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Planning Board Minutes 03/16/2010

SOUTH BERWICK PLANNING BOARD
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
March 16, 2010

ROLL CALL
Present: Cheryl Dionne, Richard Clough, John Stirling, Mimi Demers, Bill Straub, Joel Moulton, alternate and Jim Fisk, Town Planner.

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

CALL TO ORDER
Chair Dionne called the Planning Board meeting to order at 7:04 PM.

MINUTES APPROVAL
March 2, 2010 – Planning Board Regular Meeting: Motion by Mr. Clough, second by Mr. Stirling to approve meeting minutes as amended, passed unanimously.

PUBLIC AUDIENCE
The following members of the public audience reserved time to speak to the items noted:
- Sue Roberge, 9 Berwick Road – MSP#09-02.
- Audrey Fortier, Rodier – Shoreland Zoning:
Admonished the Board to conduct their due diligence in consideration of regulating forested wetlands. She spoke with the forester, David Parker, who explained to her the law surrounding Shoreland Zoning. She noted its complexity, and stated that specialists including hydrologists and biologists determine the wetland delineation. She applauded the Board for committing the time in reviewing this ordinance as tasked by the Town Council but once again, admonished the Board to consider the ramifications if they chose to go beyond State restrictions. She noted a previous proposal in the Comprehensive Plan to change the minimum lot size in certain zones, and that while intentions may be good, they could sometimes rob the equity of people’s property. She recommended the Board seek expertise from organizations like SMRPC in order to better understand the body of law surrounding this subject.
- David Vachon, Flynn Lane S. – MSP#09-02.
- Pat Vachon, Flynn Lane S. – MSP#09-02.
- Bill Green 49 Meadow Pond Road – MSP#09-02.

CORRESPONDENCE
Chairman Dionne noted all items were received and reviewed.
1. MMA Workshop Flyer: Local Planning Boards and Boards of Appeal 2010.
2. Email correspondence from Jim Fisk re: (Our Lady of Angels Church) Angels Peer Review.
3. Email correspondence from Jim Fisk re: SLZ and QAQC.

OLD BUSINESS
1. MSP#09-02; Our Lady of Angels Parish (Greater Portland Diocese): Peer Review Status.

Larry Bartlett, P.E. for the Lighting and Electrical Engineering firm Bath, Maine, discussed his findings in his peer review study of the lighting and glare for the church application. The final report focused on two main issues: illuminance and luminance. Illuminance is specific to the reading foot candles while luminance is defined by brightness. He reviewed the application for consistency with published industry guidelines and standards for parking lots and drives while also evaluating all proposed equipment.

Illimuninance Plan
Mr. Bartlett evaluated 3 parking areas within the proposed project, and agreed with the applicant’s calculations. His calculations varied slightly although this is normal. The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) recommends use of a maximum to minimum ratio when reviewing “hot spots” of light that contrast with dark spots. The recommended IESNA is 20:21 or better, and this project was relatively close. A “.2” is an acceptable minimum. His number was slightly higher but in his opinion was close enough. Not only did he evaluate the performance of the numbers but also the fixtures including the 12 and 20-foot high poles with shoe-box luminaires as classified by IESNA as full cut-off. In his opinion, the 20-foot poles are appropriate, and for a project of the church’s scale, the applicant has provided an appropriate and responsible design which can deliver illimunance in a very controlled way. Mr. Bartlett discussed astronomic light pollution and light trespass but noted there was no direct measured illuminance across property lines. The utility pole on Agamenticus Road will require .17 foot candles.

Review of Luminance
Mr. Bartlett described 2 varieties of Luminance: Disability Glare and Distraction/Discomfort Glare.
• Disability Glare is a bright force that obscures the target view which is usually a function of bright luminares too low in height. This is not the case with this project, therefore, Disability Glare is likely not an issue.
• Distraction/Discomfort Glare is a point of brightness that is in contrast to a dark background such as pole lights and automobile headlights during the evening hours. Automobile headlights exiting the driveway will point straight ahead and not at the residence. Mr. Bartlett conducted some empirical testing, and positioned a vehicle where the entrance would occur, and took vertical measurements for illuminance. While standing in the abutter’s property, only a very small amount of light comes through in relation to the quantity of light as a percentage of light. He summarized by stating the existing vegetation screens the headlights, and concluded that these two sources of glare are not significantly measurable.

Mr. Clough questioned the light from the street light pole.

