TOWN OF DUCK
September 12, 2007
The Planning Board for the Town of Duck convened at the Duck Municipal Offices at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12, 2007.
Present were Chairman Ron Forlano, Vice Chair Jon Britt, John Fricker, and Joe Blakaitis.
Absent: Claiborne Yarbrough and Council Liaison Denver Lindley, Jr.
Also present were Director of Community Development Andy Garman and Zoning Technician Sandy Cady.
Others Present: Willo Kelly of the Outer Banks Homebuilder’s Association, Bill Owen, John Leatherwood, George Wood, Pastor Ray Wittman of Duck United Methodist Church, Greg Dickerson, Ben Cahoon, Jeff Malarney of Twiddy and Company Realtors, Olin Finch, Bob Fitchett and Bill Lane.
Chairman Forlano called to order the Regular Meeting of the Planning Board for September 12, 2007 at 6:34 p.m.
It was consensus of the Board to move to New Business.
A. CUP Application 07-003 for Duck United Methodist Church, to Construct 30 Additional Parking Spaces at 1214 Duck Road, Pursuant to Zoning Ordinance Section 23(c)(8)
Director Andy Garman was recognized to speak. Director Garman stated that the application was to add additional parking at the Duck United Methodist Church. He stated that the applicant would like to add parking to the rear of the building with access from the Wee Winks Square Shopping Center. He stated that the applicant proposes to remove three (3) spaces from the Wee Winks shopping center to provide access to the adjoining lot via a shared access easement agreement to allow the church to share the parking with Wee Winks. He stated that the Town has ordinances in place to provide for the sharing of parking and to allow the property owner at Wee Winks to not be penalized for reducing the parking by three (3) spaces. He stated that the applicant is proposing to disturb approximately 16,451 square feet, which will involve removing some wetlands, which are outside the Area of Environmental Concern. He stated that the Town has had discussions with the applicant and the Army Corps of Engineers stating that the permit would be issued if the applicant could obtain a signed access easement agreement from Jerry Davis. He stated that it has been obtained, however the easement did not go all the way to the property line on the site plan. He stated that the easement agreement would need to be revised to show the easement going to the property line to provide full access. He stated that according to the site plan, the applicant is not looking to fill the property greater than thirty-six (36) inches. He noted that they are proposing to use Gravel Pave for the parking area. He stated that the applicant would have to do a vegetation management plan for the property. He stated that the applicant would be required to maintain ten percent (10%) of canopy coverage. The applicant was required to show on the site plan all trees greater than 24 inches in diameter at breast height. Three (3) trees of this size were noted. Because of modifications to the original drive aisle configuration, only one (1) tree of this size is proposed to be removed. He stated that a thirty (30) inch live oak is in the middle of the drive aisle and it appears that there would be no feasible alternative to removing it, short of not proceeding with the project. He stated that 20.2% of lot coverage was proposed with no disturbance in the Area of Environmental Concern. He stated that the lighting would be low level security lighting on bollards. He stated that staff recommended approval of the project with conditions.
Chairman Forlano asked the applicants if they had anything to add. There being nothing, he asked the Board for their comments and questions.
Chairman Forlano noted that the application stated that fill would not be placed within five (5) feet of the property line. He thought the Town had a ten (10) foot setback for fill. Director Garman stated that ordinance limits filling, clearing and grading activity within five (5) feet of a property line, except in instances where fill is being placed to match a higher adjacent grade. In the area of the proposed driveway access near the property line, fill is being added to match the higher adjacent grade of Wee Winks Square.
Member Blakaitis asked if the lighting would be addressed so the area would be well lit. Bill Owen was recognized to speak. Mr. Owen stated that low level security lighting would be provided. He stated the applicant did not want it to be brightly lit to attract attention. He thought the level of lighting would be sufficient. Member Fricker thought with the parking area in the back, people may want to congregate at night. He asked if it would be smarter to have the parking area more brightly lit. He asked if the applicant discussed it with staff. Mr. Owen stated they had not. Member Blakaitis stated that the Board wasn’t sure how bright the lighting would be, only what could be used. Vice Chair Britt asked the applicants if they were happy with the lighting. Greg Dickerson was recognized to speak. Mr. Dickerson stated that the lighting plan was done to fulfill the intent of the ordinance. He stated that the bollard style lighting was designed to create enough light for people to see where they were going.
