PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES

July 17, 2002

7:30 PM

Melrose School Multi Purpose Room

The meeting was called to order at 7:32 p.m. and the following members were present:

Rob Lambert Gary Girard

Michael Schnack Mary Brennan

Sue Barker

Also present:

Lisa Bryer, AICP – Town Planner

Cinthia Reppe – Recording Clerk

Douglas DeSimone – Town Solicitor

Steve Goslee – Public Works Director

John Murphy, Attorney

Tom Moses, Attorney

George Gifford, Landscape Architect Gifford Design Group

Andrew Johnston –Engineer, NE & C

Tara Vargish – Engineer, NE & C

Tony Lachawitz – Planning Consultant

Richard and Pat Eannarino

Eric and Jody Lexow

Paul Hogan

Jean Magregor Brown

Richard Allphin

  1. Reading and Approval of Minutes from June 19, 2002
  2. A motion was made by Commissioner Girard and seconded by Commissioner Lambert to accept the minutes as written. So unanimously voted.

    George Gifford commented that the minutes of June 5, 2002 were incorrect regarding the lighting plan. The minutes stated that the lighting plan was not complete but Mr. Gifford stated that he said they were complete. Since the June 5, 2002 minutes have been approved, no formal change will be made. The correction will be recorded in these minutes as stated above.

  3. Correspondence
  1. FYI – Proposed Changes to the Zoning Ordinance relating to Open Space and Public Zones including Development Plan Review. Received
  2. CRMC – July 2002 Calendar Received
  3. FYI – Quonset Davisville Liaison Committee Approved Minutes 6-5-02. Received
  4. FYI – Quonset Davisville Liaison Committee Approved Minutes 6-18-02 Received.
  5. FYI – Regarding Quonset Davisville Port and Commerce Park Environmental Impact Statement. Received

Commissioner Kallfelz arrives at 7:42 p.m.

  1. Citizen’s Non Agenda Item – nothing at this time
  2. Reports
    1. Town Planner’s Submitted Report
    2. -------------------------------------------------------------

      Planning Department

      MEMORANDUM

      TO: Planning Commission

      FROM: Lisa Bryer, AICP, Town Planner

      RE: Comments for the July 17, 2002

      Planning Commission Meeting

      DATE: July 10, 2002

      IV. Planners Report

      I have included the Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment related to Public and Open Space Zones including Development Plan Review. This is incorporates the recommended changes from the Planning Commission. The Town Council hearing has been set for August 26.

      The Town Council will hold the hearing for the Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment related to Section 709, Adjacent Nonconforming Lots of Record Under the Same Ownership on August 13, 2002.

      V. Old Business

      1. Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment - related to High Groundwater

      Table

      I believe the Draft provided incorporates all the comments raised at the last few meetings and the Conservation Commission comments. It has been reviewed by Doug DeSimone and Dick Pastore. Therefore, unless there are any more concerns or changes, I think that we have a very workable ordinance.

      I have only one additional concern regarding the limit on impervious surface coverage contained in 3143.5. which states the following:

      Total impervious surface coverage shall not exceed 5% in any residential zoning district, except that total impervious surface coverage shall not exceed 15% on any substandard lot of record.

      I have provided a table showing what the impervious surface coverage would be with different permitted percentages. In my opinion, it seems that the 5% and 15% are too far apart. As written, a non-conforming lot of 14,400 square would be, allowed to construct a larger house than a conforming lot of 40,000 square feet. For this reason, I would recommend that the language be changed as follows:

      Total impervious surface coverage shall not exceed 8 (5)%. in any residential zoning district, except that total impervious surface coverage shall not exceed 12 (15)% on any substandard lot of record that is less than 50 percent of the minimum lot size required for the Zoning District.

      In the Table unshaded areas represent lots that are less than 50% of the minimum lot size required for the Zoning District. The dark shaded areas are the recommended permitted percentages and the corresponding impervious surface coverage in square feet.

      VI. New Business

      1. Town of Jamestown, Community Parking Lot, Development Plan Review

      The Town of Jamestown is proposing to develop a 7 car public parking lot at the comer of Grinnell Street and Narragansett Avenue. This proposal requires Development Plan Review under Article 11. This is a category B review because it is a new use. Given the small lot size and the potential uses that could occur there, I have no objection to this proposal as appropriately landscaped.

      2. Cedar Lane Estates, AP 5, Lot 510 - Pre-application Review

      This application is one of the lots the Manning Family proposed for subdivision last year. This parcel is adjacent to Route 138, is approximately 3.5 acres and is proposed for 3 lots.

