SOUTH HERO DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD October 28, 2020
Members Present: Tim Maxham (Chair), Doug Patterson (Vice Chair), Jim Brightwell, Nate Hayward, Gareth Hunt, Liza Kilcoyne, William Rowe, Sue Arguin (alternate), Mike Welch (alternate)
Others Present: Martha Taylor-Varney (Zoning Administrator)
Members Absent: None
Public Present: Bayview Crossing
- Jay Appleton
- Ross Brown
- Michael Bacigalupo
- Jay Buermann
- Michaela Carter
- Greg and Pat Carter
- Bob and Marie Chilson
- Willemina Cerauskis
- Sandy Gregg
- Miranda Lescaze
- Kim Loll
- Matt Reed
- Cindy Reid
- David Roy
- Joel Templeton
- Lori Ann Roy
- Judy Steacy
- Nancy Andrews
Richardson – 138 Ferry Road
- Mitchel Richardson
- Anna Thelemarck (Structur Architects)
- Paul Boisvert (Engineering Ventures)
- Deborah Sherman
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: Bayview Crossing Senior Housing (10 Carter Lane) – Preliminary Site Plan Review
- Maxham opened the hearing at 7:00 p.m. N. Hayward recused.
Notice & Oath
- Hunt read the hearing warning. T. Maxham administered the oath to the attending members of the public.
Appearing on Behalf of the Applicant
- Jay Buermann, Civil Engineer
- Cindy Reed, Cathedral Square
- Miranda Lescaze, Cathedral Square
- Dave Roy, Weiman Lamphere Architects
- Buermann said that his role for the project was site planning and permitting, and that he would first introduce the Cathedral Square representatives to cover project history, then he would address the preliminary site plan requirements per town bylaws Section 303 and Table 3.1. David Roy would address the building design and esthetics.
- Lescaze said that Cathedral Square is a 40-year-old Vermont non-profit that develops, owns and operates affordable service-enriched housing communities for seniors and persons with special needs. Cathedral Square owns and manages 27 communities in Vermont, provides technical assistance to other non-profit housing providers, and administers the SASH (Support and Services At Home) program statewide. Cathedral Square has been working with CIDER for more than 14 years to create affordable senior housing in the Islands, and after examining many sites, has identified the one presented today as the perfect site. Positive attributes include location in an area designated for new growth near the Community Health Center and the Town library. Cathedral Square is planning a 30-unit building of 26 one-bed units and 4 two-bed units. Six units will be market rate and twenty-four will be affordable units. The project will help secure the future of CIDER by co-locating their offices within the building. The community and conference rooms will be shared with CIDER. The residents will benefit from CIDER’s services, particularly for transportation and meals. M. Lescaze thanked the town for supporting the project, particularly for supporting the South Hero Fire District upgrade of the water distribution system and for support of a Vermont Community Development Program (VDCP) planning grant. She said that the Town is also sponsoring an application for an implementation grant from VCDP.
Actions to-date include securing an option for a septic easement on the Bayview Farm, conducting a site visit with funders and wetland permitting authorities, and completing an archeological review and starting an environmental review. Cathedral Square also held a meeting with Carter Lane neighbors and VTRANS to consider different options for accessing the site, and received a grant for $110,000 from the Northern Borders Regional Commission to replace a part of the Fire District’s water line to improve water supply to the project.
To secure funding for the project, Cathedral Square has secured an award from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, has applied to the Community Development Program with a decision expected in April, and expects to receive Low Income Housing Tax Credit funding in April for the largest portion of the development funds. Cathedral Square has worked with the design team of Weimann Lamphere and Buermann Engineering to develop the current proposal.
- Buermann presented the various components of the application demonstrating compliance with preliminary site plan requirements per the Town bylaws. He said they were requesting a waiver from the Town for including the Letter of Intent from VTRANS with the application as they were looking for feedback on site access from the Town tonight. He also requested a waiver for the lighting and landscaping components of the application as the applicant wanted to get the Town’s feedback on the preliminary plan before investing time in details that would be affected by any major changes.
- Buermann said that trash and recycling facilities were provided within the building and that there were no exterior loading docks or storage. He said the applicant tentatively plans to begin construction in 2021 and complete the entire project in one phase.
- Patterson made a motion to waive the requirement for lighting and landscaping. A second to the motion was made by G. Hunt, and the motion passed by acclamation.