Chairman Forlano asked if the chapel had security lighting. Greg Dickerson stated it did. Vice Chair Britt asked if the applicants were comfortable with the amount of lighting. Member Blakaitis suggested adding more if they felt it was needed.
Member Fricker stated that he was impressed with the cooperation between Jerry Davis and the church. He stated that he was also pleased with the applicants trying to make everything work. He wondered if staff was fully satisfied with the application. He asked if staff felt everything has been or will be done. Director Garman stated that staff tries to do a thorough review of each application. He stated that staff was comfortable with the application.
Vice Chair Britt moved for approval of CUP application 07-003 with the recommended conditions. Member Fricker seconded.
Motion carried 4-0.
B. CUP Application 07-001 for Duck Land Company, LLC, to Approve a New Real Estate Office Building at 1181 Duck Road, per Zoning Ordinance Section 23(c)(6) – Village Commercial Development Option and
C. CUP Application 07-002 for Duck Land Company, LLC, to Construct a Structure Greater than 5,000 Gross Square Feet but Less than 10,000 Square Feet at 1181 Duck Road, per Zoning Ordinance Section 23(c)(9) and
D. CUP Application 07-004 for Duck Land Company, LLC, to Construct a Group Development at 1181 Duck Road, per Zoning Ordinance Section 23(c)(5)
Chairman Forlano stated that there were three (3) CUP applications for the same property. He stated that each application was due to three (3) separate entities on the same property. He stated that the Board would discuss all three (3) as one project and would vote on each CUP separately.
Director Garman stated that the CUP applications were for the Twiddy Real Estate building. He stated that the applicant wished to reconstruct the existing 4,000 square foot building and replace it with a 6,210 square foot building, which would require an additional CUP as it will be larger than 5,000 square feet. He stated that based on the Town’s ordinances, buildings larger than 5,000 square feet are only permitted by conditional use permit. He stated that the applicant wished to retain the old post office building on the site which would make the property a group development. He pointed out that group developments are only permitted by conditional use permit. He stated that the applicant was trying to maintain some of the existing site features that serve the present building, primarily the two (2) parking areas in the front, the two (2) access ways to NC 12 and one on Christopher Drive, and the existing septic system. He stated that the applicants applied for the Village Commercial Development Option CUP due to the fact that some of the existing improvements do not meet the Town’s by-right development standards. He stated that the applicant submitted the application to the Town on August 20, 2007 and staff discussed a number of issues regarding their site plan and gave them a list of comments which were also included in the Board Members’ packets. He stated that the applicant revised their site plan based on these comments. This original submittal and the revised site plan were included in the packet. He went on to review the remaining issues and concerns with the Board and the audience. These included: removing the northern entrance to NC 12, consideration of a parking reduction by two (2) spaces in order to preserve the existing post office, landscaping to meet the vegetation management and commercial design ordinances, the possibility of using Gravel Pave to reduce lot coverage, installing stormwater retention swales to retain stormwater on the rear portion of the site, and the design measures that would be necessary for the Board to consider a building larger than 5,000 square feet. (The remaining discussion would largely focus on whether the Planning Board would require removal of the northern driveway entrance to NC 12.)
Vice Chair Britt asked if the functionality of the Twiddy site’s existing traffic circulation pattern was researched on check-in days. Director Garman stated it wasn’t. Vice Chair Britt asked if Gravel Pave would be used in the parking area and drive aisle. Director Garman stated they are proposing Gravel Pave for all new spaces with the exception of the handicap spaces and those under the building.
