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Planning Board Minutes, 07/14/2009
Town of Lenox
Planning Board
July 14, 2009
Land Use Meeting Room

Members present:  Chair Joseph A. Kellogg, JK; Ken Fowler, KF; Kate McNulty-Vaughan, KMV; Steve Sample, SS

Absent with notification:  Gary Schiff, GS;

Staff present:  Mary Albertson, Town Planner, MA; Peggy Ammendola, Land Use Clerk, PA

The meeting was called to order at 6:05 pm.

Approval Not Required Plans:
Dennis Carpenter – 35 Patterson Road.  Presenting the Form A was Mr. Carpenter.  He is trying to sell his home and he feels that it may be more marketable if he had a smaller lot.  He has just over 4 acres and proposes to have two lots;  one which would be 2.3 acres with 225 feet of frontage and the other would be 1.9 acres with 175 feet of frontage.  KM-V made a motion to approve the Form A as presented and KF seconded the motion.  The Commission voted to approve 4-0.

Macalin Realty Trust – Off Martha Lane.  Presenting the Form A was Rob Akroyd of Greylock Design Associates and Attorney Mitch Greenwald, Trustee, on behalf of Macalin Realty Trust.  Presently there are six lots that they wish to combine to make two lots.  The proposal is to combine four lots into one lot and two lots into one lot, both with frontage on a private way, Chestnut Lane, which while not public, was in existence when the Subdivision Control Law took effect.  Under the provisions of MGL, Chapter 41, Section 81L(c), a Form A can be granted if, in the opinion of the Board, the way has suitable grades and adequate construction to provide for the needs of vehicular traffic in relation to the proposed use and for the installation of municipal services to serve such use.  The Board felt that a site visit would be appropriate and decided to meet at the Jarvis’s property at the corner of Martha and East Dugway on July 28, 2009 at 5:30 pm.

Planning Board Recommendations:
James Harwood, Architect, Directional Sign, 34 Walker St.  
Mr. Harwood was present.  At a previous meeting, the Board had voted to recommend that the applicant explore alternative locations on contiguous private property.  Mr. Harwood stated that his efforts to contact the property owners of the Talbot building have been in vain.   He also cited three different businesses which have directional signs on public property, thereby setting a precedent.   SS stated that the Historic District Commission approved Mr. Harwood’s directional sign request and that two abutters to his property supported the request.   KF made a motion to recommend to the Board of Selectmen that Mr. Harwood be allowed to place a directional sign on Town property at this location, however in keeping with Section, the Board suggests that the sign’s content be revised to just include the name of the business, and that the arrow size be increased in order that it serve as a guide for patrons, not as an advertisement.  KM-V seconded the motion and the Board voted to approve 4-0.

Aspinwell, 55 Pittsfield Road – Workforce Housing;  439 Pittsfield Road – Drive through Bank.  The ZBA received and approved Special Permit petitions for these two entities without the Planning Board being given a chance to review. The Planning Board has supported the idea of holding joint meetings with the ZBA, but to date, the ZBA has not agreed to the proposal.  MA has spoken to Pam Kueber, current Chairman of the ZBA, who has suggested the chairs of the Planning Board, ZBA, and Board of Selectmen meet to discuss.
Thomas R. and Barbara Garrity, 64-68 Willow Creek Road (Map 9, Parcels 7 & 8).
Presenting the application for Special Permits and Variance were Attorney Don Hunter, Thomas and Steven Garrity and Jim Scalise of SK Design Group.   The Garritys, new owners of this transfer station, wish to amend an existing special permit under Section 3.3.3, non-conforming structures, and modify an existing use variance to increase the daily tonnage form 49 to 100 tons as a waste transfer station. Additionally they are seeking a special permit under section 8.1 Flood Plain Overlay District, due to proposed work being within the 100 year floodplain.  They also propose replacing an existing office building with new construction which will be less non-conforming than the existing.  In addition, there will be a recycling center available to the public.  To support the recycling activity, an increase in tonnage is necessary.   A railway spur will enable the company to remove 90 percent of the waste from the site by rail rather than by trucks.  The applicant advised that all required permits from the Board of Health, Conservation Commission, and Department of Environmental Protection have been obtained.  Mr. Scalise said that an informational meeting was held in January 2009 for neighbors and others which received a positive response.  SS made a motion to write a favorable letter to the ZBA in support of the project and KF seconded the motion.  The Board voted 4-0 to approve.  

Thomas E. and Susan G. Werman, Trustees, 169 Under Mountain Road (Map 11, Parcels 11-1, 9-1 and 9-2.) (Stonover Farm B&B) Variance Section 3.1.C.2 to use a portion of barn for social events or receptions.
Presenting the petition were Attorney Phillip Heller, Suki Werman, Rob Hoogs of Foresight Land Services, and Pam Sandler, architect.  Mr. Heller gave an overview of the property.  He said that the historic barn was built in 1890.  The Wermans wish to hold up to seven social events per year in the upper portion of the barn.  Primarily, the functions would be weddings for up to 200 people and the hours of use would be from 6 pm to 12 midnight.  The events would be held between May and October.  Mr. Heller stated that this is a unique property and is a classic example of when a use variance is justified.  He cited case law, Alton Johnson versus Board of Appeals of Wareham MA (1972) to support his argument.  

Mr. Hoogs reviewed the site plan.  He said that because the barn is set back well from abutting properties, and because the event would be within the center portion of the second level (not in the wings) the abutters would not be effected by noise.  There would be no impact on municipal services as the property is served by well and septic.  Portable toilets would be brought in for the occasions.  There would not be any cooking on the premises as they would be catered events.  Parking will be across the street and meets the requirements.  Mr. Hoogs said that traffic from one of the events would be minimal in comparison to the traffic during the Tanglewood season.

Pam Sandler presented the floor plan.  She stated that Chapter 34 of the Massachusetts Building Code permits repair, alteration, addition, and or change of use without requiring full compliance with the code for new construction.  The area of the barn that is proposed for assembly measures 4,058 square feet.  The lower level is for utility use.  The wings of the barn serve as sound proofing.  

Ms. Werman told the Board that all of the abutters are in support of their petition.  The barn and school house were purchased for $500,000.00 and $75,000.00 has been spent on repairs.  She said that the shingles on the structure need to be replaced and the stone needs to be re-pointed.  The revenue received from the proposed events will be reinvested to preserve the structure.  

KM-V made a motion to send a letter of support to the ZBA and KF seconded the motion.  The Board voted 3-1 to approve with JK casting the dissenting vote, stating that he is philosophically opposed to use variances.

Continued Discussion - Section 6.7 Religious and Educational Uses:  MA advised that the book she ordered is on the way.   

Minutes:  KF made a motion to approve the minutes of June 23, 2009 and SS seconded the motion.  The Board voted 4-0 to approve.  

KF made a motion to adjourn at 8:20 pm.  SS seconded the motion and the Board voted 4-0 to adjourn.

Respectfully submitted,
Peggy Ammendola

Lenox Town Hall  6 Walker Street, Lenox, MA 01240   PH: (413) 637-5500