January 8, 2020 DRB Minutes

January 21, 2020

SOUTH HERO DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD                                            January 8, 2020


Members Present:    Tim Maxham (Chair); Doug Patterson (Vice Chair); Jim Brightwell (alternate); Ross Brown, Nate Hayward; Gareth Hunt; Liza Kilcoyne

Others Present:          Martha Taylor-Varney (Zoning Administrator); Steve Welch (alternate nominee)

Members Absent:      Sherry Corbin

Public Present:          Bond, Jim; Cobb, Jim; Curtis, Beth; DuBuque, Everett; Egan, Carol; Little, Matthew; Spence, Cynthia

Call to Order:              Meeting was called to order by T. Maxham at 7:00 p.m.

Changes to Agenda:   None

Public Input:               None


Hearing:                      20-18-MR007 James G. Bond 3-Lot Subdivision Final Plan Review

  1. Maxham opened the hearing at 7:02 p.m.   T. Maxham recused himself for the duration of this hearing. D. Patterson assumed the chair.

Notice & Oath

  1. Kilcoyne read the hearing warning. D. Patterson administered the oath to the attending members of the public.

Appearing on behalf of the applicant:

James Bond & Beth Curtis

Hearing Notes

  1. Bond stated that per the previous sketch plan review, he is applying to subdivide the 8.5 acre property at 7 Martin Road. He said he is creating two one-acre lots on the northwest corner of his property with the intent of resale. He is contemplating building a retirement home on one of the lots and selling the original farmhouse and one of the new lots.
  2. Patterson said that in the sketch plan review there were 5 issues identified that the applicant needed to address in the final plat. The issues included: (1) correcting abutter information (2) show any wooded areas (3) show location of septic and wells for each lot (4) note that subdivision is entirely within rural-residential district (5) include correct signature boxes for the DRB rather than the Planning Commission. D. Patterson said that all of those issues appear to have been addressed in the final plat presented for approval.
  3. Patterson asked if permit applications for potable and waste water have been submitted.   J. Bond said that they were submitted this morning.
  4. Patterson asked for any questions from the Board. There being none, D. Patterson asked for comment or questions from the audience.

Matthew little said that he was appearing on behalf of Randy Delong, a neighboring property owner. The said that Mr. DeLong asked him to present his concern on the overshadowing of the leach field from the septic on his property.

  1. Patterson asked Mr. DeLong if he was aware that that septic was State and not Town jurisdiction. Mr. Little said yes.

There being no further questions or comments, R. Brown moved to accept the application as complete; N. Hayward seconded the motion. The motion passed by acclamation.

  1. Patterson closed the hearing 7:13 p.m.
  2. Maxham resumed the chair.


Hearing:                      20-32-RT266 Carol Egan/Turn To Joy Child Center Site Plan Revision

  1. Maxham opened the hearing at 7:16 p.m.

Notice & Oath

  1. Patterson read the hearing warning. T. Maxham administered the oath to the attending members of the public.

Appearing on behalf of the applicant:

