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Comp Plan Review Minutes 04/30/02

April 30, 2002
6:00 PM
Members Present:        Allie Vigue, Chair
                                Dorothy Washburne
                                Jean Dellert
Phil Barter
Members Absent: James Montell
Bill Ebert
                                Peter Johnson
                                Andrew MacLean

Also Present:           Rich Rothe, Consultant to the Committee
Jeffrey Hinderliter, Gardiner Planner/CEO
                                Francis Grey, Gardiner Economic/Community Development Office
                                Joe Lessard, Landowner in Gardiner  Resides in NH

1.)     6:08 p.m., Meeting called to order by Chair Vigue

2.)     Roll Call

Jeffrey Hinderliter noted that Mr. Lessard was a member of the public and was here to observe and has comments to offer.

3.)     Dorothy Washburne made a motion to accept the April 1, 2002 minutes.  Jean Dellert seconded the motion.
        Vote:   3 in favor, 0 opposed. Motion passed.

Jeffrey Hinderliter gave an overview of the Proposed Site Plan Review Draft Ordinance. He said that it would replace the Conditional Use Permit Application Process.  An advantage is that where the current Ordinance is very broad and in some areas vague, the Site Plan Review Ordinance will be very detailed.  It will make it easier for the applicant, the Planning Board and the public to understand and know what standards they have to meet.

        6:15 p.m. Phil Barter arrived.

He indicated that about 90% of the communities in Maine have a site plan review ordinance.  Jeffrey also said that the current Ordinance requires the applicant to notify the abutters, but in a site plan review ordinance, the City would be responsible.  The applicant would be charged an application fee that would cover expenses. The City Council establishes the fee.  He also suggested that the current abutter notification of 100/200 feet would increase to 500 feet in a site plan review (SPR) ordinance.  

Phil Barter suggested that in sections 5-12, 5-13, & 5-14 and perhaps throughout the new proposed ordinance it should read calendar days and where it indicates 10 days, it be changed to increments of 7 so as not to fall on a weekend.

Jeffrey spoke about access to the site and level of service (LOS) with respect to traffic maneuvering.  It should be included in the definition section of the ordinance.  He also stated his ideas for appeals.

Rich Rothe reminded the Committee that we had worked on this in the last meeting and that it was defined in the minutes. He also reminded them that the Board of Appeals considers only two issues: 1.) is there justification for variance, or, 2.) did the Planning Board err.  New evidence is not allowed to be entered.

Jeffrey mentioned the 4-part criteria that are very difficult to meet. He suggested adding two other types of appeals  a Practical Difficulty Appeal and a Disability Appeal.  It was noted that the definitions were in the previous minutes.

Jeffrey indicated that performance standards define how you shape the town.  The land use standards are more  yes you can, no you cant.

        Dorothy Washburne said that after you get out past the Armory the character of the neighborhood changes.  She suggested that the performance standards could be different for the proposed Overlay District on outer Brunswick Avenue than for inner Brunswick Avenue, i.e. the downtown is currently defined.

        Phil Barter suggested a business/professional office district like Augusta has.  He said the neighborhoods still maintain their residential appearances. He said that choices for office space in Gardiner are very limited except in the flood zone.
        Jeffrey gave the example of a business/professional office area from 7-eleven down Brunswick Avenue.  It maintains a residential appearance and is well maintained.

        Dorothy asked if the Ordinance could be set up to only allow a percentage to be used for professional/office space so you wouldnt totally lose the character of the neighborhood.

        Phil said that if you do that, you wouldnt get the caliber of professional/office businesses but more home occupation type.

        Jeffrey asked Phil if he gets inquiries from people looking for office space in this corridor?  Phil said not now because they know that it isnt allowed, but thinks that he would if the district use changed.  He said it is a high visibility location on a major artery with good curb appeal.

        Dorothy said that Cobbossee Avenue has high visibility and also has a number of well-maintained older houses.

        Allie said someone could buy property, tear the building down and rebuild a new building. Phil responded that the performance standards could preserve them. They discussed the area from the power dam to Winter Street.

        Dorothy said that she feels the proposed Overlay District standards are more appropriate for outer Brunswick Avenue and the Central Business District.

        Rich suggested that they create a Professional Business District. The type of business could be added to the definition.  He said there are two ways to go. One would be to reword the performance standards or create the new district.  He felt that a new district would be easier for people to understand rather than having to go through the ordinance looking for all that applies. It was suggested that the new district be called the Professional District.  It would extend from the Central Business District to the house between Tilbury Park and Daves Diner.  It would have the same standards as the High Density Residential District, but also include language indicating  to include lots of record immediately adjacent to Brunswick Avenue.  They also indicated that 3-17 g., drive-thru, should be eliminated.

Members need to go through the performance standards and be prepared to discuss this in the next meeting.  Rich will prepare a new copy of Section 2.

Chair Vigue offered Joe Lessard the floor.

Joe Lessard indicated that he has been involved in municipal government over the years and currently owns property with his sister in Gardiner, but has lived in NH for the last 20 years.  He asked about the process that will be followed in implementing this Plan.  It was explained to him.  He said that he had gone through the proposed zoning map and thought there were problems with it.  His property is on the Richmond line off from the Weeks Road.  He wants the Committee to consider having the zoning follow boundary lines.  His property is cut in half by the proposed zoning map.  He gave his ideas for his property area and outer Brunswick Avenue areas.

Jeffrey Hinderliter explained that the proposed Planned Industrial/Commercial District follows the transmission lines and cuts through Mr. Lessards property.

Allie Vigue said that they should look at the whole neighborhood within a given district not just 2 or 3 properties.

The Members discussed outer Brunswick Avenue and indicated that there are a number of properties that would be suitable for types of businesses that dont require a large sewer or water system.  They indicated that Rural Residential isnt the best use for these properties  they should be Planned Development where they are so close to the Business Park.

6.)     Other Business

°       Next Meeting

The next meeting date was set for Wednesday, May 15, 2002 6:00 p.m. to meet and go on a van tour of areas of the City.  Jean Dellert will try to obtain the use of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Gardiners van. Members are to give Jeffrey suggestions of where they should go on the van trip around the City.  He will then set up an itinerary

7.)     Adjourn

Phil Barter made a motion to adjourn. Jean Dellert seconded the motion.
Vote:  4 in favor. 0 opposed. Motion passed.
8:10 p.m. meeting adjourned.

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