- Patterson asked for J. Buermann to review the discussions to-date with VTRANS before the Board proceeded with a motion to waive the requirement for the VTRANS Letter of Intent (LOI). J. Buermann said that his team had met with VTRANS and that from his perspective the option presented seemed to be the best from the perspective of VTRANS, Carter Lane residents, and the neighboring child care center. J. Buermann said that he wanted the Board’s input before presenting the plan back to the other stakeholders.
- Kilcoyne made a motion to waive the requirement for the VTRANS Letter of Intent. A second to the motion was made by D. Patterson, and the motion passed by acclamation.
- Roy summarized the site and building architecture. He said the building ridgeline runs east-west, with seven units facing south and eight units facing north. The higher portion of the site is to the west, starting as slab on grade. As the building moves to the east a lower grade allows for a lower-level of residential storage and parking. He said a single-floor building will house the common areas and CIDER offices, while the connected residential building will have two floors and a parking level serviced by two elevators. The main residential entry and seven visitor parking spaces will be on the west side of the building, while the main external parking area and CIDER and garage entrances will be on the east side, towards the fire station. D. Roy said the building appearance will be residential in nature, with double-hung windows and an asphalt shingle roof. The building height will be approximately 34 feet from pre-existing average grade so no height waiver is required.
- Patterson asked J. Buermann to review the parking plans. J. Buermann said although they will allocate 30 spaces for the 30 residential units, in Cathedral Square’s experience they don’t need all 30 of those, so they are allocating 28 to residents; CIDER will require 4; visitors will require 4, giving a total requirement of 36 spaces (28 + 4 + 4). There are 14 spaces in the basement of the building; 7 on the west side; and 30 in the parking area on the east side of the building. The development will use 15 spaces of the west side parking area, and MKN will use the remaining 15. The east side parking, near the main entrance, will be designated primarily for visitors; CIDER will use the east side parking area, near the CIDER entrance on the east side of the building.
- Patterson said that regulations require that two bedroom units have two parking spaces. M. Lescaze said that Cathedral Square had found in their other senior developments that fewer spaces were required. In their rural properties the average number of cars per unit was 0.77, and the average number of parking spaces was 1.13. This was across 15 rural properties that they own and manage, so if this ratio holds for this property, they would expect 23 cars owned by residents. She pointed out that CIDER’s transportation services will be available to reduce the need for private cars. L. Kilcoyne asked where CIDERs vans would be stored. M. Lescaze said they would be offsite, remaining where they are currently parked in the town lot near the old white meeting house. D. Roy said that one of the appeals of this site was proximity to services that were accessible without a car, including the library, pharmacy, post office, and restaurants. M. Lescaze said that although they were proposing 36 parking spaces, they did not anticipate that all of them would be used.
- Kilcoyne said that in her experience with her parents, they have visitors during the day, and senior activities would occur in the community room during the day, which is also the peak time for cars in the MKN development. J. Brightwell said there have been occasions when the library had functions and Wally’s was open and every space in the development was taken. He said he was concerned that we not create a situation where the senior housing parking spilled over into parking used by the rest of the development. J. Buermann said that the situation with overflow parking was when construction was underway and construction crews and activities occupied some of the parking spaces. J. Brightwell pointed out that since construction has completed, demand for parking has been replaced by the parking needs of the tenants that have moved in. J. Brightwell said that before COLVID the library had events during both evenings and daytime with between 40-80 people attending.
- Maxham said that the Board would need to take into consideration both the needs and the regulations in making a determination.
- Buermann said that other permits in the works include the Fire District 4 water main extension, which although not part of the project was needed to ensure adequate pressure. He said a permit from the State has been obtained to construct and to operate. Other permits include a Vermont wetlands permit; Army Corps wetlands permit, Vermont wastewater system, potable water supply permit, VTRANS access permit, Vermont stormwater construction permit, Vermont stormwater operating permit, land use permit (Act 250), plus various construction code permits (fire, safety, electrical, plumbing, ADA).
Water service will be coming off the existing service by the fire station, not connecting near Carter Lane.
- Brightwell asked about the proposed modifications to Carter Lane. J. Buermann said that they were proposing to widen and pave Carter Lane from Route 2 to just north of the Bayview Crossing circle to a width of 24 feet. The circle and Carter Lane would be connected by a 24’ access to the MKN parking area. J. Brightwell asked if Carter Lane was being moved where it intersects Route 2. J. Buermann said it was not detailed yet but Carter Lane it is likely going to widen to the east but it would be at the same location. J. Brightwell asked if there would be any additional curb cuts on Route 2; J. Buermann said no.
