Sketch Plan Reviews Closed on Charlotte Library Addition and Proposed Charlotte Health Center

Dave Marshall, of Civil Engineering Associates presents the proposed Mason-Von Trapp sketch plan to the Planning Commission. Photo by Juliann Phelps.

The Thursday, February 21, Planning Commission agenda contained only three agenda items: a subdivision amendment for landowner Andrew Zins and sketch plan reviews for the Charlotte Library addition and for the proposed Charlotte Health Center (Mason-von Trapp application). Both the library and the Health Center plans were reviewed by the commission and subsequently motioned and voted unanimously to be closed.

The library plan review was presented by Library Director Margaret Woodruff and supported by Selectboard Member Fritz Tegatz. Woodruff noted the new entrance to the library will be on the south side of the building, closer to the driveway, and that the addition would be the same height as the current building. She also spoke about the library’s efforts to become energy efficient, which includes working with the Energy Committee and Planning Commission member Marty Illick. She said, “We are looking into heat pumps as more energy efficient heating. And we will also have solar panels, now have that we will have a south-facing roof. This is to offset costs of the new space.”

Commissioners asked questions about parking, lighting and stormwater runoff. Woodruff said that lighting and stormwater plans were just in the beginning stages and that one parking spot would be lost due to construction.

The parking topic sparked discussion among Planning Commission Chair Peter Joslin, Planning Administrator Daryl Benoit, and Tegatz, who acknowledged the wider problem of parking options in the West Village. “We need a comprehensive parking plan,” Joslin said, “Last time we talked about it, the cost of the study was pretty high. Selectboard members didn’t want to weigh in. It’s on the radar to promote the West Village.” Tegatz responded, “We looked at potential parking on Ferry Road three to four years ago…. There’s energy (now) to come up with a parking plan for our village center.”

After a bit of discussion, the motion to close the sketch plan was passed. As Woodruff was departing, Planning Commission member Richard Eastman remarked “Now you need to invent parking spaces and make water flow uphill.” Ms. Woodruff responded, smiling, “No problem.”

The next agenda item, the Mason-von Trapp sketch plan, was presented by Dr. Andrea Regan, Charlotte Health Center, and Dave Marshall, principal engineer, Civil Engineering Associates. Several involved landowners were also attendance. Regan opened the discussion by highlighting her efforts negotiating with CVFRS and an adjacent landowner to help the project move forward. This included discussing concerns with CVFRS about sharing a driveway and agreeing to “No Parking, Fire Lane” signage along the proposed Mason Way. In addition the owner of land adjacent to the Mason parcel agreed to an easement on a corner of their property. Regan then invited Marshall to take over the presentation, saying, “I felt the next level is very technical and it’s most helpful to have him here today leading these conversations. We feel we are working backwards and that the building will be designed around the space.”

According to Marshall, the town’s land-use regulations require that the parcel be treated as having two frontages with specific setbacks. Discussion continued on the setbacks for the proposed Mason Way as well as the layout of the proposed 20-space parking lot and stormwater. Planning Commission member Gerald Bouchard asked if there was anything to be gained by angled parking spaces, and Mr. Eastman asked about stormwater runoff and treatment. Prior to the close of the sketch plan review, Marshall offered to come back to show the parking lot options to the commission, “before we’ve done the heavy lifting on the plat.”

Last, the East Charlotte Village District (ECVD) Boundary agenda item was rescheduled for March 21, as the previous meeting was canceled due to inclement weather.