding a nonconforming lot. Fred came before the Board to address this. "No lot size less than 40,000 sq. ft. may be built upon" was in the previous ordinance change voted on in June, which John believes is the reason it did not pass. More lots will be buildable if this new change in the ordinance passes.
Keith asked if Fred had any comments. Fred stated that the reason this was presented was to provide some consistency in the wording - lot size, road frontage and lot width. Different words are sometimes used, so this is an attempt to make things consistent. Keith asked if Fred could work with this if the lot size is at least 20,000 sq. ft. Fred said that this is the way we want it.
Henry Huntley said that he did not support the previous ordinance proposal. He believes the way this is changed now would meet with his support as he was not in favor of a minimum of 40,000 sq. ft. to be a buildable lot.
Harry Kavouksorian thinks this ordinance change clarifies more than wording. He would like to ask the Board what consideration is being given to abutting property owners. John clarifies and said he doesn't believe having someone next door having control over a neighbor building on his/her lot would be right. Harry says the ordinance is being written to fit the land rather than the land fitting the ordinance. He believes there is more to zoning than whether a septic system can be built on a lot. Harry believes this goes beyond that. John believes everyone should have fairness concerning their land. He doesn't believe that more than the essentials should be considered. Harry believes that it takes away the power of abutting land owners having any
say in lots lying next to their property.
Larry says that one of his pet peeves is that we have bond issues or warrants put on the ballot. If they don't pass, many get re-worded and put back on the ballot for the next election. His biggest pet peeve is when someone is asking for money, gets defeated, and then comes back for it again. It doesn't feel right to him that it was voted down and now they're changing just one line and putting it back on the ballot. He'll vote against it for the principle of it.
John said he voted against it because he believes the one change being considered now is highly significant. He believes it is being brought up again to correct an issue.
Chris is wondering if any impact study has been done? He wonders how the voter would perceive this. John says the impact relates more to the number of lots that could not be built upon if the previous warrant article passed. The Code Enforcement officer and secretary put together a list they've presented to the Board.
Harry says that he believes there were at least 23 lots. There could be as many as two abutters affected for each of these. Harry says he had to have a 5-acre lot to build in the rural zone, and he believes that others should have to have the same.
Henry stated that the State declared a minimum of 20,000 sq. ft. He understood that lots in legal existence at that time were grandfathered. There won't be any more new lots. He thought that the State believed that a lot of 20,000 sq. ft. would be adequate. Henry believes this is more of a clarification. Owners have been paying taxes on these lots as if they were buildable.
Harry says that buildable area has been in the ordinance since 1991.
Keith does not agree with this because of septic systems and wells. We're on drilled wells, which can be contaminated. He doesn't believe a half-acre lot is big enough to build a house, put on a septic and well and meet all of the setbacks.
John says the State agrees that 20,000 sq. ft. is adequate. Keith says it is not required to have a drilled well. John says he believes the Code Enforcement officer can require this. The surface water doesn't enter drilled wells. Keith says that just because the State doesn't require a larger lot, it doesn't mean the Town can't require a larger lot.
Harry says that the rural zone was to keep the rural character of the Town. He believes the character of the town would be changed if this amendment passes in the November election. A lot has to meet all of the qualifications of the ordinance to be built upon as the ordinance stands now. Harry believes that this amendment relaxes the requirements.
John says that this does further define the terms in this ordinance. John believes there are still lots that won't be able to be built upon.
" John motioned, David seconded, to close the public hearing for the above. Six voted in favor.
Public Hearing: Jason and Shannon Grant of 27 Highpoint Circle are requesting a Conditional Use Permit for Animal Husbandry to allow for one calf; located on Tax Map 1A, lot 66-7.
" John motioned, Chris seconded, to open the public hearing on the above. Six voted in favor.
Jason says they want to keep one calf. Larry clarified that they were keeping the calf for 4-H.
Chris asked Jason about his well being contaminated. Jason has since bleached it, and he believes the cover was the problem. It tested positive for bacteria (e-coli). He had someone come and test it. A good piece of the well cap was missing. They haven't gotten back their most recent water test. They've always used bottled water because of the iron in theirs. Chris asked what the animals would be drinking, and Jason says they would drink the well water. John mentioned that Jason was going to add a pipe to the top of his well. John says he's noticed there are some dogs on the property. He would like to make it a condition that the well be fixed. Jason says he's going to have this done.
The attorney sent some information on 9.8.C. John doesn't believe the attorney was very clear. He thinks there is a conflict in the code - in the Land Use Table. He says 9.8.C. doesn't apply to animal husbandry. Is it a lot of acceptable size for this zone? John believes it is an acceptable size in a subdivision. He mentions that the common area would be added to the lot size for cluster subdivisions. If one were to just look at the lot, it wouldn't meet the requirements.