- Maxham asked to confirm that the Carter Lane access would not move. J. Buermann said that it would not move but possibly widen to the east.
- Maxham asked if 24’ was wide enough for VTRANS. J. Buermann said that 24’ was their standard, and VTRANS would require a 30’ turn radius between the white lines of Route 2 back to the travel lane to accommodate service trucks. J. Buermann said that the Carter Lane access relieved some of the traffic that would otherwise be routed through the Community Lane entrance in the MKN development and possibly generate the requirement for a left-turn lane on east-bound Route 2. J .Buermann said that VTRANS was happy that the Carter Lane intersection will be improved to VTRANS standards.
- Patterson asked if there was a breakdown of the use of Carter Lane vs. Community Lane for access to the senior center. J. Buermann said no, because any scenario would require assumptions that may not be valid.
- Kilcoyne asked if it was possible that someone who is parking in the garage could come in through Carter Lane. J. Buermann said yes. L. Kilcoyne observed that someone headed for the library could also go through Carter Lane. J. Buermann said that it makes access to the whole development more efficient to have two accesses rather than one chokepoint.
- Maxham asked if the Carter Lane stakeholders and VTRANS were happy with the solution. J. Buermann said that they hadn’t taken the plan back to them yet.
- Maxham opened the hearing for public comment and questions.
Greg Carter asked what was planned for the existing water line coming into Carter Lane. J. Buermann said that it needs to be dealt with and further discussion with residents was needed.
Greg Carter said that he was concerned about lighting. T. Maxham said that lighting would be dealt with in the final site plan hearing. Greg Carter said that the lights from the current development were very bright and wondered if the existing lighting could be shielded. D. Roy said that the intention was that lighting would be downcast. Greg Carter said that even though the existing lighting was downcast, it was very bright.
Greg Carter said that he would like to see a privacy hedge running east to west between the development and his house. T. Maxham said that landscaping would likewise be handled in the later hearing.
- Maxham asked that when the applicant returns for final site plan review that they have in hand a letter from VTRANS so that the question of the Carter Lane intersection was not still an open issue.
Bob Chilson asked for access to the plans, particularly for stormwater plans. J. Buermann said that portion of the plan was not yet complete but would be for the stormwater permit. Bob Chilson said there seemed to be a lot more sediment coming down the brook and into the lake near his property.
- Patterson asked if the building was sprinkled. D. Roy said yes, serviced by tanks that would be filled (one-time) during off-hours. The tanks would be on the south side of the residential building, underground between the building and the circular drive.
- Kilcoyne asked if there would be any outdoor amenities for the residents. D. Roy said there would be a gazebo and a community garden on the south side just north of the visitor parking area.
- Kilcoyne asked where the main housing entrance was. D. Roy said that although there was a secondary entrance at the west end of the residential building, the main entrance was through the community building, near where it joins the residential building and near the elevators. L. Kilcoyne asked where visitors to residents would go. D. Roy said they would park in the circle and go in the main entrance.
- Brightwell observed that if the parking in the circle was full, visitors would likely park south of the building in the MKN parking near the office building and walk up to the main entrance.
- Maxham asked about the disposal system. J. Buermann said the disposal system consists of the septic tank immediately east of the building, a triplex pump station close to the septic tank, and three disposal fields across Route 2 in Billy Large’s south pasture. There will be three equally size disposal fields. The site has been walked with Army Corps and the Vermont Wetlands, and the wetlands consultant plans to have those applications submitted by the end of November. T. Maxham asked if there were any mechanical or electrical systems on the South site of Route 2; J. Buermann said no – the pumps, valves and electronics would be on the north side of Route 2.
- Maxham asked how many of the various permits would be in hand by the time approval of the final plan is requested. J. Buermann said the following would be in hand: State wetlands, Army Corps; wastewater system and potable water supply, and VTRANS LOI. The stormwater construction and operating permits will not be in hand but the plans will be 90% done. Act 250 requires Town approval so it will not be in hand.
- Brightwell asked where deliveries would happen. J. Buermann said that parcel delivery would come in to the main entrance via the loading areas in the upper loop.
Kim Loll from Carter Lane said he was happy with what was presented.
Judy Stacey thanked the Board as a representative of CIDER.
