SOUTH HERO DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD March 24, 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 Mike & Michelle Gammal
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by T. Maxham at 6:00 p.m. The meeting was conducted by Zoom web meeting software.
Changes to Agenda: None.
Public Input: None.
Hearing: Conditional Use/Site Plan review – Events By Dale (21-53-FR007)
Appearing on Behalf of the Applicant
Chair T. Maxham opened the hearing. M. Taylor-Varney read the hearing warning. T. Maxham administered the oath to the applicant.
Susan Thompson is applying for an accessory use (food truck) at the Green Frog, a business owned by Nancy & Stan Woods at 7 Ferry Road.
- Thompson said that she is the current owner of a 20-year-old catering business, Catering by Dale, primarily serving corporations and weddings. The business has been relying on its food truck during the pandemic and since S. Thompson resides in Grand Isle and has contacts in the area, the food truck has a stop scheduled at the Green Frog 1 day per week. Food preparation on-site is limited to assembling items prepared at the kitchen in South Burlington. Most business is based on pre-orders from area residents. The business is warm-weather only and does not operate through the winter.
- Maxham asked the Board to first consider Conditional Use. M. Taylor-Varney asked for clarification of the days/times of business requested. S. Thompson said that she has been at the Green Frog on Wednesdays from 4:00-6:00 p.m. and wants to also operate Thursdays to accommodate possible expansion.
- Patterson asked the applicant to clarify whether she is asking for a food truck (including food preparation) or a delivery service only. S. Thompson said she is asking for both. She said she will use the food truck during warmer weather to accommodate drop-ins with on-demand meal assembly from pre-cooked items and will provide delivery-only service during cooler weather. She said there is no cooking on the truck.
- Brightwell asked if the truck is self-sufficient for power, water, and waste. S. Thompson said she is fully outfitted as a food truck and licensed by the Department of Health. The truck is self-sufficient for water and waste but uses an extension cord to plug in to the Green Frog.
- Brightwell asked if meals are eaten on-site. S. Thompson said the business is pick-up only with no on-site consumption.
- Maxham asked the Board to proceed with review of the site plan. S. Thompson said that the food truck will be parked to the west side of the parking area near the building. M. Taylor-Varney asked what the operating hours overlap is with the food truck and the Green Frog. S. Thompson said the Green Frog is open until 5:00 p.m. and that there has never been enough traffic to create a conflict for parking spaces.
- Patterson asked if there are any waivers requested. M. Taylor-Varney said there is a waiver requested for contours, but that the site is flat. She said she had also checked with VTRANS and confirmed that an 1111 permit is not required.
- Maxham asked for a motion to enter the response from VTRANS into the record. J. Brightwell made the motion, N. Hayward seconded the motion, and the motion passed by acclamation.
- Patterson observed that there are no parcel boundaries or proposed signage on the site plan. The Board agreed that M. Taylor-Varney could assist the applicant with adding parcel boundaries and signage to the site plan. T. Maxham asked for a motion for the requested waiver for contours. W. Rowe made the motion, which was seconded by L. Kilcoyne. The motion passed by acclamation.
- Kilcoyne asked the applicant to confirm that there will be no outside dining. S. Thompson confirmed that she is not interested in providing outside dining.
- Kilcoyne moved to accept the site plan as complete. The motion was seconded by W. Rowe and passed by acclamation.
Hearing no further discussion, T.Maxham closed the hearing at 6:32 p.m.
Hearing: Combined hearing for 3-Lot Subdivision and PUD review – Michael Gammal (21-59-RT456)
Appearing on Behalf of the Applicant
Mike & Michelle Gammal
Chair T. Maxham opened the hearing. M. Taylor-Varney read the hearing warning.
- Maxham administered the oath to the applicant and audience.
The application is for the subdivision of a 9.5-acre parcel at 456 Route 2 into 3 lots with a PUD on one lot.
- Maxham said that this application is a little more complicated than what the Board usually deals with. After discussion, the Board agreed that the minor subdivision process as specified by the Town’s bylaws for minor subdivision includes only a final site plan review and does not include a sketch plan review. M. Taylor-Varney confirmed that the hearing was warned as a final site plan review.
