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Planning Board Minutes 02/10/2010

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


DATE:                   February 17, 2010       

TIME:                           7:05 P.M.

PLACE:                  Town Hall Annex

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

BILLS:                  Patricia Harris...................................$879.60
                                Cartographic Associates …………..$243.75
MEETING MINUTES:        As referred in the January 27, 2010 Meeting Agenda
                                27 January 2010  m/s/c  4/0/0


7:15 PM Ann Marie Cywinski and John Schilling re Woodlands (Canceled)

7:45 PM     Public Hearing (Cont):  Proposed Amendment of Tisbury Zoning Bylaw S.04.03.13, Accessory Apartment
        Attendance: None

The continuation of the hearing duly opened at 7:45 PM. Mr. Peak, Planning Board Co-Chairman read the notice into the minutes, and advised the Board that in addition to the Zoning Board of Appeals written response to their letter of 1/26/10, they had received a communication from Mrs. Barbera, the Zoning Board of Appeals Administrative Secretary, given that she was unable to attend the hearing. He mentioned that the communication responded to the Planning Board’s inquiries and comments that were raised at the Board’s meeting on 1/27/10.

Mr. Peak reported that the Board of Appeals recommended the 40% cap for the accessory units, because they wanted the units to remain subsidiary (or subordinate) to the single family dwelling. The 40% cap prevented applicants from creating a duplex.  The Board of Appeals simply wanted to make it clearly understood “that at no time could the units be of an equivalent size”.  It was their opinion that the proposed percentage guaranteed this.

Mr. Peak conveyed that the Planning Board was asking the Board of Appeals to consider an alternative option, the use of square footages by which to restrict the size of the accessory apartments. He explained that it would eliminate an inconsistency in the zoning bylaw and eliminate the ability for larger accessory units~with additions, and resulting inequities.

Mr. Peak agreed with Mr. Seidman that applicants with larger homes on larger tracts of lands should be allowed to construct larger accessory units i.e.~a maximum of 800 sq. ft. when  the unit was going to be contained within the existing footprint . Mr. Aldrin thought the Board of Appeals might also want to consider the use of a “sliding scale” where the percentages for the apartments decrease as the size of the house increases, and vice-versa.
Mr. Peak mentioned that Mrs. Barbera understood, and agreed to raise the concept with the members of the Board of Appeals for their comments. According to Mrs. Barbera, the reason for retaining the use of the percentage (40% - 45%) was because the Board of Appeals wanted to make sure that the apartments remained an “accessory use” to the single family dwelling. They already regulated duplexes, and the regulations were intentionally much more restrictive because of their impact to the residential districts. Mr. Peak reported that Mrs. Barbera voiced a preference for keeping the units at 600 sq. ft. in order allay any concerns the town may have with the larger apartments. She was of the impression that the town may envision their abuse as boarding houses.
Board members held discussions on the size of the apartments, where a 600 sq. ft. apartment would be much more accommodating for a couple, and an 800 sq. ft. apartment best accommodated a family of four, understanding that need and affordability would ultimately dictate their usage.

Mr. Peak indicated that Mrs. Barbera had researched accessory apartments in local regulations island wide to learn that they were not even mentioned. The closest concept to an accessory apartment was detached bedrooms. She then researched other townships in the state and discovered that the majority capped the size of the accessory apartment at 600 sq. ft. or at 30% of the main house, with a maximum of 45%.

Board members were referred to the bylaw the Board of Appeals amended and asked to review subsection c, which listed the maximum allowance at 40% not to exceed 600 sq. ft.  It was noted that Mrs. Barbera thought the additional language they were recommending i.e. except R3A or the Coastal Districts was redundant and confusing, since it was already mentioned in subsection a. Mrs. Barbera also noted that they should include the word “unit” after “either dwelling”.

