***** UNAPPROVED MINUTES *****
PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
August 7, 2002
The meeting was called to order at 7:52 p.m. and the following members were present:
Gary Girard Mary Brennan
Betty Hubbard Sue Barker
Lisa Bryer, AICP Town Planner
Cinthia Reppe Recording Clerk
Douglas DeSimone Town Solicitor
John Murphy Attorney
Andrew Johnston Engineer N.E. & C.
Mr. Joe Manning
Mr. And Mrs. Richard Eannarino
Eric Offenberg Engineer N.E. & C.
Tara Vargesh Engineer N.E. & C.
George Gifford Landscape Architect Gifford Design Group
Kevin Alverson Gifford Design Group
Paul Hogan Hogan & Stone Real Estate
Bernard Jackvony Attorney
Tony Lachowicz Professional Planner
Dan Parquette Project Manager
Eric & Jody Lexow
A motion was made by Commissioner Schnack and seconded by Commissioner Girard to accept the minutes as written. So unanimously voted. Commissioner Hubbard Abstains.
IV. Planners Report
I have included the Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment related to protection of critical lands containing freshwater wetlands, high ground water table and/or shallow impervious layer (High Groundwater Table). This was sent to the Town Council on July 18 and the Town Clerk believes that the Hearing will be held on September 9.
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.
The Town Council will hold the hearing for the Proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendment related to Public and Open Space Zones including Development Plan Review on August 26, 2002
An administrative subdivision was approved for the Mark Lancaster Trust 2000 for properties located at Assessors Plat 9 Lots 5 and 777, 175 Narragansett Avenue. The subdivision entailed moving a property line approximately 1.6 feet to encompass the stonewall solely on one property. This plat was recorded on July 31, 2002.
Downtown Improvement Project
We met with DOT and our Consultants yesterday regarding the Downtown Improvement Project. We recently received comments from DOT regarding the Archeological Assessment that PAL conducted on Narragansett Avenue for the Downtown Improvement Project. DOT has approved the revisions to the report and it has been sent out to coordinating agencies for a 30 day comment period (to end at the end of August). Our next step in this process would be to coordinate with the Narragansett Indian Tribe and perform the subsurface investigation in the areas where the improvements would be excavating into previously undisturbed -soil. In order to finalize the locations of the test pits for subsurface investigation we need to finalize the design plans. Given this, I have scheduled the final design workshop for our August work session, August 21. I have attached a flyer that will be distributed for the meeting. Unfortunately, after it was printed, we were informed that the Library was not reserved for us on that date. I am coordinating with the other party and will let you know the location on Wednesday.
V. Old Business
1. Cedar Lane Estates, AP 5, Lot 510 - Preliminary Review
The Planning Commission reviewed this application at the last meeting under pre-
application. The majority of the Planning Commissioners present preferred this proposal
over the last proposal. Issues that remain a concern include
1 . Shallow depth to ledge
2. The grading and filling required to install septic systems in an area with high
groundwater table and shallow depth to ledge
3. The preservation of the 138 rural view corridor
4. Noise impact on proposed lots from 138
The comments from DEM state that the well for lot 3 must be relocated at least 50 feet off the edge of the pavement. I am concerned with this request because of the location of the ISDS and the requirement for a 100-foot separation. It does not appear that the lot is large enough to accommodate a buffer from 138, a well and an ISDS without compromising one of the requirements. The Board should request a response from the Engineer in this regard.
I have provided a DRAFT Motion for approval with conditions that will hopefully address some of the concerns. This motion may be used as a point of discussion at the meeting and does not need to be adopted at this meeting if the Planning Commission feels that there are outstanding issues or additional information is needed. This motion may be amended to suit the needs of the Planning Commission.
2. 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 - Preliminary Review
and Combined Master Plan Informational Meeting and Preliminary Public
The Planning Commission reviewed this application for pre-application at the last
meeting. This application is scheduled for a hearing at this meeting as well as combined
Master Plan/Preliminary review by the Planning Commission.