- Brightwell said he thought that the Board’s consideration of the subdivision and the PUD should be of a piece. He said he raised the point because the application suggested that the decision for a minor subdivision could be severed from the application for a PUD. J. Brightwell asked for an explanation of the paragraph in Section 805 which contains the sentence “A single written decision shall be issued for each combined reviews (sic) conducted as part of the combined review, but shall be coordinated where applicable.” J. Brightwell said that the way he read that section it meant that the Board could consider the PUD while considering the subdivision, and while two separate decisions would be rendered, one application could inform the decision regarding the other. D. Patterson said that he did not disagree.
- Taylor-Varney said this was the issue she considered when she set this as a combined hearing. G. Hunt asked if the hearing was warned as a combined review. M. Taylor-Varney said yes. The Board agreed to use the list in Section 805.B to organize the review and agreed that while there would be separate written decisions for the subdivision and PUD, the Board can look at both applications during the review process.
Mike Gammal presented an overview of his project. He said that the subdivision is logical in that each business (marina, trailer park, and food truck) would each be on its own property. He said that while subdividing, it also made sense to ask for what the property would likely become given that a residential subdivision is more valuable than a trailer community.
- Patterson said that the first applicable item from the list in 805.B is the waiver request. T. Maxham said that the applicant requested waivers for providing the square footage for each structure and for providing a survey plat. Mike Gammal said he is looking for conceptual approval as to whether the Board would approve the 3-lot subdivision and the PUD and at this time. He said he had defined exclusive use areas but not building footprints. He said that the PUD will be a condominium-type project where there is an area owned in common. The residents will own their building, its footprint and a surrounding exclusive use area indicated by the red boxes on Page 3.
- Brightwell said he did not see any reason to require dimensions for buildings that would be torn down, but that as part of the concept for the PUD the applicant should provide standards for building square feet, setbacks, etc. Mike Gammal said that he wanted to get the 9-lot PUD approved with the exclusive use areas and the purchasers of the lots would subsequently apply for approval of their structures. J. Brightwell said you are basically selling the lots for residents to build their own homes. Mike Gammal said yes, he is looking to provide an improved building lot.
- Patterson said that there should be a demolition plan that shows what will be removed. Then there should be something that describes the conventions and standards for building size, lot appearance, and setbacks for the condominium. Mike Gammal said he will provide that to the Board. He is currently envisioning carriage homes, a single-story structure designed to appeal to mature residents, with a consistent appearance for the entire development. J. Brightwell said this will go a long way to answer questions regarding setbacks, number of bedrooms, square feet, etc.
- Hunt said that the regulations say clearly that the PUD must be reviewed with the subdivision and thus a plan for the PUD needs to be supplied. J. Brightwell called the applicant’s attention to Section 304.C (application requirements for a PUD), 304.F. (provision of open space/common land), and Section 408 (Development Standards) and said that the proposal needed to address these requirements before the Board can provide a decision.
Mike Gammal said that he would be glad to provide this information, and that in summary the open space is to the east of the houses and the land between the houses is part of the exclusive use zone controlled by the homeowner. J. Brightwell asked how this is different from a subdivision, where each home has a lot. Mike Gammal said this met the criteria for a PUD in that the homes are clustered together without regard for minimum lot size, the road footprint is reduced, the lot coverage is reduced, and open space is preserved. J. Brightwell said there can be some people who will argue that you are not actually clustering the homes – that what you have is 8 individual homes on individual lots, but you are using the PUD to subvert the subdivision of the property into 8 lots. J. Brightwell asked if the applicant had considered shared walls that would cluster the homes into a much smaller space. G. Hunt said it is not the Board’s job to alter the applicant’s proposal. J. Brightwell agreed but said it is within the Board’s purview to consider the issues raised in Section 408, which includes environmental considerations. N. Hayward said that by quick calculation he concluded that the 7 homes fronting on the lake would consume about 1 acre (about .14 acres each) which to him is clustered – 7 houses on one acre. M. Taylor-Varney said this is in the village district where there are no minimum lot sizes provided the structures meet the required setbacks.
