TOWN OF DUCK
February 27, 2008
The Planning Board for the Town of Duck convened at the Duck Municipal Offices at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 27, 2008.
Present were Chairman Ron Forlano, Vice Chair Jon Britt, Joe Blakaitis, John Fricker and Claiborne Yarbrough.
Also present were Director of Community Development Andy Garman, Council Liaison Dave Wessel and Zoning Technician Sandy Cady.
Others Present: None.
Chairman Forlano called to order the Regular Meeting of the Planning Board for February 27, 2008 at 6:31 p.m.
Chairman Forlano suggested moving Old Business to later in the meeting. It was consensus of the Board to move Old Business and start with New Business.
Chairman Forlano encouraged members of the audience to stay at the meeting to help the Board with the sign ordinance discussion.
A. Application by Wine Ducks, LLC, to Amend Conditional Use Permit 07-005 to Address Changes to Architecture, Proposed Signage, and Lighting for the New Restaurant and Day Spa to be Located at 1174 Duck Road
Director Andy Garman was recognized to speak. Director Garman stated that staff was contacted by Lynette Sumner who represented Wine Ducks, LLC, a few weeks ago. He stated that they are currently working on the reconstruction of the building for a substantial renovation to the former Swan Cove Restaurant. He stated that they obtained a Conditional Use Permit approval back in November 2007. He stated that through the construction process, Ms. Sumner discovered that she wanted to make changes to the building, substantial enough to staff to warrant an amendment to the Conditional Use Permit. He stated that the main item of the amendment was the metal roof that was designed to be on the front of the building. He stated they have proposed it as a galvanized, standing seam metal roof. He stated that the Conditional Use Permit specifically stated this would be included with the building design. He stated that staff felt that because architecture was somewhat subjective, it would need an amendment. He stated that since then, staff had discovered several other items that should be included in the amendment, such as an additional free-standing sign across from the restaurant. He stated that Ms. Sumner was proposing a sign that was approximately 12 square feet in area that would identify the business. He stated that a diagram of the proposed sign as well as the finalized designs for all of the signs were in the Board’s packet.
Director Garman stated that there were two (2) sets of building elevations – an old set which was originally approved and the new proposed elevations. He stated that there were minor changes to the trim, columns on the porch and the handicap ramp. He stated that Ms. Sumner was proposing to change some of the light fixtures on the site, which would be placed on the handicap ramp, under the portico and on the decks to light up areas where customers would be. He stated that staff had talked to the applicant as well as a lighting consultant and found that all of the proposed fixtures met the Town standards for glare and maximum foot candles. He stated that Lynette Sumner was in the audience and would answer any of the Board’s questions. He added that staff felt that the amendment met the Town standards and would recommend approval based on the draft findings and conditions.
Chairman Forlano asked if there was anyone in the audience that had properties adjacent to the former Swan Cove Restaurant. He noted that no other members of the audience would be speaking for or against the property.
Lynette Sumner of 855 Herbert Perry Road in Kitty Hawk was recognized to speak. Ms. Sumner stated that as she went through the process of renovating the building, the original rendering had shifted. She stated that she had met with Director Garman and found that the siding would have to be replaced in approximately two (2) years. She stated that it wasn’t a huge issue, but felt it would become one in the future. She stated that she had taken an in-depth look at the roof line and knowing it would change, thought it would give her time to change the siding in the future. She stated she would like to keep the blue siding for aesthetic reasons. She stated that the updated rendering shows a cleaner look to the building as she had removed two (2) sets of decorative shutters from the front of the building. She stated that she updated the signs on the front of the building to be more accurate. She stated that the handicap ramp had to be redone to meet ADA requirements. She stated that on the rear of the building, three (3) shutters were removed so her clients could view the sound. She stated that the signage across the street from the property was proposed to be nine (9) square feet and would direct people to the restaurant. She added that there will be an angled reflector light that would be down lit to correspond to the Town’s rules. She stated that the colors of the signs would remain the same, be sandblasted and constructed of red cedar. She stated that she had discussed with Director Garman that the sign would tie in with her 64 square foot sign at the restaurant.
Director Garman noted that the applicant was allowed one (1) free-standing sign for frontage. He clarified that the two (2) signs combined would be approximately three (3) square feet over the allowed sixty-four (64) square feet. He noted that the applicant had two (2) frontages which allowed two (2) free-standing signs.
Lynette Sumner stated that the lighting in the parking lot would be consistent with the Town’s lighting ordinance. She stated that the new proposed lighting involved lighting closest to the building. Director Garman stated that the details of the fixtures were included in the Board’s packet. Ms. Sumner pointed out that none of the proposed lighting would cast a photometric deterrent onto the sound waters.
