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Planning Board Minutes 02/02/2010 

February 2, 2010

Present: Cheryl Dionne, Richard Clough, John Stirling, Mimi Demers, Bill Straub, Joel Moulton and Jim Fisk.

Susie Scott, Assistant to the Town Planner, was taking minutes.

Chair Dionne called the Planning Board meeting to order at 7:02 PM.

November 17, 2009 – Planning Board Public Hearing and Regular Meeting: Motion by Mr. Clough, second by Mrs. Demers to approve meeting minutes as amended, passed unanimously.

December 1, 2009 – Planning Board Regular Meeting: Motion by Mr. Straub, second by Mr. Stirling to approve meeting minutes as amended, passed unanimously with Mr. Clough in abstention.

December 15, 2009 – Planning Board Regular Meeting: Motion by Mr. Stirling, second by Mr. Straub to approve meeting minutes as amended, passed unanimously with Mrs. Demers and Mr. Clough in abstention.

December 22, 2009 – Planning Board Site Walk re: Our Lady of Angels Parish Church: Motion by Mr. Clough, second by Mr. Stirling to approve meeting minutes, passed unanimously.

The following members of the public audience reserved time to speak to the items noted:
- Pat Robinson, Conservation Commission – MSP#10-01.
- David Vachon, Flynn Lane S. – MSP#09-02.
- Pat Vachon, Flynn Lane S. – MSP#09-02.
- Sue Roberge, 9 Berwick Road – MSP#09-02.

- none.
1. Work Plan: Continued. Tom Reinauer, SMRPC Traffic Planner, discussion of access management.

Mr. Fisk, Planner, requested Mr. Reinauer clarify to the Board the origination of the proposed access management recommendations, the way in which these changes will be administered, the need for commercial/residential driveway management standards, and how any approved recommendations would fit into the Town’s current ordinance.

Mr. Reinauer discussed the role of the Route 236 Committee which developed an action plan for improvements to roadways, Route 236 because of over-limit vehicles and toll avoidance. South Berwick is not considered an urban impact area, under MeDOT control. Entrances and driveways need a MeDOT permit. In 2002, the MeDOT issued new access management standards for access to state and state-aid highways. Mr. Reinauer confirmed that Route 236 is unique in its classification as a retrograde arterial (Fife’s Lane to the Eliot towline) defined as having an accident rate at driveway/entrance intersections exceeding state-wide levels. Driveways are defined as having 50 or less daily trips, and entrances are defined as having 50 or more daily trips.

The Board would like further information regarding:
• Changes to the MeDOT 2002 access management standards;
• Shared access driveways for residential and commercial properties, and enforcement/management of same after an ownership change;
• State-aid highways, major collector and retrograde mobility arterials that may require separate, more stringent DOT permits.

Mr. Reinauer stated that very few permits are denied by the DOT unless there is a serious safety issue, and that the DOT may limit the number of driveways to one driveway per property but cannot prevent access.

Mrs. Demers recommended conducting a workshop with Mr. Reinauer to further discuss the details of these recommendations including how to organize them into the ordinance.

Mr. Reinauer will participate in a future workshop with the Board and provide the most current access management requirements including longer sight distances, mitigation for exiting and entering areas, turning lanes, and possible traffic lights. Mr. Fisk will coordinate workshop materials and topics.

Mr. Straub requested information specific to non-compact roads, under state control and instances when the DOT may adhere to more stringent town standards.

2. MSP#09-02; Our Lady of Angels Parish (Greater Portland Diocese) – Site Walk Review.

The Board discussed the site walk, and inquired to the status of the RFP.

Mr. Fisk prepared a RFP specific to the ZBA findings and request, and has not mailed it out as he was waiting for a resolution between the applicant and appellant. Although the Board previously made the motion to review the photometrics, he wanted to confirm the movement of the driveway was a mutually agreeable solution per the basis of their appeal to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Ms. Roberge, abutter/appellant, stated she was happy regarding the driveway relocation. However, she brought the glare issue before the ZBA as a 4-part issue, and cannot sign off on this issue because the uncertainty of glare issues including glare through the trees. She noted that the ZBA voted on both drainage and glare as separate issues, and decided only glare would be further reviewed. She has remained steadfast in her concerns.