Carol Egan / Jim Cobb



Hearing Notes

  1. Maxham asked the applicants to highlight the changes to the site plan. Carol Egan said the revised site plan notes specify that there were will a total of 6 staff and 24 children (the original application was for 22 children). There will be a new wastewater system, and changes to parking. The revised plan includes parking for 12 cars and an additional 4 spaces on the Wally’s side of Carter Lane (northeast corner of the property).
  2. Patterson asked if the 6 staff number includes Carol Egan, and whether all staff will be present all day. Carol Egan said that the staff number includes her. She said that 4 of the staff will be there most of the day; sometimes all 6 will be there simultaneously.   Employee hours will be staggered.
  3. Kilcoyne said that there was a comment (in the Administrator’s summary) that the daily traffic flow seems high. She said that with 22 kids, there would likely be 22 trips in and 22 trips out, plus staff trips makes about 60 trips.   The administrative write-up says that the engineer prepared the daily trip estimate based on information provided by the Institute for Traffic Engineers (ITE) and noted that the estimate was high. She asked if the Board was obligated to address the estimate.
  4. Patterson cited a case in New Hampshire for a childcare center with 40 employees and 210 children where the trips were 67% below the ITE book. With discussion, the Board concluded that the ITE figure could be discounted based on common sense.
  5. Kilcoyne said that it seems the number of parking spaces is reasonable for pick up and drop off especially considering the cars are there for maybe 10 minutes.
  6. Hunt said that Note 6 on the site plan had not been updated to show the expected 24 children.
  7. Maxham asked if the applicant was still planning on a two-stage expansion. C. Egan said that they will start with a summer program for 12 infants and toddlers in the existing space, and add 12 preschoolers in the fall once the addition is completed. The second stage will add handicapped accessibility and a handicapped bathroom.
  8. Maxham asked if any lighting was planned for the parking. C. Egan said we plan to do lighting from the building. Note 4 shows the plan for the lighting.
  9. Maxham asked if the applicant would be using both the front and side entrances. C. Egan said infants and toddlers will come in the front; preschoolers in the side. Handicapped access will be on the side. Doug Patterson asked if that’s where the existing concrete pad is. C. Egan said yes.
  10. Maxham asked if there will be a path in front of the cars for kids and parents to use in walking from the parking area to the building entrance. C. Egan said that there will be a gravel path in front of the cars in the parking area. Large stones will separate the cars from the path.
  11. Maxham expressed a concern that with heavy snow, the applicant would need to remove snow from the walkway so that the employees don’t have to use Carter Lane to get to the building.
  12. Maxham said he only sees 3 parking spaces on the diagram. C. Egan said that they came up with a plan to do 4 spaces.
  13. Welch asked how many year-round residences there were on Carter Lane. M. Taylor-Varney said there were 4 year-round residences. S. Welch said that he was concerned that snow not pile up on the north end of the parking area and block the line of sight of cars coming out of Carter Lane.
  14. Patterson said it looked like there were about 5 parking spaces encroaching into the Carter Lane right-of-way and that the two boulders protecting the septic system were also in the right-of-way. C. Egan said that the septic system depicted was the existing system. With discussion, the applicant agreed that because there would be changes to the septic, the boulders could be moved out of the right-of-way and closer to the septic system. N. Hayward observed that the offending parking spaces could be moved further west and out of the right-of-way without impacting access to the building.
  15. Maxham asked what the size of the parking spaces was. M. Taylor-Varney said 9’x20’.
  16. Maxham said that he had a concern that special events may put pressure on the available parking. He said that the applicant would need to consider how to handle that so that Carter Lane residents would not be impacted.

Not hearing any additional questions from the Board, T. Maxham opened to public comment and questions.

Cindy Spence, a neighbor, said that she was glad that the building was being occupied and welcomed the facility.

  1. Taylor-Varney noted that she had a conversation with abutter Swanson who was concerned with how the septic might change flow of water onto their property, and that she had explained that septic was under State jurisdiction. She said that these neighbors wanted their concern aired at this hearing, but supported the childcare center and would like to see it happen.

Hearing no further questions, T. Maxham closed hearing at 7:40 p.m.


