4 January 2006 | Approved: 1 February 2006
Chairman John McClelland called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. In attendance were Commissioners Darrell Anderson, Peggy Ebner, Bob Evans, Bud O’Connor and alternate Jim Leng. Also in attendance were town residents Nancy Haskett and Ed Roberts.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes for October and November were approved. The minutes for December will be presented at the February meeting.
407 Acorn Lane
Town Council Request for Town Action – The Town Council requested options from the Planning Commission regarding what action should be taken by the Town on the 407 Acorn Lane issue. Chairman McClelland presented the attached list of options (see attachment A.) In discussion, Commissioner O’Connor expressed concern that a delivery truck could hit the eaves from 407 Acorn that overhang Johnson Alley and that the Town could be held liable. Kathy Lehman pointed out that trucks are not permitted on the alley so the vehicle should be held liable. Chairman McClelland said that these issues are why it would be a good idea to have the boundary survey completed.
Chairman McClelland reported on Town attorney Bill Robert’s findings in researching the deeds and ownership of Johnson Alley. Based on his research, Mr. Roberts found that the original depth of the lots in that area was 60 feet. However, he speculates that when a detached garage question on the property was raised, the 407 Acorn lot was measured inaccurately due to encroachment of the front porch onto Grove Avenue resulting in a ten foot length discrepancy on the northern lot line. Therefore, the Town deeded ten feet of property to the owner bordering but not including Johnson Alley. Mr. Roberts is certain that the only way the alley could have been deeded over to the owner would have been to do a formal abandonment process of which there is no record. Therefore, he believes that the alley belongs to the Town. Mr. Roberts will write a formal report to be submitted to the TC.
The commissioners discussed whether in the future a boundary survey should be required with a building permit for all renovations or tear-downs over $20,000. No ordinance change would be necessary to make this a requirement. Ed Roberts stated that anything which is permanent should require a boundary survey and that there should not be a monetary limit. Commissioner Evans stated that he feels more thought and investigation will be required on this issue and to table it for a later date.
Master Plan Revision
Chairman McClelland will divide the Master Plan into sections and assign each commissioner a section to review.
The following building permits were discussed and voted on by the Planning Commission:
- 205 Grove Avenue – Resubmission of plans to build a breezeway from the main structure to the garage. Nancy Haskett stated that the porch roof was changed in order to try to make a "common roof" to make the garage considered part of the primary structure so that someone could live in the garage/accessory building. Chairman McClelland stated that the ordinances clearly intend for there to be only single family residences in Town. The Planning Commission’s opinion regarding the connection of two separate residences with a breezeway has not changed. Ms. Haskett asked that the PC look at this particular instance. Chairman McClelland stated that the PC strives to be consistent and is not afforded the luxury of subjective application of Town ordinances. The commissioners noted that more information was needed to properly evaluate the submitted drawings: setbacks, height, description of fence and location and square footage. Chairman McClelland moved that the application be denied based on the PC’s previous opinion on accessory buildings not being part of a primary residence because of an open breezeway connection contingent on receiving appropriate information and plans. Denied unanimously. Note: The Board of Zoning Appeals has previously overturned the PC’s decision by approving the "breezeway" stating that the current garage remain treated as an accessory building.
- 113 Grove Avenue – Porch addition complies with Article 7, Section 9. Approved unanimously.
- 125 Grove Road – Porch denied for failure to produce necessary documentation specifically the set-back distances required on plat survey according to Article 4, Section 2. Denied unanimously.
- 103 Grove Avenue – Fence complies with Article 7, Section 3.142. Approved unanimously.
- 102 Ridge Road – Addition complies with Article 7, Section 9. Approved unanimously.
Report from Town Council
Commissioner Anderson reported that the TC would like PC input on implementing the Municipal Infractions Ordinance regarding whether to "grandfather" all preexisting violations or to only "grandfather" some of the less costly violations. The PC discussed the option of sending a letter to all non-compliant property owners stating that they are out of compliance and will not have to fix the problem now but that they may not rebuild or renovate the structure in the future. Ed Roberts stated that if it is something small, give the person quite a few years to fix it; if it’s big, what would it take to fix it; if it’s dangerous, they have to fix it. He feels that this is not something that can be passed at this time. It needs work. If you have too punitive of a law, it is not likely to be enforced. Chairman McClelland stated that there should be a comprehensive, definitive list of non-compliant properties and if a property is not on the list, it is grandfathered. Commissioner Anderson will go back to the TC and report that a comprehensive list will be developed.
Missy Yachup – Secretary
The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 p.m.