Town of Buxton Planning Board
Monday, September 24, 2012 at 7 p.m.
Recorded by Hilda Lynch
Board Members Present: John Vedral, David Savage, Sr.; Christopher Carroll; Keith Emery; and Lawrence Curtis
Board Members Absent: Nicholas Murray
Others Present: Henry Huntley, Code Officer Fred Farnham, Cliff Thomas, Mike & Ashley Brown
Chairman Keith Emery opened the Buxton Planning Board meeting of September 24, 2012, at 7:01 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Discussion of 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.
John said that everything looked great for a daycare. The only issue is the zoning ordinance restriction which does not allow a conditional use on a nonconforming lot. David and Chris agree with John. Larry has no further questions. The issue is 9.8.C., which Keith reviewed. It was passed on to the attorney, who responded that the Board could not allow it without legal issues.
John said that there is the option of having that section of the ordinance repealed or amended. John put forth a proposal at the last meeting, which would go before the voters in June by secret ballot. He read his amendment, which allows the Board to make an educated decision. John explained the process of taking this amendment to the voters. Keith said it would take a couple of months to get this ready for the voters in June.
Mike thanked the Board for their efforts. Keith explained they were having issues with horses in cluster subdivisions with small lots, which is why the article was worded the way it was. He didn't believe it would ban everything on a small lot. He would like the Board to be able to use common sense in these matters.
Mike asked if there was any way that anything could be done sooner. Because it has to go on a secret ballot, June would be the earliest since it is too late for November, Keith answered. John says there are statutory requirements that must be followed. John wondered if there was any land surrounding them that they might be able to purchase. Mike says there is, but a little out of their price range. Larry asked if they were still planning to open a daycare. Ashley said they are. There was discussion about whether they would keep their application open.
CEO Report: Fred deferred until later.
Approval of Minutes:
September 10, 2012
" David motioned, seconded by Larry, to approve the minutes of September 10, 2012, as amended. Five voted in favor.
Approval of Bills: To pay Portland Press Herald in the amount of $24.50 for the Grant legal ad and $46.80 for the ordinance amendment legal ad to run twice. The combined total is $71.30.
Larry reviewed the bills.
" Motioned by Larry, seconded by John, to approve the payment of the above bills. Five voted in favor.
9/12 & 9/14 Letters from Harry Kavouksorian to the Board of Selectmen about the lot measurements and things discussed at the public hearing. He would like to have seen it go to a three-tier scale.
"Land Use and Current Issues in Subdivisions" - in Portland. The fee would be paid out of the Board budget if anyone wanted to go. It is December 13, 2012, beginning at 9 a.m. If anyone wants to go, let Krystal know.
The Board of Selectmen want to know if the Board has any carry forwards that the Planning Board may want to carry. Larry is going to meet with the Board of Selectmen to discuss this.
Review Findings for Jason & Shannon Grant:
" Motioned by John, seconded by Larry, to approve the Findings as written. Five voted in favor.
Discuss ordinance amendments time permitting:
Keith suggested they have an evening to discuss land use changes. They could start working on them next week or wait until they have several.
9.8.C - proposed by John Vedral
The Board came back to a discussion of this proposal after completing Other Business. John wants to have the opportunity to consider the size of the lot and configuration. He specifically used the word "may" in order to leave things more open. David would like to know why they don't look at the conditional uses that could be options. John says people would still come before the Board, and the Board would have the option to discuss any conditional use that comes before them.
David says he would have voted to approve the Daycare application tonight if not for the way the ordinance was written. John said he would have, too. He expressed concern that he could be opened up to a lawsuit. David doesn't know why in '09 it was so definitive.
Fred says that particular article came from one specific incident. There was a small lot with two horses. They didn't realize that other uses could be restricted on a smaller lot. The way it is worded now denies other uses. This is what results when things aren't looked at in a bigger way.
David asks if they should take conditional uses as they come or have a certain list of uses. John says there are other things in the ordinances that guide the Board. He thinks it would be detrimental to itemize the items that could come before the Board.
Larry likes the balance of John's wording in that it does allow for flexibility. The Board could make their own decisions. They're currently pigeonholed into having to deal with 9.8.C. This will allow this and future Boards to have some flexibility.
Chris is curious why they didn't pursue a change to the animal husbandry section rather than this ordinance. Keith says they wanted to come up with something that wouldn't alienate the large animal owners. Chris asked if the risk isn't greater by allowing such flexibility of the Board. Chris mentions purely arbitrary decisions being made and some other things he's read. John points other places where the word "may" is used rather than "shall" or "must."
Dave asks if they couldn't include No. 9 in the discussion to see if any audience members have any ideas.
Henry says he would support John's ordinance. It's not cast in stone; it's a "may."
The issue Keith has is two lots side by side having a different configuration. The Board may say "yes" to one and "no" to another. Henry points out that people would have voted for the daycare if they could. If you have a strict denial, this couldn't be done. If the group all decides on it, then he believes this would be all right.
John said he considered striking 9.8.C. in its entirety.
Keith has an issue with the cluster subdivisions that lots have already been shrunken down in size.
John says the Board can still make judgment calls. Do we need to be more specific?
