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TOWN OF DUCK

PLANNING BOARD

REGULAR MEETING

May 9, 2007

 

 

The Planning Board for the Town of Duck convened at the Duck Municipal Offices at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9, 2007.

 

Present were Chairman Ron Forlano, Vice Chair Jon Britt, John Fricker, and Claiborne Yarbrough.

 

Absent:  Member Joe Blakaitis.

 

Also present were Council Liaison Denver Lindley, Jr., Director of Community Development Suzanne Cotellessa and Deputy Town Clerk Lori Kopec. 

 

Others Present: Bill Lane of East Coast Construction Group, Inc., Olin Finch; and Monica Thibodeau, Council Member.

 

Chairman Forlano called to order the Regular Meeting of the Planning Board for May 9, 2007 at 6:36 p.m.  He welcomed the Boardís newest member, Claiborne Yarbrough, to the meeting. 

 

PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

Bill Lane of East Coast Construction Group was recognized to speak.  Mr. Lane asked if the vegetation ordinance would be discussed.  Chairman Forlano stated that it would not as it is now in front of the Town Council.  He asked that any comments regarding the vegetation ordinance be brought up at the Councilís May 16, 2007 mid month meeting.

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

A.  Worksession/Discussion on Lot Coverage, Parking and Driveways, House Size, Setbacks, and Building Height (TC ref. 1/24/07)

 

Director Suzanne Cotellessa was recognized to speak.  Director Cotellessa stated she would give a recap on some of the items the Board has discussed during their past few meetings.  She stated there have been several discussions on the issues and wanted to summarize where the Board was and get input from them as to where they want to go Ė either work on an ordinance for a particular issue or set it aside for now.  She went on to give a short presentation to the Board and the audience, reviewing proportionality, fill, grading, height, parking, fences and septic systems.

 

Director Cotellessa asked the Board if they wanted to go forward and draft language to deal with maximum house size per lot and maximum house size of any house in Duck no matter how big the lot is.  She stated if the Board did not want to move forward, they should state as such and then move on to the next issue.  Vice Chair Britt suggested that each item be discussed.  Chairman Forlano agreed.

 

Member Fricker stated that the Board had discussed things as a whole and felt they should not agree upon the details of one element without getting through all the elements.  Vice Chair Britt agreed.  Member Fricker clarified that Duck is not the first municipality that is on an ocean that has had to deal with these issues.  He wondered if the Board was going to deal with proportionality by itself or collectively and was Director Cotellessa prepared to tell the Board what other jurisdictions have done as well as providing some visual aids.  Director Cotellessa stated she would.  She stated that Duck was a little different from other coastal communities in that Duck does not have the hotel and condominium fronts along the beach.  She stated that she would research what other coastal communities have under consideration as well as finding photographs of the issues they are dealing with.  She stated that part of the tour the Board went on was to look at specific houses and there seemed to be a break line in terms of proportionality as houses approached 4,000 square feet and beyond where everyone noticed a difference.  She felt it was an interesting discussion point.  She thought the proportionality was related to lot size in that the houses can get bigger with larger lots.  She asked the Board if they wanted to have an absolute limit no matter what size the lot is.

 

Member Fricker thought it was important that the Board truly understand both sides of the argument.  He stated that rather than rely on the Board to be wise enough to go through with it, he wanted to have the benefit of otherís experience that have gone through it.  Director Cotellessa stated that in a previous meeting, a study was passed out that she would bring back to the Board.  She stated she would bring back some examples of the issues that the Board could look at and analyze.

 

Chairman Forlano asked if there was anyone locally that is studying the proportion of house size to the lot and has anyone set a definite limit or discussed setting a definite limit on the actual square footage of a house.  Director Cotellessa stated that the Town of Nags Head had approached the issue a few years ago and set a limit for by-right residential development and then gave credit for certain features.  She stated that she would bring their guidelines back to the Board.  She stated that the Town of Southern Shores has been looking at it and the Town of Kitty Hawk had finished looking at it and changed their setbacks by increasing the size of houses permitted on the tiered setbacks to reflect current development patterns.  She stated that she has not spoken to anyone at the Town of Manteo or Currituck County.  She stated she would get in touch with the jurisdictions and bring back what they are doing.