Old Business

  1. Taylor-Varney asked J. Brightwell to recap some questions he had asked on issues of interest to the Board at the NRPC training “Essentials of Land Use Regulation and Training”. M. Taylor-Varney noted that the training would be offered in South Hero at the Worthen Library on Tuesday, February 4th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Regarding how the Board can have discussion to develop additional questions for an application, the NRPC trainers felt that discussion should be held during the hearing itself. They did not feel that discussion of an application outside of a hearing, other than in deliberation after a hearing is closed, would be compliant with open meeting law.
  • Since the main motivation for additional discussion is lack of opportunity to review material and develop questions, the NRPC trainers suggested establishing a deadline for submission of materials. Often newly revised or supplemental materials are submitted at the last minute. The trainers suggested that since information related to an application is supposed to be on file at the Town for public inspection from the time the warning is published, last minute submission of material deprives the public as well as the Board of the opportunity for thorough review. NRPC suggested that deadlines are commonplace in other towns.
  • According to NRPC staff, Boards can perform deliberations in public (after hearings are closed) but are not required to do so.
  • Although appeals to Environmental Court are de novo (meaning that a new hearing with the presentation of new evidence is allowed as if the local hearing did not take place) the judges at the Environmental Division have revealed that they will inquire as to what happened at the lower level to better understand the case, so the written decision and record will be considered.


The Board discussed the desirability of establishing a deadline for submittal of materials. M. Taylor-Varney suggested that if the deadline was the warning date, any materials received after that date would not be included with the submittals in the review package, but could be introduced by the applicant at the hearing. The Board could then decide whether the new materials warranted a continuation of the hearing to allow Board members and the public time for review.

After discussion, D. Patterson made a motion that a complete application must be submitted to the Zoning Officer by the warning date 15 days prior to the hearing. J. Brightwell seconded the motion. The motion was carried by acclamation.

  1. Maxham asked J. Brightwell (clerk) where he was with implementing recording of DRB meetings on a Town-owned digital recording device, as the Board had previously voted in favor of a resolution to do so. J. Brightwell said that he had identified and purchased an inexpensive recorder which he would donate to the town and would bring it in for a trial next meeting.

Review of Minutes

  1. Kilcoyne moved to accept the minutes of minutes of December 11th. The motion was seconded by R. Brown. The motion passed by acclamation.

Administrator’s Report

The Administrator’s Report was delivered by Martha Taylor-Varney (Zoning Administrator).

Santor Subdivision:

  1. Taylor-Varney said that a 4th lot owned by an abutter that could be served by the right-of-way on the Santor property was overlooked at the time of the recent subdivision approval.   The submittals associated with the application showed the abutting Lyman Brownell property as a single 10-acre lot. M. Taylor-Varney subsequently noticed on the Town’s parcel map that the Brownell property was in fact two lots. Because of this 4th lot that could be served by the ROW, Town development regulations require a 50’ width for the ROW across the Santor property instead of the lesser width that was approved. Santor wants a waiver for this requirement. Abutter Brownell is not interested in doing a boundary line adjustment at this time to merge the two lots back into a single 10-acre parcel.

After discussion, the Board concluded that the ROW across Santor does not extend to the 4th lot, and Brownell has the ability to create a ROW across his property to provide access to the 4th lot should he want to sell it.

  1. Patterson asked if the recorded survey for the subdivision approved by the Board is correct, and said that if it is not correct, it has to be corrected. M. Taylor-Varney said that she would have to check.

Upcoming Schedule:

January 22: No hearing; deliberative for Bond, Egan.

February 12: No hearing or deliberative scheduled.

February 26: Continuation of R.L. Vallee hearing.

  1. Taylor-Varney reminded the Board that since the draft development regulations have been presented to the Selectboard, new applications are being reviewed under both sets of regulations until the bylaws are approved or 150 days, whichever occurs first.
  2. Maxham reminded the Board that the meeting on January 22nd will be a reorganizational meeting and will include election of the Chair and Vice Chair. J. Brightwell (now an alternate) has been nominated to the Selectboard as an alternate; Steve Welch has been nominated as an alternate.


  1. Hunt moved to adjourn the business meeting; the motion was seconded by L. Kilcoyne and carried by acclamation at 8:55 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


James G. Brightwell

Clerk for S. Hero Development Review Board



Signed: ____________________________________________ Date: __________________

                        For the Development Review Board

These minutes are unofficial until approved at the next regularly-scheduled meeting. All motions were unanimous unless otherwise indicated.

Categories: DRB, DRB minutes

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