This project requires two Special Use Permit's; one for Mixed Use and one for being a Multi-Family Structure . The Subdivision Regulations outlines the process to be used for applications that require both Planning Commission approval and Zoning Board Approval. 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).
I offer the following comments with regard to this application:
In my opinion the largest issue of this project is the scale and massing of the building. Since there has been significant discussion regarding the size of the building I will try to make what I feel is a reasonable recommendation to scale down the building. As previously stated by the Solicitor, we can only suggest such a change since, other than the requirement of a Special Use Permit, it does meet the regulatory requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. I would recommend reducing the building to two usable stories, while raising the basement to several feet above the water table. This combined with reducing the footprint of the building by at least 30 percent would provide a building of reasonably compatible size given the site and the surrounding uses and buildings.
The applicant provided a revised parking scheme at the last meeting. The Planning Commission seemed receptive to the idea and in my opinion seemed a better layout than the previous scheme. The location of the loading space seems somewhat ill conceived in that it is not readily accessible to the commercial building without traveling through the parking lot. This may or may not be able to be rectified given the situation.
At the Public Hearing, the applicant shall present the proposed development project for the benefit of the Planning Commission and the Public. The Planning Commission shall allow oral and written comments from the general public. All public comments shall be made part of the public record of the project application. The Planning Commission has 120 days with which to make a decision on the combined Master Plan/Preliminary Plan. This could include approval, denial or approval of the project with conditions.
If the Planning Commission has closed the Public Hearing and resolved all the issues at this meeting, at your direction I will prepare a DRAFT Motion for action at the next meeting. The Planning Commission must make the same positive findings of fact for a land development project as you would for a major subdivision. Those finding of fact are listed in the beginning of the Subdivision Regulations on pages 11 and 12. In addition you are required to make a written report to the Zoning Board pursuant to Article 10, Multi-Family Dwellings, Section 1002.
Town Planner Lisa Bryer informed the Planning Commission that the Downtown Improvement Project Workshop will take place at the Community Center and not the library as planned. Ms. Bryer also asked the Commissioners to attend the upcoming hearings on several proposed Zoning Ordinance Amendments.
Attorney John Murphy introduced Andrew Johnston of Northeast Engineers and also the applicant Mr. Joe Manning. Mr. Johnston made a presentation of the plan and answered questions from the members of the Planning Commission. Commissioner Hubbard asked why a more advanced ISDS was not planned and Mr. Johnston stated that this will be determined at a later stage. Mr. Murphy stated that his client has no plans to develop the other lot owned by the Manning Family at this time, when asked by the board. When they receive the subdivision suitability from the state then the Planning Commission will give the Preliminary approval.
Attorney John Murphy gave a brief history of this project dating from November 2001 to June 2002. The plan was approved as a separate Commercial and Residential plan on June 5, 2002. Mr. Murphy submitted previous Agendas and Minutes to be included in the official record. Commissioner Girard opened the Public Hearing at 8:10 p.m. Mr. Murphy stated why eliminating the property line would be a more desirable solution. It would enable them to have space for a loading zone, eliminates the need for a variance; all parking needs are met by combining the lots. They will have to go to Zoning for a Special Use permit for mixed use and for construction of a multi-family dwelling. After stating that there have been no substantial changes since the Planning Commission last saw the plans, he introduced Dan Parquette, president of Seaboard Construction Management to make a presentation. He went step by step through Section 1105.2 Design standards in the Zoning Ordinance. Engineer Eric Offenberg stated that the design of the site has not changed since the original plan that the Town Engineer Richard Pastore reviewed and approved. Mr. George Gifford, Landscape Architect gave a brief description of the updated landscaping plan and stated that the changes were minor. A few arborvitaes were removed at the lot line. There will be 8 bollard lights at the backside following the walkway to residents entrance. Some of the Planning Commissioners asked about the alternate parking plan with angled parking. Mr. Gifford stated that there would be less landscaping with the alternate parking plan and aesthetically it will not be as pleasing. Tony Lachowicz, a professional Planner addressed the Planning Commission. He stated that in his opinion the plan is consistent with the Comprehensive Community Plan in terms of the size of the building and the architecture. There are many sizes of buildings in the surrounding area and in Shoreby Hill. Eric Offenberg stated that this project meets all items listed in Article 3 of the subdivision regulations. Mr. Paul Hogan of Hogan and Stone Brokerage said that he has been involved with this project from day one. Mr. Hogan made five points regarding use, Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Ordinance, lot coverage and the mass of the building, stating that it is well within all of the standards.