Chairman Forlano asked the Board for their comments.
Vice Chair Britt thought that everything looked good. He stated he did not have any fundamental problems with anything. Member Yarbrough agreed with Vice Chair Britt’s comments. Member Blakaitis commended Lynette Sumner for spending so much time and detail to bring the minor changes to the Board’s attention.
Member Fricker stated he did not have any problems with anything. He asked how free-standing signs were measured. Director Garman stated that the sign face alone was measured and not the structure surrounding it. Member Fricker asked what would be proposed to be done with regard to the exhaust fans at the base of the handicap ramp. Lynette Sumner stated that they would be moved to meet ADA requirements.
Chairman Forlano stated that the applicant did a great job. He added that he did not have any problems with the amendment.
Member Blakaitis moved to recommend approval of the amendment to Town Council with the modifications and conditions as proposed by staff. Member Yarbrough seconded.
Motion carried 5-0.
B. Consideration and Recommendation on Special Exception 08-002 to Renew a Special Exception for a Small Child Care Home at 105 Jaycrest Drive
Director Garman stated that the request was a renewal for a Special Exception Permit for a small child care home submitted by Vincenza George. He stated that she was originally approved in 2004 and renewed in 2006. He stated that this was another re-authorization for and additional two (2) years. He stated that a site map, an aerial photo, photos of the property, various letters of support and one letter of concern were included in the Board’s packet. He stated that the Town code regulates the Special Exception, but they were essentially Conditional Use Permits. He added that they are also regulated by the state with licensing requirements for small child care homes. He stated that the Town’s permit was intended to ensure she was operating in accordance with the State requirements as well as to mitigate any impacts that would be felt by adjacent properties in the neighborhood.
Director Garman stated that previous staff reports found the use consistent with the Land Use Plan. He stated that an absentee adjacent property owner had submitted a letter expressing concerns over the maintenance of the property. He stated that the adjacent owner felt that the applicant had time to address concerns, but had not done so. He added that there were also several letters of support for the child care home. He stated that staff felt the use was in a residential neighborhood and the owner should be mindful of the neighborhood. However, staff did not feel the recourse proposed by the objecting party was appropriate as there were other avenues to address the concerns. He stated that staff was recommending that the property be well maintained and have the toys kept in a fenced area or buffer the area with shrubs.
Chairman Forlano asked if there were any adjacent property owners in the audience. Chris Montez stated he was a resident of 101 Jaycrest Drive. There being no one else, Chairman Forlano made it clear that the Board was not keeping people opposed to the issue from speaking.
Vincenza George of 105 Jaycrest Drive was recognized to speak. Ms. George stated that since the photo of her property was taken, she had cleaned up the yard. She noted that she has three (3) children who have recreational interests.
Ray George of 105 Jaycrest Drive was recognized to speak. Mr. George stated that he understood what the absentee owner was indicating with regard to the children’s toys. He stated that things change daily at the house with children there. He stated that the fence would be changed as soon as possible to make it more private and aesthetically pleasing.
Tara Cosca of 131 Crooked Back Loop in Southern Shores was recognized to speak. Ms. Cosca stated she was the parent of a child attending Ms. George’s child care center. She stated that Duck was very safe; the emergency services were great as well. She stated that Ms. George was legally operating with two (2) degrees in Montessori education. She stated that it was a small school environment that was nurturing and safe. She pointed out that there were not many choices with regard to child care on the Outer Banks and thought that Ms. George’s child care home was perfect.
Dalia Shoval-Shaked of 5217 Lunar Drive in Kitty Hawk was recognized to speak. Ms. Shoval-Shaked stated she would not move her son anywhere else. She asked the Board to let the child care home continue.
Victor White of Landmark Engineering was recognized to speak. Mr. White stated that he had dealt with the first two (2) Special Exceptions for Ms. George. He stated that his son used to go to Montessori Children’s School and he could not say enough about how wonderful she was. He stated that any conditions the Town had put on Ms. George were fully complied with and will continue. He stated that he recalled the previous complaint. He thought that regardless of what conditions the Town placed on Ms. George, there would still be a complaint when the issue will need to be renewed in the future.
Angela Davis of 407 West Durham Street in Kill Devil Hills was recognized to speak. Ms. Davis stated that Ms. George’s program spoke volumes. She stated that Ms. George was an exceptional professional for an at home facility. She added that she wasn’t just a babysitter for children.
