SOUTH HERO DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD MINUTES November 9, 2022
Members Present: Tm Maxham (Chair); Doug Patterson (Vice-Chair); Nate Hayward; Gareth Hunt; Mike Welch.
Others Present: Meghan and Kevin Kohlmeyer (Applicants); Anne Quinn; Jeff Sikora; Anne Quinn; Jen Saunders; Sharen Chadwick; Bridgett Kerr (via Zoom); Cindy Spence (via Zoom), Martha Taylor-Varney (ZA).
7:00PM – Chair T. Maxham opened the meeting and introduced the Board members.
Changes to the Agenda
There were none.
There was none.
Conditional Use review for an 18-hole miniature golf course: Lot #2 on Lavin Lane – Meghan Kohlmeyer (application #23-28-RT275)
- Maxham opened the hearing. The warning was read, and Megan Kohlmeyer, Kevin Kohlmeyer, and Jeff Sikora were sworn in.
Meghan and Kevin Kohlmeyer are proposing a seasonal 18-hole miniature golf course on Lot 2 at 275 US RT 2. She presented an updated rendering of the proposed course to the Board and the public. She told the Board that the course is designed for family recreation for both locals and tourists. The seasonal operation has a theme centered on artifacts from Champs’ adventures and will be whimsical, incorporating ‘steampunk’ styling of a decoy submarine (shaped like Champ), the Island Railroad, a lighthouse, and other fixtures. The lot design includes the existing drainage swale, and large trees on the lot will remain unless there are safety issues. Lighting will be of the footpaths, no more than head high, and downward facing. There will be no outdoor music. There will be a 4’-5’ fence around the course. The fence will not be solid. Additional features include a bike rack, maintaining the existing berms as part of the course, and landscaping throughout. There will be a 10-ft. buffer between the fence and the lot boundary. Power will be underground from a pole on RT 2. Kevin Kohlmeyer explained that it will take roughly an hour to play the course. The course will be ADA compliant.
The course will front onto RT 2. Parking for 27 cars in a gravel lot is shown at the back of the lot. There is room for further expansion should it be needed. Access will be from Lavin Lane. The plan also shows a future party pavilion in the greenspace. A reference to a “Future Attraction” is also shown. The Applicants understand that this future use will need additional review once the use is identified. At this point, there is no specific proposal or plan. A small ‘clubhouse’ will have an office and small concessions from a fridge or freezer. No food will be cooked or prepared at the site. 2-3 employees are proposed. The Applicants stated that they are exempt from wastewater. Porta-johns will be provided. Days and times of operation are as follows: April – May 10am to 7pm; June – August 10am to 9pm; September – October 10am to 7pm. No after-dark hours are proposed. Hours and days will be weather dependent. The course will be open 7 days/week, up to 120 days.
- Maxham reminded the Applicants and the Board that a recreational facility in the South Hero Village Zoning District requires both conditional use and site plan review. For the conditional review, the Board will need to consider whether the application will create any undue adverse effect (Fig. 2.3 in the Regulations). The Applicants intend to come before the Board later for their site plan review.
There was a discussion regarding signage. The front sign on the 16-ft. tall Champ structure in the course exceeds the height restriction for signs in the Town’s sign ordinance (12’). Could this ‘Island Time Golf’ sign be considered a building-mounted sign instead? Review and permitting by the Army Corps of Engineers and VT DEC Stormwater await final work by Applicants’ engineer and environmental consultants.
- Patterson asked about off-season facility protection. There will be security cameras and the gates will be locked. M. Welch asked if the course structures will be anchored against the wind. The Applicants stated that they will be anchored into concrete. The design will be of concrete and steel and will be wind resistant. T. Maxham reminded them that the location of the gravel parking area can get wet and will need to be engineered to handle the traffic. Drainage from the lot will be to the swale from the parking area and the course. Review and permitting by the Army Corps of Engineers and VT DEC Stormwater await final work by Applicants’ engineer and environmental consultants, including wetlands delineation..
Open to the Public
Anne Quinn asked where the parking area will be accessed. The parking and course will be accessed from Lavin Lane. Sharen Chadwick owns the post office building immediately west of the proposed site. She asked if the trees would remain. The trees will remain unless any are deemed unsafe. Underbrush will be removed. Ms. Chadwick was concerned about additional noise that could impact the apartment on the east end of her building. The fence will not be solid so will not act as a noise buffer. Could additional screening be added to that side of the course? The setback from the fence to the course will be about 10’. Bridget Kerr asked about the amount of impervious surface that will result (% depends on engineer’s drawings. That will be determined at site plan review); she asked about lighting details – will they be on all night? (operational lights no, lights for safety to be determined); what plans for the ’future attraction’? (yet to be determined. Will require additional review); any plans for additional concessions or food trucks? (No food prep on site. No food trucks); referencing several Town surveys, no one mentioned wanting a miniature golf course. Would this benefit the Town? Does the Town want it? (Kevin Kohlmeyer responded that it is a family friendly, wholesome outdoor activity). Cindy Spence commented that she had also been concerned about lights and noise and was satisfied that these issues had been addressed. She felt that there is a need for activities in town that are safe and was in support of the proposal at this time. T. Maxham commented that this is a recreational activity that can be multi-generational, peaceful, quiet, and could be a good place to get together with family and friends.
- Hayward suggested that not only should the light fixtures be down-cast, but the bulbs should be shielded. The lights shown in the conceptual drawings extend below the fixtures and could create more glare. Meghan Kohlmeyer responded that the lights shown were too expensive and would instead be ones that will not extend below the fixture. D. Patterson reminded the Applicants that their engineer needs to be familiar with the Town’s stormwater requirements (Sec. 606) for their site plan.
- Maxham closed the hearing at 8:03PM.
Martha reminded that Board that 1-year terms for Alternates and those members whose 3-year terms expire at the end of the year need to let her know if they wish to continue. Alternate Sherry Corbin has already stated that she would continue for another year. Alternate Ellie Reid has yet to decide. Regular members T. Maxham and N. Hayward each asked to be reappointed. Martha will place an ad in the Islander and plan to present these names and any other respondents to the Selectboard for their consideration before the end of December.
Review of Minutes
- Patterson moved to approve the minutes from October 26, 2022; M. Welch second. All in favor.
There will be no meeting on November 23rd (the following day is Thanksgiving). There will be only one meeting in December, on the 14th, again due to the holidays. Regular twice-a-month meetings will resume in January. Only one hearing is scheduled for Dec 14 – a setback waiver for Eagle Camp.
- Hunt moved to adjourn and move to deliberative; N. Hayward second. All in favor.
Martha Taylor-Varney, ZA
Signed: ____________________________________________ Date: ______________________
For the DRB
These minutes are unofficial until approved at the next regularly scheduled meeting. All motions were unanimous unless otherwise stated.