 

Chairman Forlano asked about the relationship of the accessory structure to the house with regard to proportionality.  Director Cotellessa stated that the Board had discussed it a few months ago and she had brought in examples to them.  She stated that the original consensus of the Board was that it was not going to be dealt with.  She stated that with the changing trends, she had seen larger outbuildings, some with second stories.  She pointed out that CAMA does not allow second story accessory structures in areas of environmental concern.  She felt it was something the Board should look at as the out buildings get bigger, particularly if the size of a home is limited in some way.  She stated she would bring back the CAMA regulations as well as what other jurisdictions are doing.

 

Chairman Forlano asked if it would be right to lump in all accessory structures including swimming pools, gazebos and garages.  Director Cotellessa stated it could be done.  She felt it would be hard to lump the swimming pools in because the footprint of the pool is like the footprint of a house.  She stated that most ordinances combine all accessory structures such as sheds and garages.  She felt it would be hard to include pools.

 

Chairman Forlano asked what the feeling of the Board was on house/lot size with regard to massing.  Vice Chair Britt stated he was not for putting a cap on house size.  Chairman Forlano asked how he felt about the proportion of the house to lot size.  Vice Chair Britt stated that if there will be a cap on it, he wasnít in favor.  Chairman Forlano thought Vice Chair Britt wanted nothing larger than a certain square footage.  Vice Chair Britt stated that the Board had discussed a tiered square footage approach based on lot size and he was not in favor of it.  He thought things could be controlled in other ways.

 

Member Fricker clarified that Vice Chair Britt was saying if he had to do it all over again, he wouldnít just throw out the thirty percent (30%) rule.  Member Fricker pointed out that it was controlling the size of a house.  Vice Chair Britt agreed and stated it was a control.  Member Fricker clarified that it was acceptable to him.  Vice Chair Britt stated he would want to see why a 15,000 square foot lot could not have a house more than 4,200 square feet on any tier approach on either side of it.  He thought the Board didnít need to go there at this point.  Director Cotellessa clarified that Vice Chair Brittís approach has always been that development is development Ė a homeowner has thirty percent (30%) of their lot to cover it with whatever they wanted.  Vice Chair Britt agreed.  Director Cotellessa stated that where the Board digresses is with a one or two (1 or 2) acre lot, with 30% lot coverage and the house being ten thousand (10,000) square feet.

 

Olin Finch of 116 Sandy Ridge Road was recognized to speak.  Mr. Finch pointed out that most lots are 15,000 square feet.  He stated that proportionality is already in effect if the lot coverage is capped at 30%.  He stated that the Board was not discussing proportionality but the tier effect.  He stated that the biggest issue in Town that people talk about is the number of large homes as you come into Duck.  He asked how many lots had 38,000 square feet in Duck.  Director Cotellessa stated there werenít many.  He suggested the Board address those types of lots.  He stated the Board is only hurting themselves by instigating these rules for all lots. 

 

Chairman Forlano stated that the only houses that get remarks are the larger ones.  He stated he had counted approximately thirty (30) houses with more than 5,000 square feet.  He stated that the bigger homes seem to be the ones that give the Board grief.  Olin Finch asked if it was really grief or if it was something to talk about.  Vice Chair Britt stated that people will complain about the 5,000 square foot house as well as the 4,500 square foot one.  He stated that the biggest houses are the ones that create discussion.

 

Council Liaison Lindley pointed out that house size is growing in the community.  Olin Finch pointed out that they canít get any bigger.  Chairman Forlano agreed but stated that it could happen if lots are combined.  Mr. Finch stated that the rules are not changing.

 

Bill Lane thought the 30% rule was fair.  He stated that the lots were divided years ago.  He stated that 30% is the rule across the board in every town and county that he has built in.  He stated that the Town of Nags Head gives 3% more coverage if a builder builds a home that looks like the old Nags Head style. He stated that there are a lot of 10,000 square foot lots in Duck. He stated that people who pay for a bigger lot will get a bigger house.  He asked how many lots in Duck are big enough to support the big homes.  Chairman Forlano stated there werenít many.  Mr. Lane stated that a person could build a 4,000 square foot house on a 15,000 square foot lot or a 4,000 square foot house on a 42,000 square foot lot.  He thought that 30% was minimum coverage on a lot.

