Meeting Minutes : Planning Commission

Pittsford Planning Commission Meeting    

May 23, 2013



Board Members Present: Trish Lewis, Kathryn Brown, Don Nickless


Board Members Absent: Chris Beitzel, Mike Gecha


Also in Attendance:


1.  Call to order


The meeting was called to order at 7:00PM by Don Nickless, Chair.      


2.  Administrative Matters


 There was no discussion held.


3.  Public Hearings


a) Old Business


There was no discussion held.  


b) New Business


 There was no discussion held.


4. Deliberation


 There was no discussion held.


5.  Public Comments


 There was no discussion held.


7.  Other Business


a)   Continued discussion of proposed amendments to the Pittsford Zoning Ordinance


Items 1, 2 and 3: The working draft of the Pittsford Zoning Ordinance currently has the corrections that were made with regard to PUD (planned unit development) references, the Board of Adjustment references and the Appropriate Municipal Panel references.  


Item 4: Telecommunication tower regulations – Don Nickless distributed comments from the VLCT. It was decided that this section should be left in. Mr. Nickless stated the VLCT comments clarify what the town can and cannot regulate. The town no longer has authority over this item and it is the authority of the state. Mr. Nickless stated he would need to go back to the League to determine if they now have a model regulation that we might use. Before the next meeting, Mr. Nickless will determine if there is a model and if there is none, he suggested leaving this item as is.


Item 5: Internal signs – Don Nickless stated that there was a suggestion that we should regulate internal window signs. Kathryn Brown stated there are currently no issues; however, if it becomes an issue in the future, it is an item that could be addressed at that time. No action will be taken at this time.


Item 6: Accessory dwelling – the definition should remain unchanged.


Item 7: Accessory structure – Kathryn Brown suggested adding an accessory building includes, but is not limited to garages, car ports, storage buildings and other similar buildings. Don Nickless questioned whether a mobile home is considered an accessory structure. Kathryn Brown stated the definition of an accessory structure indicates a mobile home is allowed temporary, but not permanently. It was suggested that mobile homes, buses, campers or trailers are not allowed as accessory structures. It was agreed to drop the word
“permanent” in the last sentence of the proposed definition.


Item 8: Tree houses – since they are universally allowed in all zones, it was suggested to drop this item altogether, as there is not an attempt to regulate them.


Item 9: Swimming pools – there had been a discussion to reduce exempting pools less than 2000 gallons rather than 3000 gallons. It was noted this is not a significant issue and there was a decision to drop this item.


Item 10: Setbacks – Don Nickless stated there had been work done with the Vermont Smart Growth Collaborative and there had been an analysis developed. There had been discussion of what can be done in the village to facilitate commercial development and an analysis had been completed regarding setbacks and minimum lot sizes for commercial properties. Pittsford’s minimum lot size for a commercial property in the village is .5 acre and other towns have a minimum lot size of 7572 square feet. Mr. Nickless noted .5 acre is 22,000 square feet, therefore, Pittsford requires three times what other towns require for commercial use in the village. Given existing regulations, if someone does not have .5 acre, they could not develop a commercial property. The setback in Pittsford is currently set at 40 feet; whereas other towns have from 3 to 9 feet. The regulations mitigate against commercial development in the village. Mr. Nickless stated there had been a question of whether the state is widening the Route 7 upgrade and it was advised that whatever is in existence will be grandfathered. Mr. Nickless suggested changing the requirements for commercial development. Trish Lewis would like to go with a minimum to encourage development and make it easier for the sale of property for both residential and commercial.  It was suggested to use the minimum on all of the regulations. Mr. Nickless will draft a proposal to the Select Board regarding the proposed changes to the commercial zoning regulations regarding lot size and setbacks in the village. Mr. Nickless advised the maximum lot coverage also has to change. A suggestion was made to put a provision in the regulations for parking spots and drop the maximum lot coverage.


Item 11: Revised Chapter 4413 and 4414 conformance – Trish Lewis stated the revised sections in Items 11 and 25 are similar and she will confirm that the revised sections are complete. 


Item 12: Frontage definition – Don Nickless advised he has some language for this item; however, additional work is needed to complete this section.  


Item 13: Gross floor area – it was decided to keep the definition as stated.


Item 14: Recreation private – Chris Beitzel is to revise this item.


Item 15: Conditional uses in village – Don Nickless noted he had previously tabled a list of “conditional” items that could be changed to “permitted” items on the chart of uses. Trish Lewis suggested dropping rural commercial completely and making it rural. This will not affect any current properties. There was discussion of the Industrial column. Trish Lewis stated at the least everything that is a “P”, might be a “C”. Ms. Lewis will review the Industrial column and provide recommended changes to the planning commission.


Item 16: Conservation zones – there will need to be changes made consistent with changes to the Plan; with the minimum lot size from 2 aces to 5 acres in Conservation Zone I and 5 acres to 10 acres in Conservation Zone II.


Item 17: Rural commercial -This regulation was discussed. A change will be made to drop rural commercial and redefine the commercial zone along Route 3.


