Vassalboro Planning Board
Minutes of January 6, 2009

Planning Board: Virginia Bracket, George Gould, Jay Nutting, Doug Phillips, Sally Butler
CEO: Paul Mitnik,
Public: Nancy Hines, Sarah Komuniecki, Jim Heckman, Paula Furbish, Lisa Breton, Pam Yankowsky Brenda Cayouette, Linda Collinson, Sandra Miller, George Miller, June Gagnon, Shelley ?Uerf, Evert Fowle, Travis Lee, Sue Vashon, Joel Elliott, Michaelina Stetson, Brian Naborowsky, Joe Suga, Adele Suga, Karen Cayer, Charlene Harrison, Darcy Pope, Albert Pinkham, Mike Vashon, Mary Sabins, Greg OHalloran, Donald Crabtree, Don Breton, Mary Grow, Rev. Jane Scwabb, Jolene Gamage, Pete Vashon, Sally Michaud, Craig Platte, Curt Ferland, Heather Gilbert, Dave Pelletier, James Schad, Catherine St Pierre
Note: Many more attended but didn’t sign the attendance sheet

The meeting opened at 7:00 PM.

Review of December 2 Minutes: George motioned to accept the December 2 Minutes. Jay seconded. All in favor.

Greg O Halloran
Stone Road Subdivision
Report of Asbestos and Demolition Debris Cleanup
Tax Map 9, Lot 31

Greg O Halloran returned to report on the progress of the cleanup of asbestos and demolition debris from a poultry barn that was torn down as conditions of his subdivision permit. Greg asked that the request for a continued extension to remove the demolition debris be withdrawn, since he cannot do any additional work on the cleanup until spring, due to the snow cover. Due to early snow cover, no additional work has been done since the last Planning Board meeting. Ginny indicated that Greg needed an extension to be in compliance with his subdivision permit.

Ginny explained to the audience that the cleanup has been delayed due to an unexpected presence of asbestos in the debris. Doug voiced a concern over whether Paul could be issuing building permits. Paul indicated that he could not issue building permits without the extension.

Paul also brought up another issue concerning a mortgage that the Town had on lots 9 and 10 in the subdivision. This encumbrance was not properly disclosed on the application during the permitting by Greg as required in item #6 of the preliminary plan application in the Subdivision Ordinance. Greg replied that the mortgage was not recorded in the Registry of Deeds prior to the transfer of land to him. Mike Vashon indicated that Greg was aware of the mortgage on the property and should have indicated this in the application. Paul indicated that the mortgage was recorded in the Registry of Deeds last Friday by Mary Sabins and expected that Greg would encounter difficulty when attempting to sell these lots.

George made a motion to take no action on an extension for a compliance deadline on the removal of the demolition debris. This was seconded by Jay. All in favor.

Brian Naborowsky indicated that he witnessed the contractor working there last summer burning and burying the demolition debris. He voiced concern over the asbestos dust and the possible environmental damage of the burying of the asbestos. Paul indicated that about 90% of the asbestos was removed but the asbestos should not have been buried. He indicated that DEP should be contacted to confirm what actions to take if this was the case. Mike Vashon recommended that Brian contact Paul after the meeting to resolve this issue.

Donald Crabtree
Minor Site Review
Coffee Shop
Tax Map 9, Lot 104

Donald Crabtree is proposing a coffee shop at the site of the former Grand View Motel on Route 3 featuring topless waitresses. Ginny began by explaining the process to the audience for reviewing projects. The application and site plan are first checked for completeness. Then the Board looks at performance standards to review the acceptability of the project. The Board accepts public comment when reviewing the performance standards. The public comment should be addressed to the Board and only when the Board Chair instructs the person to speak.

Doug expressed a concern on acting on an application with the type of project indicated as a coffee shop with topless waitresses and preferred that the type of project be amended to a coffee shop. His concern was that the project would just be reviewed as a coffee shop and this did not indicate that the Board was approving topless waitresses, since the Ordinance did not allow the attire of people working at the establishment to be reviewed.
The Board supported the decision to review the application as a coffee shop rather than a coffee shop with topless waitresses.

Ginny went on to explain to the audience exactly what the Board reviews as dictated by the Site Review Ordinance. The Board reviews automobile and pedestrian access, parking, on site landscaping, solid waste provisions, soil erosion, groundwater quality, signage, financial capacity, emergency vehicle access, and business hours. The Ordinance does not allow the Board to review what occurs within the establishment including employee attire.

Paula Furbish asked how does the Board address that we are unhappy about the topless business? Ginny replied that a new ordinance would have to be created to nullify such businesses and you could not stop a business after the fact. Reverend Jane Schwabb asked why Vassalboro doesn’t have zoning laws to prevent this type of business. Ginny replied that zoning laws would not necessarily stop the proposal. Sandy Miller said that she was opposed to changing the application from a topless coffee shop to a coffee shop.

