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DRB Hearing - 7.15.20

Town of Leicester
Development Review Board Minutes
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
** See subsequent minutes for any changes
Members Present Remotely:  Peter Fjeld, Donna Swinington, Jeff McDonough, Suki Fredericks, Bill Shouldice
Members Absent: Hannah Sessions, Alternate
Others Present:  Heather ShouldiceAshley Wolff, Scott Baker, Bethany Menkart, Sandra Trombley, Minute Taker        
Call to Order:  Meeting called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Chair with roll call. 
Hearing of Sketch Plan Review on Parcel #202126 for a 3-lot Subdivision Randall E. Johnson Revocable Trust:
Notice of hearing was read by Sandy Trombley.
Heather Shouldice turned the proposal over to Scott Baker with Barnard & Gervais, LLC; as he was ready to present the application.  Heather will give information as needed.  He has worked with Heather to prepare the 3-lot subdivision sketch plan.
Scott explained that the proposal is for a 3-lot subdivision on an existing 5.27 acre parcel that is located in both Lakeshore 1 and Lakeshore 2 Zoning Districts; along Lake Dunmore Road, Route 53.  The parcel is comprised of three distinct areas that are already divided naturally by Indian Trail and by the shared driveway access that is just south of Indian Trail.  
The proposed lots 1 & 2 are 2.15 acres and 2.02 acres respectively in the L2 District.  Lot 3 is proposed at 1.10 acres, primarily in the L1 District.  Lot 1 is accessed by Indian Trail.  Lot 2 is accessed by Lake Dunmore Road and Lot 3 by the existing shared gravel access.  
Heather explained they are proposing the right of way by the continuation of an existing road called Sandy Point Lane.  
Scott explained the subdivision is fairly straight forward.  Lots 1 & 2 are fully complying with the standards.  Lot 3 is a little different because it spans across both L1 & L2 Districts and has two viable building sites.  
One option was to locate the potential future house in the L1 District, close to the lake and clear as much as possible. Scott explained that they didn’t feel that would be a good approach and to be good neighbors and respectful to the character of the area and the environment.
So, they looked at Lot 3, identifying a second building site, which was entirely outside the L1 District.  It is on the south side of Sandy Point Lane and would be close to the existing access, minimal impervious surface area, and a very tight building envelope.  In order for that to work, the standard 50’ setbacks, would wipe out any potential usable building site in the L2 District.  It would almost force the house to be in the L1 District.  
Scott stated what they were asking for was a waiver for Lot 3 for the setbacks to be that of the L1 District; where the 25’ boundary setback would enable the building site be on the edge of the road in the L2 District.
Even with the 25’ setback, it’s still a very small building site.  They feel it would be a much kinder approach to the neighbors, zero impact to the L1 District and be the best and most responsible solution all around.  
Scott explained that they are looking at this as bringing closure to this property.  Putting the houses in the most appropriate, suitable places, as a whole for the community.  They think it is a responsible layout and bring closure and finality to the property.
Peter asked what the constraints were on Lot 3 that pushes it in.
Scott explained that Lot 3 has two possible building sites.  The proposed house site is based on the 25’ setbacks to remain on the plateau instead of the house being closer to the lake.  They would like to put it in the more responsible location, but it would only work with the waiver.  
Donna asked if the Board had heard anything from the neighbors.
Heather recused herself as a neighbor.
Ashley Wolff was on the phone and shared her main concern was the lot that borders Indian Trail.  She is concerned with keeping the lake as unpopulated as possible in the little cove.  She was concerned with current run off and taking into account septic issues when they buy a piece of land.  She doesn’t want to see any more mobile homes put in that area.  
Heather explained that the State is not allowing any new trailers on the Lorraine Johnson property.  She can keep what’s there and reduce them, but she can’t add any.  Heather doesn’t think that the lot Ashley is referring to is allowable for trailers.
Ashley asked for someone to screen share the map or email her a copy.  Suki emailed it to her.  Heather helped explain the lot to her.
Ashley asked about the existing dump sites in the woods that look like they are in proposed Lot 1.
The consensus seemed to be that any preexisting conditions of the lot would need to be dealt with by anyone purchasing the lot for a house site.
Peter repeated Ashley’s concerns:
  •       No more mobile homes
  •       Run off on lot on Indian Trail
  •       Existing dump sites
Scott explained that the subdivision would bring closure to this property and that he thought anyone purchasing a lot would clean it before constructing a house.  The hope is that the development of this parcel would actually encourage good stewardship.
Peter asked about the balance of the parcel that remains and trailers.
Scott explained this is an existing 5.27 parcel that is being proposed to subdivide into three separate parcels.
Heather explained that in February there was an approval of the original subdivision for Randall’s piece, and his sister’s piece which has the trailer park on it.  It’s down to three or four trailers.  
Scott explained that this proposal tonight is for the existing 5.27 parcel.  It does not involve subdivision of any of the surrounding property.
Ashley asked about Parcel #2 which Chris currently lives on and whether it would be sold.
Heather explained that the Trust documents allows Chris to live on Parcel #2 as long as she can maintain the property and pay the taxes.  She cannot sell it.  It belongs to the Trust. 
Peter stated that eventually, all three parcels would be sold, but it doesn’t sound like Parcel #2 would be sold immediately. Chris has life tenancy.
Peter stated he thought Scott and Heather did a good job presenting and answering the questions.
Scott stated that their approach has been to benefit the town and find a solution for the property.  They hope the Board sees a benefit to the town by the Board having the control.  The proposal complies with the regulations of a subdivision and the best protections of the lake.  We hope the neighbors see this as a benefit; as well.
Suki thinks it has been well presented and points made and lots of thought put into it.
Donna thought the presentation was very good. 
Peter stated his experience is; that although Vermont’s lakeshore regulations seem tight, they aren’t well monitored.  This is an opportunity for the Board to have the control.
Scott stated that in Stage 2, they can designate limits of clearing.
Bethany Menkart shared her concern over forest fragmentation to keep the forest intact.  She shared that the State has a plan for forest fragmentation and it’s important for anyone considering development to check with the State before developing.
Scott stated that the most critical areas are the lake and lake buffer.  As he mentioned, they are willing to designate the limits of clearing during the Stage 2 subdivision process.  They hope the town recognizes they are bringing the control of this property to the town.  
 Bill Shouldice recused himself.
Peter reiterated the concerns to proceed:
  •       Concerns with existing dumps on Lot 1
  •       Forest fragmentation
  •       L1 clearing
Motion by Peter and second by Donna to approve the sketch plan with the following notations for the next plan:  
  •       Determine the dump locations on Lot 1
  •       Identify issues with forest fragmentation
  •       L1 clearing needs to be determined
3 Yes and 2 Abstentions (Bill & Jeff)  So, approved.
Hearing adjourned
Other Business:
Sandy thanked the Board for the opportunity to be their minute taker for the Planning Commission and DRB.
Sandy stated that she is tendering her resignation effective immediately after she transcribes the hearing minutes for the July 15th DRB hearing on the Johnson Subdivision.  She stated that she will not be doing the Findings of Fact.
Peter stated he will contact the Chair of the Selectboard to see what they will do about Sandy’s resignation.
Motion by Jeff to adjourn at 7:10 p.m.  
Respectfully submitted,
Sandra L. Trombley, DRB Minute Taker