Mr. Bartlett responded that most of the light from these lights would be thrown straight down with a very small amount directed and visible by the abutter’s house. He noted the benefits of additional screening as vegetation minimizes the amount of brightness coming through, and more vegetation would block the light entirely. He stated that it doesn’t take much Distraction Glare to be considered a nuisance.

Mr. Straub commended Mr. Bartlett for his report. He inquired, for comparison reasons, as to the high number for light caused by a sweep of headlights if there was no screening.

Mr. Bartlett responded that absolute screening would be needed if a car would come to a stop in front of the residence. However, there would be no sweep of headlights because of screening.

Mr. Clough questioned light caused from two lanes of stacked vehicles leaving the proposed site.

Mr. Bartlett stated that vehicle lights are very directional, with the most significant light caused by the first vehicle in queue to exit.

Mr. Moulton commented that if extra vegetation were put in, the light/glare issue would conceivably become moot.

Chairman Dionne questioned the distance of pole lighting.

Mr. Bartlett took horizontal and vertical light readings for the pole street light. He determined that in a worst scenario, most light would fall across the road and slightly to the left with 9/10 of vertical foot candles and less horizontal, and by the time one arrives at the driveway, the light is negligible.

Mr. Fisk stated the Board has to act on the findings of Mr. Bartlett’s report in determining whether or not an adverse impact will be created for the abutter, and then send a letter back to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) as to the Planning Board’s action.

Mr. Straub and Mr. Clough disagreed with Mr. Fisk, and stated that the Board only needed to provide the ZBA with a courtesy letter of their action, and that no further action was needed by the ZBA on this issue.

The Board questioned how the appellant felt about the screening issue, and whether the applicant would further discuss this with the appellant.

Suzanne Roberge, Appellant, stated she was not ready to make any commitments at this point in time, and still had questions for Mr. Bartlett. She questioned the total number of lights proposed for the steeple and if any uplight would escape from the steeple, and whether the site plan was inclusive and complete with all proposed lighting. She inquired if lesser light could be used.

Ralph Sweet, lighting engineer for the applicant, responded the steeple will now have 2 smaller lights on each side of it as the plan changed. He stated the steeple will be visible from a distance from reflecting light.

Mr. Bartlett stated that different types of equipment could be used but since lumens are lumens, and less lumens were to be delivered per light, more lights would be needed.

Ms. Roberge discussed legislation LD11 having recently been approved by the state in May 2009 and the governor is publicly stating that people will need to address light pollution. She recommended the Board review this legislation for incorporation into the Code. She inquired if this project could be lit with less, and if there was any lighting not identified on the site plan.

Mr. Bartlett responded that he worked on the LD11 document, and noted one could always ask what could be done with less but he does not feel this site plan could use any less light. He cannot comment on the building lighting as there were no lights shown on building plan.

Mr. Sweet discussed the proposed canopy with narrow down lights to illuminate the sidewalk and drive. There will be very little chance of seeing that light. There will be emergency lights that will only go on in case of emergency.

Mr. Fisk discussed the additional sconce lighting on proposed building plan with very low photometrics that work only to identify a door, or other emergency identifiers. FOF will note the building will not be lit as a landmark, and confirmed there were no uplights to the steeple.

Ms. Roberge questioned whether the proposed street light, as discussed with Brian Keezer of MDOT, would be situated on the existing pole. She was concerned that Mr. Keezer stated the need for an additional light, and she needs verification as to the number and location of street lights.

Mr. Sweet confirmed that MDOT sent a letter indicating the applicant had met the requirements. He rotated the light fixture so that light does not shine down onto the driveway.

Mr. Harmon stated that MDOT has issued a permit, and that Mr. Sweet made revisions to the light at the end of driveway.

Mr. Clough noted concern that lighting changes specific to the steeple and canopy change would change Mr. Bartlett’s findings.

Mr. Bartlett responded that although these changes may change his findings as reported at this meeting, he understands canopy lighting to be very controlled light. However, any building light can be provided with either good or bad sconces, and the resultant light would depend on these fixtures. He recommends time controls to minimize light with use of low light for the steeple.

Ms. Roberge stressed her concern for the darkness of this area, and noted she has no issue with the proposed church or its steeple. She would like to ensure the plan is well reviewed in all aspects including sign lighting.

Mr. Sweet confirmed the site plan meets all dark sky criteria, and meets it well. The parking lot lighting will be on a timer as insurance issues dictate lighting to maintain a level of safety and security. Photocells on lighting poles can be designed to turn the lights off at designated times.

Chairman Dionne requested the revised site plan depicting the newly presented steeple, building, sign and canopy lighting as the Board had not previously reviewed this information. She discussed the impact of the Board’s previous conditional approval of having all lighting turned off by 9:00 pm in regards to newly discussed insurance requirements.

