PLYMOUTH ZONING BOARD MEETING MINUTES
January 04, 2011
The public hearing was called to order at 7:00 PM.
Present: Wendell Beckman (Chairman), Jim Allen (Zoning Administrator), Karen Bruyn, Art Lynds.
Present for the Applicant’s representatives: Adam Pelkey and Justus Cameron, McKernon Group.
Others present: Peggy Janney and Jen Phelps.
This proceeding involves review of an application for variance submitted by the McKernon Group for Thomas Kohn, 486 Beacon St., Apt. #3, Boston, MA 02215, under the Town of Plymouth Zoning Bylaw.
Proposed Use: Addition to existing house.
Proposed Location: 1529 Salt Ash Road, lot SA 3-48, Plymouth, VT.
At the outset of the hearing, the zoning board of adjustment afforded those persons wishing to achieve status as interested persons an opportunity under 24 V.S.A. § 4465(b) to demonstrate that the criteria set forth in that statute could be met. Peggy Janney and Jen Phelps requested “interested person” status.
The board inquired as to whether the “P” sign was posted.
Applicant’s representatives responded that it was.
Applicant’s representatives presented the following:
The goal of the project is to make the house more accessible for the residents of the house. They wanted access to their living facilities and storage. The mechanicals would be moved from the third level to under the third-level living space. The new design would create an access from the driveway to the master suite of the house all on one plane. The addition would be on the north side because it is the most easily accessible from the driveway and makes the most sense in consideration of the site’s slope and height restrictions.
Another goal is to keep the addition in context with the house in color, style, and material.
Applicant’s representatives contacted the four abutters by email and presented the board with copies of the emails of support from all four:
· Nick Lopardo;
· Ellen Wilkins Ellis;
· John P. Donahue; and,
· Peggy Janney.
Common land lies to the west and south. Ms. Janney’s property adjoins that. The property also boarders lot 3-46, Ellen Ellis. Two abutters across the road were contacted, as required by law: the Lopardos and the Donahues.
The board asked to see photos from the driveway looking down toward the house. The board noted that, from one of the photos presented, it appeared that the house is barely visible from the road.
The board asked for clarification of the project’s phases. Applicant’s representatives replied that Phase 1 is the Master Suite Addition and Phase 2 is the sun room and addition to the deck. Phase 1 would start March 1 and last four to five months. Phase 2 would follow immediately after Phase 1, about fall 2011.
The board asked if it was a vacation home and expected to remain so. Applicant’s representatives replied it was.
The board noted that, because of 10 acre zoning, the front setback required is 100’ and the side setback required is 50’. The board asked if the setbacks could be met by moving the bedroom to the other side of the house.
The Applicant’s representatives replied that the back of the house has a 40 to 50 foot drop. Because of that drop, they said, an addition on any other side of the house would violate the height restriction. And, if the addition were made to either side of the house, it might still not meet the setbacks.
Ms. Janney asked about private property and the 10 acre regulation and setback requirements. The ZA replied that they were indeed subject to the 10 acre zoning.
The Applicant’s representatives stated that the addition could not be put on the back of the house because of the height and slope and access to the house. The driveway is 12 to 15 feet above the next lower level.
Ms. Janney asked whether the addition would be higher than the current house. The Applicant’s representatives replied that it would not.
The board asked about the height of the addition. The Applicant’s representatives confirmed that it would be two stories., resting on pierwork. The Applicant’s representatives further explained steel, load-bearing pier-work, mechanical space, and stairs on the midlevel.
The board asked if any other architectural plans had been done. The Applicant’s representatives replied that the board had been presented the only plans.
The board asked when the property was purchased. Ms. Janney said that the Kohns were the first owners of the property, dating back to the 1980s. The ZA confirmed this.
During the course of the hearing the following exhibits were presented to the zoning board of adjustment:
The board opened the hearing for comments. No further discussion followed.
Hearing adjourned at 7:39 PM.
The board found it possible to develop the property in strict conformity with the provisions of the Town of Plymouth Zoning Ordinance; therefore, a variance is not necessary to enable reasonable use. It was noted that the height restriction, which would be measured from silplate to the mean height of the gable, would not necessarily be violated and that on such a large property, alternatives could be found. The board reaffirmed that the standard is impossibility, not difficulty.
The board found that the variance, if authorized, would not represent the minimum variance that would afford relief nor would it represent the least modification possible from the Town of Plymouth Zoning Ordinance and from the Town Plan.
The board voted unanimously to DENY the variance.
Meeting ADJOURNED at 8:05 PM.
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