Ben Cahoon of Cahoon and Kasten was recognized to speak. Mr. Cahoon stated that in order to expedite things, Twiddy had originally inquired about raising the building so that parking could be added underneath the structure. He stated that under this scenario it would have resulted in a building of the same size with some added architectural features. He stated that the primary purpose of reconstructing the building was because it was substandard office space. He stated that because it is a real estate office, they have very limited public space and would need more public space to accommodate people on check-in days. He stated that their initial approach was to do a by-right, code conforming plan. He stated that while operations were not increasing, the number of parking spaces and the drive aisles would not meet the Town’s requirements. He stated that in order to reduce the number of CUPs coming before the Board, Twiddy discussed eliminating the post office and not having it as a group development. However, the Town and Twiddy preferred that the post office remain. He stated that the driveways on NC 12 have been in place for many years and Mr. Twiddy would like to keep them. He thought there were some arguments in favor of keeping the driveways as they are. He pointed out that there have not been any problems with the driveways with regard to accidents. He further pointed out that if there were a lot of vehicles coming in and out of one driveway, there would be constant interruptions on NC 12 which could be a hazard for people on the Duck Trail.
Ben Cahoon introduced Jeff Malarney to the Board and the audience. He stated that Mr. Malarney works with Twiddy as their counsel. Jeff Malarney was recognized to speak. He thought Mr. Cahoon had voiced Twiddy’s position regarding the building. He stated that there would not be a change in use, no additional vehicles, but simply a much better building for the business and guests.
Chairman Forlano asked if the building was handicap accessible. Ben Cahoon stated it was. Chairman Forlano pointed out that there weren’t any handicap ramps on the renderings. Mr. Cahoon pointed out where handicapped people could access the building. Chairman Forlano clarified that the driveways on Christopher Drive would be improved. Mr. Cahoon stated they would. Chairman Forlano asked what type of hardship would be created if one of the driveways on NC 12 were eliminated. Mr. Cahoon thought from a technical standpoint it would not be a tremendous hardship, however he thought that Mr. Twiddy would argue that it would be a hardship to his business as there have not been any accidents or property damage in the past thirty (30) years. Chairman Forlano stated that there wasn’t the type of walking traffic in Town thirty (30) years ago that there is presently. Director Garman pointed out that the intent of the ordinance was, where possible, to reduce the number of driveways and control the access to NC 12. Chairman Forlano stated that once major improvements are made on a site, new rules come into play. Mr. Cahoon argued that there would be no use changes to the site but that the Town is gaining a more pleasing structure. He stated that by penalizing Mr. Twiddy by requiring him to remove a driveway seemed contrary to good policy.
Member Fricker asked if the present building was approximately 3,800 square feet. Director Garman stated it was approximately 4,000 square feet. Member Fricker clarified that the building would be increased to 6,200 square feet. He asked if it was simply aesthetic or that it would be providing Twiddy with additional office space. Mr. Cahoon stated that it would provide public restrooms and a larger foyer. Member Fricker agreed with Chairman Forlano that every year there are more people in Town. He thought that even though there has not been an accident of any kind near that site doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be. He thought the Board has a responsibility to address that issue. He stated that he would be in favor of reducing the number of driveways on NC 12 by one (1). He asked if staff thought there should be a reduction of two (2) driveways to NC 12 instead of one (1). Director Garman stated that the ordinance requirement for a by-right scenario requires the driveway access for corner lots to be provided from the side street and not from NC 12. He stated that for an existing site, at a minimum, eliminating one (1) driveway would improve the situation. He stated that if the applicant were required to remove both driveways, it would affect the entire site design and would likely eliminate the possibility of maintaining the existing parking and drive aisles. Member Fricker asked if there were other stand alone office buildings in Duck that are in excess of 5,000 square feet. Director Garman stated that there are several but wasn’t sure if they are just office space. He pointed out that Kellogg’s is 10,000 square feet, Wings is between 6,000 and 7,000 square feet, and Nags Head Hammocks is 7,000 square feet. Member Fricker asked if there was any way to compare the volume of traffic that comes in and out of Twiddy with other businesses. Mr. Cahoon thought staff could do that.