 

Member Fricker stated it was not just the size of the house, but the configuration, where itís placed on a lot, and based on the existing setbacks, it has impacted upon the ability of others in the community to see the ocean and looks like Ocean City, Maryland. He stated that the fact that the rules havenít changed doesnít mean that contractors havenít pushed the envelope with some consequence.  Bill Lane pointed out that the Town changed the rules with regard to the vegetated water line since Buffelhead was developed.  He stated that it would delegate a lot of smaller homes on the oceanfront if new homes are built there.  Member Fricker understood that the concern was not just building new homes on empty lots, but with tearing down and rebuilding over time.  Mr. Lane agreed and stated that homeowners had to give up property because of the rules changing.  He stated he has several oceanfront properties that the same houses he has on them could not be built again.

 

Olin Finch stated that Duck has changed the rules by changing the vegetation lines.  Council Liaison Lindley stated that it only applied to the oceanfront.  Mr. Finch stated that the dunes on Buffelhead Road are like a wall, so the Board could not compare it and say that views are being blocked by the homes when itís really the dunes.  He guessed that the sanctity of a view could be debatable.  He didnít understand how houses could block views other than a house could block a view.  He stated that houses will block views. 

 

Chairman Forlano asked how Olin Finch and Bill Lane felt as contractors if the Board decided to have 15 foot setbacks on the oceanfront.  Olin Finch stated it was the biggest misconception in that contractors do not care about setbacks.  Chairman Forlano stated he was trying to get a contractorís view on the issue, because if the Board did decide on the 15 foot setbacks, the Outer Banks Homebuilders Association would have a problem with it.  Olin Finch agreed but stated that the property owners would also have a problem with it.  He stated that it would only hurt the homeowners and not the contractors. 

 

Council Liaison Lindley stated that part of the Vision Statement does say ďprotecting and preserving viewshedsĒ.  Olin Finch agreed.  Council Liaison Lindley stated that where the Town can, the views should be preserved.  Mr. Finch questioned what a vision statement was.  He stated that the Townís vision statement was supposedly public opinion.  He stated that if the Board was concerned about public opinion, then everything the Town does should be subject to public opinion and not the control of people who are voted in.  He stated that if public opinion was the vision statement of the Town, then a public poll would be taken for ordinances that are to be changed to gauge the validity of them.  He stated the boards are not there to just serve the people that live in Duck, but the property owners.  He stated that they are all part of what happens in Town because if they donít like something, they will sell their property.  Council Liaison Lindley stated that the property owners are here because they like what Duck is.  He stated that they invest because they see something that is worth investing in.  Olin Finch stated that public opinion is important.  He asked if owners didnít like Duck and didnít invest, would it mean that the Town was doing something wrong.  Council Liaison Lindley assumed it would.  He thought that public opinion was very important and the reason for the open meetings that are held.  Mr. Finch thought it was a significant revelation for Council Liaison Lindley to admit that public opinion was important.  Council Liaison Lindley agreed.

 

Member Fricker pointed out that the discussion the Board was having has been going on for months.  He agreed with Council Liaison Lindleyís comments that the meetings are always open to the public and advertised.  He stated that there is nothing to preclude the public from writing a letter to the Board or Council.    Olin Finch stated that if the Town does make radical changes with the ordinances, in the long term there will be a public reaction.

 

Chairman Forlano stated that the Land Use Committee had met five (5) years ago, and there were surveys sent out to all property owners.  He stated that the Vision Statement came from the responses of those surveys.  He stated that the big issue back then was to watch the house size as they were getting too large.  Olin Finch felt the question was if what is allowed to be built on a lot is too big.  Chairman Forlano stated that that was where the Board was five (5) years later.  He pointed out that Vice Chair Britt had stated earlier in the meeting that he didnít want to put a limit on it.  Mr. Finch asked the Board if they were still saying they are deciding whether homes are too big.  Chairman Forlano stated that the Board is trying to decide based on the information from the surveys.  Mr. Finch asked if the Board was trying to decide how to make houses smaller.  He stated he was trying to help the Board to narrow things down with regard to the issue.  He pointed out that the Board had stated that houses are getting too big.  He cautioned them that they arenít getting too big, but are what they are right now.  He stated that the rules have been tightened up on the oceanfront, so something has been done to make the houses smaller.