Mr. Fisk reviewed the letter from attorney Vaniotis, and noted the ZBA reversed the Planning Board decision. It is Mr. Fisk’s opinion, the un-met criterion was the off-site glare caused by turning cars, and he does not think the Board made a proper motion nor has the authority to request such a study. Legal counsel dictated the Board strictly adheres to the glare/lighting issue in ZBA Conclusion #13.

Mr. Clough disagreed with Mr. Fisk, and noted that at the November 17, 2009 the Board did not recommend the parties meet together. On December 15, 2009, the Board motioned and approved to seek a photometrics peer review study.

Mr. Straub inquired as to what part of the 12-15-09 motion was contrary to the ZBA decision. Noted concern that a month and a half had gone by without progress.

Mr. Fisk responded that the motion was moved and passed, and that he should not prepare a RFP based on the Planning Board’s motion but per the ZBA decision. The motion should be reconsidered, retracted and resubmitted as the ZBA appeal was not based on the entire lighting design.

Chairman Dionne was informed by Mr. Fisk that the Planning Board should reconsider the 12-15-09 motion.

Mr. Moulton stated that at the first Planning Board meeting in January, the Planner did not note his concern regarding the motion but reasoned there was not enough staff time to work on the RFP with the holidays and cancelled meeting.

Applicant, Dave Vachon noted his objection to a RFP for a study of the standards.

Mr. Fisk sent the draft RFP to the engineer who was believed to be in the process of coming to a mutually, agreeable solution. At this point the Board needs a peer review study. He noted the ZBA final motion #14, and the two letters from legal counsel stating the Board is narrow in this review to the glare/lighting issue. The ordinance has no standards for cars exiting and entering a site.

The Planning Board discussed whether the intent of the RFP was for lighting and glare specific to the driveway versus the entire project, noted their frustration with the RFP delay, and questioned why they couldn’t move forward.

Mr. Fisk stated it was his opinion that the Board can only request a RFP specific to aspects as listed by the Town attorney.

Mr. Vachon requested clarification of a peer review of the standards, and noted the ZBA was in error in their findings. This was not brought to court because they thought the abutter would be appeased if the driveway was relocated.

Mr. Straub stated a peer review study would prove helpful to better determine glare from sources including vehicles, as well as the site photometrics. With this study, there would be a greater chance of the permit being upheld should another appeal occur.

Ms. Roberge respectfully disagreed with Mr. Vachon stating that she has not once changed her stance on these issues, and has repeatedly stated her concerns as those specific to the lighting of the entire project including signage and site drainage. She referred to attorney Kelley’s letter, noting a peer review study for lighting of every aspect. Agreed with the church moving the driveway but is still very concerned because light pollution is a major issue for which she has stated time and time again in several meetings. She stated the ZBA felt the lighting was an issue based on every component presented to them during the appeal process.

Mr. Fisk stated the applicant has both reviewed and discussed the RFP, and believes he can have it include the impact of glare per an off-site simulation.

The Planning Board all agreed to the new driveway location as seen at the site walk.

Chairman Dionne confirmed the Planner would now move forward with sending out the RFP.

Mr. Moulton requested the Planning Board receive a copy of the RFP for review.

3. Shoreland Zoning Ordinance: Chairman Dionne requested this agenda item be moved to after New Business.
1. SP#10-01; Site Plan Application for Timber Harvesting in the Shoreland Zone, Town Forest (Map 12 Lot 68, Knight’s Pond Road).
Dave Parker, forester, discussed his request for a harvesting permit for areas in the Town Forest located within the Shoreland Zone along the Great Works River. Bob Carr, logger, was in attendance and will be the permit holder for this project. The Code Enforcement Officer can address the logger directly if there are any issues. Currently, the harvest is underway in non-Shoreland areas, and they would like to start as soon as possible in these other areas. He stated that the harvest will be in compliance to all Best Management standards, and that disturbance to the frozen ground will not be a problem.

