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Meeting Minutes - PC

Town of Leicester
 Planning Commission Meeting
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
** See subsequent minutes for any changes
Members Present:  Donna Swinington, Peter Fjeld, Sue Stroud-Speyers, Bill Shouldice
Absent:  Jeff McDonough
Others Present:  Kate Briggs, ZA, Sandra Trombley, Secretary
Meeting called to order at 6:00 p.m. with roll call. 
Bill reported on a shoreline protection meeting he attended.  In their agenda, they are putting together a 45-minute slide show telling us why it is scientifically necessary to do this.  They hope they don’t get questions about property value downgrades, permitting laws, enforcement.  They don’t want to deal with that; only why they think this is necessary. They just want people to listen.  Their first meeting for the general public is going to be in Burlington, the second one in Rutland, the third one in Salisbury/Leicester.  Bill recommended they hold their meeting at Middlebury College where you can get everyone to come because it’s not just Lake Dunmore/Fern Lake, there are other lakes such as Hortonia, the southern end of Lake Champlain. 
Meeting Minutes Approval:
Motion by Peter and second by Sue to approve minutes of June 12, 2013 and June 25, 2013 as written.  All in favor.  So approved.
Zoning Administrator:
Kate proposed changing the PC meeting night to the 2nd Tuesday of the month instead of Wednesday because Lynn Bisbee cannot attend any meeting because our meeting is the same night as Regional Planning’s meeting.  Connie might be able to attend; as well, if changed.  Board was in agreement.  Kate will talk with Julie about placing this calendar change on the web-site.
Kate read an undated letter about code information and certificate of occupancy.  There is a link to read the 72 page document.  Each town can get a free copy; other individuals need to pay to get a copy.
Assistant Zoning Administrator:
Kate informed the PC that she asked for authorization from the Selectboard to hire an assistant to help her with all the zoning work and also train this person to transition into her position.  Kate asked to put the word out if anyone has someone in mind.  The Selectboard is in agreement, but requested that Kate run it by the PC tonight.  Kate said she would give up her salary to pay the assistant if funds were not available.  Bill Shouldice said that Kate should be paid and the assistant should be paid because they need accurate dollars for budgeting purposes.
Motion by Sue and second by Bill to recommend to the Selectboard to hire an Assistant Zoning Administrator to help Kate and train with Kate to transition into the Zoning Administrator position.  All in favor.  So approved.
Kate reported that there will be Municipal Planning Grants for 2014.  The deadline is September 30th.  She recommends we apply.  A grant would pay for the technical review and reproduction of our zoning regulations.  Kate and Diane will work on the application.
Motion by Peter and second by Bill to apply for a Municipal Planning Grant for 2014.  All in favor.  So approved.
Kate reported that she talked to the Selectboard about the Pinkie Johnson access road off Indian Trail.  She stated that this is an example of the worst case of storm water runoff at the lake.  She asked how she can enforce shoreline protection when the town is the worst offender.  There was spirited conversation in defense of the ice fishermen and their ability to access the lake.  Diane remembered the Better Back Road Grant that is exactly designed to address issues such as this.  They called and got Eric House from VTrans to meet them there; along with Arlan and Scott and property abutters.  Eric House stated that it was a water quality problem.
There are cars parking on private property, excessive traffic, noise, drinking.  Kate stated that VTrans thinks it is an insoluble problem and not suitable for traffic.  Kate thinks it should be closed to vehicle traffic because it’s not suitable for vehicles.  She is not sure that they will go ahead and do the application for the grant because they don’t know what to apply for; since the VTrans person doesn’t think there is anything they can do.
The runoff has been going on for so long that one of the neighbors said the level of the lake bottom is two or three feet higher.  There is an incredible delta out there from years of runoff.
Kate finds it discouraging at many levels.
Peter asked if this was the only access the Town of Leicester has for boat access to Lake Dunmore.  It is not feasible to use because of erosion problems.  Peter asked if we could get a grant to purchase a piece of property that would be more suitable. 
Kate stated that it is an issue in and of itself.  The Selectboard will have to deal with it.  The amount of traffic makes it much worse.
There will be a permit application for the July 30th ZBA meeting for a non-permitted structure built on a neighbor’s property.  The permit application is a new proposal.
Zoning Regulation Revisions:
Kate gave some background.  She recommended changing the format with no columns and a text format.  Board was in agreement.
Kate provided handouts to the Board for draft purposes.
Table of Contents:
Kate proposes:
  • Under definitions that they adopt the language.  ‘Separability to Severability’.  Definitions should all be together and in the back.  Board agreed.
  • Moving ‘exemptions’ up to the very beginning of the Table of Contents.  Board agreed.
  • An expanded list of exemptions.  See Salisbury’s draft.
  • #4.  Board agrees they leave height at 6 feet and take out Lakeshore Districts.
  • #5   Board agrees to add bulkheads
  • #6   Board agrees to delete whole paragraph
  • #7   Board agrees they leave their current language at 100 square feet and 8 feet height
  • #8   Board agrees to delete whole paragraph
  • #9-11  Board agrees to use wording
  • #12  Board agrees to stay with their language
  • #13  Board agrees to use wording
  • #14  Board agrees to stay with their language
  • #15  Board agrees to use wording
  • #16-18  Board agrees to use wording
  • #19  Board agrees to delete whole sentence
  • #20  Board agrees to use wording
  • #21  Board agrees to re-write this paragraph and not call it home occupation
  • Three changes:  boundary line adjustments, single lot sub-division and alterations to non-conforming structures that do not increase the degree of non-conformity can go to administrative review by Zoning Administrator and do not need to go to the ZBA.  Board agrees with proposal.
Kate recommends we talk about setback requirements for their next meeting July 30th.
Peter will send Kate the excel file that he worked on for permitted, conditional and never. 
Kate reported there may be a requirement how they are written and need text.  She will check into it.
Kate discussed how she has been working on income generating activity definitions.  It’s not just the nature of the activity, but the scope of the activity and the impact on the surrounding environment.  Agriculture is exempt.  Commercial is one of scale and type.  Kate would like to get broader definitions that apply to scope.
Kate gave homework assignments to everyone to work on for their next meeting:
  • Shoreline Protection – Bill
  • Flood Hazard Regulations – Donna
  • Construction Standards – Peter
  • Driveway/Access Section – Kate will ask Tom Barker
  • Overlay Districts – Peter
There was discussion about regulations on living in a camper. 
Kate proposed to wait until the dust settles for more gas line information.  Kate thinks we should keep it very basic.
Public Comment:  None
Motion to adjourn by Peter at 7:55 p.m.
Next meeting is July 30, 2013, after ZBA meeting.
Respectfully submitted,
Sandra L. Trombley, PC Secretary