Henry pointed out that the community got by for decades without this ordinance. Fred said tonight that this was in response to a specific issue.
Keith says they can send both of these (public works ordinance being the other) to the attorney. John thought that would be a good idea. David would like to know if they should include some specifics.
Chris asked if it would be helpful to look back at the previous discussion to determine why it didn't go into animal husbandry. Keith thought Krystal would have the information.
Stephen Heroux came in to discuss why this ordinance came up. If someone has a 4.8 acre parcel in the rural zone, they wouldn't even have the option to have a horse. If one was looking at a village with all kinds of traffic, the Board would have to take the application. This wasn't intended to encompass all of these things. He thinks the Planning Board is not here to just go through a checklist. He thinks having a gray area is not a bad thing. He thinks they would better serve the Town with flexibility.
Keith will have Krystal check the minutes of '09.
Larry sees 9.8.C. as a secondary part of the ordinance. It is not a foundational rule. He doesn't have a problem with easing the restriction of the ordinance. David thinks he may just recommend scratching it. John said he's willing to consider repealing it.
Chris says that if you have institutional experience, you might put something in the wrong place. Make sure you solve the problem in another way without the unintended consequences.
Keith says they'll try and get the attorney's opinion. Keith asked if the Public Works' wording looks all right.
Chris asked about making it clearer. Keith says they can add at the end of it "until it becomes accepted by the Town." Larry asked if it would be kept on file by the Code office or the Public Works Department. Keith says it would become part of the application they would have to fill out.
If the MDOT already maintains standards, this would make sense to use as a guide. The road specs are laid out. If there is a standard for signage of local roads by the MDOT, they could include this. If there are already standards developed, John believes they should use this. Keith says that all signs will be purchased by the developer. They should have blue signs on private roads until they're accepted. A former director had some blue signs made up that were placed above the green signs until the road was accepted. They've (Keith and Tom) come up with a list of their standard signs. John is looking for signage not to become an endless list. Keith says they're only talking about a basic list.
John says he's okay if they tacked on that signage is determined by the Public Works Department and that they're standard. Can a developer determine easily how much it will cost him? If the list were in the ordinance, a developer would know about what the cost would be. Is there a written standard? Chris says it will be determined by the Public Works Director. He'll see the application when the plan comes in, Keith stated. They need to determine early in the process what signs will need to go in. John wants to make sure the Public Works Department has the list. He wants to make sure that people will know this.
"The signs will be determined by the Public Works Department and on file in the Code Enforcement office," Larry suggested. John is looking for where the developer can find this information. John wants to see that list, and they can make reference to it. These are the signs that might be expected. Keith says they could see the list, but it won't matter until the Public Works Department makes the decision for a particular subdivision. Add "as determined by the Public Works Department and on file in the Code office."
13.5.F.1 0 proposed per Public Works Dept. request
Keith says they've been able to get the developer to buy the street sign but not necessarily the other necessary signs. Keith and the Director have come up with a list that Fred has been given. He thinks that the developer would need to go over the list in the Code Enforcement office before they accept the road.
David asks what happens if a sign gets damaged or destroyed. Keith says the Town would then have to replace them. John asked about the reason for having a separate meeting.
He would like to discuss these ordinance changes at regular meetings.
Keith mentions the October 8 meeting falls on a Town holiday. He asks what the Board would like to do. The Board will plan to meet on the 8th.
Keith moves on to a petition that was turned in. They have to have a public hearing. The Board will have no input on it. The earliest they can have a public hearing is the 22nd of October. The ad has to run twice.
Fred said there is a request for a zoning change - Map 6, Lot 46 - a request to change the zoning where the Buxton Tavern is located from Rural to Business/Commercial. Fred shows the location on the zoning map where the Business/Commercial district is now. He shows where the Buxton Tavern is located in the rural zone and where the proposed extension of the zone is located. The list of uses in the Business/Commercial zone would allow the Tavern to use the upper floor to expand their business. They've asked to change the zone of only that lot. In some cases, this could be seen as spot zoning.
Fred pointed out some other areas in Town that have been changed. There is some precedent, as he pointed out some small blocks - across from Dearborn's, there is one lot that is Light Commercial. Where the Napa store is now, that is basically two lots listed as Light Commercial. The school zone where the new Elementary School is was changed. He shows where the Tavern would be.
Fred showed some other properties next to the Tavern, which could have been included. Keith says they try to include the neighboring lot as part of the zone change. David asks about the blank space next to the Tavern. Fred pointed out some lots to the Board members on the zoning map.
" John motioned, seconded by Larry, that the Board have a public hearing on October 22 at 7 p.m. for the zoning ordinance change submitted by petition in regards to Map 6, Lot 46. Five voted in favor.
Keith pointed out some steps that Krystal has to do when a petition is submitted.
Attendees may address the Board on the evening's business:
Henry asked if the nonconforming lot ordinance would be on the ballot. Keith says it will be on the ballot. The attorney felt it was sufficiently different than the previous ballot.
Keith asked about the Selectmen's process for a 7th member, and no one is interested.
" Motioned by Dave, seconded by John, to adjourn the meeting at 8:48 p.m. Five voted in favor.
Keith Emery, Chairman Signature Date