Vassalboro Planning Board
Minutes of Nov. 10, 2009

Planning Board: Virginia Bracket, George Gould, Douglas Phillips
CEO: Paul Mitnik,
Public: Donald Crabtree, Scott Monroe/Morning Sentinel, Lynn Wood, Darrin Wood, Mary Grow, Channel 8 News

The meeting opened at 7:00 PM.

Review of October 6 Minutes: The Oct. 6 Minutes were approved (Phillips / Gould 3-0).

Donald Crabtree
Minor Site Review Permit Modification
Grand View Coffee Shop
Tax Map 9, Lot 104

Donald Crabtree was back for approval to use a 12 X 60 commercial type mobile structure as temporary quarters for the topless coffee shop that was destroyed by a fire last summer. This will be a permit modification to a Site Review application in July of 2009 which approved the use of a 30 X 100 foot structure for the coffee shop. Ginny asked about the number of seats. Donald indicated that he intends to have 25 seats even though the State Fire Marshall authorized as many as 48 seats. This is what he and the CEO, Paul, determined that morning as being practical.

Donald indicated that the mobile home is on the slab of the former structure in the approximate location of the proposed 30 X 100 foot structure that will be built in the future. The mobile home will be moved when construction for the new structure begins. Donald indicated that the Dept of Human Services had already inspected and approved the building and ordered minor corrections. An inspection form was given to Paul for the file.

Doug asked about the permitting from the Fire Marshall’s Office for compliance with the life safety code. Paul indicated that no permit is needed from the State Fire Marshall’s Office. They consider this building mercantile, since the seating capacity is under fifty persons. Mercantile buildings that are less than 3000 square feet do not need a permit. However, the building still has to meet the life safety code which primarily addresses handicap access (ramp and bathrooms) and clearances of isles. Paul indicated that he visited the site that morning and it appeared to be up to code.

Doug asked about the time table of the other building. Donald indicated that he hoped to have it built by August 1. The current permit requires that substantial construction has to be completed within one year of the permit that was issued July 23; otherwise the permit expires. Substantial construction is defined within the Site Review Ordinance as completion of 30% of the structure as measured as a total cost of the structure and also requires that exterior walls and the roof be completed.

A discussion ensued about the debris pile from the fire which is currently located to the left of the mobile home. The current permit required removing this pile from the premises within one year of opening the coffee shop. Ginny recommended starting the clock for the one year with the opening of the mobile home. Donald indicated that he was willing to do this. Doug indicated that he had received a fair amount of discussion from various people about the necessity for removing the pile. Donald said that three dump truck loads have already been removed and it did not make a dent in the pile.

Doug indicated that since the permit is being modified, he believed that all conditions, including the timetable for removing the debris pile could be re-visited. Doug voiced his original position that the pile be removed before opening.

Donald indicated that he estimated it will cost $14000 to remove the fire debris pile. The pile is considered special waste without the appropriate testing and must be trucked to a special waste landfill like the one in Norwidgewock. The testing for this will be about $3000. Donald believed that there is a good chance that the debris could be buried on site but he prefers to truck it off site. The pile was tested for asbestos and did not have any.

A discussion ensued about the issues with the fire debris pile. Ginny indicated that it was unsightly and runoff from the pile could cause contamination. Doug was concerned about health and safety issues. George thought that the Board should give Donald time to open and make money before removing the pile. The following possible options were listed as the condition to address the pile:

  1. Remove pile one year after opening
  2. Shorten time line
  3. Cover and contain runoff
  4. Require removal before opening.
  5. Performance guarantee with time frame

George did not consider #4 to be an option. Ginny indicated that all extremes should be listed as options and the Board was suppose to be considering the best interest of the Town as a whole; not the applicant. Donald indicated that he plans to contact Fire Chief Eric Rowe to determine whether or not the Vassalboro Fire Dept can do a practice burn of the remainder of the former structure and possibly burn a portion of the debris pile.

Ginny asked for public comment. Lynn and Darrin Wood who live on Mudgett Hill Rd said that the pile had to go. They indicated that the debris pile is in the Three Corner Pond watershed. They were willing to accept a time frame for removing the pile.

Ginny asked that a three month time frame first be considered for removing the pile. Donald said that he would not be able to remove the pile in three months. The time frame was changed to starting the removal within three months and removing a minimum of one load per month. One load is about forty yards. Donald estimates that there is about 600 yards of total debris in the remaining pile. This would result in about 15 loads of debris. The removal of the entire debris pile would still have to be accomplished within one year of opening or by November of 2010. So the removal in monthly loads will have to be increased to more than one load a month in the future to meet the one year time frame. Ginny asked both Donald and the Wood’s if this was acceptable and they indicated that it was.

Paul asked if this should be approved as a new permit, retaining the original permit for the 30 X 100 foot building. Doug preferred to have it permitted as a modification to the original permit. The modification will include:

  1. Authorization to use the 12 x 60 foot mobile home for the business
  2. Authorize up to 35 seats in this structure
  3. The debris removal start within 90 days with the requirement to remove one load (40 yards) / month

Most of the modified permit application was identical to the original application of July 2009 including the applicant’s narrative responses to the performance criteria. The differences were summarized in a single sheet. The modified permit was approved (Gould / Phillips 3-0).

The Leo Barnett enforcement case was discussed briefly. The Town won its land use complaint against Barnett. The Court Order required completion of most of the subdivision improvements including paving and aligning the road. Doug suggested requiring a Performance Guarantee to ensure the road and other improvements were constructed.
The meeting adjourned at 8:20.