Meeting Minutes : Planning Commission


Pittsford Planning Commission Meeting    

June 27, 2013




Board Members Present: Trish Lewis, Kathryn Brown, Chris Beitzel, Mike Gecha


Board Members Absent: Don Nickless


Also in Attendance:Ken Niemczyk – Zoning Administrator, James Bourne, Wade Mitchell, Neil Crossman, Mrs. Neil Crossman


1.  Call to order


The meeting was called to order at 7:00PM by Trish Lewis, Vice-Chair.      


2.  Administrative Matters


 There was no discussion held.


3.  Public Hearings


a) Old Business


There was no discussion held.  


b) New Business


1b) Application for Site Plan Review submitted by James Borne, applicant, and by JLB Brandon Enterprises, Inc., property owner, for property located at 4769 US Route 7, Parcel ID #0669, in the Town of Pittsford, Vermont. The proposal is to display new and used RVs, cars, and trucks which are an expansion of the present use of business on adjoining property owned by the same entity.


Jim Bourne is requesting to move product to the lot south of the current space and anticipates a payroll of $150,000.00 for the business. He wants to be a good neighbor and advised there will be no roads, fences, or wiring associated with the current request.  A brush hog had been brought in and at the moment all they want to do is move product into the field. He has another 60 units on the way and noted business is up 400% countrywide in RV and boat sales. It is his desire to create jobs and utilize the property. He was initially going to try to use only an acre, but they need more space. At the moment, there would be some flags and pennants, but no additional signage.  Mr. Bourne will likely come back to the planning commission in late winter or spring with a more detailed plan. Trish Lewis asked if there would be any additional curb cuts and Mr. Bourne indicated there would not be a need currently. Mike Gecha asked where the campers will be placed.  Mr. Bourne advised they would place them in the field. Mr. Gecha expressed concern that the campers would get stuck. Mr. Bourne stated there are some areas in the field that are wet; however, it is his intent to place the campers in the dry areas. Ken Niemczyk advised Mr. Bourne needs to meet the zoning requirements prior to the DMV approving the location for the sale of motor vehicles. This is another reason Mr. Bourne has come before the planning commission. Mr. Bourne advised the DMV requires proof of ownership and that criteria has been satisfied.  He needs no additional services, just the space.  The hours of operation will be 8:00AM to 6:00PM, 6 days per week, with consideration being made of working some Sundays. Mr. Bourne advised there is nothing on the lot and there will be no lighting required for right now. Traffic will not be allowed in the field and people will walk to the units to view them. The operation will also include the sale of cars and trucks. There is not an area available for selling vehicles and his plan is to free up the front for the cars and trucks and have the RV’s in the field. Chris Beitzel asked if the RV’s are all new. Mr. Bourne advised he does take trade-ins and there are many bank repos. Mr. Beitzel questioned whether the shipment of units has already been taken and Mr. Bourne stated they have taken 60 to 70 additional units to date and there are an additional 60 units that are anticipated to be received. Many of the older buyers who held back on purchasing during the recession are now purchasing units.  Trish Lewis questioned whether Mr. Bourne thinks he receives more business from advertisements or being located on Route 7. Mr. Bourne advised the Internet has changed his business, but there is a mix due to location and advertisements.  He is involved in 9 stores and he has always thought that Pittsford could be his shining diamond.  This store is selling 3 times the number of RV’s that his store in New Haven sold even before the recession. Mike Gecha expressed concern about the lighting in the parking lot. Mr. Bourne stated nothing is going to change currently.  He will be back with a master plan, but particulars are unknown at this time. He feels he is losing business because of the lack of parking.  Ken Niemczyk stated the board should be considering the adequacy of access, parking and loading, and screening.  Mr. Niemczyk advised that for retail office use, 4.5 spaces are required per 1,000 feet of retail office area.  Mr. Bourne stated he will be placing 70% of his inventory in the field, which will leave spaces for parking.  Trish Lewis suggested considering water permeable paving. Mr. Bourne advised he will always have gravel due to the amount of water the area has.


Wade Mitchell, adjoining landowner to the south, had a couple of major concerns. One concern is the amount of water that runs from Mr. Bourne’s property that settles in his cellar. He also noted the back part of his property has an excess of water that comes off the hill. He is also concerned about landscaping, as his house sits very close to the area being discussed, with Mr. Bourne’s property about 30 feet from his home. Mr. Mitchell noted there is a culvert in the area, but it is not adequate and unless something is done, this issue will get worse. Jim Bourne stated this is a major issue and it starts north of Mr. Bourne’s property and runs downhill from the top of the hill. This is a pre-existing condition and everything else will remain the same on his property.  Mr. Bourne noted his property line is actually 50 feet from Mr. Mitchell’s house. Mr. Bourne stated he is not going to encroach on Mr. Mitchell’s property.  Mr. Mitchell stated as long he does not take in more water and the other details can be worked out, he is agreeable to the request. Ken Niemczyk advised that Section 1115, regarding parking,  if a recreational vehicle is more than 10 feet in length, it has to comply with the setback of the district and the commercial zone setback would be 50 feet. 


