Meeting Minutes : Planning Commission

Pittsford Planning Commission Meeting
April 17, 2014

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

Board Members Absent:Chris Beitzel

Also in Attendance: Ken Niemczyk – Zoning Administrator

1. Call to order

The meeting was called to order at 7:07PM by Don Nickless – Chair.

2. Administrative Matters

There was no discussion held.

3. Public Hearings

There was no discussion held.

4. Deliberation

There was no discussion held.

5. Public Comments

There was no discussion held.

6. Other Business

a) Proposed Zoning Ordinance Changes: Begin public review of the proposed changes to the Zoning Ordinance for the Town of Pittsford prior to the Planning Commission’s public hearing to be scheduled at a later date.

The principal purpose of the meeting was to do a final review of the changes that have been done over the past months to the draft Zoning Ordinance prior to the public hearing.

KenNiemczyk, Trish Lewis and Don Nickless have worked on the draft to incorporate input that has been provided and to do grammatical changes. The draft was submitted for legal review that resulted in a number of recommendations made by legal counsel.

Section 201(A)2– Conservation – it was recommended to remove the wording, “tourist industry” and replace with wording that would emphasize the importance of preserving this area and essence of a small town. A recommendation was made to add: “A conservation district is a protected area that has been designated protected status to make sure that the natural features, cultural heritage and flora and fauna are protected.”

Section 201C – Village – it was questioned if commercial and residential should be added to this definition. It was noted that the Pittsford Village area is mostly the former area consisting of residential and commercial uses.

Section 202 – Zoning Map – in the last sentence of the 3rd paragraph – insert the word “reasonably” before obtained.

Section 701(B) Off-street Parking –the question was raised whether handicap parking should be added to the second sentence. Mr. Niemczyk suggested the second sentence be eliminated and “handicap” should be added in 701(A) –“The dimension of a parking space should be 9’ x 20’, except those designated as handicap spaces, which shall meet federal requirements.”

The following recommendations were provided by legal counsel:

Section 201(B) – Establishment of Zoning Districts – Rural – this is a hold-over from taking out rural commercial and the only change is to put commercial back in.

Section 502(B)7 – Applications for Conditional Use – with regard to notifying abutters, the attorney would like to make it clear the Zoning Administrator is not the party providing the list. The applicant shall provide a list of the adjoining abutters to the Zoning Administrator. Counsel also suggested including adjoining, abutting and interested persons. Mr. Niemczyk stated the state law uses abutting property owners and in other places the term adjoining has been removed and stated the interested person status is attained by coming to the meeting and speaking to the Commission. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission to keep the section as drafted, with the removal of the word “adjoining”.

Section 601 – Planned Unit Development – the attorneysuggested the sentence – “The Planning Commission is hereby empowered to modify the zoning regulations.” The original language had the Board of Adjustment, but the Planning Commission reviews for PUD.

Section 800.1 – Construction Approved Prior to Adoption of Regulations – it was suggested to add a comma after “regulations” at the end of the sentence, and add the wording “in effect at the time the permit was issued.”

Section 800.2 – Prior Unlawful Uses – add the wording at the end, “unless specifically authorized under these regulations.”

Section 801.1 – Development of Lot or Parcel with Non-Conforming Dimensions – to be consistent, add the word “small” before the word “existing” in the first sentence. This has to do with the dimension of the lot and nothing to do with setbacks. In the second line add “is of an equal or lessor non-conforming nature”.

Section 801.2 – Alternation of Lot or Parcel with Non-Conforming Dimensions – change to match the wording, “The boundaries of an existing small lot may be altered only in a manner that it does not increase or does not decrease a non-conformity.”

Section 802.2 – Extension of a Non-conforming Use within a Structure – insert the word exterior so that it is obvious that it speaking to the footprint and allows the use of the footprint to the structure.

Section 802.3 –Enlargement of a Non-conforming Use – counsel wants to work in the word “footprint” regardless of whether it is the primary building or the accessory building. The first one talks about the use and the second is the actual structure expanding.

Section 802.4 – Discontinuance of a Non-conforming Use – it is recommended to extend the time period from one year to two and allowing for an extension. It was suggested that a year with extensions is reasonable. If there is difficulty with insurance funds, the applicant can show proof of an issue to request an extension. Ken Niemczyk suggested two years, with an extension of one year, with a maximum of three years. This would be a more equitable timeframe for most circumstances. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission to change the time period to two years, with the possibility of a one-year extension.

