Meeting Minutes : Planning Commission

Special Pittsford Planning Commission Meeting
December 17, 2015

Board Members Present: David Soulia, Chuck Charbonneau, Kevin Blow, Dave Mills, Rula Moradi

Board Members Absent: Kathryn Brown, Trish Lewis, Cristina Kumka

Also in Attendance: Jeff Biasuzzi – Zoning Administrator, Rick Conway, Bruce Paynter, Hank Pelkey, David Trombley

1. Call to order

The meeting was called to order at 7:00PM by David Soulia – Chair.

2. Approval of Agenda

A motion was made by Kevin Blow and seconded by Dave Mills to approve the agenda, as presented. The motion passed unanimously.

3. Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Dave Mills and seconded by Kevin Blow to approve the Planning Commission minutes of 12/03/15. The motion passed unanimously.

4. Public Comments

Hank Pelkey requested a copy of the Zoning Ordinance draft that originally had been sent to the Select Board, prior to the current changes for comparison. David Soulia stated there was an issue with getting a digital copy of the current zoning regulations. The Planning Commission obtained the 2010 version and applied the changes that were done in 2014 so that when looking at the regulations right now, it is basically based on current zoning regulations. Most of the recommendations of the Select Board were taken care of. Mr. Pelkey stated he would still like a copy of the 2014 regulations. Jeff Biasuzzi provided a copy of the 2014 zoning regulations to Mr. Pelkey.

5. Conclude Review of Zoning Amendments and Vote on List of Changes

Kevin Blow requested a status of the grant application that was submitted to the Regional Planning Commission. Mr. Biasuzzi advised the State of Vermont has declined this application.

Dave Soulia provided a document titled “Change List for Proposed 2015 Zoning Regulations”. Mr. Soulia stated the first change has multiple occurrences throughout the document to change Administrative Officer to Zoning Administrator and to change Board of Adjustment to Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) for clarity for the general public.

Section 105: Exemptions

The following lines have been stricken from the document: 1) Above ground pools having a capacity to hold not more than 3,000 Gallons; and 2) The import or removal of fill, in an aggregate amount of not more than 30 yards, is exempt from regulation, provided that no slope thereby will be caused to exceed 12%, and that there is no undue adverse impact on adjoining properties. (Per request of the Select Board as this is dealt with later in the document)

There is also a change in #3 to read: The conducting of required agricultural practices (RAP), as this is now a required practice rather than accepted.

Mr. Soulia stated the term above ground pools will remain under exemptions. Jeff Biasuzzi stated under Section 105: Exemptions; there should be a reference to 1302B so that people know there are two parts of an exemption and vice versa, as there are more exemptions than just Section 105. Dave Soulia asked if it would be worthwhile adding clarification and note that exemptions do not apply to the Pittsford Special Flood Hazard areas. The disclaimer could be placed in the Exemptions so that people know if they are in a flood hazard area. Jeff Biasuzzi advised there would have to be numeration changes and recommended that it could be satisfied with indicating a reference of 1302B in the title of Section 105 and vice versa for Section 1302B. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission to include this reference in the title.

201: Establishment of Zoning Districts

B. Rural

It was noted that under #1 there was a change in removing the word “for” and adding “as rural commercial” and under #2 a change in the word “managed” to “encouraged”. Jeff Biasuzzi suggested taking out the adjective altogether and it was agreed to do so.

Items 1 and 2 to now read:

1. Description: Those areas outside the Village District not otherwise designated as rural commercial, commercial, industrial or conservation.

2. Purpose: To preserve the rural character by managing the development of open space and woodland while fostering appropriate economic activity. Growth should be consistent with the character of the area, the availability of services, and the site conditions.

Section 300: Table of Uses

A: Administrative permit was changed to Zoning permit and the removal (Zoning Permits: Section 1302) as it is noted twice

D: the addition of “E” = Exempt and “Blank” = not permitted.

Section 504: Cottage Industries

The following line has been stricken: H. Vehicle (auto, truck) bodywork or repair is not considered a cottage industry. (Per request of the Select Board)

Section 701: Off-Street Parking Space General Requirements

Item I: Proposing to add the words “porous asphalt” to the list of accepted materials.