Neil Crossman, President of the Pittsford Commons Association, advised that the association’s concerns are with the location of the vehicles, indicating there should be landscaping required and the vehicles should be 25 to 30 feet from the property line. They are also concerned with water, as the area is quite wet and once the sod is broken, there will be mud.   If used Class A and Class C motor homes are in the lot, there is a concern with oil leaks, as this would pollute the area.  Mr. Crossman noted anything with hydraulic pressure will force water up and if there is a lot of water to begin with, they will have more water.  The association would like to see trees planted on the south edge of the property.  Mr. Bourne stated they have staked off the property and they will not be near the back.  As he has walked the area, he noted a couple of wet areas and he will choose the highest and driest ground, as they would not put high priced RV’s in the mud.  He will also stake out along the back line where RV’s will be placed. Ken Niemczyk stated the planning commission has the authority to levy conditions relative to the points recited, such as requiring landscaping or having the vehicles displayed only in the front half of the lot. Mr. Crossman asked about the gas and oil leaks. Mr. Bourne stated any units that have a problem will be removed from the property to a location where they can be repaired. Trish Lewis stated this would be a state issue if this condition existed and there would be fees accessed.  Wade Mitchell stated if conditions are not placed in writing, it becomes an issue when things are not done as agreed to. Mr. Bourne agreed to keep the campers 75 feet from Mr. Mitchell’s home.  Ken Niemczyk stated if the vehicle is over 10 feet, it has to meet the setback requirement of 50 feet for commercial. Mr. Bourne stated in dealing with a commercial property and what he may do in the future; he prefers to not change what is currently in writing.  Mr. Bourne suggested placing some lower track landscaping on the property, but for now he would like to live with what the ordinance indicates.  Mr. Niemczyk reiterated any vehicle over 10 feet has to be a minimum of 50 feet from the property line, which would mean they would be 100 feet from Mr. Mitchell’s home.  Mr. Bourne stated he will be coming back with a plan for making it a solid enterprise and at that time he is sure there will likely be conditions, but currently they are not looking to change anything.  Mr. Bourne and the abutters will receive notification of the planning commission’s decision within 45 days.


The hearing was closed at 7:44PM.


2b) Application by Charles Sumner to subdivide 60 acres into 2 lots: Lot 1 being 58 acres and Lot 2 being 2 acres.  The property is located at 407 Old Hubbardton Road, Parcel ID#1332, in Florence, Vermont.  The Zoning Regulations for the Town of Pittsford require that any subdivision of land be reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission.


The planning commission requested additional information on this application.  Ken Niemczyk provided a survey map on the proposed subdivision. Mr. Niemczyk advised the planning commission could approve the application, with the condition that the plat cannot be recorded until Mr. Sumner receives approval from the state. It was suggested to continue the hearing and approval of the application until the July meeting.  Mr. Sumner will be notified of the continuation of the hearing.  Ken Niemczyk stated this is a subdivision and it needs to be determined whether it meets the standards for the zoning district.  State approval will also be required. 


Motion by Kathryn Brown/Mike Gecha to continue the hearing for the application by Charles Sumner to subdivide 60 acres into 2 lots on July 25th starting at 7PM at the Municipal Town offices. The motion passed unanimously.


4. Deliberation


There is a concern that it will turn into a mud field and it was noted there should be guidelines in place. Trees could be planted to assist with water issues and screening for the adjoining properties.  This year, June has had the highest rainfall since 1922.  This is a commercial piece of land with a small industrial zone. It was noted a site review is done to assist with deterring a negative impact.  If there is a road intended or lighting, an additional hearing would be required.  If gravel is added in excess of 30 cubic yards, a zoning permit would be required by the zoning administrator.  There was concern if approved as stated; there could be problems with abutting property owners in the future. A condition could be included indicating the vehicles would have to be placed a minimum of 50 feet from Mr. Mitchell’s property line to deter from encroachment and there could also be additional conditions noted. An additional condition suggested would be planting of appropriate landscaping.


The planning commission outlined the following criteria for approval of Mr. Bourne’s application: 


  1. Minimum of 50 feet from the southerly property line for all vehicles to include campers or recreational vehicles.
  2. The applicant shall install appropriate vegetation along southerly property line to absorb water and provide screening. 
  3. The applicant will return to the planning commission with a revised drawing that outlines appropriate landscaping along southerly property line and it is Mr. Bourne’s responsibility to find the landscaping to meet the two conditions.
  4.  Landscaping and tree screening to be installed within 4 months.


A clarification of the speed limit in the area of the property was discussed and noted that it is 40 mph. Ken Niemczyk stated there could be a petition to AOT to adjust the speed limit in this area.  An overview of Act 250 requirements was done and it was noted this request would not require Act 250.   


Motion by Kathryn Brown/Mike Gecha to approve the application for the change of use for Jim Bourne and JLB Brandon Enterprises, Inc. based on the information provided at the planning commission meeting, with conditions 1 through 4 noted above. Failure to comply with the conditions outlined will revert back to the current use of the land. The motion passed unanimously.


5.  Public Comments


 There was no discussion held.


6.  Other Business


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


Trish Lewis noted the updates to the Pittsford Zoning Ordinance need to be completed. The outstanding items assigned to Chris Beitzel included the ordinance regarding quarries and one on recreation private. Mike Gecha’s assigned ordinances included tree houses, swimming pools and wind turbine, with the wind turbine ordinance still outstanding. Mr. Gecha reported additional information will be required on the wind turbine ordinance and he is currently researching what other towns are doing on this subject. It is the intent of the planning commission to have the zoning ordinance revisions completed as soon as possible. It was noted the enforcement of the zoning ordinance is the responsibility of the zoning administrator.


b) Amend Rules of Procedure and Conflict of Interest Policy


Ken Niemczyk suggested tabling this agenda item to another meeting for further discussion with Don Nickless.




7. Next Meeting


Thursday, July 25th @ 7PM at the Pittsford Town Offices.    


8. Adjournment


A motion was made by Kathryn Brown and seconded by Mike Gecha to adjourn the Pittsford Planning Commission meeting at 8:30PM. The motion passed unanimously. 


Respectfully submitted,



Charlene Bryant
Recording Secret




Approved by,




Don Nickless

Pittsford Planning Commission Chair