Item 18: Permit fee – There was a decision to change the wording from a fee “may” to “will” be doubled for a permit fee when commencing a project prior to obtaining a permit.


Item 19: Outdoor furnaces – this proposed regulation has to be increased to a minimum lot size of 3 acres and distance from an adjoining structure to be a minimum of 300 feet. All other authority rests with the state. The village has to be taken out and conditional will be acceptable for all the rest.   


Item 20: Fencing around swimming pools – this item was covered in the swimming pool section. It was agreed that the surrounding fence height should be 4 feet.


Item 21: Quarrying – Chris Beitzel is working on the quarrying regulations.


Item 22: Flag lots – Mike Gecha is working on the flag lots regulation. The subdivision draft prohibits flag lots. For any future subdivisions, it could be noted that they are not permitted. It will need to be determined whether there is a technical difference between a right of way and an easement, and include language clarifying this. Trish Lewis stated there seems to be contention with subsequent changes in property owners. It is the intent of the planning commission to disqualify flag lots. Kathryn Brown stated the verbiage needs to be clear.


Item 23:  Parking lots – Trish Lewis stated Smart Growth has indicated the town is requiring more parking than needed and are over-demanding parking spaces. Ms. Lewis suggested there could be “shared” parking between businesses and there should be no “reserved” parking. With regard to residences, it was suggested to note a minimum of one space per residence. Ms. Lewis stated for future planning, it is suggested 75% of the parking be behind the buildings, which the village has the ability to do, in addition to “shared” parking. Ms. Lewis will provide a proposed change to the regulation for the planning commission’s consideration.  All present were in agreement with the concept provided by Trish Lewis.


Item 24: Certificate of Occupancy adoption – This item will be discussed at a subsequent meeting.


Item 25: Revised Chapter 117, section 4449(e) – Trish Lewis to provide information on this item.


Item 26: Chapter 117, section 4463 – This item will be discussed at a subsequent meeting.


Item 27: Verification of Chapter 117, section 4414(13) – Trish Lewis to provide information on this item.


Item 28: Article VIII nonconformities – Ken Niemczykprovided information on this regulation and the planning commission was in agreement with the changes.


Item 29: Verification of Pittsford’s regulation 106 – Chris Beitzel is working on this item. Don Nickless stated Mark Blucher had indicated the regulation was copied from Chapter 117 and Mr. Blucher questioned if it is correct according to Pittsford’s regulations.


Item 30: Section 1502 update – Don Nickless to review this regulation.


Item 31: Hearings – Don Nickless to review this item.


Item 32:  West Creek Road – Trish Lewis proposed making the industrial side of West Creek Road rural.  Omya would be grandfathered for their property and it would only affect future industry. Don Nickless noted industrial would be needed for the marble vein in this area. Ms. Lewis suggested increasing the setback significantly would not affect marble quarrying, but would stop businesses from cluttering the frontage of a rural area. Ms. Lewis was in agreement with either changing the zoning or increasing the setback to avoid future development of industry in the rural area. Ms. Lewis suggested plotting out the map to protect the farming area and marble quarrying. Changes to the map will be required.


Item 33: Salvage yards – Trish Lewis will review this item for discussion at the next meeting.


Item 34: Off-premise signs – This regulation relates to sandwich boards or flags. Ken Niemczyk is working on this item.


Item 35: Subdivision regulations:  Don Nickless noted there had been discussion of whether to have stand-alone sub-division regulations and it was felt that there should be. A draft of the regulations is completed and will require adoption. This would fill the voids in the existing regulations. This document will need to be reconciled with the existing regulations to assure there are no contradictions.  If there is a contradiction, there will need to be clarification of what takes precedence. 


Item 36: Regulation 1302B(3) as it relates to power generation facilities – Mike Gecha to provide an update on this item.


Item 37: Verify conformance of Section 1302(e) – Mike Gecha to provide an update on this item.


Item 38: Residential wind towers – Mike Gecha to provide an update on this item.


Item 39: “Smart Growth Principals” – It was suggested this item could be included in the introduction section. Trish Lewis will add to Section 102.


Item 40:  Non-permitting of buildings under 150 square feet – The listers are concerned with permits not being required for buildings fewer than 150 square feet.  There are many permits that have run out and the listers are reviewing this item. It was noted that checking the permits on a regular basis would be a good practice.


Kathryn Brown suggested a change to “Yard/Garage or Similar Private Sales” on page 81 of the definitions. The town manager suggested a change to 3 consecutive days per yard sale and Ms. Brown suggested not more than 6 days per year.


Trish Lewis stated there is going to be an economic development training scheduled for June 27th beginning at 5:30PM at the Rutland Free Library. 


Next Meeting:  June 27, 2013


11. Adjournment


A motion was made by Kathryn Brown and seconded by Trish Lewis to adjourn the Pittsford Planning Commission meeting at 9:00PM. The motion passed unanimously – 3 to zero. 


Respectfully submitted,



Charlene Bryant
Recording Secret




Approved by the Pittsford Planning Commission,




Don Nickless

Pittsford Planning Commission Chair