- Patterson asked where in statute it says you can put an exclusive use right on a lot but not call it a lot. Mike Gammal said that to his knowledge there is nothing that says it is allowed, but it is also not prohibited. Mike Gammal said that treating the houses as part of a single PUD rather than individual lots helps to provide for green space, for stormwater treatment, and for uniformity of appearance and use of the land. He said that for the target market (55 and up) he feels that the detached home has more attraction. D. Patterson said he was trying to figure out the difference between an exclusive use area and a lot. G. Hunt said he used to live in such a development in Shelbourne where there are similar provisions to those proposed by the applicant, where the lot size for the carriage house is the footprint of the house and there is an exclusive use area around the house which is .25 acres. There are 12 homes on the 6-acre lot. There are bylaws for the PUD; the homeowners association takes care of the plowing, maintenance, mowing the common areas, and the sewer lines to the road.
- Brightwell said the applicant doesn’t have the details we are asking for today on the PUD, and proposed reverting to the list (Section 805.B) to guide the Board’s evaluation of the subdivision. G. Hunt agreed and said that the applicant will ultimately have to provide the information for the PUD as specified by Section 304.
The Board resumed the discussion of the subdivision following the list in Section 805.B, starting with Item 2, waivers. Regarding the request for a waiver to provide square footage, L. Kilcoyne observed that the depiction of the homes on the site plan are not to scale. The Board agreed that absent missing information already discussed it could not provide a waiver at this time. Regarding the request to waive a survey plat, the Board agreed that since the applicant is requesting a subdivision, he will have to provide a site plan per the provisions of Article IV, and no waiver could be granted.
- Patterson said that the applicant needs to provide a proposal of what he wants to do rather than ask the Board for direction. D. Patterson said the Board’s role is to look at a proposal and evaluate it against the regulations. Mike Gammal said that he was there to take the Board’s temperature to see if it is OK with what he is proposing in general before investing in a survey. D. Patterson said there is no place in the ordinance which allows the Board to do that – instead, the applicant should tell the Board what he wants, and the Board should review it. G. Hunt said that if a proposal complies with the regulations, the Board will approve it. L. Kilcoyne said that the application will likely proceed incrementally but she cannot imagine how it can proceed without a presentation and dialogue, and that with the new regulations it is a learning experience for everyone.
- Hunt asked what issues the Board would have regarding the subdivision if the PUD were not present. J. Brightwell said that he had several questions regarding the minor subdivision.
- Maxham said that the Board should discuss the minor subdivision, starting with Sheet 1.
Mike Gammal said that Lot #3 is delineated by natural boundaries, including the highway on the west and the ridge on the east. T. Maxham asked whether the food truck needs an easement to access the deck which is on Lot #1. Mike Gammal said that he had a contractual relationship with the food truck operator. M. Taylor-Varney said that if the lots are subdivided and Lot #1 sold and there is no easement granted, the relationship would just be severed.
Mike Gammal said there is an easement on Lot #3 to allow for access to Lot #1, as well as an easement for the Montanis. D. Patterson asked if the driveway to the Montanis should be widened. Mike Gammal said that the easement and driveway are 20 feet wide. D. Patterson said that the site plan shows that the driveway is not completely on the Montani easement.
- Brightwell said that the parking area granted in the earlier conditional use for the food truck showed the parking area extending further to the south than shown on the plan submitted for the subdivision. J. Brightwell said that for the original conditional use the applicant said he would gravel half of the parking area, which has been done. J. Brightwell said that during the summer at peak times there is congestion at the entrance with cars parked on the access road and highway, and that the applicant should consider expanding and reconfiguring the parking. He noted that the dumpster is also not shown on the site plan. Mike Gammal said that he will do a better job with controlling parking this season and agreed with showing the full parking area, the dumpster, and shipping crate on the site plan. After discussion, all agreed that only real items (not items like the wood pile) should be shown on the site plan.
- Brightwell asked about the isolation zone on Lot #3. After discussion, the applicant agreed it is likely in error and would be removed.