Vice Chair Britt asked if the primary concern with the north aisle was traffic flow or if it was losing a parking space. Ben Cahoon stated that it was the drive aisle. It has worked for many years and was vital to property management. Chairman Forlano asked if it would be safer for people to exit from the driveway on Christopher Drive so they come to a stop sign on NC 12. Ben Cahoon stated that the parking is very constricted on the weekends with Mr. Twiddy directing traffic. He stated that the exits aid in traffic management. Vice Chair Britt stated that if the driveway is removed, it could be a mess. Mr. Cahoon agreed.
Chairman Forlano asked what was wrong with making the other driveway twenty-four (24) feet rather than twenty (20) feet. Ben Cahoon stated there really wasn’t a drawback. He stated it was proposed at 20 feet to reduce coverage. Vice Chair Britt stated he would rather it be twenty-four (24) feet from a fire safety perspective. Director Garman stated that the Fire Chief noted in written comments that a fire truck would access the site via the southern drive aisle. The other drive aisles are too close to the building. She recommended that this area be twenty-four (24) feet and that she did not have an issue with the other drive aisles remaining at twenty (20) feet. She also recommended that a fire hydrant be added to the corner of Christopher Drive and NC 12.
Member Fricker suggested that if the northern driveway is eliminated, traffic could be one-way entering off NC 12 at the southern driveway, making vehicles exit onto Christopher Drive. Vice Chair Britt stated it would be a mess since there is a history with the driveways. Member Fricker stated that there could be a sign put up that would direct traffic. Ben Cahoon felt it would be impractical. Member Fricker pointed out that Scarborough Faire has a driveway that is one way. Mr. Cahoon thought it was two way. Member Fricker disagreed and stated that the driveway off NC 12 is one way.
Vice Chair Britt stated he didn’t want to lose two (2) driveways. He stated that the property has history and he has a lot of respect for Mr. Twiddy. He thought it would affect traffic flow. He thought the driveways could be left as is. Chairman Forlano pointed out that the property was not a one (1) entrance situation as there were two (2) entrances on Christopher Drive. Vice Chair Britt thought it did not need to be removed but could see the arguments to remove it.
Member Blakaitis asked if the other drive aisle (southern) was within eighty (80) feet of the intersection. Director Garman stated that the northern drive aisle was within eighty (80) feet of the southern drive aisle and was also within eighty (80) feet of the intersection. He stated that if the northern entrance was removed, the southern drive aisle would not be within eighty (80) feet of the intersection or the adjacent driveway entrance at Scarborough Faire. Vice Chair Britt stated he was still not sold on taking the driveway out.
Vice Chair Britt asked if the drive aisle behind the building would be concrete. Ben Cahoon stated it would. Vice Chair Britt asked if Gravel Pave could be used behind the building. Mr. Cahoon stated he was not convinced that it would be the best thing for drive aisles. Chairman Forlano stated that the Town was trying to eliminate as much concrete as possible by using some type of pervious material. Mr. Cahoon thought it wouldn’t be an issue if it came down to it.
Member Blakaitis stated he had concerns about the 60.6% lot coverage. He thought there was enough room in the project to eliminate the .6% to comply with the 60% lot coverage. He thought the drive aisle could be reduced. Ben Cahoon conceded that he could do that. Member Blakaitis stated that the aisle did not have to be Gravel Pave but could be another pervious surface. He stated that he was on the fence regarding removing the driveway but leaning toward the fact that it would not impact much on the project. He stated that he understood the applicant’s arguments as well as the Board’s arguments. He stated that he leans more towards eliminating the driveway as it would be a public service to do so. He stated he could think of many reasons why it should be eliminated. He thought it was owed to the Town to have it removed and felt that Mr. Twiddy would not be inconvenienced too much by having it removed. Jeff Malarney stated that it would be a deal breaker for Twiddy as the Town would be holding the project hostage. Member Blakaitis stated he wasn’t trying to do that. He pointed out that Twiddy has one of the few sites in Town with four (4) access points. Mr. Malarney pointed out that Mr. Twiddy has been in Town for thirty (30) years. Member Blakaitis agreed but asked what that meant. Mr. Malarney stated it was a lot of guests, memories and real estate investments. Member Blakaitis agreed but felt that Mr. Malarney was trying to talk him into thinking that the driveway was good. He thought the project would be a beautiful one. He stated he did not understand how it could be a deal breaker. Mr. Malarney stated it would be because the driveway works for Mr. Twiddy. Member Blakaitis stated he was still on the fence. Mr. Malarney pointed out that Twiddy is the premier management company on the Outer Banks and Mr. Twiddy knows his business. Member Blakaitis pointed out that Mr. Twiddy was lucky as he has a site that works. Mr. Malarney disagreed.
