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Planning Board Minutes 05/14/2013
I       Call to Order

Chairman Paul White called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.

Present: Donna Cook, Jim Jansz, Phil Lowe, Joe McMahon, Tina Vanasse, Rick Viles, Paul White, Code Enforcement Officer Brandon Woolley, Recorder Maureen Scanlon.

Guests present: James Libby, JoAnne Robbins Harbourt, Carl Harbourt, Dick Johnson, June Allen, Tim Allen, Ann Clark, Bill Van Voorhis, Edie Harnden, Claudia Lowe, Josh Loiselle, Brenda McGuiness, Lauris Champagne, John Murray, Alice Holt, Willard & Mary Stitzell, Meredith Murray, Linda Horowitz, Ken Hoch, David Ott, Deb Dolan, David Heath, Alan Greene, Scott Anderson, Ed & Carole Cooper, Peter Cutrone, Ed Libby, Tim Mayberry, Colin Holme, Grosvenor Newcomb.

II      Public Hearing – Sketch Plan Review – (Property currently owned by Ronald & Jane Rodgers) (Applicant is Ed Libby) – Map 16, Lot 3 & 3A     (544 Hancock Pond Rd. & Land Lot)  

        Ed Libby submitted an outline of the Findings and Conclusions in regards to his proposed project.  A copy of this document is included in the Planning Board file for this project.  He reviewed this document in detail and explained his request for two waivers which are listed as item number 5 & 6 under the “Findings” section of his outline.  The first waiver request is to clear and rough grade only the minimum width necessary to safely and properly install the road, drainage, and utilities.  Section 5A.32.c9 of the Land Use Standards requires that streets are rough graded to the full width of the right-of-way.  The second waiver request is for a dead end road that extends from Hancock Pond Road to near the end of the peninsula as depicted on the sketch plan, well beyond the current limit of 1200 feet found in Section 5A.32.c.7 of the Town’s Land Use Standards.  Paul White opened the meeting to questions from the public after Mr. Libby’s presentation.  Gerry Holt mentioned that the town’s ordinance states that the maximum length of a road shall be 1200 feet and this proposed road would be 3500 feet.  In his mind, a variance or a waiver is an adjustment, such as 1400 or 1500 feet, given certain circumstances.  However, 3500 feet is 100 feet short of being triple (300%) beyond the current standards.  If the town wishes to do that, then they would have to change the ordinance and let the town’s people vote on it, this is not something that should be done here by the Planning Board.  He stated that this road issue is a major issue at this point in time.  David Ott questioned the number of house lots and was informed that there are fourteen (14) proposed house lots.  He explained that he is an immediate abutter to this property and he has many reservations about this project.  His first concern is the road; if a variance is granted for this, what will be done the next time someone asks for a fifty (50) foot, or longer, variance.  This Board would be setting an unbelievable precedent by approving something of this length.  He is also worried about the water quality, safety issues, and the quality of the lake.  He mentioned that this will also impact property owners in the town of Denmark and he feels as though it will have an overall negative impact on the property values and ultimately make this area a much less desirable place to live.  Deb Dolan mentioned that a similar plan was brought before the Planning Board in the past that was denied.  It was then brought before the Zoning Board of Appeals which upheld the Planning Board’s decision to deny the project.  She mentioned that other projects have been denied due to road length issues and in order to maintain fairness it is important that the town be consistent with all contractors.  She agrees that the term “waiver” means bending the rules a little bit, but not a lot.  She asked why this property that is located in the “Rural District” which has a three (3) acre lot size minimum is being allowed to develop smaller lots.  Paul White explained that the property is considered to be in the Shoreland Zone and that ordinance which allows for smaller lot sizes supersedes the Land Use ordinance.  Deb mentioned that the more restrictive of the two ordinances is what is supposed to prevail.  Paul stated that he feels that this statement is correct, but others on the Board seem to interpret it differently.  Alice Holt requested clarification on the actual number of lots in total for this project because there are more lots on the plan than just the “house” lots.  