Mr. Peak indicated that on speaking with Mrs. Barbera, he raised the issue he had with the amendment to subsection g. in which they were requiring a circular drive. He noted that in the majority of the older neighborhoods, such as N. William Street, most of the properties did not have on-site parking, much less a driveway, which contributed to the appearance of the neighborhood. Whereas he could see the application of the requirement to properties on busy streets, such as Franklin or State Road, it did not make sense to him that it would be necessary on a residential street, where traffic flow did not present an issue, and where it is the norm.  The requirement destroyed the streetscape, which would have a negative impact on the character of the neighborhood.

Board members inquired if the parking restrictions were required in s. 07.07 of the Zoning Bylaw. Mr. Seidman located and read the parking regulation for accessory apartments, as follows:
07.07.04        Accessory Apartment:

There shall be a minimum of one (1) parking space, not less than ten feet by twenty feet, per accessory apartment. The spaces shall be located so as to minimize the visual impact from the street or abutting properties by a minimum landscaped area setback of ten feet.

It was noted that the regulation did not require two curb cuts. Mr. Peak thought the Zoning Board of Appeals could make it an exception that was up to their discretion, so that they preserved the front landscape.

Additional discussions ensued with this regard, and the Board recommended deleting the last sentence in subsection g. (The parking area … onto any roadway.) and adding a disclaimer.  Mr. Peak volunteered to meet with the Zoning Board of Appeals to clarify their recommendations.

The Board reviewed the remainder of the amendments and Mr. Peak recommended though subsections d and e could be combined to state:  

The owner of the lot shall be a resident of the town and must occupy either the accessory unit or the principal residence as his primary domicile, or whatever term made the individual a registered voter.

And the Board agreed. There being no further comment, Mr. Peak recommended continuing the hearing to entertain the Board of Appeals comments on their recommendations.

In a recap of the discussions, Mr. Peak noted that the Board recommended revising subsection c to delete “except R3A or the Coastal District”, and to add the word “unit” in the second sentence after “either dwelling”. They agreed that the additional language was redundant and confusing.

Whereas they expressed an interest for the use of square footages in capping the size of the apartments, they did not have an issue with the Board of Appeals use of percentages. It was their opinion that the recommendation eliminated an inconsistency in the bylaw.

Their recommendation to streamline and combine subsections d and e was to clarify the intent. And their final recommendation to delete the last sentence in subsection g reflected their preference to give the Board of Appeals the flexibility to consider the traffic concerns of each application on a case by case basis, so that the turning around of vehicles was not mandatory, so that in the denser residential areas and quieter residential streets, where it is quite common for cars to back out onto the street  safely are not precluded.

With these recommendations in mind, Mr. Duart moved to continue the public hearing until March 17, 2010 at 7:15 PM. Mr. Aldrin so moved. And the motion carried. 4/0/0

The Planning Board resumed their regularly scheduled meeting at 8:25 PM.

1. Fire Station, 21 Beach Street, AP 09A11
RE: Fire Station Needs & Feasibility Study (Rev. 04.14.05)

Board members were informed that  Brown Lindquist Fenuccio & Raber Architects, Inc., one of the consultants involved with the development of the new fire station assessed the structural integrity of the building and reported their findings in the Fire Station Needs and Feasibility Study for the Town of Tisbury, which was revised on 14 April 2006.

Mr Peak read a page from the report, in which the consultants essentially noted that the building should be replaced given their concerns with the building’s stability, and the property’s limitations relative to its proximity to wetlands.

Mr. Peak mentioned that the quote from Mr. Hoehn, the survey was much higher than he anticipated.

In separate discussions with Fin Com’s Chairman, Mr. Gomez, he discussed the board secretary’s inquiry about obtaining funds for the survey from the town’s Cash Reserve Funds, and explained to Mr. Gomez that he thought it was a matter much more appropriate for the Board of Selectmen to address and pursue. Mr. Duart concurred and suggested writing the Board of Selectmen with the recommendation.

2. Regina Stanley, Tr. – Artcliff Diner
RE:  Expansion of hours (til 2AM, 7 days/week for summer)

Board members were informed that Ms. Stanley was interested in expanding the mobile food service operations until 2 AM every day for the summer season, and wanted to know if it qualified as an expansion to require a special permit.