Member Fricker stated he hadn’t heard any evidence as to why removing the driveway would present a problem for traffic circulation. He felt it was a conclusion. Jeff Malarney disagreed and asked how it wouldn’t work. Member Fricker stated he didn’t know. Mr. Malarney stated that the driveway has worked for the past thirty (30) years without issue. Member Fricker thought that Mr. Twiddy would agree that traffic conditions are different today than they were 10, 20 or 30 years ago and will likely be different five (5) years from now. Mr. Malarney stated there has not been much of a deviation in the last five (5) years. Member Fricker stated that there has been a monumental difference in traffic since the development of Corolla. Mr. Malarney stated that the site has worked for many years. Member Fricker disagreed as each year the traffic gets worse. Mr. Malarney pointed out that the number of guests coming through the Twiddy parking lot has remained static for the most part. He stated that in the past five (5) years there hasn’t been that much of an increase in traffic through Duck. He stated that there hasn’t been an accident or property damage at the Twiddy site. Member Fricker didn’t think the burden was on the Board to prove that the use of the single entrance along with the one-way traffic would not work. He thought the burden was on Twiddy to show there has been study made as to why it would work. He thought with proper signage and consideration, it should be worthy of consideration instead of being dismissed. Mr. Malarney stated he wasn’t dismissing it. He stated that the ordinance as it is written does not preclude the traffic pattern. He stated that the Board is making a decision to eliminate the driveway. Member Fricker stated he was making a decision to protect public safety. He asked Mr. Malarney to ask Mr. Twiddy to take on a study with regard to one-way traffic. Mr. Malarney stated that Mr. Twiddy is operating a business and only has a certain timeframe for this project to be completed.
Vice Chair Britt suggested that the Board discuss everything other than the drive aisle. He felt the Board was getting bogged down. Member Blakaitis agreed. Chairman Forlano stated he did not have a problem with anything else in the project other than the drive aisle in the southern area due to the recommendation by the Fire Chief to widen it. Ben Cahoon pointed out that the Fire Chief’s comment came after the application was submitted and the applicant had not had a chance to respond. He stated that they would concede on that issue. Vice Chair Britt stated he would like to see coverage at 60% or less. Member Fricker stated he would like to see the coverage at 60%. He stated he did not have a problem with the building color, was okay with the drive aisle width at twenty-four (24) feet for the southern NC 12 entrance, and had no disagreement on any other issues except the northern driveway entrance to NC 12.
Chairman Forlano asked which CUP reflected the driveway and site circulation. Ben Cahoon thought it was the Village Commercial Option. Director Garman stated it was 07-001. Chairman Forlano stated that the Board needed to vote on each CUP application. He stated that the Board was still hung up on the driveway issue. Member Blakaitis thought the Board should vote.
Member Fricker stated that the entire matter was submitted to the Board from the staff on Monday, September 10, 2007. He stated that the Board was then presented with additional documentation at the meeting, which he hadn’t had a chance to review. He thought this documentation was in relation to the driveway issue. Director Garman stated that the documentation discussed best practices and the basis for ordinances that are in place with regard to driveway separations, access control, and providing corner lot access from a side street, where possible. He stated that staff was trying to reiterate that these ordinances come from best practices recognized by most traffic engineers. Member Fricker thought the Board should consider the driveway issue which was considered a deal breaker with Twiddy’s counsel. He suggested the issue be tabled till the next Planning Board meeting when all of the members would be in attendance. Vice Chair Britt disagreed and thought it should be voted on. He felt that timing was important. Member Blakaitis asked if there was any consideration to rearranging the entire parking lot to allow more circulating space. Ben Cahoon stated he could not provide an answer without consulting with Mr. Twiddy. Member Blakaitis stated he was still on the fence with regard to the drive aisle.