There was some discussion on this matter explaining the additional lots such as the lot being gifted to the town and the lots that will be retained by the property owner.  Jim Libby mentioned that in the General Standards section of the Land Use ordinance the actual wording is that a “dead end street shall not exceed 1200 feet.”  The key is that the wording is not should, it is shall which means that it is mandatory.  He also expressed concerns on who is going to be responsible to maintain this road, and what about the wetlands that is going to be crossed, which is proposed to be gifted to the town, is there a potential for flooding in this area?  He reiterated that other people have to come before this Board for waivers on the road length matter and have been denied therefore the ordinance needs to be followed.  Public Works Foreman Tim Mayberry contributed input on the road issue in regards to the Public Works aspect on the matter.  He mentioned that there are several existing roads throughout town that are longer than what the ordinance currently allows.  He stated the length of the road isn’t as important to him as the width of the road.  He believes that a road should be twenty (20) feet wide to allow fire trucks to pass each other in a fire emergency situation.  Since this is going to be a private road and not a town road, there is no concern about getting the town’s public works equipment down it.  However, if it is wide enough for fire apparatus it will also allow for their equipment to travel down the road.  Deputy Fire Chief Alan Greene stated that when the first development plan was brought before the Fire Department for input there were concerns addressed regarding fire protection.  As in the past, the Fire Department’s requirements would include fire hydrants being installed within 1,000 feet of each other throughout the entire length of the road with turnouts available, such as “hammer heads” which would allow areas to turn the fire equipment around.  Electrical service is also a concern.  One of the most common calls is for electrical lines down and fires caused by downed wires.  If a fallen tree with power lines involved blocks the access down the road it can take a long time before the power company can respond to remove the power lines and subsequently the fallen tree and limbs.  If there isn’t any power lines involved, the Fire Department can clear the blockage and continue on down the road to fight the fire, therefore it is suggested that underground power lines be installed.  A copy of a letter dated June 5, 1998 addressed to the Civil Engineers for the aforementioned originally proposed development plan, from Alan Greene who at that time was the Fire Chief, regarding these issues is hereby included in the Planning Board file for this project.  Its relevance is that the same items of fire protection concerns would still hold true and would need to be addressed, which Mr. Libby has done in his proposal.  Ken Hoch stated that he has never heard of a variance this substantial being granted.  He also expressed concerns about what fourteen homes (their septic systems) would do to the water quality.  Colin Holme from LEA (Lakes Environmental Association) attended the recent Site Walk that was held at this location.  He stated that his organization is very interested in the phosphorous control plan for this project.  This is a problem in the lakes area that they have been helping to control which is preventable with today’s methodologies.  He also spoke about the possibility of an additional boat access location.  He explained that even if this was a “carry in” boat access this would be another potential spot for aquatic plants to become invasive.  Milfoil is already an issue in Sebago Lake which is not far from Hancock Pond.  The potential for it to be introduced on fishing equipment or on a boat is a concern to LEA.  He also spoke about developing a proper foot traffic access to the water in a way that will not contribute to the further erosion of the shoreline which could eventually cause an injury to someone trying to get to the water.  Joanne Harbourt spoke to the concerns of the Hancock Pond Association which already spends well over $3,000.00 every summer to provide courtesy boat inspections on the existing public boat launch.  They are concerned that if there is another boat access on the lake that they are not able to monitor it could be a real problem with aquatic plants becoming invasive.  