Planning Board
Monday, February 5, 2024
Meeting Minutes

The Planning Board held a special meeting on Monday, February 5, to consider and vote on Proposed Zoning Amendments for the official Zoning Ballot at next month’s Town Meeting.

     Planning Board: Ryan Stone Co-Chair, Courtney Cox Co-Chair, Andrew Maneval Select Board
Representative, Pete Thayer, Jon Miner, Don Scott and Lisa Anderson
Attendees: Charlie Sorenson, Harry Wolhandler

The meeting opened at 7:00 pm.  For the evening’s business, Mr. Stone named the voting members as Courtney Cox, Pete Thayer, Lisa Anderson, Andrew Maneval and himself.

Mr. Stone reminded members that the objective of the meeting was to review the recommended amendments presented by the Ordinance Review Committee, and to approve final language for the Zoning Ballot for submission to the Town Clerk.

It was confirmed that voters will have the opportunity ahead of Town Meeting to review the Zoning Ballot, as well as the complete text of the proposed amendments and language changes. The documents will be printed in the Town Report and will be available in hard copy at the town office, and are already available on the home page of the website.  In addition, complete language of the proposed changes will be on hand in each voting booth at Town Meeting.

Members then reviewed the Ordinance Review Committee’s recommended amendments as follows:

Article IV General Provisions
4.1.10. Site plan approval may be required by any board that has jurisdiction over the matter brought before it for a change in the following use or development: by the planning board is required for the following development, change, or use: Any non-residential use. Any multiple-family use. Any cluster development.

4.1.16. Recreational vehicles designed for camping and traveling may be parked on any residential lot in all zoning districts, subject to parking regulations. The vehicle may, by approvalpermit of the selectmen, be occupied for a period not exceeding ninety (90) days in any calendar year, provided that adequate provisions are made for sewage disposal and water supply.

Members raised no concerns or comments to proposed changes to Article IV, agreeing that all boards overseeing land use applications, not just the Planning Board, should be able to request or review site plans of applicants.  They also agreed on the amendment to 4.1.16. since the Select Board does not issue permits, only approval in such matters.

Article IX Lakeside Residential District
9.1.6. No dwelling or structure other than docks or fences shall be erected closer than seventy-five (75) feet from the high-water mark. In the case of existing non-conforming structures, no additions shall be made which will be closer to the high-water mark than the nearest part of the existing structures. alteration or expansion of a nonconforming structure may expand the existing footprint within the waterfront buffer, provided the structure is not extended closer to the high water mark and the property is made more nearly conforming than the existing structure or existing conditions of the property. This provision shall not allow for the enclosure or conversion to living space of any deck or open porch located between the primary structure and the high water mark and within the waterfront buffer.

For the purposes of this section, a property that is “more nearly conforming” means alteration of the location or size of the existing footprint(s), or redevelopment of the existing conditions of the property, such that the structures or the property are brought into greater conformity with these ordinances. Methods for achieving greater conformity include, without limitation, reducing the overall square footage of the structural footprint(s), enhancing storm-water management, adding infiltration areas and landscaping, upgrading wastewater treatment, improving traffic management, or other enhancements that improve wildlife habitat or resource protection.

No structure shall be located closer than fifteen (15) feet to the edge of any right-of-way, or to the side or rear boundaries of the lot. Accessory buildings such as storage sheds and gazebos but excluding automobile garages, and support structures such as those used for ground mounted solar arrays or for boats, may be located within the seventy-five (75) feet setback as a special exception provided: The structure is required as a shelter either for humans or animals or storage of equipment, or firewood, or as support for solar panels.

ORC members explained the basis for the proposed changes were to allow property owners with existing non-conforming structures to alter or expand these structures within the waterfront buffer, as long as the changes resulted in increasing conformity with the zoning ordinances.  They further noted that the town’s 75-foot setback is more protective than state regulations. The additional proposed changes to 9.1.6. are aimed at providing more guidance to the zoning board and property owners as to alterations that would be desirable from the standpoint of meeting the spirit of the ordinances.

Article XIX Personal Wireless Service Facilities
19.5.3. Fall Zone. In order to ensure public safety, any proposed PWSFs shall have a fall zone that forms a circle around it with a radiusdiameter equal to the height of the facility.

PB members raised no concern regarding this clarification of a safety specification for installation of wireless communications infrastructure.

