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Planning Board Minutes 01/27/2010

P.O. BOX 602
(508) 696-4270


DATE:                   January 27, 2010        

TIME:                           7:10 P.M.

PLACE:                  Town Hall Annex

ATTENDANCE              Duart,  Peak, Seidman, and Stephenson
ABSENT:                 Aldrin

BILLS:                  Patricia Harris...................................$879.60
                                Verizon…………………………….$  37.36
                                WB Mason…………………………$181.77
MEETING MINUTES:        As referred in the January 27, 2009 Meeting Agenda
                                Mr. Duart moved to approve the following meeting minutes en masse. Mr. Seidman seconded the motion, and the motion carried.  
                                16 December 2009        M/S/C   4/0/0
5 January 2010  M/S/C   4/0/0
13 January 2010 M/S/C   4/0/0
                               20 January 2010         M/S/C   4/0/0

7:15 PM     Public Hearing (Cont):  Proposed Amendment of Tisbury Zoning Bylaw S.04.03.13, Accessory Apartment
        Attendance:  None

The continuation of the hearing was duly opened at 7:15 PM. Mr. Peak; Planning Board Chairman advised the Board that in absence of the Zoning Board of Appeals, he wanted to continue the hearing once again to give them the opportunity to respond to his correspondence. The letter dated 1/26/10 was entered into the record, and read in its entirety for the Board’s benefit.  Mr. Peak and the Board were informed that the Board of Appeals had replied to the letter to respond to his concerns and questions. This letter was also read in its entirety, and herein attached to these minutes.

Mr. Stephenson inquired about the use of the 40% allowance for accessory apartments. Mr. Peak thought it was borrowed from the definition for an accessory use in S. 02 of the bylaw. Mr. Stephenson inquired about the proposed amendment’s impact on applications in which the primary residence is enlarged, so that the accessory unit can be 60% of the original structure.  Mr. Seidman inquired if he would have an issue with proposing to create a 2000 sq. ft accessory apartment in a 5000 sq. ft. single-family dwelling.   Mr. Stephenson replied that the apartment was no longer an accessory unit but a separate unit, which could convert the single family dwelling into a duplex.   

Mr. Seidman asked why they would want to preclude an applicant from constructing an 800 sq. ft. accessory apartment if he/she had a 2000 sq. ft. home.  Mr. Stephenson replied that a 600 sq. ft. unit was ample space for an apartment. Without a maximum allowance, the apartments would no longer be accessory units, but a duplex, which will have an impact on the neighborhood.  He preferred a 600 sq. ft. cut-off, regardless of the size of the house, so that all applicants were dealt with equally.

Mr. Seidman agreed with the use of square footage in lieu of the percentage of the size of the house, and did not have an issue granting the Zoning Board of Appeals the flexibility to consider a moderately larger apartment if the applicant had a much larger home. Mr. Stephenson noted that it would only perpetuate the inequity of the existing regulation.

Mr. Peak indicated that he had an issue with seasonal renting. Mr. Stephenson thought it served a purpose. Mr. Peak noted that the one of the intents for the bylaw was to provide year round housing. If the accessory units were rented seasonally, how were they going to provide year round housing. Mr. Stephenson replied that they would have to create year round housing. Mr. Seidman thought it should be a personal choice to rent out the accessory unit year-round or seasonally. Mr. Peak noted that the only reason the town was allowing the exception was because it provided a legitimate municipal benefit.

Mr. Stephenson thought it benefited everyone, including the town to have a variety of options available. He noted that people’s circumstances change at different stages of their lives. Subsequently, the regulations have to be somewhat more flexible.

Mr. Seidman thought they had to give the homeowners much more flexibility so that they could remain in their homes in their old age. He understood the Board’s concern with the character of the neighborhood, but felt that they also had to consider that some of their senior citizens may need to provide housing for their caregivers, if they want to stay in their homes.

~Mr. Stephenson noted that the Martha's Vineyard Commission was in favor of infill development and re-populating old neighborhoods. The benefits with infill development was that it prevented the development of open space,  it was much more cost effective in that it~tapped into the existing infrastructure, and it maintained the local economy.
Mr. Peak asked the board members what the minimum square footage of~a house had to be in order to qualify for a 600 sq. ft accessory apartment.~ Mr. Seidman replied 1500 sq. ft. Mr. Peak did not see the need for a percentage if they were capping the accessory apartments at 600 sq. ft.~ Mr. Seidman concurred.~ Mr.~Duart recalled that the Board at their last meeting appeared to prefer eliminating the 40% allowance in favor of the 600 sq. ft. cap.
Questions arose with regards to the origins of the 40% allowance, and Mr. Peak noted that the definition for accessory use applied to the "use of land, building or portion thereof ... if more than 30% of the floor area and 50% of the lot area is occupied by such use, it shall no longer be considered accessory... in whole or in part to human habitation".~