Nancy Hines asked if part of the criteria reviewed by the Board was quality of life in the neighborhood. Ginny replied that we look at noise, and other related items. Jolene Gamage thought that it was too late to change the name of the application. Ginny replied that they have made other minor changes to applications in the past without making the applicant come back. Others in the audience disagreed that this change was minor. Jay Nutting addressed the audience saying that it is understandable that the change of the type of application is not minor to many in the audience but it is from the Board’s perspective in what they are allowed to review.

Sally Michaud asked if the application was delayed, could they write an ordinance to stop this proposal? Pam Yankowski asked if the application could go to a public hearing. Ginny said that would not change what the Ordinance allows them to review and did not think that anything would be gained by going to a public hearing. George Miller asked how long it took to write and Ordinance and Ginny replied one to one and one-half years. Paul replied that the Ordinance would not be enacted until after it was passed at a Town Meeting and Donald Crabtree’s business would be grandfathered.

Ginny then went through the steps of checking the application and site plan for completeness. The site plan was very large and covered the entire tables of the Board. It was noted that the main entrance would be from Route 3. Donald presented pictures of the lighting to the Board. The existing lighting will be used and there will be no additional signs from the four on site presently. Two of these signs will be used for the business. Doug asked Paul about whether a subdivision was approved here a couple of years ago. Paul replied that this application was never approved. The application was determined to be incomplete and the applicant never came back, dropping the proposal.

The site plan was determined to be complete by motion of George and seconded by Sally. All in favor.

Performance Standards

1. Provisions for vehicle loading and unloading and parking and for vehicular and pedestrian circulation on the site and adjacent public streets.

Evidence – Letter from DOT indicates that a new driveway entrance permit is not needed and the former permit for the site is adequate. DOT recommends signage for entrance and exits and arrows painted on the pavement. There are twenty-one parking spaces available which is adequate for a seating capacity of twenty five. The Mudgett Hill Rd access will be blocked off as a permit condition. The access from Route 3 is adequate for the business.

Discussion – Charlene Harrison had concerns about the safety of her children who wait for the school bus at the end of Mudgett Hill Rd. The highway double lane also merges here. Ginny replied that the safety of Route 3 is a DOT issue. Doug questioned the discrepancy of the thirteen spaces on the site plan and the twenty one spaces specified by the applicant in the performance standards. Donald replied that the twenty one spaces are the whole parking lot and it will not be partitioned off. Someone in the audience questioned whether this would be enough parking. Donald indicated that the seating capacity of the place is twenty-five. The Board indicated that the parking should be adequate. Sally Michaud and Pete Vashon asked how the Mudgett Hill entrance would be addressed. Donald indicated that he would accept this as a permit condition.

Motion for approval by Doug. Seconded by George. All in favor.

2. Location or height of proposed structures and uses not detrimental to other public or private development in the neighborhood.

Evidence – No new structures are being proposed for this development. The current structures have been approved in other Site Review Ordinance approvals for this property.

Discussion – Jolene Gamage asked to clarify what use meant and was of the opinion that the topless aspect of the business was a use that could be deemed detrimental to the neighborhood. Ginny indicated that what people wear within the coffee shop is not something that the Planning Board reviews. Paula Furbish indicated that she would not open a business with this many people upset about it and asked Donald to meet with them after the meeting to discuss the proposal with her and others. Donald agreed to this. Curt Ferland suggested meeting with the Town Manager to get an Ordinance started to prevent similar businesses from occurring in the future. Charlene Harrison lives in Augusta just over the town boundaries and indicated that Augusta has laws to prevent this type of business and inquired whether Augusta’s laws could be used. Ginny replied that Augusta’s laws only apply within their town boundaries.

Motion for approval by George. Seconded by Sally. All in favor.

3. Provisions for on-site landscaping, provides adequate protection to neighboring properties from detrimental features of the neighborhood.

Evidence – There are trees to the left and right of the structures and some in the back. No removal of vegetation is proposed.

Discussion – Ginny asked if the Mudgett Hill access would be used for commercial deliveries and Donald indicated that the Route 3 access would be used for this.

Motion for approval by George. Seconded by Sally. All in favor.

4. The proposed use will not impose undue burdens so as to exceed the capacity of the sewers, sanitary and storm drains, water, solid waste, fire protection, and other public facilities.

Evidence – There are no public sewers or storm drains, public water or other public facilities. Solid waste will be removed in a commercial dumpster. The permitting through the State Fire Marshall’s Office will insure fire protection.

Discussion – Doug asked about state permitting. Paul indicated that permitting from the State Fire Marshall’s Office and the Dept. of Human Services would be needed but the local permitting is the first step taken. The state will not process applications until local permitting is obtained.