Mr. Vachon confirmed that for insurance purposes, some lighting will need to remain on during the night.

Mr. Moulton questioned Mr. Sweet as to whether a full lighting plan is complete with no more changes to be added.

Mr. Harmon stated that the building is not fully designed at this time, and therefore, a full lighting plan is not available.

Ms. Roberge questioned the parking lot plan with the positioning of cars and number of lighting poles.

Mr. Bartlett responded there would be 18 20-foot poles and 3 12- foot poles. In his calculations, he increased the light readings to anticipate a worst case scenario, and found there only to be a minor fraction of difference in headlight.

Bill Green, 49 Meadow Pond Road, stated he appreciated the Board’s hard work but noted, as a church Building Committee member, he was frustrated with the review of this plan taking more than a year. He understands this is a very sensitive issue but noted this was a responsible project, and urged the Board to approve this application at tonight’s meeting. He was surprised to hear about the need for shutting off all lighting as this could create an unsafe environment.

Pat Vachon, applicant, discussed her concern for the amount of interest dedicated to the lighting issue for a relatively small period of time of 11 weeks out of the year. She noted there has been a lot of commotion over this issue, and stated that the applicant has done everything needed to meet applicable standards including conducting an additional light study. The church parish is becoming increasingly frustrated with the lengthy process, and she stated it was time for the Planning Board to make a decision.

Ms. Roberge, appellant, stated she won the ZBA appeal on all aspects, and is requesting the study be complete including lighting for all proposed signage, building, steeple and street. Discussed the possibility of a church of this size holding functions, and the placement of the street light could be very significant.

Mr. Fisk confirmed the catalog cuts for sconces were provided. The sconces are small and provide light at a residential level. The building is set back into woods at a significant distance from the road, and will not be an architectural fixture. MDOT street light standards for 72 low watt sodium lights have a very narrow cone of distribution, and only functions to spot an area. The lighting would be bright but would not spill over to create a glare issue. Proposed signage has to meet all applicable standards in the Code as administered by the Code Enforcement Officer. He recommended a plan indicate any vegetative buffer used for screening purposes be provided in the final document package for future CEO use.

The Board discussed having met all the ZBA issues per the appeal. The Board recommended the applicant and appellant discuss vegetative buffering, and requested the following items be available for the next meeting:
1. Revised Findings of Fact with Conditions in draft form for Planning Board review;
2. Insurance specifications for lighting requirements, and
3. MDOT letter identifying street pole specifics, and stating all requirements are met.

David Vachon stated, on behalf of Church, that if the appellant would like to contact the applicant to discuss buffering issues, they would be happy to meet and discuss it together.
NEW BUSINESS
- none.
OTHER
- none.
MEMBER COMMENTS
Mr. Fisk: Stated it was both an instructive and constructive evening for the Planning Board after having the lighting specialist speak. He recommends the Board postpone their Shoreland Zoning workshop until another night as there will be some tough issues to discuss.

Mr. Clough discussed concerns raised by Audrey Fortier, and requested further explanation of the subject.

Mr. Straub stated that the Board did not intend to take away property rights but wished to maintain the same level of protection and standards as those in the current ordinance. He discussed forested wetlands in relation to the Normal High Water Line.

Mr. Fisk confirmed the July 1, 2010 Shoreland Zoning adoption deadline for the State.

Audrey Fortier, Rodier Road resident, spoke to the discussion she had with the forester David Parker. She was informed that even if a community chooses to be more restrictive than the State, the Town will have to map and survey the restricted area. She noted the Town Planner’s budget request for further surveying, and how the Town Council cut that budget in half.

Mr. Moulton stated the Board should consider peer review studies for other aspects of site plan review. He thought Larry Bartlett did a fantastic job.

Ms. Roberge provided the Board with the LD11, darksky.org website, and noted that the Town of Kittery currently has a similar ordinance in place.

Dates & Times for Upcoming Meetings:
April 6, 2010 - 7:00 PM Planning Board Regular Meeting
April 20, 2010 - 7:00 PM Planning Board Regular Meeting

Due to the late hour, the Board agreed to postpone tonight’s workshop until March 30th.

Motion by Mr. Clough, second by Mrs. Demers to conduct a workshop on March 30, 2010 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM regarding the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, passed unanimously.

Motion by Mr. Clough, second by Mr. Straub to adjourn the regular meeting. The meeting was adjourned without objection at 9:00 PM.

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