By Carol Casey
John Koerner and his son Bud appeared before the Planning Commission at its meeting on Oct. 11 to request their consideration of a zoning change that would permit a restaurant at their current location. At present, Folino’s is operating as an “accessory business” to Fiddlehead Brewing Company and therefore has a limited number of seats it can provide for customers. They have the space and the customer demand to expand their business but cannot do so without the zoning change. Located in the red building at 6305 Shelburne Road just south of Marsett Road and across from Shelburne Vineyards, they are subject to the restrictions imposed for this area which is limited to commercial and industrial businesses. Food manufacturing with minor accessory uses, such as food retail, is permitted. Fiddlehead Brewing is considered a food manufacturer, with the pizza and beer retail provided by Folino’s qualifying as the minor accessory use since they share the same building, but they are currently limited to 18 seats. While Commission members seemed generally favorable to considering a zoning change, both Commissioners Dick Elkins and Dan Burks stated that they were unhappy that the change was being requested after the fact rather than before the business opened. Town planner Dean Pierce was charged with researching how any change in the zoning requirements to accommodate Foliono’s would impact other properties in this area and to develop some alternatives for the Commission’s consideration at a later date. Burks suggested that one option might be to create a retail buffer area along Shelburne Road; Commissioner Lalley recommended that chain restaurants be excluded and that businesses be allowed to negotiate with neighboring landowners to lease parking if sufficient parking could not be provided on site.
The Commission next considered proposed language for amending the regulation regarding the expansion of structures located within the lakeshore setback. After a great deal of discussion, the Commission agreed to eliminate volume considerations entirely and adopt a standard that would limit the height of expanded buildings to not more than 26’ if the roof pitch is less than or equal to 6 over 12 and to 32’ if the roof pitch is greater than 6 over 12. In addition, the expansion must meet certain design requirements, including compatibility with neighboring homes. Pierce will revise the proposed language to incorporate the Commission’s changes and will include graphics to illustrate recommended designs and the method for determining the grade from which the height will be measured.
Turning to the Parks and Recreation section of the proposed Town Plan, the Commissioners discussed whether connectivity should be required or encouraged in any new developments and charged three of the Commissioners to draft consensus language that reflected all of their concerns. Commissioner Supple also proposed creating a playground and park area within the village on Falls Road across from the cemetery and north of the Post Office. She would like the town to provide a safe place for children to play without crossing Shelburne Road and a location where adults, including seniors, might visit to chat or play bocce or other games. She was asked to draft some language to be added to the recommended actions listed in this section. On a related note, Commissioner Elkins suggested that a woodlot area on town-owned land south of Shelburne Pond might also be included as a recommended action. Pierce will explore whether this property is mentioned already in the Forests section of the Town Plan.
Commissioner Lalley reported on efforts to encourage Shelburne residents to vote on the ballot initiative for funding the Vision for 7 plan. More information about the ballot article may be found at Visionfor7.blogspot.com and on the town website.
In other business, Commissioner Supple expressed concern that the agenda for the Planning Commission meeting appears in the Shelburne News on the day of their meeting, thus not giving sufficient notice to townspeople about the issues to be discussed. In the future, Pierce will provide a draft agenda to the Shelburne News so it can be printed a week in advance of the meeting.
The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held at 7 pm on Thursday, Oct. 25 in the Shelburne Municipal Center.