SOUTH HERO DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD January 13, 2021
Members Present: Tim Maxham (Chair), Doug Patterson (Vice Chair), Jim Brightwell, Nate Hayward, Gareth Hunt, Liza Kilcoyne, William Rowe, Mike Welch (alternate)
Others Present: Martha Taylor-Varney (Zoning Administrator)
Members Absent: None
Public Present Arbor Farm Market Hearing
Bayview Crossing Discussion
Cindy Read (Director of Development, Cathedral Square)
Greg Montgomery (Project Manager, Cathedral Square)
David Roy (Weimann Lamphere Architects)
Matthew Reed (Weimann Lamphere Architects)
Robin Way (CIDER)
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by T. Maxham at 7:00 p.m. The meeting was conducted by Zoom web meeting software.
Changes to Agenda: None.
Public Input: None.
Hearing: Arbor Farm Market Site Plan Review 324 US Rt 2
Notice & Oath
- Taylor-Varney read the hearing warning. T. Maxham administered the oath to the attending members of the public.
Appearing on Behalf of the Applicant
Alisha Utter & Kyle Bowley (Applicants)
John Skutel (CLB Properties, Landowner)
- Utter said that they are currently farming in Grand Isle and seek to open a retail storefront for the farm in the old CIDER building at 324 U.S. Rt 2. April 30th is the target opening day. The applicants propose to sell fresh produce, baked goods, flowers, houseplants, and a variety of Vermont products. Proposed hours are W-F 11-7, Sat & Sun 10-4. Maximum staff on-site at any given time will be two. The maximum number of customers expected is 15 per hour, with an average visit time projected at 15 minutes. The store will be a retail outlet and not have a dine-in facility.
- Bowley said that seven parking spaces are proposed, with two in front and five head-in along the east side of the building. VTRANS did not have any issues with the existing curb cuts. Power and phone are served from the utility pole at the curb in front of the building. The building is served by a water line. A propane tank is at the northeast corner of the building. The front porch will have seating and flowers and will serve as the main entrance. The rear entry will be used as an exit to promote one-way flow during COVID.
- Brightwell asked for the number of square feet in the building. M. Taylor-Varney said that she calculated 860 square feet and confirmed that the applicable use was retail, and that the minimum number of parking spaces required was two. The proposed number of parking spaces exceeds the minimum requirement. J. Brightwell observed that the apparent clearance from the head-in parking spaces to the property boundary to the east might be insufficient. M. Taylor-Varney said that the town owned the property to the east and was discussing creating a pocket park associated with the “honeymoon cottage” along the CIDER building’s eastern boundary. J. Brightwell asked if the alley between the parking spaces and the eastern property boundary was sufficient and noted that the parking area was gravel and parking spaces would not be striped. J. Skutel said that there is plenty of room, and that during CIDER’s tenure there were sometimes 10-12 parked cars, and that he had gone into the back with trucks with no problem. He said the parking area in the back was open for shared parking with other tenants.
- Bowley said that the distance from the building to the property line on the east was about 42 feet. He said that they would install railroad ties to delineate parking spaces.
- Brightwell asked where the handicap space was. K. Bowley said that the first space in the head-in parking along the building would be designated handicap because it was nearest to the ramp onto the porch.
- Kilcoyne asked if the angled parking proposed on the east side of the building would make it difficult for cars to back out and head for the exit.
- Rowe asked how wide the aisle was between the parking areas and the property boundary. K. Bowley said approximately 32 feet.
Robin Way said that CIDER often had 10-12 cars parked there and even with 3-4 cars parked along the east side there was enough room for the trash haulers and other trucks to get to the back of the building. John Skutel agreed that there was plenty of space along the east side of the building for both head-in car parking and for vehicular ingress/egress to/from the rear parking lot.
After discussion, the Board and the applicants agreed that the head-in parking should be perpendicular to the building (head-in, not angled) to facilitate backing out and heading out towards the exit.
- Maxham asked if the applicant had spoken to VTRANS. K. Bowley said he had spoken to Ed Pierce a couple of times. He said that VTRANS’ main concern was that he obtain a right-of way to use the curb cut immediately to the east on Town property, which is the only way to access parking on the lot from the highway. VTRANS did not see a problem with the existing curb cut from an engineering perspective. M. Taylor-Varney said that she had received an email from Ed Pierce that an 1111 access permit is not required. On Monday the Selectboard agreed that the project could share the existing curb cut, as CIDER had used it previously. The Selectboard is willing to put that in writing if required by the DRB.