Debra Mennicucci of 206 Clam Shell Drive in Kill Devil Hills was recognized to speak. Ms. Mennicucci stated that Ms. George was a wonderful person who ran a wonderful facility.
Victor White stated he would send another child of his to her if he was blessed with another one. He felt Ms. George was an asset to the Town of Duck and Dare County.
Chairman Forlano asked the Board for their questions and comments.
Member Blakaitis stated that he agreed completely with staff’s recommendation. He thought it was a wonderful thing to have a child care facility in Duck. He stated that he did not agree with the absentee owner’s assessment. He stated that the Town was not in the business of telling people what toys should be in their yard. He felt it would behoove Ms. George to keep her yard a little neater in order to eliminate any more complaints. He didn’t think that anything special needed to be added to the Special Exception.
Member Fricker thought there was no question as to the importance of a child care home. He stated that the issue was well presented by Director Garman that businesses are not allowed to be conducted in a residential area unless approved by the Town. He wondered if the Town had any say as to what the property looked like with regard to the operation of the business. He stated that in the photo it looked like a lot of items outside of the fence that had nothing to do with child care. He stated that the Board could not take the George’s to task, but could ask them to keep the items with regard to the child care home out of sight. He stated he wasn’t sure it should be a condition of the Special Exception.
Member Yarbrough agreed with Member Fricker’s comments. She thought that it was lovely facility and didn’t think the Town had any business regulating what was in their yard. Vice Chair Britt agreed.
Chairman Forlano stated he had driven down Jaycrest Drive a few times in the last week and thought Ms. George’s yard was commendable. He stated he could name a few properties on Jaycrest that had a lot of items in their front yards. He asked who licensed and monitored the Montessori school. Vincenza George stated that the parents did. Victor White stated that the Health Department made sure the septic capacity was large enough. He stated that if she went over a certain number of students, the State would then regulate the school. Chairman Forlano asked if Dare County Referral Service visited on a regular basis to check on health issues. Vincenza George stated that they come and visit but wasn’t sure they had a checklist. She stated that as a legally operating day care, she did not have anyone coming in to make an inspection except for the parents.
Chairman Forlano asked if the Town got involved in looking at the facility in regard to fire exits, debris or any way a child could potentially get hurt. Director Garman stated that one of the original conditions placed on Ms. George was to obtain a building permit to refinish the first floor area. Chairman Forlano clarified that a building permit was obtained to refinish the first floor. Director Garman stated he was correct and added that it was also to comply with the terms of the Conditional Use Permit to have the first floor available for child care. Chairman Forlano clarified that the Director of Community Development and Building Inspector had the right to inspect the property periodically to check for compliance. He asked if the Town felt secure that the facility was a safe environment for children. Director Garman stated he had not inspected the facility. He reiterated that a building permit was obtained to do what was requested of the original Conditional Use Permit. He stated that they completed the work to the Town’s satisfaction and received a Certificate of Occupancy.
Member Blakaitis asked if there was a regularly scheduled inspection of the building that the Town performed. Zoning Technician Sandy Cady was recognized to speak. Zoning Technician Cady stated that the Town would not visit unless Ms. George was renewing her Special Exception. Member Blakaitis asked if someone made a visit prior to the meeting. Director Garman stated that staff visited the site but did not inspect the interior. He didn’t think he was qualified to inspect issues with regard to health and safety.
Member Fricker stated that it didn’t appear that there was anything that alluded to health and safety. Chairman Forlano agreed. He stated that he was bringing up another issue. He wondered if the Town was going to allow something sensitive, would the Town have the responsibility to think about the safety and welfare of children in a facility that they were permitting. He asked if that was the Town’s obligation. Director Garman thought it should be. He stated that the fact that they were operating with a certain number of children exempted them from certain official licensing requirements from the State. He stated that once a child care facility reaches a certain size, then on site inspections are performed. He wasn’t sure what the threshold was. He stated that Ms. George was not proposing to change anything in her application.
Member Fricker stated that he did not see anything in the regulations that would authorize the Planning Board or Town Council to look into the operation from a health and welfare point of view. He thought it was the County or State’s responsibility. He thought that if the Town decided to look inside the building and something happened, it could expose the Town to liability. Director Garman thought it was a policy question as to whether the Town wanted to adopt additional regulations. He stated that the question then would become if the Town has the authority to do it or would it be duplicating the authority of another agency.
Chairman Forlano stated he did not have a problem with renewing the Conditional Use Permit regardless of the one (1) complaint. He stated he threw out the idea for discussion to see if the Board needed to think about. He stated that it seemed like the consensus of the Board was that there wasn’t. Vice Chair Britt agreed. He stated it was State statute and the Town should stay out of it.