Mr. Paynter asked if this will prohibit people from using gravel. Jeff Biasuzzi suggested when there is a new road cut; it is an opportunity for the town to determine the type of material to be used. It was questioned whether it is important to note all the types of materials.  Rick Conway stated this is not a zoning issue and questioned why this section is in the regulations as there are several gravel driveways. Mr. Paynter stated this probably is prohibitive for some people and he does not see a reason for this.  Hank Pelkey stated run-off is taken care of by the curb cuts.  It was suggested to also add gravel to the list. It was also suggested remove the types of materials. Mr. Paynter stated the curb cut alone will not take care of the run off to adjacent properties. Mr. Pelkey noted the town would determine if a culvert is needed.  Jeff Biasuzzi stated this is not to address just the curb cut, but the actual parking spaces. Mr. Conway again questioned this impetus for this section and noted there has not been an issue. As far as the state is concerned, one can’t work without a permit on state highways and he is not aware of it being a problem on town highways.  David Soulia noted that the Planning Commission was working on the list of materials, not whether it is necessary to have the list included. Mr. Conway stated he does not see the purpose of having it included.

David Soulia stated there is a proposal to remove Section 701(I) completely and asked if it is important to have the list of materials. Rick Conway stated if it is removed in its entirety, it leaves an open ended interpretation. The question is whether it is better to take all of the materials out with the line to read: Parking spaces, access drives, entrances and exits as required for business building shall be adequately designed and constructed so as not to drain onto a public highway or adjacent properties.

Mr. Soulia stated the Planning Commission did not go into the depth of this regulation except for consideration of the list of materials.  It was the consensus of the Planning Commission to go with the above stated line, removing the list of materials.  It was also noted the last sentence is to be removed in its entirety.

Section 704: Pooled or Group Parking Facilities

A. To read: For nonresidential uses two (2) or more distinct and separate establishments may decide to pool or group their parking facilities.

There will be a removal of the following wording: subject to these conditions: 1. The number of curb cuts will be reduced; 2. The spaces are located behind buildings and/or well screened from the road and, where necessary, other properties; 3. Vehicular circulation is improved; and 4. The appearance of the particular area is enhanced.

Section 805: Restoration of a Nonconforming Structure

Addition of the word “Zoning” prior to Board of Adjustment and a change allowing the ZBA to extend up to two years where it can be demonstrated that restoration within one year is not possible.

Section 806: Discontinuance of Use Nonconformity

A change in the period from one year to two years.

Section 809: Restoration of a Dimensional Nonconformity

It is proposed to add the sentence: The Zoning Board of Adjustment may extend this for up to an additional two years where it can be demonstrated that restoration within one year is not possible.

Section 902: Illumination

It is recommended to strike the words “externally and then only”.  The sentence will read: Signs may only be illuminated with the prior review and approval of the Planning Commission.

Section 1001: Scope

A change from Administrative Officer to Zoning Administrator.

Addition of Item C. Lot Line Adjustments and Simple Parceling. This will allow for the Zoning Administrator to be able to take care of lot line adjustments and simple parceling. The definitions of lot line adjustments and simple parceling will be added under the Definitions section.  Jeff Biasuzzi provided documents for the Planning Commission’s review describing how these items can be reviewed by the zoning administrator, as well as definitions of the same. Rick Conway noted lot line adjustments and simple parceling were handled by the Zoning Administrator in the past and there is statutory language specific to this.

Section 1104: Protection of Home Occupations

The following line has been stricken: F: Vehicle (auto; truck) bodywork or repair, are not considered home occupations. There is case law that covers this and was a recommendation of the Select Board to remove.

Section 1114: Destroyed or Demolished Structure

The number of days has been extended from 90 days to 365 days.  A change in the sentence to read: Upon application to the Zoning Administrator, up to a three hundred sixty-five (365) day extension may be approved.

Section 1115: Recreational Vehicles

Removal of this section in its entirety.

Section 1117: Approval of Subdivision Plats

A change of the word “with” to “to”.

Section 1118: Site Development/Fill

It had been proposed to remove this section from the zoning regulations in its entirety, however, it was decided to remove the yardage trigger and the section will now read:

The import or removal of fill, is exempt from regulation, provided that no slope thereby will be caused to exceed 12%, and that there is no undue adverse impact on adjoining properties. No activity shall take place that changes the existing flow of water, diverting it on to adjacent properties, without a permit. To include, but not limited to, importing or removing material, ditching, or tile drainage. If the Zoning Administrator determines that the slope, in excess of 12% will be created, or that there is an undue adverse effect, then the Planning Commission shall review the application under its Site Plan Review criteria.