Member Fricker moved that the Planning Board recommend to Council that CUP 07-001 be approved conditioned upon the inclusion of the fire hydrant at the corner of NC 12 and Christopher Drive, the elimination of the northernmost driveway onto NC 12, lot coverage reduced to 60%, and widening the south driveway aisle to twenty-four (24) feet. Member Blakaitis seconded.
Motion carried 3-1 with Vice Chair Britt dissenting.
Vice Chair Britt moved that the Planning Board recommend to Council for approval CUP 07-002 as written. Member Fricker seconded.
Motion carried 4-0.
Member Fricker moved that the Planning Board recommend to Council for approval CUP 07-004 as presented. Vice Chair Britt seconded.
Motion carried 4-0.
A. Consideration/Recommendation of ZTA on Fill/Grading
Director Garman stated that at the last meeting, the Board did not come to a consensus on the fill and grading ordinance. He stated that the last measure the Board wanted to address was the definition of what would be considered the building footprint as well as some resolution where the pre-disturbance elevations would be taken and how it would be defined in the ordinance. He stated that staff had attempted to define what the building footprint would be based on discussions from the August meeting. He stated that it was suggested that the building footprint not include the porch areas or decks. He added that since not all buildings have four (4) corners, the building would be drawn from the outermost four (4) corners that encompass it.
Member Fricker moved to recommend approval of the text amendment as presented.
Olin Finch of 116 Sandy Ridge Road was recognized to speak. Mr. Finch asked if the motion was for everything. Member Fricker stated that the only change was the definition of the footprint and the way it would be measured. Mr. Finch suggested changing B from ten (10) feet to five (5) feet with regard to filling lot depressions on interior lots. Member Blakaitis felt it should be changed from ten (10) feet to five (5) feet.
Member Fricker moved to amend his motion to recommend the proposed ordinance be recommended for approval by the Council with the change to subparagraph B from ten (10) feet to five (5) feet. Vice Chair Britt seconded.
Motion carried 4-0.
B. Worksession/Discussion on Fence Regulations
Director Garman stated that the Board discussed fences at their August meeting. He stated that the Board discussed limiting fences to rear yards except where there was a pool in the front yard, in which case a pool fence would be allowed. He stated that the Board felt it was too restrictive so the new proposed ordinance states that if there is a fence in the front yard it would be limited to fifty (50) inches in height. A fence in the back yard would be limited to six (6) feet in height. He stated that the Board also discussed fences adjacent to right-of-ways and the potential impacts associated with creating a barricade look along a roadway corridor. He stated that the new ordinance has a simple requirement that if a homeowner abuts a right-of-way with a rear yard, the fence would be required to be brought in approximately ten (10) feet from the property line and provide a vegetative buffer on the outside. He stated that everything else remained the same in the ordinance. He stated that staff tried to poll the homeowner associations and received a few responses. Generally fences are not regulated by covenants, and those that do regulate them do not allow them at all such as the Sanderling or Gulls Flight subdivisions.
Vice Chair Britt didn’t think the Board needed to worry about homeowner association regulations. Member Fricker clarified that Vice Chair Britt didn’t think the Board should be regulating or addressing fences in an ordinance. Vice Chair Britt disagreed. He thought the Board should not worry about what the homeowner associations do.
Member Fricker thought the consensus of the Board last month was to start simple and build on it later. He stated he had questions on the memorandum to the Board. He asked what the “required front yard” was. Director Garman stated it was the setback area of the front yard. Member Fricker asked why fences were limited to wood. He thought they could be chain link or PVC type material. Director Garman suggested eliminating “of wood construction” from the language. Member Blakaitis thought it wasn’t put in because most fences are symmetrical. He stated that the good side of the fence should be to the neighbor or to the street side no matter what type of fence is put in. He suggested adding that language.
