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Zoning Board of Appeals — Meeting Minutes — April 7, 2011

A duly posted meeting of the Shelburne Zoning Board of Appeals was held at the Meeting Room at Town Hall, 51 Bridge Street, Shelburne, on April 7, 2011

Members Present: John Taylor, Lowell Laporte, Ted Merrill, William Sweeney, Catherine Smith
Administrative Assistant: Faye Whitney
Members Absent: Joe Palmeri
Guests: Matt Marchese, Planning Board Chair; Beth Simmonds, Planning Board member

Chairman pro temp John Taylor called the meeting to order at 7:07 p.m.

Mr. Taylor reported that he had represented the Board at the Planning Board's Public Hearing on the proposed changes to the home-based business bylaw and had heard the comments.

Mr. Marchese said that following the hearing the Planning Board had considered the proposed changes to the bylaw. He asked that, in the future, the Planning Board would like to be notified about changes at the working draft stage. At this point, if the Planning Board wanted to make any substantive changes it would require another review by Town Counsel and another properly noticed public hearing.

Mr. Marchese said he would not want to see competing bylaws, one from the ZBA and one from the Planning Board, on the town meeting warrant. However, the Planning Board now has its own version of a home-based business bylaw and has a meeting planned with the Selectmen to discuss it. The ZBA version must appear on the warrant, but an agreement could be made to pass over the ZBA version at town meeting.

Mr. Taylor said the ZBA filed its version of the bylaw with the Selectmen, which set the legal process in motion. He agreed the Planning Board should probably have seen the wording and offered comment before it was given to the Selectmen. The ZBA gave its version to the Selectmen when it did in order to have time to get it on the warrant for town meeting.

Next followed a discussion on the various differences between the two boards' wording of the bylaw. Discussion included use permits, building permits, business permits and special permits. The Planning Board would like home-based business owners to sign attestation forms and would like to remove specific numbers regarding traffic, square footage, etc. The ZBA wants specific numbers as enforceable criteria.

Mr. Marchese said the Planning Board would like a compromise document. Mr. Taylor said either the Planning Board could tweak the ZBA document or the ZBA could tweak the Planning Board document. He felt the attestation form was a more substantive change and might be too significant a change from the wording presented at the Public Hearing.

Ms. Smith left the meeting.

Discussion followed concerning how an attestation form could be included, on whether an actual form was needed or if people could simply write a letter, the number of examples of home-based businesses included in the bylaw language, the ordering of the sections of the bylaw, the allowable size of home-based businesses, the number of employees and parking within the setback area.

Many of the questions raised need to be settled by Town Counsel. All agreed on the need to make the process of applying for a home-based business as user-friendly as possible. Mr. Marchese agreed to work with Town Counsel and to try to get modifications to the existing proposal rather than making another bylaw.

A motion was made by Mr. Sweeney, seconded by Mr. Merrill, to approve the minutes of March 7.

Voting to Approve: Mr. Taylor, Mr. Laporte, Mr. Sweeney
Opposed: None
Abstaining: Mr. Merrill

At 9:08 p.m. Mr. Sweeney moved that the meeting be adjourned. This was seconded by Mr. Merrill. The vote was unanimously in favor.

Respectfully submitted,
Faye Whitney, Administrative Assistant