 

Member Fricker clarified that Olin Finch was stating that a person was buying oceanfront property for investment purposes and is only willing to spend the money if they can believe they can generate a certain amount of annual income based upon the size of the house that can be built on the lot.  Olin Finch stated he was correct.  Member Fricker further clarified that the zoning ordinance changed so that the amount of useable land is reduced.  He asked if after the zoning ordinance was changed, Mr. Finch thought that a house could not be built on the lot as big as it could have been before the change.  Olin Finch stated that there are other factors that are taking from the size of the house on the oceanfront.  Member Fricker asked if apart from the oceanfront lots were there any negative impacts based on the changes in the zoning regulations with regard to the use of land.  Bill Lane stated it would not affect anything but oceanfront properties because that was the only way that Duck took land away from property owners.  Olin Finch disagreed.  He stated that land has been taken away due to the driveways being pulled in no closer than five (5) feet from the side yard and no accessory structures in the setbacks.  He reiterated that the Town has a 30% rule and now the Board is proposing to affect the values that homeowners pay for the properties by reducing the size of the structures.

 

Director Cotellessa added that when the Board looked at what has happened in the past five (5) years, it was realized that the actual coverage of the lot on many of the houses that were calculated at 30% then became 37%, 38% and 40%.  She stated that some things have been tightened up such as higher parking requirements.  She stated that from the beginning, there was a limit on the number of bedrooms, not the number of occupants.  She thought with the Townís ordinances, it increased the ability to develop on a lot.  She thought that the reason Buffelhead had developed as largely as it had was due to the Town counting the space beyond the first line of stable natural vegetation and allowing it to be calculated into the houses.  She stated it was not the case with Dare County and is not the case in any other jurisdiction on the Outer Banks.  She stated that the Town did a few other things that applied to both the oceanfront lots as well as the interior ones, such as not counting gravel as coverage for driveways.  She stated the last thing that was done that no other jurisdiction has done was not counting wooden decks in lot coverage.    She stated that the little tweaks exist on all the lots, whether they are oceanfront or inside lots in terms of driveways.  She thought some of the coverage with regard to driveways could be taken care of by pulling back some of the other issues such as parking spaces and stacking.  She cautioned the Board that if they do the tweaks, it will translate into the house and other things as people want to maximize the value of their properties. She did not agree that the Town has not done anything but limit development in terms of the ordinances.

 

Olin Finch pointed out that Duck used to allow houses to have two (2) parking spaces and any size house could be built on a lot.  He stated that the 30% lot coverage was not an issue.  Member Fricker asked him what he thought the problem was.  Mr. Finch stated it was the fact that people build houses that the neighbors donít like how it looks.  Member Fricker clarified that it was subjective.  Mr. Finch stated that it is subjective from what the Board has used so far as rationale.  He stated that no pictures of flooded roads have been shown that backs up a claim of overdevelopment.  He stated he was proud of Duckís rules, especially the one regarding bedrooms to lot size.  He stated that that rule controls density, which he felt was more important than anything. 

 

Olin Finch brought up the number of parking spaces with regard to the septic capacity.  Director Cotellessa stated it was an issue the Board would be discussing.  She stated that ordinance says that on a 25,000 square foot lot, the biggest house could be an eight (8) bedroom.  She stated it doesnít say an eight (8) bedroom house sleeping sixteen (16) people.  She stated that people have come in with an eight (8) bedroom house, but want to have a larger septic system so they can accommodate twenty-two (22) people.  She stated that the ordinance does not regulate how many people, but regulates how many bedrooms.  She stated that the ordinance does say that the parking is related to the number of people that is authorized by the septic.  She stated that if the septic accommodates twenty (20) people, there has to be ten (10) parking spaces no matter how many bedrooms there are.  Vice Chair Britt pointed out that the issue had been discussed previously.  Monica Thibodeau of 126 Sea Hawk Drive West was recognized to speak. Ms. Thibodeau pointed out that septic regulates the number of parking spaces.  Olin Finch agreed.

 

Chairman Forlano asked if any more restrictive ordinances that the Town comes up with would devalue the properties.  He pointed out that transfer tax and permits have gone down recently and have affected all of the jurisdictions.  He thought anything that is done that may devalue the properties needed to be looked at closely.  He thought that anything the Board does would devalue properties, contrary to how Council Liaison Lindley felt.

 

Vice Chair Britt stated that there are other things that will be discussed that could help value the homes better and deal with the parking.  He stated that most of his negative comments with regard to oceanfront homes had to deal with the amount of parking and how it was laid out.  He thought the Board needed to come up with a way to allow more stacking. 