Member Fricker asked if language in Section 24c included privately owned streets. Director Garman thought it should be clarified if it was a private street. Member Fricker asked if the fence regulations in general should extend into the subdivisions. Member Blakaitis stated he wasn’t sure. Member Fricker wondered if this was something the Town had the right to regulate and if the Town should be regulating it when it pertains to non-state owned roads. Member Blakaitis pointed out that the zoning regulations pertain to all subdivisions. He stated that it would be another zoning regulation. Member Blakaitis stated that he understood Member Fricker’s point but wasn’t sure the ordinance was needed. Vice Chair Britt agreed with Member Blakaitis’ comments. He didn’t think the Board needed to be discussing the ordinance as there wasn’t a clear path.
Chairman Forlano stated that he had problems with vegetation that would be required in front of the fencing as well as the buffer from the adjacent properties and public rights-of-way. Member Fricker thought there should only be buffers on public right-of-ways to soften the look. Olin Finch stated that the previous discussions included aesthetics and safety issues. Member Fricker stated that vehicular visibility had not been addressed in the ordinance.
Chairman Forlano stated that the reason for doing the fence ordinance was safety. Olin Finch pointed out that it was consistent with the Town’s sign ordinance with regard to line of sight. Member Fricker felt the more the Board got into it, the less they would be willing to favorably consider fences in an ordinance. He thought if there were legitimate purposes for aesthetic and safety reasons to come up with an ordinance, the Board should then move forward. He didn’t know what the sense of the Board was. Chairman Forlano stated that he had originally wondered why a fence ordinance was needed, but after hearing the ideas, he thought it would be good to have.
Willo Kelly was recognized to speak. Ms. Kelly stated that three (3) Board members had concerns about property rights at the last meeting as well as whether the ordinance was even needed. She stated that it was a concern of the Homebuilders Association as well. She thought the Board was concerned with private property rights at the last meeting. She stated that she understood the issue of safety, but didn’t think six (6) foot fences were something people wanted to see. Member Blakaitis asked if fences could be addressed another way by saying what could not be done rather than what could be done. He didn’t think higher fences should be allowed in front yards.
Vice Chair Britt thought that the safety and aesthetics on NC 12 was the main concern. He stated that beyond that, he didn’t see any reason to go any further. Chairman Forlano asked if an ordinance could be drawn up that just addresses safety and aesthetics. Member Blakaitis asked if the Board could table the issue for home study and have it brought up at the next meeting. He stated he would like to think about things more. Vice Chair Britt agreed with Member Blakaitis’ comments. Chairman Forlano stated that the issue would be tabled and discussed at the October meeting. Director Garman stated that the two (2) main objectives the Board was concerned with were safety and sight distance with driveways and aesthetics on NC 12. Member Blakaitis agreed. Director Garman stated he would come up a proposal to deal with sight distance to be used as a starting point.
Chairman Forlano wondered if property rights trump public safety. Member Blakaitis didn’t think it did.
E. Worksession/Discussion on Survey Submission Requirements
Director Garman stated that the item was referred to the Board by Town Council at their last meeting. He stated that Council wanted the Board to re-evaluate the Town’s survey requirements based on input that some of the requirements may be unnecessary for certain types of projects. He stated that the ordinance requires a survey dated within nine (9) months of the application date when a building permit application is received. He stated that the requirement applies to any project. He asked if surveys should be required for simple projects. He stated that staff came up with a simple solution to the issue which was consistent with other municipalities. He stated that the requirement is not put in the code to allow staff to administratively develop policies for certain projects as to what would be required. He stated that staff was proposing to draft a matrix that would give a guideline for various types of projects and what would be required to verify compliance. He stated that he was asking to strike the language from the ordinance that required a survey within nine (9) months. He thought that since language was already in the ordinance that provides staff with the ability to require what is necessary to verify zoning compliance, it was unnecessary to include a specific requirement for current surveys in the ordinance. He stated that if the Board decided to recommend the issue to Council, staff would draft the policies that would be most appropriate for Duck’s regulations.