Member Fricker suggested eliminating one (1) “part-time” in the draft attachment under F on Page 2 as it was repeated twice. Director Garman stated he would remove it.
Member Fricker moved to approve the application of Vincenza George for renewal of a Special Exception conditional use for the small child care home at 105 Jaycrest Drive. Vice Chair Britt seconded the motion.
Motion carried 5-0.
C. Consideration and Recommendation on Special Exception 08-003 to Renew a Special Exception for a Parking Reduction at 1180-5 and 1180-6 Duck Road
Director Garman stated that Myra Ladd-Bone of Atlantic Realty had submitted the application to renew her Special Exception which was granted in 2006 for a parking reduction. He stated that at the time, she wished to convert retail space to office space and the shopping center she was in was deficient in parking based on the Town’s ordinance. He stated that she went through the Special Exception process with Council placing a number of conditions on the Special Exception permit that would help alleviate the parking deficiency. He stated that staff verified that all conditions had been complied with and continue to be complied with. He stated that the conditions spoke to maintenance of the parking area, maintenance of an adjacent parking area, bollards and ropes around the septic area, installation of bicycle racks, employee hours, what can and cannot be operated at the facility, and turnover of the weekly rentals that were managed. He stated that it was verified that they were operating primarily with a Sunday turnover. He stated that no issues were noted and staff would recommend approval. He stated that staff did not see the need to have her come back for another renewal and he removed the condition that she come back again in two (2) years.
Member Blakaitis asked if there were any conflicts with the adjacent property owner. He stated that there were concerns about the fence. Myra Ladd-Bone of 3053 Creek Road in Kitty Hawk was recognized to speak. Ms. Ladd-Bone stated that the fence was taken down. She stated that she did not have any problem with the adjacent property owner. Member Blakaitis asked why the fence was taken down. Ms. Ladd-Bone stated it was ugly.
Chairman Forlano noted that Resort Quest and PRK (adjacent property owners) were notified of the meeting but were not present.
Vice Chair Britt moved to recommend approval of the Special Exception renewal as proposed. Member Fricker seconded the motion.
Motion carried 5-0.
Discussion of Driveway/Parking Regulations pertaining to Circular Driveways and Required Surfacing
Director Garman stated that Town Council had referred the issue to the Planning Board at their February meeting. He stated that he included minutes from the May 2007 Planning Board meeting regarding the issue. He stated that if it was the Board’s desire, they could simply change the maximum access width to twenty-four (24) feet. He added that North Carolina Department of Transportation does require a permit for multiple curb cuts on Duck Road but it was not their policy to be as concerned with residential properties. He stated that staff had no objection to allowing curb cut driveways.
Member Fricker stated he did not have a problem with a circular driveway. He wondered whether all the Board needed to do was change the twenty (20) feet to twenty-four (24) feet. He stated that when he read the regulations, he didn’t think the Board had to amend anything. He thought Subparagraph G made multiple curb cuts possible. He thought if it was changed to twenty-four (24) feet, the first word in the paragraph should say “accesses”. Member Blakaitis didn’t think it was the intent of the regulations to have a twenty-four (24) foot wide access for driveways. Member Fricker thought the Board needed to think about how the regulations would be reworded. He thought it should be expressly stated that curb cuts of a single driveway shall be twelve (12) feet and a circular drive should be larger. Member Blakaitis suggested leaving the language as it was but add “exceed twenty (20) feet in width for one cut and a total of twenty-four (24) feet for two cuts to accommodate a circular driveway.” Vice Chair Britt clarified that a single driveway would be twenty (20) feet but multiples would allow twenty-four (24) feet total. Member Blakaitis agreed.
Olin Finch of 116 Sandy Ridge Road was recognized to speak. Mr. Finch asked if there needed to be a minimum distance between the two (2) driveways. Member Blakaitis stated he wasn’t sure.
Director Garman stated that there have been requests for multiple curb cut driveways to avoid stairs in the middle of the driveway. Member Blakaitis asked if the Town allowed circular driveways, would multiple curb cuts be a problem. Director Garman didn’t think it was a problem but it could affect the decision on minimum spacing. He stated that he has seen standards for it but could not recall the specific standard. He stated he could find standards that speak to the spacing. Vice Chair Britt suggested looking at other standards. Director Garman stated the regulations could limit a single curb cut to twenty (20) feet in width; multiple curb cuts would be a maximum of twenty-four (24) feet in width with a minimum distance between the two of at least fifteen (15) feet.