 

Olin Finch stated he would not mind if the Board decided they did not want concrete used for parking.  Vice Chair Britt agreed.  Mr. Finch stated he would hate to have that type of regulation imposed on everyone.  He added that the Town would look better aesthetically without concrete.

 

Chairman Forlano stated that putting in a restriction, making the house smaller and cutting down the capacity for sleeping would affect the value of a property.  Olin Finch agreed.  He stated that Councilor Liaison Lindley feels that values will go up by making homes smaller.  Council Liaison Lindley felt they would over the long range.  He felt if a sense of community was kept, the values would go up.  He stated if he spent a lot of money on a rental home, he would not come back to that same home each year.  Bill Lane and Olin Finch stated that renters do come back to the same homes each year.  Mr. Finch stated that the highest demand for renting is the most expensive properties.  Council Liaison Lindley stated he understood, but felt paying a lot of money to rent a place that looks out to a neighboring property was not worth it.  Mr. Lane felt that people are used to it.

 

Chairman Forlano asked Monica Thibodeau if she had received any negative comments with regard to oceanfront property rentals.  Monica Thibodeau stated she had not.  She stated that the renters do like the big rental homes.

 

Vice Chair Britt stated that he didnít think there was a problem with the big houses in Town.  He stated that there will always be someone that complains about a big house.  He stated he was not a fan of radical changes, but thought the parking needed to be looked at.  He pointed out that the zoning rules were from 1982.  He stated that if the Town really wanted to fix the problem, the rules would be rewritten.

 

Chairman Forlano clarified that the Board did not want to deal with house size to lot size and massing as well as dealing with accessory structure size to house and lot size and open size.  He clarified that the Board did not wish to examine the tiered lot coverage formula for the footprint of the primary structure.  He clarified that the Board did not want to deal with the size of the house at all.  He asked if the Board wanted to drop the issue altogether.  Vice Chair Britt stated that he did not see a problem.  He stated that accessory structures may be a problem but didnít know if it would become a larger problem.  He stated that there is tweaking that needs to be done but didnít see any major changes.

 

Chairman Forlano asked how the Board felt about house size based on the tour.  Member Fricker stated that he did not know.  He stated that he agreed with Vice Chair Britt in that the property owner should have the maximum flexibility that is reasonable and consistent with their neighbors, but if the kind of buildings that have been built on the oceanfront is replicated on the interior lots, it would negatively impact the Town. 

 

Member Yarbrough felt the discussions were pretty compelling.  She stated that given that the Board does not understand economically where the Town is, she suggested the discussion be tabled until the market is more understood.  Member Fricker asked if Member Yarbrough was suggesting tabling the whole subject or the subject of house size.  Chairman Forlano thought it was just house size.  Member Yarbrough agreed.  She felt there were already enough things in play that control house size.  Vice Chair Britt stated he didnít think the issue should be tabled.  He stated that a better reason would have to be brought forward to convince him to change house size.

 

Chairman Forlano suggested looking at the rest of the list and put house size on the back burner for now.  Member Fricker asked if proportionality should be put away for now.  Chairman Forlano agreed.  He suggested the Board discuss the rest of the issues as he felt they were not getting anywhere on house size.  Member Fricker suggested fill be discussed.  Chairman Forlano agreed.

 

Director Cotellessa stated that at previous meetings, the Board had discussed working within the existing topography versus grading to level.  She stated the Board had discussed building into the existing topography rather than filling the entire lot and building from there.  She stated that the Board discussed how height was measured Ė building from the topography or allowing fill and building on top of it. 

 

Director Cotellessa asked the Board if they wanted to require homeowners to look at the topography of a house and build into it.  She stated that at the last meeting the Board discussed the relationship between the grading, the street and the adjacent lots.  She stated that the Board had suggested filling up to street level or slightly above or up to levels of the adjacent lot.  She thought the Board as a group had discussed that height was not a huge issue unless it was exacerbated by topography and the flood zones.  She stated that the Board also discussed that height was mitigated by setbacks, vegetation and architectural features.

 

Chairman Forlano stated he did not have a problem with the thirty-five (35) foot height limit.  He thought it would add a lot of character to the Town if homeowners worked with the topography and build according to the topography of the lot.  He stated that he knew it would be more difficult for the construction, but thought the end result would be better.  Vice Chair Britt agreed.  Chairman Forlano thought filling to the street level would help the stormwater runoff problems.