Chairman Forlano asked that if the language regarding recent surveys was stricken from the ordinance, would the matrix then be what is used to identify survey requirements. Director Garman stated he was correct. Vice Chair Britt asked if Director Garman was looking for input from the Board on which direction to go. Director Garman stated he was correct.
Vice Chair Britt thought the language needed to be clearer and simpler, especially for smaller projects. Chairman Forlano felt the change should be made. Vice Chair Britt agreed. Member Fricker thought there were two (2) issues that were discussed at the last Council meeting – one was the Board take out the language for the survey requirement and the other regarding the as-builts that were required after a job was completed. Director Garman stated that the language in the ordinance states that when one applies for a building permit, a survey within nine (9) months was required. He stated that it is also referred to as an as-built survey. Member Fricker thought a Board member could make a motion and ask staff to come back with an ordinance amendment to take out the nine (9) month provision. He thought this may not solve the entire problem. If a homeowner wanted to change the footprint of the house, a survey would be required up front. He asked if after the work was completed, would an as-built would be required. Director Garman stated that the matrix would include what would be required up front and at the end of the project. Vice Chair Britt stated that the Board was telling staff to loosen things up a little.
Member Blakaitis asked if Dare County required as-built surveys twenty (20) years ago. Director Garman stated that often the only survey in the file was dated the same day as the building permit application. This is not an as-built survey but only a proposed development plan. He stated that nothing was ever required after that. Member Blakaitis felt it wouldn’t help people as they are living in homes that were approved by Dare County. He felt that most of the people complaining about the process now would still need a survey. Willo Kelly pointed out that they wouldn’t need one every nine (9) months. Vice Chair Britt agreed.
Vice Chair Britt asked if Director Garman could come back at the next meeting with the matrix as well as some ideas. Member Fricker felt that would be putting the cart before the horse. Member Blakaitis felt the Board could discuss the matrix line by line. Director Garman asked if the Board wanted to discuss the matrix in detail. Member Fricker didn’t think it was the Board’s job and felt it was staff’s responsibility to come up with the matrix. He thought the Board needed to ask staff to draft an amendment to the ordinance that eliminated the nine (9) month provision and to make sure what is left on the books enables staff to develop the administrative handbook to have the flexibility for the future. Director Garman agreed but felt the flexibility was already in the ordinance. Member Fricker felt the Board didn’t have to authorize staff to do anything since it could already be accomplished by modifying the residential site plan checklist and by developing the survey requirements matrix. Zoning Administrator Cady pointed out it was a survey checklist. Director Garman stated that a policy similar to the checklist needed to be developed. He stated that staff already has the ability to develop administrative policies to enforce the ordinance. Olin Finch thought an appendix would be a great idea as it would clear things up.
Chairman Forlano asked Director Garman to come up with an amendment to the ordinance striking the requirement for the surveys. He added that the appendix will follow. Director Garman clarified that administrative policy was the appendix and would not be part of the code. Chairman Forlano agreed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
A. Planning Board Meeting August 8, 2007
Member Fricker had a change on Page 2 and Page 5 of the minutes. Member Fricker moved to approve the minutes of the Planning Board Meeting of August 8, 2007 as amended. Member Blakaitis seconded.
Minutes for the Planning Board Meeting on August 8, 2007 were approved 3-0. Vice Chair Britt was not present for the meeting and could not vote.
Chairman Forlano asked Member Fricker to report to the Board on the meeting with the business representatives. Member Fricker asked staff to do whatever they could to get materials to the Board sooner as the ordinance states the Board should receive their packets by the twentieth (20) of each month preceding the regularly scheduled Board meeting. He stated that he understood that it wasn’t always possible, but felt it was an imposition to receive materials at the last minute. He stated that the meeting with the business leaders was very constructive and went well. Chairman Forlano agreed and felt it was a very positive meeting. He hoped that it would continue.
Chairman Forlano reminded the Board that future agenda items to be discussed would be an overview of commercial sign regulations for group development projects, pump and haul wastewater systems, and the vegetation management ordinance modification.
Vice Chair Britt adjourned the meeting.
The time was 9:58 p.m.
/s/ Ron Forlano, Chairman