- Brightwell said that the Board should ask the Selectboard to put this in writing. M. Taylor-Varney said that she would communicate the request to the Selectboard.
The Board discussed the proposed two parking spaces in front of the building and concluded that the applicant did not need the two spaces to comply with regulations. Discussion highlighted that eliminating the spaces would open up the front of the building and make the business more attractive, and also preserve access across the lot from the west. M. Taylor-Varney said that Section 603 regarding parking area design in the Village district specified that parking should be to the side or rear, so that eliminating the spaces in front would support the new regulations.
The parking discussion ended with the applicants deciding to amend the plan to show four parking spaces along the side of the building, head-in, perpendicular to the structure.
- Maxham opened the proceedings for comment from the public. Jeanine Bellingham said that she thought the proposal looked great, would be a lovely addition to the village, and endorsed parking on the side. She said that parking in the village was always an issue and that she felt that each business needed to have enough parking for its actual requirements.
- Maxham asked if the people who worked there would park in back. K. Bowley said yes. T. Maxham asked John Skutel if there was enough space in back for equipment as well as employee and shared parking. John said that Cedar Ledge no longer kept equipment there, and that there was plenty of space. He said that the parking behind the building was shared with the other businesses in the complex.
- Maxham said that he felt that if the business was successful, they may pull in a lot of traffic and that some of the town shared parking might be needed to service peak demand.
- Taylor-Varney asked if the applicants would be willing to agree to a condition to come back before the Board in a year to review parking. The applicants agreed.
The Board agreed to accept the site plan with 4 parking spaces along the side, with the southern-most space designated as the handicapped space.
The applicants asked for a waiver from site plan requirement to show contours. G. Hunt made a motion to grant the waiver. D. Patterson seconded the motion, which passed by acclamation.
- Hayward made a motion to accept the site plan as revised during discussion as complete. G. Hunt seconded the motion, which passed by acclamation.
- Maxham closed the hearing at 7:07p.m.
Discussion With Cathedral Square Re Parking At Bayview Crossing
- Roy said that based on feedback in the previous meeting, Cathedral Square had developed a parking plan that illustrated the parking proposal and showed the allocation of spaces to the different types of use. The proposed parking includes a new 32-space lot that will be located between the new development and the firehouse. The new lot will be accessed on the south by a curb cut to Community Lane that will be created from four current Community Lane parking spaces. At the north end, the parking lot will provide access to the Bayview Crossing underground garage. Fourteen of the spaces will be allocated for use by the Community Lane development; the balance will be allocated to Bayview Crossing residents. The result will be a net gain of ten spaces to Community Lane (fourteen new spaces less the four existing spaces sacrificed to create the curb cut).
There will be thirteen spaces allocated to Bayview Crossing in the new lot; fourteen in the lower level parking garage under the Bayview Crossing building; and seven at the visitor entry. A total of three spaces are handicap accessible – one in the visitor area, one in the garage, and the one already mentioned at the CIDER entrance in the new lot. CIDER will operate from the east side of the one-story portion of the Bayview Crossing building. Five spaces in the new lot along the east front of this building will be reserved for CIDER, one of which will be handicap accessible.
- Montgomery presented a table showing the number of units, number of cars, number of spaces, and number of handicap spaces at each Cathedral Square property. He said that the difference in the spreadsheet between the number of handicap tags possessed by residents and the lower number of handicap parking spaces was explained by the number of residents who have handicap tags but do not require a full handicap space near their residence. G. Montgomery said that many residents have tags so that on trips to Walmart or the grocery store they can park near the entrance; however, they do not require a full handicap space with extra width. Generally, across all the properties, Cathedral Square has one parking space per apartment.
Robin Way said that the spaces reserved for CIDER will be used only during business hours Monday through Friday and would thus be available for other uses such as community events on evenings and weekends. C. Read said that the spaces allocated to Cathedral Square staff would be used during business hours and would be free for community use after hours.
- Patterson said that at the Cathedral Square Milton development the table presented showed 14 handicap tags but only 3 handicap spaces and he wanted to know how it is determined who gets assigned a handicap space. G. Montgomery said that handicap spaces were available on a first-come first-serve basis, there is a waitlist when needed, and upon occasion when genuine documented need is expressed Cathedral Square has created additional spaces. Cathedral Square has found that 2 or 3 handicap spaces per site to be sufficient. C. Read said that sometimes they meet a resident’s need by moving their assigned space closer to the entrance, which solves the problem in most cases. C. Read said that Cathedral Square meets ADA requirements for handicap spaces and achieves further accommodation via assigning closer parking spaces to those with need.
