DECEMBER 16, 2020
Jeffrey Grotsky, Chairman, called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Commission members Owen Bailey, Darell Craig, Morgan Ellis, John Hutchison and Jane Richman, Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mr. Grotsky asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the October 21, 2020 meeting minutes. Ms. Ellis moved to approve the minutes of the October 21, 2020 Planning Commission meeting as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Hutchison and carried unanimously.
819 HIGH STREET – CHESTER RIVER HOLDINGS – RENOVATION AND ADDITION – FINAL SITE PLAN
Mr. Aaron Bramble and Mr. Buck Nickerson were present for the application. Mr. Bramble stated that he took the suggestions given by the Commission at a previous meeting and changed the diagonal spaces originally shown on the side of building closest to Germaine’s to three (3) vertical spaces and added a bike rack. The center island on the front side of the building will be removed, and the existing railway right-of-way spaces are utilized in the plan allowing for nineteen (19) parking spaces, the minimum required for all uses of the building, including the lodge.
Mr. Bramble stated that in addition to onsite parking, there are over ten (10) on-street parking spaces available within 300’, six (6) of which are directly in front of the building on the street. He said that he has had conversations with Germaine, who was willing to share the four (4) parking spaces that she has on her site.
Mr. Hutchison asked if the existing curb cut will remain or be made a standard curb. Mr. Bramble stated that they would follow the recommendation of the Commission. Mr. de Mooy stated that he was not certain if the State road extended this far of if the curb was under the domain of the Town but did not think that matching what exists on the road would be a problem.
Mr. Hutchison stated that it would be safer if this was not a curb-cut. Mr. Nickerson stated that he thought that SHA would have to approve the changes to this section of High Street and if they did not approve a standard curb, would the Commission allow a bench type sidewalk or bollards. Mr. de Mooy stated ha the thought SHA would be amenable to closing that area off for curb and sidewalk.
Mr. de Mooy stated that he agreed with the applicant that there was plenty of off-street parking on both sides. Ms. Ellis stated that the bike parking will be an asset to the rail-trail.
Mr. Craig asked how drivers would pull into parking spaces thirteen (13) and fourteen through nineteen (14-19). Mr. Bramble stated that they could change the positioning of space thirteen (13) adding that spaces fourteen through nineteen (14-19) are existing and people park along the curb. He said that the suggestion was to make a one-way in and out, making it so all traffic pulls into the lot heading south.
Mr. de Mooy stated that zoning ordinance allows 2’ sq. directional signage and suggested that “in only” at the north and “exit only” at the south end should be added.
Mr. Nickerson stated that there was one existing vacancy in the building, and they followed the parking table allowing for three (3) parking spaces for either office or retail space.
Mr. Hutchison asked if space thirteen (13) could be rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise for a hatched area to enable someone to pull in from the left. Mr. Bailey stated that someone could also pull in straight to the building to allow parking for space twelve (12). Ms. Ellis asked if all three (3) spaces were needed in that area knowing that there was on-street parking available. Mr. Bailey agreed, stating that on a packed night they could fit all those spaces on site, but that would seldom be necessary as there was plenty of off-street parking.
Mr. Bramble stated that he would not object to losing a parking space on site. Ms. Richman stated that as far as she was concerned spaces eleven through thirteen (11-13) could be abandoned.
Mr. Craig asked if the applicant was backing themself into a corner with future parking, especially if a future tenant requires additional spacing, based on their use. He said that their chart uses numbers based on existing conditions.
Mr. Bailey stated that he thought there would be plenty space for parking, noting that the Farmers Market takes away fifty (50) parking spaces every Saturday and there was still plenty of on-street parking available. He said that the Commission could waive spaces based on the availability of other spaces within 300 feet.
Mr. Bramble stated that the area occupied by Jennifer’s School of Dance was the only tenant space where square footage may require additional parking if another business was to rent there.
Mr. Craig stated that he had issues with the amount of on-site parking noting that parking should be planned for worst case scenario. Ms. Ellis stated that there was so much parking around the site that she did not see disallowing the project over the loss of a few spaces.
Mr. Hutchison stated that parking space thirteen (13) was his main question. He did not see why other spaces would be removed, adding that the parking could be angled. He said that waiving one space was not much of ask to allow the project to move forward.
Mr. Hutchison moved to approve the project to allow for eighteen (18) parking spaces, rather than the required (19) required, which will be satisfied by off-street parking (deleting parking space thirteen (13) as shown in the plan) with the curb-cut at the entrance to be removed and a new curb satisfactory to SHA to be constructed, and “in only” and “exit only” directional signage for traffic flow, was seconded by Mr. Bailey and carried with five (5) in favor, Mr. Craig opposed.
There being no further business, Mr. Bailey moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:58 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Hutchison and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Jeffrey Grotsky
Town Clerk Chair