Commissioner Girard asked the audience for public comment. The following comments were made:
Bruce MacIntyre 49 Clarke St. urged the Planning Commission to approve the plan both as a resident and a former Town Council member.
Phil Willis 1191 North Main Rd. likes what is proposed and stated this will be a great improvement to the town.
Bill Munger abutting Commercial property urges the board to approve the plan as presented.
Doug Chapman 20 Knowles Court approves and agrees with the Eannarino plan.
Eric Lexow abutter questioned the location of the loading dock and its functionality and although they do not need it now, who knows what will be in there 5 years from now.
John Murphy answered Mr. Lexow stating that Section 1206 states it has to be on the same or contiguous lot.
Joe Drago 28 Narragansett Ave he is a tenant of the building and will be there for the next 5 years. He also said he approves of the project.
Jody Lexow abutter stated she supports the planners recommendation to reduce the size of the building. Stated that there is no question that the building is attractive, it is just out of scale and too large.
Randy Tyson Seaside Dr. in favor of the project.
Christine Bounous abutter agrees with Jody Lexow that it is a beautiful project. She has issue with the mass of the building and stress on the resources. Asked if the height is 35 or 38 feet. It is 38 feet with the widows walk according to the Development team. Commissioner Schnack asked where on the 3 stories is the heating unit going? Mr. Parquette stated that the heating units will be in the basement and the air conditioners will be on the roof.
Commissioner Girard closed the public hearing. The Planning Commissioners asked Town Solicitor Douglas DeSimone how many members of the Commission need to be present for a vote. The Planner stated that a land development project needs the majority of the current membership of the Planning Commission.
Commissioner Schnack made a motion that was seconded by Commissioner Hubbard to continue the discussion until the next scheduled meeting at which time they will make a recommendation to approve or deny. So voted:
Gary Girard Nay Mary Brennan Nay
Betty Hubbard Aye Sue Barker Nay
Michael Schnack Aye
Motion fails by a vote of 2-3
A motion was made by Commissioner Brennan and seconded by Commissioner Barker to extend the meeting past 10:00 p.m. So unanimously voted.
A discussion ensued and Commissioners Hubbard and Schnack stated that it appears to be 3 stories, not 2 ½ stories as presented by the Development team and they would like to see the building scaled down as recommended by the Planner. Commissioner Barker agreed.
Commissioner Brennan stated that she had some circulation issues that have not been addressed and went through them with the applicant. No changes were made.
A motion was made by Commissioner Barker and seconded by Commissioner Schnack to grant combined Preliminary and Master Plan Approval for Land Development project and make a positive recommendation to the Zoning Board for Special Use Permits. So voted:
Gary Girard Aye Mary Brennan Aye
Betty Hubbard Aye Sue Barker Aye
Michael Schnack Aye
Motion passes by a vote of 5-0
Town Planner Lisa Bryer informed the Planning Commission that the Zoning Ordinance requires a written report to the Zoning Board and they will be providing a simple motion with recommendation for approval for Special Use Permits.
Commissioner Brennan would like a copy of Attendance at the next meeting and would like a discussion of attendance on the next agenda.
Commissioner Schnack made a motion to adjourn that was seconded by Commissioner Barker at 10:37 p.m. So unanimously voted.