- Maxham asked about the pile of topsoil at the southern end of the parking area on Lot #3. Mike Gammal said that the pile had been put there as a visual and noise barrier to the adjacent residence. T. Maxham said that he assumed that the soil will be used elsewhere on the property and that the applicant will put up a fence.
Mike Gammal said Lot #1 is 3.7 acres and encompasses the marina. The bathhouse shown adjacent to P. Velasquez property will be relocated west across the parking area. The approved gravel parking area is currently grass and is not expected to be needed anytime soon. W. Rowe asked how wide the right-of-way is as it narrows along the boundary of the Montani property. Mike Gammal said it narrows to about 17 to 18 feet.
- Taylor-Varney read a letter she had received from abutter P. Velasquez objecting to the location of the bathhouse and to additional construction on the northern end of the property.
- Welch said that the applicant should show neighboring structures on the next version of the plan.
- Maxham asked for a motion to enter the letter from P. Velasquez into the record. The motion was made by J. Brightwell, seconded by D. Patterson, and passed by acclamation.
Mike Gammal said that Lot #2 with 4.56 acres contains the PUD with about 500’ of lakefront. He said that he wanted to cluster the development to preserve green space and keep the development consistent and attractive. There are seven homes on the waterfront and one further up the driveway. There is also an existing house in good shape with frontage on the highway that he proposes to retain for possible future commercial use.
- Taylor-Varney read a letter (already in the record) from abutter Frank Montani in which he expressed concern with the location, height and appearance of adjacent new homes, the location of the proposed driveway adjacent to his property, the location and maintenance of the septic system, and the easement for his garage.
- Welch asked where the additional parking is for the residences, observing that there is no parking for a second car or guest. Mike Gammal said that the driveways will likely be double driveways.
- Brightwell said that there should be a parking area designated for the building on Route 2, recognizing that the parking requirements cannot be known precisely until the type of use is established. D. Patterson asked if the house is occupied. Mike Gammal said yes, it is a single-family residence.
No members of the public indicated a desire to speak.
With the discussion concluding, M. Taylor-Varney said the hearing would need to be continued. The earliest date available is May 26th.
- Maxham asked D. Patterson what he saw missing from the site plan that would need to be provided. D. Patterson said the items on Table 3.2 would need to be provided, including:
- All utilities need to be underground and will need to be indicated (can be on other sheets),
- Grading plan
- Landscaping plan
- Construction sequence and timing
- Detail on the turnarounds
- Lighting plan
- Patterson asked how many houses will be served by the well. Mike Gammal said that the seven houses will be supplied with water by the Fire District, and the eighth house will require a drilled well. D. Patterson observed that the site plan differs from that description.
- Taylor-Varney asked for a copy of the commitment by the Fire District to provide water service for the houses.
- Maxham asked the Board if a site visit is in order. After discussion, N. Hayward moved to schedule a site visit for Saturday, April 24th at 9:00 a.m. The motion was seconded by L. Kilcoyne and passed by acclamation. Mike Gammal said the Board should enter at the campgrounds and meet by the bath house.
- Kilcoyne moved to recess the hearing to May 26th at 6:00 p.m. D. Patterson seconded the motion, which passed by acclamation.
Old Business None.
Review of Minutes
- Patterson moved to accept the minutes of February 24th. W. Rowe seconded the motion, which passed by acclamation.
- April 14th. Bayview Crossing hearing for final site plan review; continuation of hearing for conditional use / site plan review for The Anchorage.
- April 28th. Conditional use / site plan review for food truck at Goulet Farm; conditional use / site plan review for a food truck on Ferry Road for Victoria’s café.
- May 12th. Two-lot subdivision and conditional use/site plan review for the Car Museum (first floor of the Zlotoff Tool Museum barn) date TBD.
- April 24th. Site visit for Keeler Bay Associates.
- May 26th. Continuation of hearing for Keeler Bay Associates.
Motion to Adjourn
- Hunt moved to adjourn to deliberative session. The motion was seconded by W. Rowe and passed by acclamation. The meeting was adjourned to deliberative session at 8:29 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.