Larry asked if anyone would have an objection to reading aloud the information received by the attorney. He read the response and mentioned the 4 points. Larry says the attorney is saying "maybe," but he isn't 100 percent clear. He believes they all have their personal opinions.
Keith doesn't know. He believes the lot itself needs to be the 3 acres. He can also see that a clustered subdivision would mean they've built on a conforming lot. The 3 acres is only in the rural zone on their table and refers to the footnote of 9.6.1 The Footnote 1 is only related to the rural zone. The applicant's property is in the residential zone.
Keith asked if Fred has any comments. Fred doesn't have any comments other than 9.8.C. was added in June, '09. That was the result of one specific incident relating to two horses being on a nonconforming lot. This wasn't really thought out well but a reaction to a particular situation. He believes a cluster development would be entirely different.
Keith asked if there were any abutters who wanted to speak.
Bob Gorham is an abutter. He and his wife are in favor of their neighbor having a calf on their property. He says there is some kind of question about the size of the lot. The Board has done a site walk. Bob just received his letter as an abutter. Bob says the lot is all gravel pit all the way to the pond.
Keith says he likes to see kids have animals they can show at the fair. His problem is how to interpret the ordinance.
Bob says he and his wife are in favor of it.
Keith asked if anyone from the general public wanted to speak.
David says that, right off the bat, they thought it wouldn't be allowed. Because there were three acres, even though not all adjacent to their property, they agreed that they did have three acres. Keith says the common land belongs to everyone. John says they do have their pro-rated share. Enough would have to agree that this is adequate. John says he thinks the layout needs to come into consideration, too. He thinks they have an ideal location for the calf. Do they consider the two acres of common land? Keith says that if they do, it will set a precedent. John believes they have a lot more to consider than just the amount of acreage. He thinks they might have a different conclusion for lots abutting this one. John still thinks
the Board has some control over the consideration of conditional uses in this situation.
David agrees with John. The distance from the well is fine. He realizes that they're not going by 9.8.C. He appreciates Keith's comment, also. Chris believes there are a couple of strikes against this for him. The deed restriction and a problem with the water supply at the home, and the size of the lot. It would be unfair to other neighbors to be denied, he thinks. Keith says the deed restriction is out of their control. Chris says he believes this can be taken into consideration.
Are there any comments from the general public?
Bob says the property section he abuts is his woodlot section.
" John motioned, seconded by Larry, to close the public hearing. All voted in favor.
Keith says they'd need to figure out what kind of conditions would be put on the property if approved. John would like the condition that the well be repaired to prevent the entry of surface water. David would like to add that they should see the new water report. Nick would like a condition on the time of the project. Jason says they plan to start around March. Keith says if they decided to do the project longer than two years, they would have to come back before the Board. He wouldn't restrict it to two years. John mentioned that they did put a condition on a project last year relating to a sow. Keith says they can limit the number of animals. David asks if they're saying that this conditional use would not end. Keith says that if
they don't start it within a year or if they stop for a year would be the only reasons for the conditional use ending.
Jason says that his plan for this cow would be that the project would end at the end of the Fryburg Fair of 2014.
Keith read the Standard Conditions of Approval.
1. All elements and features of the application and all representations made by the applicant concerning the development and use of the property which appear in the record of the Planning Board proceedings are conditions of the approval. No change from the conditions of approval is permitted unless an amended plan is first submitted to and approved by the Planning Board.
2. That the applicant be in compliance with all applicable provisions of Article 8.2.B & 10.
3. That the applicant be in compliance with all applicable provisions of
Section 11. (if applicable)
4. All outstanding bills paid before building permit is issued.
5. Applicant is to have the well fixed.
" John motioned, seconded by Larry, that they suspend the reading of 8.2.B. and find that the application to be in compliance with 8.2.B. Six in favor.
" John motioned, Larry seconded, that based on previous discussions, we suspend the reading and find the application to be in compliance with Articles 10. Four voted in favor; Keith and Chris opposed.
" John motioned, Larry seconded, that based on previous discussions, we suspend the reading and find the application to be in compliance with Section 11.3. Six voted in favor.
" John motioned, seconded by Nick, to approve the application with the conditions stated and from previous meetings. Three in favor; Keith, Chris and David opposed - Tie Vote.
Fred provided the statement - at least four affirmative votes are required for an item to pass.
John says it is stated in the By-laws on page 2 that the motion does not pass. Keith believes that 9.8.C. played into his decision. He says the Town Council did tell them that they could try and change this - next June. Another option would be to repeal this ordinance. John says that it could be brought up for consideration if the Board wanted another vote on this issue.
John says he hopes the people who voted against it would see that there is very little harm in allowing these people to raise an animal on this property. He hopes that if anyone is on the fence they'll reconsider their vote.
" John motions, Nick seconds, that they re-consider the vote on the conditional use for Jason and Shannon Grant. Four in favor; Keith opposed; Chris abstained.