Mr. Peak explained that the~definition applied to garages, garden sheds, etc.~ Mr. Peak then read the definition for an apartment and noted that the two definitions appeared to be combined on~developing the~requirements for the accessory apartment bylaw.~ Past minutes did not explain the reasons for having done so. ~
Mr. Seidman thought the Board of Appeals should have the flexibility to increase the allowance 100 sq. ft. for a 2000+ sq. ft. house. Mr. Peak questioned why the requirements for guesthouses (i.e. 600 sq. ft. in R10, 800 sq. ft. in R20-R50) were not applied to the regulation for accessory apartments.~ Board members agreed, and recommended bringing this to the Board of Appeals' attention.
There being no further discussion, Mr. Peak recommended sharing these minutes with the Zoning Board of Appeals and leaving the hearing open until February 3, 2010 at 7:15 PM in the Town Hall Annex to give them the opportunity to~comment on~their recommendations and~to submit additional information.~ Mr. Stephenson so moved.~ Mr. Duart seconded the motion, which motion carried.~ 4/0/0
The Planning Board resumed their regularly scheduled meeting at~8:01 PM.
1.  Union Street
Mr. Stephenson thought it important to move forward on the project, and asked Mr. Duart if he was available to meet with the Town Administrator to discuss the possibility of scheduling a walk-thru of the route with Mr. LaPiana, the Police Chief, and a representative from the SSA to address any unforeseen issues. He thought that they were going to schedule a test run as a security measure prior to implementing the project.
If the test run is successful, Mr. Stephenson thought they should hold a public meeting to solicit comments and recommendations from town residents. He thought it important to invite the local news media to publicize the start up date.

Mr. Duart thought they should get going on the project and recommended setting up an appointment with Mr. Bugbee on Friday morning, 29 January 2010 and scheduling the walk-thru on Monday, 1 February 2010.  Mr. Stephenson was agreeable with the recommendation and offered to contact Mr. Duart about the meeting with Mr., Bugbee.

2. Planning Board
RE: Annual Town Report (Overdue!!)

Mr. Peak offered to draft a report for their review.  Mr. Stephenson offered to assist Mr. Peak.

3. Fire Station, Beach Street, AP 09A11
RE: Potential site for a Town Hall

Board members were given copies of the two documents that were on file for the property.

Mr. Stephenson produced sketched drawings of the property as a town hall, public park and parking lot that he had created at the time they were assessing town properties for their Municipal Needs report.

Mr. Stephenson noted that they were not going to be able to assess the property’s use for a new town hall without the detailed information normally reflected on  a site plan.  He needed to know the site dimensions, site elevations and basic topographical information.  He inquired if the town generated a site plan for Veteran’s Memorial Park prior to installing the drainage system.  It was assumed that the DPW would have the information.

Mr. Stephenson commented that if the town hall was to function properly, they had to know if there were any limitations to developing the rear of the property for access and parking.

Mr. Peak offered to contact Mr. Hoehn about creating a site plan for the property, and securing an estimate for such plan. He asked Mr. Stephenson about the information he wanted to have on the plan.  Mr. Stephenson replied that he would like to have the grade elevations at the corner points of the site. He was also interested in obtaining information about the flood plains.

4. Massachusetts State Highway Department
RE: Unveiling of the Drawbridge’s Design

Mr. Stephenson attended the meeting and reported that he was concerned about their proposal to have a walk that essentially leads to a dead end under the bridge. The state apparently ran out of space when they had to realign the bridge six feet over towards the harbor because of its proximity to the temporary bridge.

Mr. Stephenson wrote a letter stating his concern having a crosswalk across Beach Road in lieu of connecting the walkways under the bridge as repeatedly requested. (See attached) He described the design as both unsightly and unsafe, and explained why it was important to have a continuous path in the underpass.

Mr. Stephenson reported that the state intended to have another public meeting in the near future to present their proposal to the general public.

5. Martha’s Vineyard Commission – LUPC Meeting on January 25, 2010

Mr. Peak informed the Board that he attended the pre-application conference to listen to the discussions on Mr. Dunn’s proposal for a new building at the Tisbury Market Place, and for the modifications to the basement he was proposing to make in the building that was on the downhill side of Woodlands (commercial complex).

Mr. Peak reiterated the more salient elements of Mr. Dunn’s proposal to the basement. Mr. Seidman noted that there were discrepancies in the basement’s floor plan and use, which appeared not be mentioned at the meeting.  Mr. Seidman further noted for the record that he was a tenant at the building, and has communicated his concerns to Paul Foley, the DRI Coordinator at the MV Commission.

He advised the Board that the MV Commission gave Mr. Dunn a list of the documentation he was asked to submit to complete his application. He expected that it was going to take Mr. Dunn some time to provide the information.

Mr. Duart thought Tisbury Market Place was built out, and did not think he could support the addition of another building, especially when it would impact the view to the lagoon.


1. Town of Tisbury
RE: Documentation – Fire Station, Beach Street

2. Marion Mudge, Town Clerk
RE: ATM/STM Warrant Articles

3. Edgartown Planning Board
RE: Proposed Designation of Special Ways

4. MV Commission
RE: 22 January 2010 Extended Schedule

5. American Planning Association
RE: Planning, January 2010      

PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 9:01 P.M.           (m/s/c  4/0/0)          
Respectfully submitted;
Patricia V. Harris, Secretary

APPROVAL:       Approved and accepted as official minutes;

______________          _________________________
Date                    L. Anthony Peak