      Issues that are a concern include:

      1 . Potential for high groundwater table

      2. potential for shallow depth to ledge

      3. grading and filling (not shown)

      4. preservation of the 138 rural view corridor

      5. noise on proposed lots from 138

      This application is being heard for Pre-Application. The Subdivision Regulations indicate the purpose of Pre-Application is as follows: Pre-application meetings shall aim to encourage information sharing and discussion of project concepts among the participants. Pre-application meetings should include a review of the physical character of the land, and any environmental or physical constraints to development. Meetings should include a discussion initiated by the Planning Commission regarding what form of land development may be appropriate to meet the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan with regard to preserving the character of the land, the natural environment and the ability of the Town to provide essential services. Pre-application discussions are intended for the guidance of the applicant and shall not be considered approval of a project or of any of its elements. No formal action need be taken by the Planning Commission at the pre-application meeting.

      There are no time guidelines or limitations for Pre-Application review.

      3. 28 Narragansett Avenue, 35 Knowles Court, AP 8, Lots 488 and 562,

      Proposed Mixed Use Planned Development, Review as a Land Development

      Project, Provide Advisory Opinion to the Zoning Board of Approval for

      Development Plan Review as a Multi Family Structure - Pre-application

      Meeting and Conceptual Review

      The Planning Commission previously reviewed development plans for both of these sites; the Condominium at 35 Knowles Court and the Commercial building at 28 Narragansett Avenue. The applicant now wishes to combines the two properties and develop the site as a "Mixed Use" Development. The following definitions from the Zoning Ordinance are applicable to this project as follows:

      (74) Mixed Use. A mixture of land uses within a single development, building, or tract.

      Mixed Use Developments shall be reviewed as a Land Development Project which is defined as follows:

      (61) Land Development Project. A project in which one or more lots, tracts, or parcels of land are to be developed or redeveloped as a coordinated site for a complex of uses, units, or structures, including, but not limited to, planned development and/or cluster development for residential, commercial, institutional, recreational, open space, and/or mixed uses as may be provided for in the Ordinance.

      (92) Planned Development. A "land development project", as defined herein, and developed according to plan as a single entity and containing one or more structures and/or uses with appurtenant common areas.

      The procedure for Land Development Projects are governed by the Subdivision

      Regulations and are as follows:

      Major Plan review shall consist of four stages of review: (1) pre-application meeting(s); (2)

      Master plan; (3) preliminary plan; and (4) final plan. Also required is a public

      informational meeting and a public hearing.

      The procedure for each stage of review is outlined in Article 5, C. 4. of the Subdivision Regulations.

      This meeting is for the purpose of Pre-application and Concept Review. This project also needs a Special Use Permit for both the Mixed Use and the Multi-Family Structure . The Subdivision Regulations outlines the process to be used. Where an applicant requires both a special-use permit under the Zoning Ordinance and Planning Commission approval,. the applicant shall first obtain an advisory recommendation from the Planning Commission as well as conditional Planning Commission approval for the first approval stage for the proposed project, which may be simultaneous, then obtain a conditional special-use permit from the Zoning Board, and then return to the Planning Commission for subsequent required approval(s).

      The Procedure for Pre-Application and Concept Review are outlined on Page 28 of the Subdivision Regulations, Article V.C. 1. The purpose of the Pre-application meeting is stated as follows: Pre-application meetings shall aim to encourage information sharing and discussion of project concepts among the participants. Pre-application meetings should include a review of the physical character of the land, and any environmental or physical constraints to development. Meetings should include a discussion initiated by the Planning Commission regarding what form of land development may be appropriate to meet the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan with regard to preserving the character of the land, the natural environment and the ability of the To" to provide essential services. Pre-application discussions are intended for the guidance of the applicant and shall not be considered approval of a project or of any of its elements. No formal action need be taken by the Planning Commission at the Pre-application meeting.

      Since we are at the Pre-application stage I will only informally review the project. You are somewhat familiar with the individual components and concept of the project. Some differences in the individual projects as compared to the Mixed Use Land Development Project include:

      I . Increase of number of parking spaces

      2. addition of a loading zone

      3. not utilizing the shared parking spaces with the Veterinarians office

      4. configuration of parking spaces

      5. traffic circulation/ 1 way vs. 2 way traffic

      6. amount of leasable floor area of the commercial building

      I still believe that a multi-family structure is an appropriate transitional use between commercial use on Narragansett Avenue and single family on Knowles Court and in the Shorby Hill development. Many Planning Commissioners as well as residents aired concerns over the scale and massing of the building in terms of both footprint and height. I also remain concerned. I believe that neither footprint nor height would be as objectionable if the other were reduced, but in combination, the building is simply out of character with the surrounding area. There do seem to be some circulation issues that need discussion including the turning radius of some of the parking spots and the appropriateness of the loading space being so far from the commercial building and separated by parking spaces. I still remain concerned about the underground parking being below the water table surface and the necessity of a drain system and a full time pump to keep that area dry. In the past the Planning Commission has been against structural controls to lower or divert the water table.