Mr. Seidman noted that she was permitted to operate the vending/catering truck from 4:30 PM to 11 PM, with the possibility of remaining open for business on Fridays and Saturdays.

Messrs. Aldrin and Duart did not believe it warranted an amendment to the special permit.  Mr. Aldrin did not have an issue with the hours as long as the mobile truck was parked in the back  during the Artcliff’s operations.

Mr. Peak inquired if the board had received any complaints from the operations during the summer. He suggested contacting the Police Chief, Mr. Danovan and reporting his comments at their next meeting.  

Ms. Stanley was to be informed that the Planning Board would have a response for her next week.

3. Douglas R Hoehn, SB&H Inc
A. Kaplan, AP 2F2.7, Cayuga Street (Form A) relative to trees
B. Vincent Ferro & Ann Marie Cullen Subdivision, AP 24A07

a.      Board members were reminded that they had reviewed the applicant’s request for a Form A division of land with Mr. Hoehn, of SB& H Inc. and advised Mr. Hoehn that there were certain improvements they would like to see before they would be able to consider the road, Cayuga Street adequate enough for Form A purposes.

Mr. Peak noted that he had walked Cayuga Street with Mr. Hoehn to discuss the deficiencies of the road. During the site inspection, Mr. Peak recommended the  removal of trees at both ends of the road.

The Board Secretary reported that Mr. Hoehn had discussed the improvements with the applicant, who was willing to remove the one tree on his property. The Board Secretary reported that the applicant’s attorney recommended removing any tree outside the bounds of his property.

Mr. Peak did not think this applied to the road layout.  Mr. Duart noted that Cayuga Street was a very narrow road. During his site inspection, he found the right turn off Cayuga Street onto Iroquois Ave. both difficult and hazardous.    And this was attributed to the tree at the end of the road.

Mr. Peak indicated that the applicant had the right to use the road to get to his property. If the lot existed on the subdivision plan, the applicant had the right to improve the road anywhere within the 40 ft layout, and to the extent he wished to personally invest.

Board members referred to the assessor’s maps to look at the road’s layout. Mr. Peak noted that AP 02.F02.9 was a separate lot, that appeared to be created to allow the road to turn to the right onto Iroquois Ave.  Mr. Duart was of the opinion that the road had to be improved.

Additional discussions ensued, and Mr. Peak noted that AP 02F02.6 & 02.F02.9 were not listed in the assessment book, which led him to believe that it was not a privately owned road.  He asked the Board Secretary to inquire about the status of AP 02F02.6, 02F02.8 & 02.F02.9 with the Board of Assessors for a report at next week’s meeting.

Mr. Hoehn was to be advised that the Planning Board needed additional information before they could respond to his request.

b.      Board members were advised that Mr. Hoehn had emailed the Planning Board a letter informing them that the subdivision road was almost complete, with the exception of the finish course of the asphalt, and the improvements to the road shoulders. He was inquiring if the Board would consider releasing the lots in the subdivision before complying with the conditions of the Form F Covenant.

Board members were informed that the applicant’s opted to use the Form F Covenant as an assurance to the Town that the subdivision road would be completed according to specifications.  It was explained that the application had the option to provide a bond, a deposit of money, or a mortgage (three-party agreement, whereby the lender retains funds sufficient for the completion of the road) to serve the same purpose of the Form F Covenant.  The latter however did not require the applicant’s to put up any money.

The Form F Covenant was the only agreement binding the applicant to complete the road. The incentive to complete the road in this instance was that the applicant would then have six (6) conveyable building lots.

Mr. Peak thought they might be able to recommend to the applicant(s) that they would be willing to consider the request if they substituted the form of security with a bond, deposit of money or three-party agreement in an amount that would in the Board’s opinion sufficiently secure the construction of the road.

Mr. Peak thought it important for the applicants to specify a date by which the improvements would be completed, with the understanding that if the improvements were not completed by that date, the funds would be forfeited to the town so that the town would complete the road according to specifications.  Board members thought the applicant should be able to complete the improvements by the Spring of 2010, and to provide quotes from the appropriate contractors

Not discussed, but to be investigated was the ability of the Board to grant this request without having to amend the Form C Decision, which may require a public hearing process.