She suggested that if this moves forward that it be included in the deeds that the property owners must support the Hancock Pond Association and do their part to make sure that we do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen.  She also has concerns about the Loon population in the cove area during the construction phases.  This cove is a significant breeding ground for the loons in that area of the lake.  She would like to see provisions made to assure that the loon population is not affected.  Gerry Holt stated that the issue of the waivers being granted on the basis of there being a “hardship” should not apply since the current owners of the property had been aware of the fact that the prior owners, before them, had their request to develop the property denied.  In other words, they had prior knowledge of the problems with developing this particular piece of property.  Deb Dolan mentioned some of the prior instances where the Planning Board did not grant waivers for increasing the distance of a dead end road and suggested it should not be done now, in order to maintain consistency with following the ordinance.  Ed Libby responded by addressing the concerns brought up by the participants at this Public Hearing.  He stated that as a fellow “camp on a lake” owner he is very sensitive to the same concerns that have been brought up this evening.  He explained that the language of “hardship” that Gerry Holt mentioned was actually in the old ordinance.  The new waiver provisions no longer include the word “hardship”.  The new language states that the Board may grant a waiver if there is something unique about the property that warrants it.  Ed feels as though this particular property falls under that category because there really is not much else you can do with this dead end road, and the granting of this waiver would not do anything to compromise the safety of the residents along the road.  He explained how he addressed the matter of safety in his proposed plan by installing dry hydrants and underground power as required by the Fire Department.  He explained how the length of dead end roads was originally determined, and how the ideology on making that determination would be considered obsolete by today’s standards.  Ed also addressed the layout of the proposed lots including the property that is proposed as being gifted to the town.  The Board explained that this is something that would be addressed in more detail as the review process continues.  Ed stated that the road will be maintained by a property owners’ association, even the section that will be gifted to the town.  Jim Libby asked if this road floods.  Ed explained that it has in the past and he will be taking measures, which he explained, to prevent it from happening in the future, which will require DEP permits.  Mary Stitzell asked where a potential property owner would be able to put their boat if they wanted one and also asked about where they would be able to swim in this area.  She suggested that the size of boats should be restricted on the lake.  It was brought to her attention that the only area feasible for swimming at this time is actually private property so technically no one should be swimming there without the property owner’s permission.  Jim Libby had questions regarding the watershed and the ATV/Snowmobile trail in this area.  Ed explained that he is aware of the watershed in this location and will be addressing that matter appropriately.  As far as the ATV/Snowmobile trail, the integrity of the existing trail will not be compromised.  He reviewed his plan for actually make improvements to the trail which include an area to cross over the road.  Bill Lamboris (NOTE: The last name is difficult to hear on the recording.  It may be misspelled.) stated that his property is located on the other side in the town of Denmark and he is very concerned about fire danger.  He is concerned about the idea of gifting the land to the town because he has put fires out at least ten times from people leaving without extinguishing them properly.  A dozen times he has seen people camping overnight and has called the State Police and Sherriff to have them removed.  He is concerned that this could be an increase in fire danger that will leave him with no way out because his road may be blocked by fire.  Ed Libby mentioned that this could be addressed by restrictive covenants that would be incorporated into the plans.                               
                                