 

Member Fricker wondered if a lot is filled to the street, what would happen to the neighboring properties that may be lower or higher with regard to stormwater runoff.  He asked if there was some formula, regulation or concept that would address stormwater runoff.  Olin Finch stated that lots have high and low pockets.  He stated that there wasnít a universal answer other than making property owners responsible for their water runoff.  He suggested that the homeowner be required to demonstrate how they will handle the water runoff.

 

Director Cotellessa thought the issues with respect to fill and grading were addressed at the discussions the Board had a year ago.  She stated that the issues that werenít addressed were the odd lots that have craters in them and people want to build a house in a hole.  She stated that it is a by-product of the language of the code that has made it difficult for builders.  She stated that she was interested in bringing to the Board something that would loosen the requirement to make it reasonable to build.  She disagreed with Mr. Finchís comments regarding stormwater.  She stated that the State of North Carolina has rules that state that a homeowner cannot put their stormwater on a neighboring property.  She stated that this has been discussed but wondered how, as a community, it could be prevented from going into litigation.  She also disagreed that natural topography goes up and down in a coastal community.  She stated that natural topography goes down to the ocean to sea level and back up from sea level. 

 

Member Yarbrough stated that there are positive ways of water management that arenít just about fill or trees.  She stated that there are other ways to manage stormwater.  Director Cotellessa agreed.  She stated that the height and fill problems could be taken care of with an ordinance. 

 

Vice Chair Britt asked what could be done to make things easier.  Olin Finch thought that the height issue should be addressed by defining the height from the concrete or first floor under the house.

 

Chairman Forlano asked if there was a time where the height was measured from the center point of the house to the finished grade.  Olin Finch stated that the Town had originally measured it that way but it was changed.  Director Cotellessa stated that the original language was to take the dirt under the structure at the approximate center of the structure and measure upward.  Chairman Forlano asked what was wrong with doing it that way.  Olin Finch stated there was nothing wrong with it as the height of the house is relative to the top floor.  He thought that height needed to be measured from the lowest floor.

 

Member Fricker asked if the rules had to be changed with regard to how height is measured.  Olin Finch stated that the rules wouldnít have to be changed.  He stated that the way the rules are right now, it defines it as to the adjacent grade but doesnít say if it is finished or original grade.  Director Cotellessa stated that the rules are ambiguous, which was why she brought it before Town Council back in January for clarification.  She stated that the way the rules are interpreted makes it difficult enforce.  She suggested revising the definition of building height to make it easier to measure and to make it more practical out in the field.  She stated that the effect of it would be to allow fill to a certain level and not count it in the height of the house.  It was consensus of the Board to take that route.

 

Chairman Forlano stated he would like to keep the fill level with the road.  Olin Finch asked what would happen to the lot that has a natural level higher than the road.  He asked if the lot could not be graded because it would create fill.  Member Yarbrough stated that her lot is like that.  Member Fricker asked why grading could not be done on lots higher than the road.  Olin Finch stated that the sand on the lot would have to be moved to the lowest point.  Director Cotellessa clarified that Member Fricker was in favor of grading on higher lots.  Member Fricker stated that he wanted to know why grading should not be allowed.  Director Cotellessa clarified that Chairman Forlano was discussing a lot that is beneath the level of the road and not allowing fill above the level of the road.  She further clarified that Member Fricker was discussing a lot that is already above the level of the road and being able to fill holes and level it.  She stated that the two (2) issues could be separated in the ordinance, making it clear that both are acceptable.

 

Director Cotellessa stated that the Board had discussed parking, curb cuts, gravel, allowing stacking and reducing the size of the parking spaces.  She stated that she was looking for direction from the Board.

 

Vice Chair Britt felt that limiting the size of curb cuts needed to be done.  He didnít think it should be limited to one as he was in favor of circular driveways.  He stated that the less concrete for a driveway, the better.  He thought that, unless there were certain situations, it be required that driveways be gravel.  Chairman Forlano asked Vice Chair Britt if he was in favor of pavers. Vice Chair Britt stated that he was as long as they are permeable.

