15 August 2006 | Approved: 19 September 2006
HPC members present: Bob Booher, Chair, Chris Kirtz, Mimi Styles, Ed Mroczka, and David Neumann.
David Stopak attended as liaison for the Town Council. The meeting was called to order at 7:35 p.m.
After some modifications and deletions, the Commission members approved the Agenda presented by Bob Booher. David Neumann agreed to take minutes for the meeting. Minutes of the regular meetings of July 18, 2006 were approved, subject to a few changes.
A building permit application with drawings and photographs of a shed submitted by Alice and Chuck Negin was discussed. The shed is to be built on a lot adjacent to the main lot on which their house at 419 Fourth Avenue is located. The material submitted contained photographs altered to clearly show how the structure would look after construction. Drawings, etc. clearly showed materials and dimensions. Ed Mroczka will write the review for the Commission.
Report to HPC on the Town Council
David Stopak reported that the PC had approved the plans of Conrad Ritter and Christiana Figueres as submitted for their renovation of 206 Grove Avenue. The PC had stated that the HPC had not submitted their review within the allowed time and therefore they approved the plans. Some members of the HPC were still surprised that the drawings were of sufficient clarity to document the permit. Another member thought that the review had been submitted in time. The questions remained unresolved.
Carolyn Sanford had asked that the Council reconsider her use of the lot deeded to her by the Town to satisfy certain setback requirements.
David Stopak explained that the condemnation path that the Town is trying to take to keep the field as open space is still fraught with problems.
The Cator property
Here new ordinances for cluster development are under consideration. Comments by the HPC on draft changes to the Town ordinances were discussed. These are changes to Art. XII (Subdivision Regulations) and VII (Zoning). Instead of putting those comments in writing the members asked Councilman Stopak to pass our comments on to the Town Council. The points made by HPC members as reported to the Town Council by David Stopak are as follows:
"The concept of a cluster option met with a favorable response (from the HPC), but several questions and comments were raised.
The new Ordinance lists what must be submitted to the Planning Commission for review in very specific detail. But there are no guidelines or standards for approval beyond the formulation that the PC will use "its sole discretion and expertise." In contrast, the Zoning Text Amendment does provide guidance concerning lot coverage, setbacks, etc. But the Ordinance gives the PC unlimited power when considering planning and design issues.
For the first time it gives the Town control of details such as building material and architectural design, if the PC chooses to take advantage of this language. There is also broad discretion given to the PC on roads, lighting, etc. and all aspects of the subdivision design. It is understood this is phrased to afford maximum protection for the Town. But at the same time, this poses a problem for the PC in being so open ended and broadly worded.
- Some kind of standards to guide and rationalize the approval process is required; otherwise the powers granted the PC is arbitrary. Yardsticks have to be established on which decisions are based. This is will be a time consuming and formidable task, not to be underestimated. This issue of standards for approval should be part of the discussion of the Ordinance. The Town Council may want to provide some additional guidance to the PC concerning these standards whether they be determined by amendment to the ordinance, PC by-laws, or some other method.
- What other properties in addition to the Cator property can potentially fall into the Cluster Option? What would be the ramifications? Three come to mind – the Church, Voigts’, and Appleby’s properties – but there may be more. It may be worthwhile to look at how this ordinance affects what could be built on these or other properties. The TC might ask a group to look into this before the Public Hearing.
- Part of the role of HPC stated in the Ordinances establishing it is to review subdivisions and give advice to the Planning Commission and Town Council. What role if any is expected from the HPC in the case of the Cluster Option? If the same role is envisioned, it may be useful to say so in the Ordinance itself.
- There was a discussion of how to involve those who would be most affected by the Cluster Option. Perhaps an explicit part of the approval process could be seeking and incorporating comments from neighbors. This is relevant for properties already in Town rather than annexed property
- Should the Ordinance address what happens if development fails and developer goes bankrupt?
- The Ordinance has a section concerning Homeowners Associations. This appears to be boilerplate, may conflict with the Town Charter, and is probably irrelevant."
Bob Booher and David Stopak reported that there has been a great deal of progress on Section 8 of the Master Plan on Town Resources including Historic preservation. The work is coming along well. Bob Booher and David Stopak agreed to provide the other HPC members with a draft of their report for the Master Plan.
Members discussed the subject of commemorative plaques. These could be placed in Town to commemorate the location of the Hotel, the Auditorium, etc. Chris Kirtz said he would investigate the cost and process of making the plaques. We discussed putting or etching in photos of the lost structures. Chris Kirtz said he would get in touch with Missy Yachup (the Town Archivist) to see if the archives had appropriate photos.
The boxes of records and copies of documents that were the basis of the Town histories were given to Bob Booher by Clare Kelly. They are now in Bob Booher’s home. Black plastic containers were given to the HPC as a safer and more permanent home for the materials. Chris Kirtz and Bob Booher will get together to transfer the material to the new containers. They will be placed in the Town archives. It is assumed that they will be indexed and remain together in the container as a specific collection from Clare Kelly.
It was suggested that due to commitments of members, the meetings start a bit later in the evening in the fall. The next meeting will be on September 19, 2006 at 7:30 pm.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m.