David Soulia stated this covers the concern of the original 30 yards that was previously included in the regulation. Bruce Paynter stated this sounds like good language and asked when it triggers a Zoning Administrator to look into a situation. It was noted it would be prompted by a complaint and if someone is affecting a neighbor’s property.

Section 1119: Fence

The addition of the word (Non-agricultural) to the title.

Section 1120: Protection of Ridgelines

Removal of the wording: interfere with a known wildlife corridor or significant wildlife habitat, as recommended by the Select Board. David Soulia stated there is a Conservation District that limits property owners, which includes ridgelines. It was noted the Select Board has never approved a wildlife corridor. Dave Mills stated the wildlife corridor language is an entire swath of land and is not specific to ridgelines. He noted the ridgelines are protected.

Section 1121: Agricultural Uses/Farm Structures

The addition of the word “Fencing” to the title of the section.

Section 1122: Outdoor Wood-Fired Boiler (a.k.a. OWB, outdoor furnace)

David Soulia stated this is a new section added to the Zoning Regulations per the Select Board.

The section will read: As per state law, no person shall purchase any OWB unless it is a Phase II OWB. Pursuant to state law, uncertified OWBs that are located within 200 feet of a residence, school or healthcare facility, not served by the OWB must be removed and destroyed by December 31, 2012 as well as older units as specified by state law.

Rula Moradi questioned what will happen if neighbors complain about a unit that is currently installed. Jeff Biasuzzi advised a state inspector would be called to address this issue, as this is the jurisdiction of the state. Mr. Moradi noted when the state instituted the law, there was a window of opportunity to make changes and obtain a rebate for a new unit. The timeframe has expired and the simplest way to handle this is to refer to the statute and the state’s website.

Section 1202: Purposes

A change in the word “affects” to “effects” in Item E.

Section 1301: Municipal Appointments

B. Planning Commission

The addition of the word “major” in the bulleted item: applications for major subdivision approval; and,

Section 1302: Zoning Permits

A change of the word “accepted” to “required”, Administrative Officer to Zoning Administrator and AAP to RAP.


Farm Structure: A change in the word “accepted” to “required”.

Home Occupation: A removal of the line; Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein, any use that involves vehicle, bodywork, service, or repair is not eligible for a home occupation.

The addition of the following definitions:

Ridgeline: a line formed along the highest points of a mountain ridge.

Scenic Vista: a viewpoint that provides expansive views of a highly valued landscape for the benefit of the general public.

Dave Mills stated scenic vista is too broad and there needs to be specific areas outlined if the town wants to protect those areas. Rick Conway suggested soliciting the landowners input before adding specific areas.

David Soulia advised that work is currently being done on the definitions for Light Commercial, Major Subdivision and Simple Parceling. Jeff Biasuzzi stated in terms of subdivision and different kinds of subdivision such as simple parceling and minor subdivision; there needs to be definitions added for Simple Parceling, Minor Subdivision, Major Subdivision and Lot Line Adjustment.  Mr. Biasuzzi stated there are many people who do not realize they need a permit for a change of use and recommended including Change of Use as a definition for more clarity.


David Soulia stated this was not clearly delineated and originally it was going to be alphabetical order; however that would raise more questions and the decision was made to break separate Telecommunication definitions from other definitions.  During the next rewrite there will be more clarification made.

Additional Discussion:

Dave Mill provided a recommended definition for Light Commercial that included the wording: it is an industry that does not create smoke, gas odor or soot that can be perceived by other land owners. It is less capital intensive and more consumer-oriented.  Rick Conway stated this could become a contentious argument if not property defined. This definition will be discussed further.

Kevin Blow questioned Item E under Section 901: Sign Dimensions. The current line reads: No sign shall be erected within the side or rear yard setback, and there shall be no more than two (2) signs per business. It was suggested that the line read: No signs shall be erected within the side or rear yard setback, and there shall be no more than (2) signs indicating the business name. Mr. Blow advised that he solicited a number of business owners and they thought that this would be appropriate. This opens up for more signage and allows people to have as many signs as they need to run their business.