 

Member Yarbrough pointed out that she has children that like to ride their bicycles on their concrete driveway.  She stated that a lot of people use the driveways as a piece of their yards. She stated that she could see the value of using gravel.

 

Director Cotellessa stated that if a homeowner has a concrete driveway, it would count against lot coverage.  Member Yarbrough agreed.  She thought there could be some type of credit for using gravel instead of concrete.  Vice Chair Britt thought it was previously discussed having the driveway in concrete but the parking areas as gravel.

 

Chairman Forlano suggested a draft with just the drive aisle in an impermeable surface and the rest in a permeable surface.  Director Cotellessa clarified that the drive aisle may be impermeable but does not have to be.  Chairman Forlano agreed.  Director Cotellessa asked about width of driveways.  She suggested limiting it to the individual property.  Chairman Forlano asked how wide a drive aisle was.  Director Cotellessa stated that the minimum drive aisle requirement is twelve (12) feet.  Chairman Forlano clarified that it would not affect reducing the size of the spaces if the Board considered reducing the size of the spaces to eight by twenty (8 x 20) rather than ten by twenty (10 x 20).  Director Cotellessa stated it would not affect the materials that could be used for the drive aisle.  She stated that the two (2) standard sizes used are ten by twenty (10 x 20) or nine by eighteen (9 x 18).  She stated that she has not seen any eight by twenty (8 x 20) spaces.  She cautioned the Board to be careful with the size of the parking spaces.  Vice Chair Britt stated that if the parking spaces are smaller, the drive aisle would need to be larger.

 

Chairman Forlano suggested coming up with a twelve (12) foot driveway with an impervious surface and the rest in a permeable surface and allowing stacking.  Vice Chair Britt stated that a topography exception would be needed as well.

 

Olin Finch cautioned the Board that if they limit curb cuts, they could create problems if they didnít allow some variance for stacking.  He stated that there was nothing wrong with limiting curb cuts as the driveway would look nicer.  He suggested a smaller curb cut or allowing stacking with a smaller curb cut.  Director Cotellessa stated that this was why the Board was discussing the issue.

 

Chairman Forlano agreed with Vice Chair Britt that he did not want to limit the number of curb cuts.  Vice Chair Britt stated he didnít want to limit the number but did want to limit the size.  Director Cotellessa suggested that an individual curb cut could be no greater that twenty (20) feet or limit it to a certain percentage of the frontage.  Vice Chair Britt asked about stacking.  Director Cotellessa stated that the biggest issue is the requirement that each space be individually accessible.  She cautioned the Board to be careful to provide adequate parking while removing overdevelopment.  Vice Chair Britt agreed.  He asked Director Cotellessa to bring back some options regarding stacking.  Director Cotellessa asked if the Board wanted to look at the number of parking spaces required.  Member Fricker asked if she wanted required or prevented.  Director Cotellessa pointed out that there is no maximum number.  She stated that it is rare for someone to provide an additional space than what is required.

 

Chairman Forlano asked if gravel in parking should be counted against lot coverage.  Member Fricker asked what would be accomplished if it was considered.  Vice Chair Britt stated it would squeeze down the size of the house.  Olin Finch cautioned the Board against considering it.  Vice Chair Britt suggested that stacking be looked at and see if they can be reduced and go from there.  Chairman Forlano and Member Fricker agreed.

 

Director Cotellessa stated she would bring back to the Board several ways people have dealt with curb cuts.  She clarified that they wanted two (2) curb cuts and to make each one a reasonable size. Vice Chair Britt agreed.  Director Cotellessa stated that with a fifty (50) foot lot, the Board may not want to allow two (2) curb cuts.  She stated they may want to relate the access to the size of the frontage.  She stated she would bring something back to the Board.

 

Director Cotellessa stated that there was discussion about fences at the last meeting, particularly where fences can be placed on a lot.  She stated that the current regulations allow a fence to be anywhere on a lot.  She stated that there is nothing prohibiting a homeowner from putting up a fence in their front yard.  She wanted to bring the issue before the Board because they had asked about it.

 

Chairman Forlano asked how homeowners who have restrictive covenants on front yards install a pool.  Director Cotellessa stated that there are some communities that have enforced their covenants and what has happened is a lot of communities allow fences no higher than four (4) feet and only in the side and back yards.  She stated that yeas ago a person put in a pool in the front yard with a six (6) foot privacy fence around it without the covenants being enforced, which allowed the next person to question why one homeowner could have it and another couldnít.  She stated that the Townís regulations are different than the covenants and doesnít enforce them.

