Planning Board - Minutes: April 23, 2014


At 6:30 PM the Board met on the Sciaraffa site (tax map 10 lot 129) to conduct a site visit regarding Dean Sciaraffa's proposal to build a garage there.

The regular meeting convened at 7:00 PM at the Town House; regular members present were Waine Whittier, Alan Williams, Ed Lawless, Austin Harrell, and Creston Gaither. Also present were realtor Jeff Mitchell and landowner Ed Collins and attorney Andy Hamilton and Blaine Hopkins representing GTP regarding its "cell tower" application.

The Board considered the aforesaid Sciaraffa application and made affirmative Findings of Fact regarding each item in Section 16.D. of the Shoreland Zoning Ordinance (SZO); however, concern was expressed that the site may lie within the floodplain as defined by FEMA. Dean said that the garage floor elevation would be made to equal that of the house, which has already been set at least four feet above the base flood elevation. It was agreed that the garage permit should be conditioned upon best practices regarding soil erosion. Given these considerations The Board voted to authorize Creston to issue the usual SZO permit by letter.

Bob Weingarten arrived to discuss GTP's "cell tower" application but was advised that The Board would not reopen the public hearing it had held in February, which Bob missed due to a medical emergency.

Realtor Jeff Mitchell appeared, representing Ed Collins, owner of tax map 3 lot 52 - 1. He outlined Ed's deed to lots 5 & 6 in the Patten Realty Subdivision on Kimball Pond. He asked whether the 2 acre parcel shown as part of lot 6 on the Patten plan can be sold without subdivision review. Alan noted that Day Road keeps this parcel from being contiguous with lot 6 under the Subdivision Statute, Title 30 -A § 4401, which The Board briefly reviewed.  Because Lot 6 has been under the same ownership for at least 5 years, and because the 2-acre parcel is separated from the rest of Lot 6 by a road not established by the current owner (see § 4401.H6) The Board voted 5 - 0 that the proposed sale of the 2-acre parcel does not constitute a subdivision requiring municipal review and approval. Jeff and Ed agreed that inclusion of this decision in the Board's minutes would suffice to resolve this question.

Regarding GTP's "cell tower" application, Andy and Blaine said that their letter of April 16 regarding an alternative site known as "the Meader site" is moot for now and they would like The Board to continue its review of the Seamans site.

The Board resumed its deliberations in this matter, with Ed Lawless remaining recused. At 7:15 Court Reporter Heather Williams arrived. Andy said that the aforesaid "Meader site" may be subject to an "improvident transfer" as defined by State law and thus is no longer under consideration for GTP's proposed tower. He reviewed the requirements of Vienna's "Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Siting Ordinance" (henceforth "the Ordinance") regarding the collapsibility of the proposed structure and argued that the design meets its safety requirements.  Blaine Hopkins said he has not heard from Charlene Stevens, to whom Alan delivered GTP's recent offer. Waine said that uncertainty as to proposed towers in Rome and Mount Vernon (now being litigated) means it's hard to say that the "Seamans site" is the only feasible site.

Bob Weingarten asked to speak on the application. It was voted 3 - 1 (Creston dissenting) to disallow this as the formal period for public comment is over (Andy said he concurred with this ruling). Bob provided written copies of his intended testimony.

The Board then voted 4 - 0 against granting a waiver of the setback requirements found in the Ordinance. Creston said that it is incumbent upon the Board to err in favor of safety though the proposed tower is probably safe.

The Board then voted 4 - 0 to deny GTP's application.

Andy asked if they could amend the application to move the tower closer to the Stevens property. He was advised that a new application and review would be required for this.

The meeting adjourned at 7:40 PM.

 Creston Gaither, secretary

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