Discussion from site walk for Ashley & Mike Brown of 281 Skip Road who are requesting a Conditional Use Permit for an In-home Daycare; located on Tax Map 1, Lot 145A.
Not present due to an illness in the family.
CEO Report - None
Approval of Minutes:
August 27, 2012
" Motioned by David, seconded by Nick, to approve the minutes as amended. Six voted in favor.
Approval of Bills:
John Lockman is going to leave the SMRPC. Keith says he hates to see him leave. He'll be around part-time.
Stephen Joffee would like the Board to consider when they notify people that they take in a bigger area. He refers to the consideration of the hours of the gravel pit. Keith says they only have to notify the immediate abutters. Stephen would like the Selectmen and then the Planning Board to consider widening the area. He thinks it is in people's best interest to have more voices represented.
John recommends people signing up for e-mail notices of meetings. If you subscribe to the announcements, people would get any notices pertinent to the townspeople. There is no additional cost. John mentions an additional cost in application fees.
David can see his point for this particular use. David is three miles from a gravel pit, but he can still hear the trucks banging when they dump their loads. Larry says that, in Buxton, who doesn't live near a sand pit? Larry says the Planning Board would love to have people come in to their meetings. Nick asked about other requirements. Keith and David thought they'd seen the notice of the meeting posted at the Town Hall and in some other places. Nick believes they do a good job notifying residents, especially for those engaged. Keith believes a letter goes to abutters when an application comes in; he thinks there's plenty of notification. David thinks they're doing everything they're legally bound to do. John mentioned that he could
link to things through the newsletter he does.
Keith believes they should look at 9.8.C for an ordinance change.
Larry asked for attendance at the site walk. All were there except Larry and Chris.
John has prepared a change to 9.8.C. which he distributed this evening. John says they could repeal 9.8.C. or consider a re-wording of 9.8.C. that he has written, as follows:
"The Planning Board may consider the minimum lot size for the zone and the configuration of the lot when considering an application for a Conditional Use."
This would keep this from being a blanket restriction. Chris asked if the amendment is effectively a repeal. Larry thinks this is a compromise. John says his proposal has a "may" whereby the current ordinance has a "shall." Larry says they could change it to "The Planning Board shall consider…" John says there is more of an option for decision making with the way he has written it. Keith says this will have to go to the Town Attorney for an opinion. John doesn't want to see it rushed. Keith believes they need to have the wording worked out. Anything denied by the Planning Board goes to the Courts; if Fred denies, it goes before the Board of Appeals. In the meantime, they will be able to hear from the public.
Nick would like to have the Code office reply to Stephen Joffee - to thank them for their comments and direct them to resources.
Attendees may address the Board on the evening's business.
Henry says that what John has proposed sounds reasonable. He asks if this would provide any relief to the Brown's. Yes, it would give them relief in the future.
Henry says that where the lawyer had some ambiguity regarding the animal husbandry and no abutters spoke against, he felt that the decision was a good one.
Henry spoke about Larry's pet peeve. He says this ordinance change is a continuation of what the voters were against. Larry says he would have been in favor of changing the definitions, but he would have voted against the lot size. He thought about his constituents. A lot of people were against the ordinance. Henry asked what they were against. Most were against the lot size of 40,000 sq. ft. Some thought the Planning Board was trying to pull a "fast one." He wasn't happy about it coming back in the next voting cycle and asking people to vote on essentially the same wording except for the last line, which does not seem right to him.
Henry says the people he talked with were against the 40,000 sq. ft. Henry asked whether it was back now to provide some clarification for Fred.
Keith asked when it was voted on. He refers to p. 7.1 and 7.3. He believes this can't be voted on again for a year and a day unless there is a unanimous vote of the Planning Board to recommend it. There was a question about the "governing body," which would be the town meeting. Larry says that before this goes to the Selectmen, he thinks there should be an opportunity to vote.
There was discussion about why this came up in the first place - language clarification and making more lots conforming. John says that 20,000 sq. ft. is currently in the ordinance.
There was considerable discussion about whether this ordinance change could go on the ballot in November.
" John motioned, seconded by David, that the Planning Board recommend the amendment to the ordinance as written to the Selectmen to be put on the ballot. Four in favor; Keith and Larry opposed.
Discussion: Larry questions whether this would even apply in 7.3. He doesn't think this is the exact same amendment to the ordinance. He would agree that the change from 40,000 to 20,000 sq. is a substantial change. He doesn't think it was voted on by the governing body, and this is not the same ordinance change. John says that this was voted on by the governing body. John says with his argument, he thinks it might not require a unanimous vote. They have a majority vote, but not a unanimous one. It says "the same issue cannot be considered on its merits by the governing body…" Keith says he'll have Krystal check with the Selectmen tomorrow. He wasn't aware that this was just voted on in June.
" Motioned by David, seconded by John, to adjourn the meeting at 8:57 p.m. All voted in favor.
Keith Emery, Chairman Signature Date