- Kilcoyne suggested an entrance into the residential portion of the building from the east side. D. Roy said there was an access-controlled entrance on the east side for residents; visitors would be directed to the main entrance. J. Brightwell said that means that visitors would not wind up parking on the east side of the building; if the 7 visitor spaces were full, then visitors would park in the MKN development south of the community building.
- Roy said that he thought it would be helpful to work with a subcommittee of the DRB to work out parking issues, to save project and Board time. T. Maxham said he would take the idea up with M. Taylor-Varney.
- Hunt made a motion to accept the preliminary site plan as complete, with waivers as motioned earlier. A second to the motion was made by L. Kilcoyne, and the motion passed by unanimous vote, with W. Rowe abstaining.
- Maxham closed the hearing at 8:33 p.m.
Hearing: Richardson – 138 Ferry Road – Revision to Site Plan
Notice & Oath
- Hunt read the hearing warning. T. Maxham administered the oath to the attending members of the public.
Appearing on Behalf of the Applicant
Mitchel Richardson, Applicant
Paul Boisvert, P.E. Engineering Ventures
Anna Thelemark, Structure Architects
- Maxham opened the hearing at 8:35 p.m. N. Hayward resumed his participation as Board member.
- Richardson said that changes to his original plan were mandated by the ADA regulations. A. Thelemark said that the State Fire Marshall required ADA accessibility to both levels. The plan was submitted to the State Access Board and they agreed with the Fire Marshall, and asked to bring parking to the front near the ADA access for the second floor.
The revised proposal takes advantage of the site grading to bring direct access to the second floor on the south (street) side of the building via a ramp, with a new parking area with five spaces at the foot of the ramp. The footprint and ridge height are the same as the previous proposal. The floor elevation has been lowered to make the ramping work.
- Kilcoyne asked how long the ramp was. A. Thelemark agreed with an estimate of 100’.
- Thelemark said that they had presented the plan to the Fire Marshall and the Access Board and they were agreeable to the design.
- Boisvert said that the second floor was now 30 inches lower than the previous proposal. One of the constraints was that due to the negotiations with the State and Town over the location of the building, they did not want to change the footprint.
In response to a question from L. Kilcoyne, A. Thelemark and P. Boisvert said that the location and orientation of the building were the same as previously approved by the Board. P. Boisvert said that the access drive location was also very similar.
- Patterson said that he remembered that the building had a drive-through. A. Thelemark said that the drive-through was east-to-west via one of the bays.
- Kilcoyne observed that a lot of site work was required, and asked if it was less expensive than putting in an elevator. A. Thelemark said that the design solved the problem of adjacent parking for the ADA entrance, and avoided the space and architectural features required to support the mechanical components of the elevator. M. Richardson said that the ramp was a one-time cost, as opposed to annual costs to operate the elevator, and had a lower maintenance cost.
- Brightwell asked if the previous roofline was aligned along an east-west access. A. Thelemark said the original structure was oriented east-west, but in the second approval the current structure was presented to accommodate the repair of larger agricultural equipment. D. Sherman said that she thought the roofline was a completely different look. L. Kilcoyne said that we’ve been using the model of a barn out in the field, but the current design is nowhere near that – it’s just an office building now. A. Thelemark said that they could lower the roofline of the shed roof to reduce its volume and accentuate the main building, which is more barn-like. A. Thelemark said that what has changed in the current design is the windows – the lower level of the main building previously featured store-like windows on the gable end lower floor which have been eliminated. A simulated hayloft door on the upper floor has now been replaced by windows and a door to the ramp.
- Sherman said that the design looks nothing like what was shown originally. T. Maxham said that M. Taylor-Varney had just pulled the most recent (August 2018) submission and confirmed that the project was the same as what was being presented with the exception of the requested changes.
- Kilcoyne asked what the overall height of the building was. T. Maxham said that the sketch shows 34’ 8” based on the average pre-construction grade.
- Patterson asked how close the ramp was from Ferry Road. P. Boisvert estimated 38’ 3” from the edge of pavement to the southern edge of the driveway, and approximately 76’ to the edge of the ramp.
- Patterson asked if the change had to go back through Act 250. M. Richardson said that Susan Baird said that the change could be administratively approved after the Town approved due to the limited nature of the changes.
- Kilcoyne asked if the scope of the Board’s review was the ramp, bridge, and the parking in the front. T. Maxham said yes.