Article XXIX Accessory Dwelling Units
29.3.1. An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) that is attached to a single family residence is allowed by right in all districts that permit single-family dwellings, except a special exceptionconditional use permit from the Zoning Board of AdjustmentPlanning Board shall be required in high-density areas, i.e., village and lakeside districts.

29.3.2. The creation of an ADU in a barn, garage or outbuilding that is detached from the primary residence may be granted by a special exceptionconditional use permit from the Zoning Board of AdjustmentPlanning Board.

29.3.4. The Zoning Board of AdjustmentPlanning Board may, in appropriate cases and subject to appropriate conditions and safeguards as determined by the Board, grant a special exceptionconditional use permit. The Board, in acting on an application for a special exceptionconditional use permit, shall take into consideration the following conditions and the applicant shall demonstrate compliance with the following conditions:

29.6.1 The maximum size of an ADU shall not exceed 1000 square feet of total living area. The Zoning Board of AdjustmentPlanning Board may authorize variations from maximum size by special exceptionconditional use permit for medical needs and/or disabilities, provided that the Zoning Board of AdjustmentPlanning Board determines the design incorporates Universal Design principles to allow the most usable space for everyone in the home. Total living area includes finished basement space and finished attic space. In the case of a slanted ceiling in the attic, only the area with the height of five feet or more is counted. …

29.6.6. There shall be no exterior stairway on the front of the house leading to the ADU although, in special circumstances, the Zoning Board of AdjustmentPlanning Board could waive this restriction.

The PB agreed with the logic of transferring jurisdiction of ADU applications to the Zoning Board, as the criteria assessed for ADU applications are the same criteria applied by the ZBA consistently in consideration of requests for special exceptions.  Members also agreed with the recommended clarification of how total living space in an ADU is calculated.

Article XXX Solar Energy Systems
30.4.4. The panels of a ground-mounted system are exempt from the impervious lot coverage calculation, although foundations to support them are not exempt.

The ORC explained that the purpose of removing this exemption is to bring town ordinances in line with state standards for impervious cover, as well as to treat solar panels consistently with other similar surfaces categorized as impervious in town ordinances.

Lisa Anderson raised concerns that the public education process bringing the proposed amendments forward was limited to the evening’s public hearing/PB special meeting; that, in previous years, the Planning Board held 2 public hearings plus a Community Conversation to get feedback on ordinance changes that would be brought to Town Meeting for vote.  PB and ORC members noted the concern and also noted that, the decision to bring forward more elaborate or substantive changes, such as amendments to the Wetlands ordinances, was made for the very reason that there was not enough time to get additional feedback from the public beyond the regularly noticed PB and Ordinance Review Committee Meetings.  They instead decided to limit this year’s amendments to administrative changes or clarifications of certain provisions for land use boards and for property owners who need planning or zoning approval for projects. The ORC agreed to keep the public education process in mind for its work ahead of next Town Meeting.

Following additional discussion of the proposed amendments listed above, regarding 9.1.6., the PB agreed that the phrase “excluding automobile garages” should be moved up in the sentence.

Members otherwise agreed on all proposed changes, including the amendment to Article XXX Solar Energy Systems, which adds the words “in height” to the Table of Permitted Uses.”  The purpose of this is to clarify that the 15’ limit refers to the height of a ground mounted array when outlining the required permitting procedures of proposed ground mounted systems in each district.

Upon opening the public hearing for feedback on proposed amendments, the board received no additional comments or questions. Mr. Stone subsequently closed the public hearing.

With no further comments from PB members, Andrew Maneval moved to adopt the recommended change to Article 9.1.6. per the previous discussion. Courtney Cox seconded. All voted in favor.

Mr. Maneval then moved that the PB adopt the proposed changes in the zoning ordinances as set forth and recommended for approval on the Zoning Ballot at Town Meeting. Courtney Cox seconded. All voted in favor.

During discussion of the Zoning Ballot, the board reconfirmed that the comprehensive text of existing language, with proposed changes clearly noted, will be provided in each voting booth as a reference for all voters.

With agreement on two minor changes to the ballot, the first adding the words “request and“ to the explanation for Amendment #1, and the second adding the words “from the Planning Board” to the explanation for Amendment #6,  Ryan Stone moved to approve the ballot as amended.  All voted in favor.

With no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:25 pm.