Bruce Paynter stated when the state indicated they would extend the road to a 2 rod right of way; it will demolish all of the zoning in the village.  If one wants to construct a new building, it would have to be set back and will not match with the adjacent neighbors. Many of the signs will also be illegal.  Mr. Paynter suggested for the purpose of buildings on Route 7 in the village, the Zoning Regulations should reflect new buildings be in line with the old building line to allow for conformity in the future.  Rick Conway stated the issue is that the state regulates signs along the state highways and rights of ways and the town cannot regulate signs on state highways. Chuck Charbonneau expressed concern that the Planning Commission needs to stop limiting people on their signs for running their businesses.  It was noted that a business with no signs is a sign of no business.

David Soulia stated that under Section 1001: Scope; procedures for Boundary Line Adjustment and Simple Parceling will be added, as recommended by the Zoning Administrator. Mr. Biasuzzi distributed recommendations for definitions of Boundary Line Adjustments, Simple Parceling and Major and Minor Subdivisions, as well as procedures for the same. He noted the verbiage came from the Town of Pittsford 2007 draft and some came from other existing ordinances. Mr. Soulia stated the definitions are required and if beneficial to have some clarity, it is reasonable to add the procedures to the Zoning Regulations.

Rick Conway suggested removing the word “reasonably” from the recommended definitions. Bruce Paynter suggested it should read that it is reasonably drawn to scale to make it as simple as possible.  Jeff Biasuzzi noted this statement indicates if one wants to do a boundary line adjustment or simple parcel, they would come to the Zoning Administrator with a sketch plan that the ZA would determine if it is acceptable or not. Mr. Pelkey noted it does not have to be to scale. Chuck Charbonneau asked if the town requires a Mylar copy to record and it was noted that both the town and the state require a Mylar.

David Soulia noted the Planning Commission is trying to make it as easy and affordable as possible for applicants.  Mr. Soulia advised the Planning Commission will be holding a public hearing to discuss these changes.  Mr. Biasuzzi noted the adoption process allows for minor changes prior to the public hearing. Once feedback is received from the public, the Planning Commission can choose to make minor adjustments prior to submitting it to the Select Board for approval. The Select Board will then come back with their recommendations.  Mr. Biasuzzi suggested the Planning Commission hold another special meeting prior to setting the hearing.  Rick Conway recommended tabling the definitions to the next meeting to provide the Planning Commission an opportunity to review the recommended information that was provided.

A motion by Dave Mills and seconded by Kevin Blow to accept the changes as outlined in the “Change List for Proposed 2015 Zoning Regulations” document as discussed through Section 1302: Zoning Permits, with further clarification to be done on Article XX: Definitions. The motion passed unanimously.

Chuck Charbonneau suggested the Zoning Map be included in the document. David Soulia questioned whether there is a digital copy available. Jeff Biasuzzi advised the Regional Planning Commission has this document. Mr. Biasuzzi suggested referencing the map in the document as the map is available on-line and is an interactive map. Mr. Soulia would also like to include a copy in the document. It was suggested to update the date on the map in accordance with the date the zoning regulations are approved.

6. Schedule Date for Public Hearing

David Soulia will have the updated draft copy of the Zoning Regulations with the changes and the Change List updated and available at the Town Clerk’s office for public review.

Rick Conway questioned if Rula Moradi is now an official member of the Planning Commission since he was appointed by the Select Board last night. Hank Pelkey advised the Select Board voted to accept the resignation of Kathryn Brown from the Planning Commission and Rula Moradi will become a permanent member effective the date of Ms. Brown’s resignation. Dave Trombley advised that once Mr. Moradi becomes a permanent member; Mark Winslow will become the Planning Commission alternate. Rick Conway commended the Planning Commission on the excellent job done in updating the document and soliciting information from the community. Mr. Conway suggested the Town Manager contact VLCT to clarify the approval process for the Zoning Regulations rewrite to assure that the statutory requirements are followed. David Soulia will look into the final requirements for the public hearing and will have the information available at the January meeting.

A motion was made by Kevin Blow and seconded by Dave Mills to table the scheduling of the Zoning Regulations hearing to the special meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

7. Schedule Outline/Date for next Meeting

Tuesday, January 5, 2016 – Special Meeting

8. Adjournment

A motion was made by Dave Mills and seconded by Kevin Blow to adjourn the Planning Commission meeting at 9:05PM. The motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Charlene Bryant
Recording Secretary

Approved by,

The Pittsford Planning Commission