- Sherman asked if the parking in the front was additional parking, and asked what is the new total of parking spaces. P. Boisvert said the parking in front was additional bringing the number of parking spaces to 62. M. Richardson said that he did not want to change the parking design previously approved by both the Town and Act 250, so he added parking to meet the request of the Access Board. G. Hunt said that the Town had requested that all parking for the development be to the rear of the building. A. Thelemark said that the Access Board was concerned about the distance from the parking in the rear to the ADA-accessible entrance ramp. D. Sherman asked why the ramp and ADA entrance could not be put in the rear of the building. A. Thelemark said that due to the difference in elevation on the site, a ramp in the rear of the building would be prohibitively high. D. Sherman said that she thought that 60 parking spaces were too many; M. Richardson said that the parking was a result of previous discussions and that he was trying not to disturb elements that had been previously approved by the Town and Act 250. D. Sherman said that the applicant was not only creating additional parking, but also creating an additional access road to get to that parking.
- Maxham opened the discussion to the public, noting that Deb Sherman had previously participated in the discussion. Deb Sherman said she questioned how the building was going to look and said it looked like just another business building, different from what was originally proposed.
- Maxham asked what the timeframe was for getting the project started. M. Richardson said after the Town’s approval, it would go to the Fire Marshall, and then back to Susan Baird for Act 250 administrative approval. M. Richardson said he was asking for a waiver from Act 250 and the Fire Marshall to start doing groundwork pending their approval.
- Taylor-Varney said that M. Richardson has a building permit now for what was previously approved. She asked how long after Act 250 approval would M. Richardson start construction. M. Richardson said that Susan Baird had led him to believe that he could begin construction after the Town’s approval with some sort of interim waiver. M. Taylor-Varney said that M. Richardson would have to amend his building permit with the Town.
- Kilcoyne said that M. Richardson would not be able to get a State building permit without an ADA-accessible design, so it’s not just Act 250 but also the State Fire Marshall that is an obstacle to getting started.
- Hunt said what he did not understand is how Act 250 could require a change in a plan the Town previously approved, and now Act 250 is saying the Town can approve something and they’ll be good with it. G. Hunt asked where the documentation was to show what Act 250 is looking for. M. Richardson said that Act 250 would not give that in writing, and that it was their policy that the Town approves first.
- Maxham observed that M. Richardson had approvals for building a garage and could begin construction now, but if he wanted to proceed with including the office space, he would have to meet the requirements of the various authorities for the additional scope. M. Richardson said that his previous approval from the Town included the professional space, and so would need approval from the Fire Marshall and the Access Board. He said that he thought he had all necessary approvals to proceed and had started excavating until stopped by the Fire Marshall. He said nobody told him to see the Fire Marshall – Act 250, the local Board, nobody. T. Maxham said that if he remembered correctly, the Board had talked with M. Richardson about what he might have to do for ADA accessibility, and that at the time the applicant said that he didn’t think it was any big deal. M. Richardson said that he thought he fell under variances based upon an initial meeting with the Fire Marshall. A. Thelemark said that the initial meeting with the Fire Marshall did not change any of her code review, and it was not until the permit application was submitted and somebody else reviewed the plan that they raised changes.
Hearing no further questions from the Board or audience, T. Maxham closed the hearing at 9:20 p.m.
Old Business: None.
Review of Minutes
- Hayward moved to accept the minutes of October 14, 2020 as printed. G. Hunt seconded the motion. The motion passed by acclamation.
The Administrator’s Report was delivered by Martha Taylor-Varney (Zoning Administrator).
- Nov 11: No hearing scheduled; business meeting & deliberations only.
- Nov 25: No meeting.
- Dec 9: Lot #5 Lavin property preliminary site plan.
- Taylor-Varney suggested that the Board move the meeting time to 6:00 p.m. for the winter months. No objections were raised.
The Board discussed delegating members to discuss parking for the Bay View development to expedite the process. D. Patterson said that he felt that it was up to the applicant to convince the Board that they deserved a waiver from the regulations. J. Brightwell said that he was concerned that some of the spaces were being sold twice. N. Hayward said that he would be willing to participate as an applicant (interested party) rather than a Board member, and that he was concerned that planning not be for peak use but rather balanced with consideration of environmental impact. M. Taylor-Varney said that she would consult with VLCT to ensure that having a delegation participate in such a discussion would not violate open meeting laws.
Motion to Adjourn
- Kilcoyne moved to adjourn to deliberative session. The motion was seconded by G. Hunt and carried by acclamation. The meeting was adjourned to deliberative session at 9:40 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.