Mrs. Demers inquired to the landing/yarding areas of the old gravel pits also known as borrow pits. She asked if the legacy trees defined in the Plan are marked.

Mr. Parker responded that the legacy trees are not marked. The only trees marked are those to be cut, and are marked with blue paint. Legacy trees are older and bigger than other trees within the same species. He has instructed the loggers that the legacy trees are not to be cut and to keep operations away from those trees. The Conservation Commission requested the legacy trees not be cut so long as they were safe and healthy. Standards set are so as not to disturb below the subsoil. Frozen conditions help to stay on the top layer of soil.

Mr. Clough confirmed that a Special Use Permit was on file in the Code office.

Mr. Stirling feels comfortable with this project as the forester met with the Conservation Commission last week. He was initially concerned because the Town Forest has many trails and bridges, and hoped the loggers would keep away from those areas. Inquired as to how close the harvesting would come to the river.

Mr. Parker responded 25-30 feet from the river unless certain trees pose a serious health threat to the forest or are safety issue.

Mr. Parker stated he will meet with both the logger and Terry Oliver to approve the harvest. The yarding area is required by contract to be brought back to a clean, dirt service, and he will go back in the spring to replant the area. If sink holes develop, the Town may have to go back and fill them in. He noted that logging reduces fire hazards because skid trails act as fire breaks. Fire chances increase with human presence. He confirmed there were no issues with access from Knight’s Pond Road.

Mrs. Demers recommended the Town Forest Management Plan be publicized on the Town’s website.

Pat Robinson, Conservation Commission, noted they would be reviewing the goals as prescribed by Mr. Parker, and are developing a strategic plan for the Town Forest and other town lands.

Al Sylviskie, abutter at 96 Knight’s Pond Road, noted thus far he had no issues with the harvest. Questioned the right of way, and was concerned about the entryway.

Mr. Parker responded that the Town owns the land and the right of way, and will ensure the area is maintained.

Motion by Mr. Clough, second by Mr. Stirling to grant Mr. Carr a timber harvest permit SP#10-01 with the condition that all stump dumps are covered with mounds, passed unanimously.
3. Shoreland Zoning Ordinance:

Mr. Fisk stated that Mike Morse, the DEP reviewer, was confused by our ordinance. The Planning Board will need to draft additional definitions such as driveway, and can later be added to the zoning ordinance.

The Board discussed conducting a workshop prior to forwarding the new ordinance onto the Council.

Mr. Fisk stated the map was accepted as consistent with just a minor change as he illustrated in his memo. No objections were made with regard to the addition of the IWWH areas at the Planning Board public hearing. In response to Mrs. Demers’ inquiry of the role of SMRPC, Mr. Fisk noted that SMRPC advised the Town that the drafted ordinance would need to be re-written as it couldn’t be revised nor amended. Mr. Fisk phoned DEP and they stated they would review it free of charge.

Motion by Mr. Clough, second by Mr. Straub to adjourn to a workshop after conducting the February 16, 2010 Planning Board meeting, passed unanimously.

The Board confirmed availability for the Joint Workshop with the Council on February 23 at 5:30 PM, and discussed requesting a Joint Workshop with the Council at some point in March to discuss Shoreland Zoning.

- none.

Mrs. Demers: Discussed the need for another Planning Board alternate member.

Mr. Moulton: Logging permits, road standards and a limited weight ordinance to be further discussed during review of access management standards and criteria.

Dates & Times for Upcoming Meetings:
February 16, 2010 - 7:00 PM Planning Board Regular Meeting
February 23, 2010 - 5:30 PM Joint Workshop w/TC and PB
March 2, 2010 - 7:00 PM Planning Board Regular Meeting

Motion by Mr. Stirling, second by Mr. Clough to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned without objection at 9:17 PM.

ATTESTED: Susie Scott
Susie Scott, Assistant to the Director of Planning & Economic Development