Motion for approval by George. Seconded by Doug. All in favor.

5. The Site Plan provides sufficient information to show that storm water will be adequately drained from the site with no adverse impact on other property or publicly owned drainage systems.

Evidence – There are no changes proposed from a previously approved plan. The culverts are adequate to drain storm water. Storm water is diverted to the road ditch.

Discussion – None.

Motion for approval by George. Seconded by Jay. All in favor.

6. Soil erosion and other adverse impacts on the soil ground water and surface water shall be prevented. Ground water will not be adversely impacted in quality or quantity.

Evidence – No soil will be disturbed. Will use existing parking lots. A well has been recently drilled and there is adequate capacity.

Discussion – None.

Motion for approval by George. Seconded by Doug. All in favor.

7. The provisions for exterior lighting do not create hazards to motorists traveling on adjacent public streets and are adequate for the safety of occupants or users of the site and such provisions will not damage the value and diminish the usability of adjacent properties.

Evidence – Lighting is adequate for safety. Walkway and parking lot are lit. Lights are not powerful and should not distract traffic.

Discussion – Melanie Backman asked Donald what his plans were for the rest of the motel. Donald indicated that he had no immediate plans for the motel. He is currently living there. Ginny told Donald that he should understand that if the motel is used for business, he must come back and get that approved by the Board. Pete Vashon asked if lit signs were acceptable. Ginny indicated that internally lit signs were acceptable.

Motion for approval by George. Seconded by Sally. All in favor.

8. An applicant for Site Plan approval has provided evidence of his financial capability to complete the development as planned.

Evidence – Cash was paid for the property and currently no mortgage is held. Back taxes and improvements made to property were paid with cash. Receipts are provided with application to back this claim up. Only $2000 is the anticipated capital needed for improvements to start up business. The business will serve only coffee and pastries and no cooking of food will be done.

Discussion – None.

Motion for approval by George. Seconded by Doug. All in favor.

9.The proposed development will not create safety hazards and will provide adequate access for emergency vehicles to the site, and to all buildings the site.

Evidence: The parking lot is large enough for fire trucks and emergency vehicles. There is ample parking for the twenty-five seats.

Discussion – Jim Heckman voiced concerns that the business could be a strain on the police and fire department of Vassalboro. Ginny replied that the County Sheriff and State Police do much of the law enforcement for Vassalboro. Richard Phippen works only part time. Someone in the audience asked whether there would be an 18 and older provision for persons allowed within the coffee shop. Donald indicated that there would be security at the entrance door to prevent minors from entering. Don Breton asked whether a sprinkler system was required and Donald said the State Fire Marshall’s Office said no. There are enough exit doors on the outside walls so a sprinkler system is not required.

Motion for approval by George. Seconded by Doug. All in favor.

10. The proposed development will not adversely affect the use and enjoyment of abutting property as a result of noise, vibrations, fumes, odor, dust, glare, or other cause.

Evidence: Neighboring properties are far enough away so as to not be affected by business operations.

Discussion – Nancy Hines had concerns about noise from cars and motor cycles. Ginny indicated that the place was previously a bar and had late night noise. This place will be open only 6 AM to 6 PM. Jolene Gamage asked how Planning Board members are appointed. Ginny indicated that you ask to be appointed and the Selectmen appoint you every two years. Charlene Harrison indicated that her daughter waits at a school bus stop located at the corner of Mudgett Hill Rd and Route 3 and could be affected by noise and fumes from cars. Heather Gilbert asked if the hours of the business change how would the process work. Donald indicated that he would be willing to come back for a permit modification. Jolene Gamage indicated that the burden of proof is on the applicant and he must prove that the proposed business is not detrimental to the neighborhood. Ginny indicated that from their previous experience you cannot guarantee that the business would be detrimental to the neighborhood. Many in the audience question whether the Board could use “other” in this performance standard to include the topless aspect of the business. Doug replied that their hands were tied by using what was contained in the ordinance and they must just review this as a coffee shop. They should develop a separate ordinance to prohibit things like this in the future. Dave Pelletier questioned whether the business could be permitted without knowing the answer to how minors could be legally excluded from entering.

Motion for approval by George. Seconded by Jay. All in favor.

The Board then voted on the application as a whole subjected to the following conditions:

1.The access from Mudgett Hill Rd should be blocked off.
2.Deliveries shall be made from the front of the building and Route 3 access.
3.The hours of the business shall be 6 AM to 6 PM. The applicant shall re-apply for a modification to the permit should the business hours change.

A motion for approval was made by George and seconded by Doug. All in favor.

The discussion of the subdivision application process was put on hold to be discussed at the next Board meeting in February.

The meeting adjourned at 9:45.