4. Woodlands, 455 State Road
Mr. Seidman informed the Board that the business complex’ Board of Trustees failed to address his request for an identifier on State Road reflecting his address of 459 State Road.

He approached the Fire Chief to inquire about the town’s numbering system and its requirement for E911, during which Mr. Schilling expressed a concern with inconsistencies in the numbering system and lack of identifiers in general for similar business complexes in town.

Mr. Seidman explained that the street numbering system for Vineyard Auto, his building and that of Mr. Cottrell’s building was so confusing that it would interfere with emergency personnel’s response time. Mr. Schilling as a result asked him if there was some way they could have a staggered numbering system that would make their identification obvious.  The issue was that the buildings on separate lots behind Woodlands, but access their properties from Woodland’s utility easement, which is essentially a driveway.

Mr. Peak noted that part of the issue results from their zoning regulations, which does not require a lot to have any frontage. For the properties Mr. Seidman mentioned in the discussions, the frontages were subsequently designated on the roads that provided them with their access. It was his opinion that if the access to the five lots was in fact off the one driveway (utility easement) they should be numbered, as in this case, as 455A (Building A), 455 B (Building B), etc. similar to Hillside.

Since it appeared to be a situation the Board of Assessors created, Mr. Peak did not see why they could not ask them to consider the numbering system he recommended. It was the kind of numbering system he often observed in industrial parks i.e. 4100 – 4500.

Mr. Seidman thought it a practical solution, if it had been implemented at the onset. By changing the numbering system, he would have to pay corporate headquarters for his franchise $1000.00 for changing his address, and loose the $15,000.00 he’s invested for advertising the address of his business. It was a financial hardship for all of the businesses.

Mr. Peak asked Mr. Seidman to clarify the issue. Mr. Seidman replied that the Board of Trustees at Woodland for reason(s) unknown had refused to add his address to the main sign on State Road, and to include the address on the two directory styles within the complex.

Mr. Duart suggested writing the Board of Trustees a letter. Mr. Peak initially agreed, then questioned whether there needs to be language in the sign regulations to address similar situations in the BI and BII Districts. It may happen that the regulation on appurtenant signs may apply.  Mr. Seidman noted that he had spoken with Mr. Barwick, the Building Inspector about his situation, and advised him that he would not need a special permit to have his address added to the signs. Mr. Peak mentioned that there were other cases, such as Louis’.

5. Reid Dunn’s Proposal for additional units in the basement

Mr. Seidman inquired if there were any issues or comments the Planning Board wanted to raise at the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s hearing on Mr. Reid’s proposal tomorrow evening on February 18, 2010.

The issues with egress, handicap accessibility, etc, were noted to be matters best suited for the building inspector to address. In regards to the issues Mr. Seidman relative to the impacts Mr. Reid’s proposal had on the parking area, and the common area, Mr. Peak believed the Martha’s Vineyard Commission would address them at the public hearing.

Mr. Peak nonetheless asked the Board if they had an official comment or recommendation to make on Mr. Reid’s Proposal.  Mr. Aldrin replied in the negative.


1. MV Commission
A. 5 February 2010 Extended Schedule
B. Lagoon Pond Drawbridge Committee’s Mins (1/27/10)
C. Lagoon Pond Drawbridge Committee Meeting Notice – 2/12/10

2. American Planning Association
RE: Zoning Practice

3. West Tisbury Planning Board
A. Hearing Notice – Bylaw Amendment (Flood Plain)
B. Hearing Notice – Bylaw Amendment (Personal Wireless Services Facility)

PRO FORM        Meeting opened, conducted and closed in due form at 9:00 P.M.           (m/s/c  3/0/0)          
Respectfully submitted;
Patricia V. Harris, Secretary

APPROVAL:       Approved and accepted as official minutes;

______________          ________________________
Date                    L. Anthony Peak