 

Olin Finch stated that the tendency is to put a privacy fence along the property line.  He stated that there really isnít a reason to do so as there is a rush to put a fence up before a neighbor does.  He thought that two (2) neighbors could not have privacy fences on their property lines.  Director Cotellessa stated that the fence has to be on a homeownerís property and not on the line.  Vice Chair Britt stated there could be two as long as a piece of paper could fit between them. 

 

Council Liaison Lindley asked if there was a fire department consideration with fences.  Vice Chair Britt stated that with a fire, fences will always be in the way.  He stated that there is an issue of getting in between homes.

 

Director Cotellessa cautioned that there shouldnít be an area between two (2) fences that trap trash.  Vice Chair Britt agreed and felt it should be big enough to be kept clean and useable.  He though the area should be approximately four (4) feet.  He stated he did not have a problem with it.  Chairman Forlano agreed.  He stated that he didnít think a person would want to put up a fence right on the property line.

 

Member Fricker asked what the rationale was in allowing a fence up to and as close to the property line as possible while having specific setbacks for the house itself.  Olin Finch stated that fences are traditionally put on property lines.  Vice Chair Britt agreed.  He stated that most of the fences are put up because of a pool that was put in.  Member Fricker stated he would like the aesthetic value of fences brought up at a future meeting.  Chairman Forlano suggested it be brought back up when Member Blakaitis was present.

 

Director Cotellessa stated the last issue had to do with septic systems.  She stated that current regulations say that a peat system be included to back up a conventional system in lot coverage.  She stated that the rationale was that peat pods are lot coverage and are not counted if they are the primary septic.  She stated that if they are used as a back up system and a homeowner already has 30% coverage and has to use the system, it would put them over the coverage allowed.  She stated that the building community feels that no one ever uses the back up system but repairs the existing system.  She pointed out that the health department also agrees but there are state requirements for homeowners to have a back up.  She stated this issue was a further mechanism to loosen things if the Board chose to pursue it.

 

Chairman Forlano clarified that peat pods are included in lot coverage.  Director Cotellessa stated he was correct.  She stated that if there is a primary peat system, it is included.  She stated that having it as a backup to the same primary system would not be double counted.  She stated that it is only counted as a backup if the primary system was a traditional system.  Chairman Forlano felt it should not be included.  Vice Chair Britt agreed.

 

Council Liaison Lindley asked if the peat pods worked like cement in regard to coverage.  Chairman Forlano stated it would if a homeowner uses the pods.  Council Liaison Lindley clarified that if a homeowner does not use them, the area is permeable.  Chairman Forlano stated that if the peat pod system is not used, there is nothing there.

 

Olin Finch pointed out that peat pods were not in any regulations.  Director Cotellessa and Chairman Forlano disagreed and stated it was.

 

Director Cotellessa stated she would come back to the Board with specific language.

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Member Fricker asked who had authored the Concerned Citizens of the Town of Duck mailing.  Director Cotellessa stated that it was known who had authored it as the language was very clear and had been heard in previous meetings.  She stated it was submitted anonymously but much of the language in it had been presented in other documents to the Board.

 

Vice Chair Britt felt that because it was anonymous, it wasnít worth discussing.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

A. Planning Board Meeting April 11, 2007

 

Vice Chair Britt moved to approve the minutes of the Planning Board Meeting of April 11, 2007 as presented.  Member Fricker seconded.

 

Minutes for the Planning Board Meeting on April 11, 2007 were approved 3-0.  Member Yarbrough could not vote as she was not present for the meeting.

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

None.

 

STAFF COMMENTS

 

None.

 

BOARD COMMENTS

 

Vice Chair Britt pointed out that the surf shop looked like they were getting close to completion.  Director Cotellessa stated that they had received their Certification of Occupancy earlier in the day.  Member Fricker asked which surf shop was being discussed.  Vice Chair Britt stated that both Duck Village Outfitters and the PRK property looked like they were close.  Director Cotellessa stated that there have not been any calls for inspections on the PRK property.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

Vice Chair Britt adjourned the meeting.

 

The time was 9:04 p.m.

 

 

Approved: ______________________________________________

                        /s/ Ron Forlano, Chairman


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