- Taylor-Varney asked if all residents were assigned a parking space. G. Montgomery said yes.
- Kilcoyne asked how many units were proposed and how many parking spaces were available to be assigned. G. Montgomery said there were 30 units comprising 26 one-bedroom and 4 two-bedroom units, and there are 34 total parking spaces. C. Read noted that only one space was allocated to a two-bedroom unit and Cathedral Square did not typically see a demand for two cars. She said that at Bayview Crossing they have allocated 30 units to residents and 4 spaces to staff and visitors. C. Read noted that staff parking requirements vary by time of day. For example, the part-time wellness nurse may come for four hours per week. There would usually be no more than two staff at the same time, at most three.
- Rowe noted that the table showed 6 units having no car and asked whether no cars were allowed for those units. G. Montgomery said that was a projection based on past experience. In practice they have many apartments where the tenants do not own cars. N. Hayward asked if that meant that although 30 spaces are allocated for residents at Bayview, likely some of those 30 spaces would not be assigned to a resident due to lack of demand. G. Montgomery said yes. C. Read said that they rarely see a two-car household and in any case, they assign only one space per unit.
- Brightwell said that he wondered if the Board could put the parking issue to rest if the Board conditioned the approval on Cathedral Square assigning marked spaces, assigning only the number of spaces proposed for residential use, and prohibiting tenants from using other spaces for residential parking. He said that if the Board could rely on the management company to manage parking to the proposed number of spaces there would not be a concern about spillover parking impacting the rest of the Community Lane development.
- Read said that Cathedral Square would prefer to build more underground parking and would do so if their construction estimate came in below projection, but at this time could not make any commitments.
- Patterson said that he was still bothered by not providing sufficient handicap parking spaces for the number of residents who are expected to hold handicap tags. He said that what is shown meets legal requirements, but he felt there is an ethical requirement to provide a handicap space for every tag, which would amount to maybe 20% of the spaces. G. Montgomery said that if they were to build that number of handicap spaces, it would add 30% to the paved area, and if the spaces were tagged as handicap but not used, people without tags would not be able to use the spaces.
- Taylor-Varney asked if it would be possible to transform regular parking spaces into handicap spaces if needed. G. Montgomery said certain spaces could be transformed where there was room adjacent to the space.
- Roy said that it was important to keep in mind that all handicap requirements are not equal. Some need the access lane next to the parking space for egress from their car; others may simply want a closer location to the building entrance.
- Way said that in his experience, which was considerable, the vast majority of people with handicap tags have them for occasions like going to the store so they don’t have to walk long distances, but most could park in any of the spaces proposed for the development. He said that only a small percentage of people need the extra space beside the car.
- Read said that Cathedral Square made reasonable accommodation to move people’s assigned parking closer when necessary.
- Kilcoyne said that Cathedral Square really needed only two handicap spaces to comply with code; three are proposed.
- Kilcoyne asked what the use was of the large room in the single-story annex. C. Read said that it was intended as a community room for residents of the complex, with access also provided to CIDER. Functions would include resident gatherings and wellness programs. C. Read said that in their other properties they are able to accommodate parking for visitors to events in the community room without setting aside spaces for that purpose.
- Maxham said that perhaps the applicant would be able to create more underground parking, but in any case the Board would have to consider whether parking is sufficient when the final site plan is presented.
Review of Minutes
- Kilcoyne moved to accept the minutes of December 9th as amended. W. Rowe seconded. The motion passed by acclamation.
Sue Arguin has resigned from the Board, where she has been serving as an alternate. Her position will be advertised.
January 27th. M. Richardson for amendment to the site plan.
February 10th. Jim Bond final site plan for Martin Road subdivision. Also a variance request for a setback involving replacement of a non-conforming home.
Motion to Adjourn
- Hayward moved to adjourn to deliberative session. The motion was seconded by L. Kilcoyne and passed by acclamation. The meeting was adjourned at 7:57 p.m.
James G. Brightwell
Clerk for S. Hero Development Review Board
Signed: ____________________________________________ Date: __________________
For the Development Review Board
These minutes are unofficial until approved at the next regularly-scheduled meeting. All motions were unanimous unless otherwise indicated.