Chea Waters Evans, News Editor
Charlotte Crossings was back in front of the Planning Commission (PC) on Nov. 19 for a site plan review/amendment for the property on Route 7 south of the Ferry Road intersection. Property owners Mike Dunbar and Debra Kassabian, through their business Gemini Properties, LLC, have been trying for months to create an acceptable parking lot for the building.
Kassabian and Dunbar have maintained throughout their process that some parking for the building needs to be in the front, on the Route 7-facing side, in order to comply with American with Disabilities Act requirements. Current Charlotte Land Use Regulations (LUR) prohibit road-facing parking lots in the interest of maintaining a rural aesthetic. Kassabian and Dunbar currently have a petition in front of the Selectboard to amend those regulations; both the Planning Commission and the Selectboard have expressed reluctance to continue that petition to a town meeting vote but no final decision has yet been made on the matter.
The PC appearance on Nov. 19 covered fencing around a dumpster and utility area, landscaping and landscape lighting, sign location, parking lot expansion, ADA parking, and stormwater runoff. Dunbar said all current site plan amendments were made to comply with current LURs.
In his staff report written prior to the meeting, Town Planner Larry Lewack wrote, “Zoning Board of Adjustment Chair Frank Tenney has advised this week that he believes the relocated placement of the business sign and relocation of the walk-in cooler to the outdoor patio are in violation of the conditions for their CU approval ZBA-17-172-CU. I do not concur and believe the table of tenant uses provided by the applicant satisfies the remaining CU conditions as enumerated therein. Zoning Administrator Daniel Morgan concurs with that view.
The sign location was grandfathered in, Dunbar said, and was approved in the early 1990s. PC member Charlie Pugh said during the meeting that the sign is not where it was originally placed on the site plan.
Dunbar said he will address any concerns remaining from the PC and Charlotte Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services’ requirements for an impervious area in the front of the building which would allow emergency services to access the building easily.
Kassabian and Dunbar will present their final site plan at a future PC meeting.