      There is no time frame or limitations for Pre-Application review

      4. Planning Commission, Rules of Procedure - Set End of Meeting Time

      At the last meeting the Planning Commission wanted to change the Rules of Procedure regarding meeting end time. I have provided the current Rules of Procedure with the amendment shown in the meeting section with underline. It will take a 2/3 affirmative vote of the current membership of the Planning Commission to pass this amendment.

      -----------------------------------------------------------

    3. Town Committees
    4. Sub Committees

Commissioner Barker thanked Commissioner Brennan for volunteering to water the newly planted trees downtown. Town Planner Lisa Bryer stated that there are full buckets behind the Planning Office for watering the trees if anyone else would like to volunteer. Mr. Eannarino stated that his well is available for watering for the newly planted town trees.

  1. Old Business
    1. Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment- related to High Groundwater Table Ordinance Section 308.

The Planning Commission discussed the request of the Conservation Commission to be part of the decision making and decided that the Conservation Commission will be asked by the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board to look at the applications on an as needed basis. Currently the Conservation Commission proactively reviews application and makes recommendations to the Zoning Board. This practice could continue as well.

Commissioner Calabretta arrives at 7:47 p.m.

The Planner reviewed other comments made by the Town Engineer and the Conservation Commission.

Commissioner Brennan made a motion to approve the Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment – related to High Groundwater Table Section 308 and to send it to the Town Council for Action. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Girard. So unanimously voted.

VI. New Business

    1. Town of Jamestown, Community Parking Lot – Development Plan Review
    2. Steve Goslee, Director of Public Works for the town of Jamestown presented the plan to the planning commission and answered questions. Commissioner Schnack wanted to know why we are putting a parking lot downtown. Mr. Goslee stated that this is the direction of the Town Council. Commissioner Brennan stated that there should not be any lighting and there should be trash receptacles. A motion was made by Commissioner Girard and seconded by Commissioner Calabretta to approve the Development Plan Review. Commissioner Kallfelz stated that this is an ill-conceived idea. The motion passes by a vote of 5-2. Commisisoners Kallfelz and Schnack were opposed.

    3. Cedar Lane Estates – Minor Subdivision AP 5 lot 510, Cedar Lane – Pre-application Review
  1. Attorney John Murphy representing the Manning Family of Cedar Lane Estates stated that this plan is for a 3-lot subdivision and presented Andrew Johnston an engineer from NE & C to answer any questions that the Planning Commission might have. Most Planning Commissioners commented that this plan is much better than the last plan that was submitted. Remaining concerns include potential for high groundwater table, potential for shallow depth to ledge, grading and filling necessary for septic systems, preservation of the 138 rural view corridor and noise on proposed lots from 138. The applicants will move forward with their plans.
    1. 28 Narragansett Ave, 35 Knowles Ct., AP 8 lots 488 and 562 – Proposed Mixed Use Planned Development, Review as a Land Development Project, Provide Advisory Opinion to the Zoning Board of Approval for Development Plan Review as a Multi Family Structure – Pre-application Meeting and Conceptual Review

Commissioner Lambert recused himself and left the table.

Attorney John Murphy representing Richard and Pat Eannarino stated the reasons for eliminating the lot lines: space can be provided for a loading zone, parking requirements can be met. Mr. Eannarino stated that there are no changes to the plans and the well is working good. The commercial building is on municipal water and sewer. Mr. Murphy asked that the Preliminary and Master Plan phases of review be combined as well as the hearings. Engineer Tara Vargish handed out an alternate parking plan. Mr. Murphy stated that there would not be tractor-trailer trucks using the loading area because it is impossible to get in there from Narragansett Avenue. Mr. Murphy also asked that the minutes from the previous meetings be incorporated into the minutes of this meeting. Town Solicitor Douglas DeSimone stated that that would be inappropriate and the level of detail at this point is the same as what was just presented so it is not necessary. There is no objection to combining the Preliminary and Master Plan Public Hearing so Commissioner Calabretta made a motion that was seconded by Commissioner Girard to continue this application on the August 7, 2002 Planning Commission meeting provided that the necessary submittals are received by the Planner. So unanimously voted.

Vice Chair Girard asked for comments from the audience. Bill Munger stated that he approves of the idea. Jody Lexow commented that she has never been against the concept of the idea it is just the immensity of the condominium building. The discussion was closed for this issue until the public hearing.

Commissioner Lambert rejoins the table.

4. Planning Commission – Rules of procedure – Set end of meeting time.

A motion was made by Commissioner Lambert to add to the rules of procedure: The meetings will end no later than 10:00 p.m. unless voted to extend by a majority of members present at the meeting. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Girard. So unanimously voted.

A motion was made by Commissioner Schnack and seconded by Commissioner Barker to adjourn the meeting at 9:12 p.m. So unanimously voted.

Attest:

Cinthia Reppe