The Public Hearing was closed at 8:15 p.m.

III     Correspondence – None

IV      Open to Public Questions
        
        Josh Loiselle stated that he is aware that there are two Planning Board positions that the terms will be ending in June and he would like to formally inform the Board that he would like to volunteer to fill one of those positions.  

        Josh Loiselle also mentioned that back in October of 2012 he had proposed some changes to the Telecommunications “Towers” ordinance.  He suggested that there is more of a sense of urgency to address this matter due to the fact that Verizon is here this evening for a pre-application meeting regarding the possibility of installing a cell tower in Sebago.  Paul White confirmed that the Board will address this issue.     

V       Review of Minutes (April 9, 2013)  

Phil Lowe made a motion to accept the April 9, 2013 meeting minutes as presented.  It was seconded by Donna Cook.  Motion carried with all in favor.  

VI       Old Business

a.      Sketch Plan Review – (Property currently owned by Ronald & Jane Rodgers) (Applicant is Ed Libby) – Map 16, Lot 3 & 3A (544 Hancock Pond Rd. & Land Lot)

There was further discussion regarding the loon nesting locations on this property.  Phil Lowe addressed the issue of the lot sizes that was brought up during the Public Hearing.  He stated that Mr. Libby has requested the lot size for the Shoreland Zone and it appears that the Land Use ordinance has a passage that on the surface indicates to him that the Land Use ordinance is exclusive of the Shoreland Zone.  When the Land Use ordinance was adopted, at the same time as the Shoreland Zoning ordinance, it incorporated the Subdivision ordinance and the Site Plan Review ordinance.  Phil doesn’t see how this Board can analyze a project that is half in the Rural District Zone and half in the Shoreland Zone.  Therefore it is unclear to him, and he was one of the ones that thought that was what the language said.  He has reviewed the Shoreland Zoning ordinance and has found that there are serious flaws in thinking that that takes the place of the Land Use ordinance.  There are elements missing like some of the setbacks which indicate to him that the intent is for it to be an overlay.  Phil stated that at the very least, in his mind, the matter of lot size is still in question.  He suggested that the Board obtain a legal standing on the matter.  There was some discussion on this matter.  Paul White reviewed some the items that were brought up during the Public Hearing.  He made note of the fact that in regards to the town accepting the gift of land that is proposed in this project, it is not within this Board’s authority to accept it; this would be up to the Board of Selectmen and the legislative body.  He stated that he is not prepared to approve the project because the lots are not numbered.  There was some discussion on what other items the Board would like to see on the Preliminary Plan in order to move forward with the review process.  Phil Lowe mentioned that the two most difficult issues at this point are; the issue of the road length, and the issue of this Board not having the authority to acquire the land for the town.  Mr. Libby stated that he would be willing to investigate that (the land acquisition) in terms of how that might happen, however it is conceptual in nature.  What he is looking for today is for the concept to be approved and then it is the Board’s duty to inform him at the next stage what needs to be addressed.  The Board discussed whether or not a vote should be taken on the requested waivers at this time.  Paul White stated that he is inclined to give the applicant the opportunity to fill out more of the details on his proposal if he would prefer.  Mr. Libby stated that he came prepared tonight to have his plan approved in order to move forward to the next phase.  He mentioned that the Preliminary Plan requirements are extremely rigorous and extremely expensive so the idea is to have the waivers voted on and then move forward.  He reviewed his two waiver requests and his “conclusions” as detailed in his aforementioned submitted document, in support of these requests.  

Phil Lowe made a motion to waive the road length requirements.  It was seconded by Jim Jansz.  After some discussion amongst the Board a vote was taken.  The motion failed with five opposed and two abstaining from the vote.  

Phil Lowe made a motion to waive the grading conditions to use the minimum impact to properly construct the road, road drainage and utilities.  It was seconded by Jim Jansz.  Again, after some discussion amongst the Board a vote was taken.  The motion failed with six opposed and one abstaining from the vote.  

Paul White asked Mr. Libby if there is anything else he would like the Board to address this evening.  He responded, “No, thank-you”.                  

b.      Goal Setting Items

1.      Voting Matrix (finalizing process)

No discussion at this time.
2.      Generic Specifications for Hydrant/Fire Pond

No discussion at this time.

3.      Review of Escrow Funds for “Outstanding” Subdivisions

No discussion at this time.

VII     New Business

a.      Pre-application Meeting – (Verizon Representative is Scott Anderson) (Property owned by William Allen) – Map 12, Lot 5-C  

Scott Anderson stated that he is representing Verizon Wireless for this evening’s pre-application meeting.  He distributed copies of the basic proposed plan design.  A copy of this document is hereby included in the Planning Board file for this project.  He mentioned that there is not a lot of detail on the plan at this time.  He explained some of the items that they would be addressing such as EMF (Electro-Magnetic Field) testing if they decide to pursue the project.  Although there was some general discussion on this matter, Phil Lowe pointed out that this is not a substantive review.  Paul White stated that this Board is planning on updating the town’s current Telecommunications “Tower” ordinance which will have an impact on the review process for this potential project.  Discussion on the “Tower” ordinance will be added to the agenda for the June 11, 2013 meeting.  Mr. Anderson stated that he will start putting together an application with the understanding that the Board is reviewing and possibly revising the ordinance that will apply to this project.  It was mentioned that if the ordinance is revised it may warrant a “special town meeting” in order to move forward sooner than waiting another year for it to be approved by the legislative body at the Annual Town Meeting held on the first Saturday in June.  The possibility of a moratorium on any towers being constructed until this ordinance has been reviewed and/or revised was mentioned as a possibility, but is not being done at this time.              

VIII    Adjournment
Rick Viles made a motion to adjourn at 9:25 p.m.  It was seconded by Paul White.  Motion carried with all in favor.

Respectfully Submitted,
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Maureen F. Scanlon
Administrative Assistant/Deputy Clerk