Section 802.5 – Restoration of a Non-conforming Use – legal counsel suggested making this similar to Section 802.4. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission to leave this section as written. The person has stopped the business and it needs to be determined how long to hold on to the right of having a non-conforming use.

Section 802.6 – Moving of a Non-conforming Use – to maintain consistency, it was recommended to add, “unless authorized by the Board of Adjustment”.

Section 803.2B and C–Expansion of a Dimensional Non-conformity – it was suggested to take out “total enlargement” and add nonconforming structure, as opposed to use.

Section 901 – Sign Dimensions – it was suggested to be more flexible with off-premise signs and provide specific requirements for off-premise signs. It was noted the state does not allow off-premise signs anywhere, which was part of the Billboard law. It was suggested to have some flexibility with allowing something across the street, but controlled with conditions. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission to have no off-premise signs. KenNiemczyk suggested a statement about directional signs, mainly for vehicular travel. There is usually a statement that says directional signs, not to exceed a certain dimension, are not allowed without a permit. Mr. Niemczyk will work up language and submit it to the Planning Commission. The existing regulations do not address directional signs specifically. There are entities that are not businesses that need a sign, i.e. churches, organizations such as the Elks, and it was thought there needs to be language modification that focuses solely on business. It was thought that the first paragraph of the section outlines these items. Mr. Niemczyk stated there needs to be guidance on the size of a directional sign.

Section 901(K) –Sign Dimensions – there was concern if a sign is improperly placed and blocks visibility, there needs to be a provision that allows the Zoning Administrator the ability to go to the owner and request the sign be moved. It was noted the sentence is vague and it was suggested that the sentence needs clarification. It was agreed to add the wording, “which can cause a safety hazard.”

Section 903(B) – Failure to Maintain – it was recommended the wording be, “all signs shall be properly maintained”. All other wording to be removed. The Zoning Administrator would have the authority to obtain legal opinion whether a sign is being properly maintained. It was suggested to add directional signs for specific events. Mr. Niemczyk stated any sign in disrepair,that includes the current wording (i.e. unstable attachment or other imminent structural failure) provides information to the Zoning Administrator of what to look for. It was agreed to keep this wording in Section 903(B).

Section 1003(C)2.g – Storm Water Management – this is covered by state permits. It is suggested that it can get more stringent than the state. There are statements about storm water and energy efficiencies and the proposed verbiage is an expansion. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission to keep the current wording.

Section 1108 –Day Care Homes/Facilities (Adults or Children) – Ken Niemczyk will check on the federal definition of family. There was a suggestion that it cannot be limited. It was noted there is state law that regulates this. Mr. Niemczyk stated households consisting of unrelated people have been limited by number, with the common number of people being 3. The issue is if there is not a limit, one could have a boarding house. This effects property, utilities, sewer and other impacts, as a result of people living together densely. With the current wording, it would provide a good parameter.

Section 1114 – Destroyed or Demolished Structures – legal counsel thinks a permit is also required for a partial or full demolition, with the fee still waived. Interior alterations are exempt from the regulation. This would help the listers let the town know that a portion of a building is coming down.

Section 1123 – Outdoor Wood-fired Boiler – legal counsel suggested part of the parameters to include any isolation distance must be met within the actual property where the boiler is located and no less than 300 feet. This will insure that an abutting property is not infringed upon.

Section 1301(B)–Municipal Appointments: Planning Commission – Ken Niemczyk to check with VLCT about appointing alternates to the Planning Commission to assure that quorum numbers are not affected. The state law does not address the Select Board appointing alternates to sit with the Planning Commission. In some situations, alternates are allowed to ask questions, but are not allowed to vote. The intent is that an alternate would have the right to substitute and replace a missing member, and would have full rights of a member.

Section 1301(C) Municipal Appointments: Board of Adjustment – it was recommended to make this section consistent with 1301(B).

Section 1302(B).12 – Zoning Permits: Exemptions – Other Incidental Uses – it was suggested to add the word “structures”.

It was recommended to schedule a time for the public hearing for discussion of the proposed changes to the Pittsford Zoning Ordinance. Ms. Lewis will provide a revised draft for the Planning Commission to review prior to scheduling a hearing.

7. Next Regular Meeting

Thursday, May 22nd@ 7:00PM at the Pittsford Town Office

8. Adjournment

A motion was made by Trish Lewis and seconded by Kathryn Brown to adjourn the Pittsford Planning Commission meeting at 8:55PM. The motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,
Charlene Bryant
Recording Secretary

Approved by,

The Pittsford Planning Commission