Member Fricker thought the first line of Section G should be deleted as the only thing it addressed was seventy-five percent (75%). He stated that the introductory language in Section E should be changed to “…individual drive aisles shall be a minimum of 12 feet wide and a maximum of 20. Circular drive aisles shall be a minimum of 12 with each curb cut not less than X feet from the other.” Member Blakaitis stated he would go along with the new language.
Chairman Forlano asked Director Garman to reword the regulations and bring it back to the Board for their next meeting. Director Garman stated he would.
Discussion/Review of Proposed Sign Ordinance Amendments
Director Garman stated that a presentation was scheduled for the Town Council Retreat with regard to signs; however time ran out so the presentation was bumped to the Council’s February 20, 2008 mid month meeting. He stated that the amortization schedule was on the books for a while. He stated that the deadline for wall and roof signs came up last summer. He stated that the Board has been going through ordinance amendments; however he didn’t want to get into compliance or enforcement of the sign ordinance until he was clear on what was to be enforced. He stated that Council was given a presentation on the ordinance and what it would affect. He added that if Council wanted to make any changes, similar to what the Planning Board has been looking at, they had the opportunity to refer changes back to the Board before staff started telling people to take down their signs as part of the amortization schedule.
Director Garman stated that three (3) issues stuck with Council that they wanted the Board to review further. He stated that he included suggested language for discussion purposes in the Board’s packets to deal with the issues.
Director Garman stated that there were signs attached to an outer edge of a porch roof that extended above or below it. He stated that the ordinance currently prohibits such signs. He added that Council wanted the Board to explore what flexibility there could be. He stated that Council wanted the Board to explore language that would make the signs conforming and not subject to amortization. He noted that all issues did not have to be resolved at the meeting if the Board did not feel obligated to do so. He stated he wanted to get the issues in front of the Board as a starting point for discussion.
Director Garman suggested creating new definitions in the ordinance that would strictly define what the signs were and establish a different standard for them. He stated the definitions would define what a porch was, what a porch sign was and a suggestion that would not allow the signs to extend a certain distance above or below the porch and not be held to the strict requirement that they could not extend at all. He stated that a specific distance was not included as staff wanted to take measurements and provide more information to the Board to see what they were comfortable with.
Chairman Forlano clarified that none of the signs were more than twelve (12) or eighteen (18) inches above the roof line. Director Garman didn’t think any of them were more twelve (12) inches. Chairman Forlano thought a twelve (12) inch limit above the roof line should be allowed on a porch or side of building face.
Member Blakaitis stated that he did not find the Plum Crazy and Atlantic Realty signs to be a problem aesthetically. He thought the Angelo’s Pizza sign looked stupid. Vice Chair Britt stated he did not like signs that extended above the roof line like the Angelo’s Pizza one. Director Garman stated that Council did not like the Angelo’s Pizza sign as well.
Chairman Forlano clarified that if there was a limit of twelve (12) inches above the soffitt area, it would satisfy all of the problems. Zoning Technician Cady agreed. Director Garman stated that he could come back with detailed dimensions of all of the different signs as well as limitations on the size of porch signs. Vice Chair Britt felt there needed to be a percentage for signs. Director Garman agreed.
Chairman Forlano asked if Scarborough Faire had any signs like the ones the Board was discussing. Walter Story of Scarborough Faire was recognized to speak. Mr. Story stated that there were two (2), but they have been removed because they were illegal.
Member Blakaitis asked what was done as far as enforcement on illegal signs. Zoning Technician Cady stated that she had brought the issue to Sue Cotellessa but it was never enforced. Member Blakaitis asked why it wasn’t enforced. Zoning Technician Cady reiterated that she asked Sue Cotellessa what should be done but that Ms. Cotellessa didn’t do anything to enforce the issue. Member Blakaitis asked what had been done since Ms. Cotellessa left. He stated that something had to be done. He thought the amortization period for noncompliance should not be allowed to run forever. He felt it didn’t set a good precedence. He thought if the Town did anything to change it, enforcement should be done immediately. He asked again why some signs have not been enforced since Ms. Cotellessa left. Vice Chair Britt pointed out that signs were touchy, especially when Ms. Cotellessa transitioned out of the Town. He noted that it was summer time and signs shouldn’t be messed with in mid-season. Member Blakaitis stated he understood but felt the most recent sign that was permitted and put up wrong should have been enforced immediately. Chairman Forlano stated it should be enforced as it was a matter of fairness. He stated that if one business had to take their sign down, then another business with the same noncompliant sign needs to as well. He thought that before the season starts, enforcement should begin. Vice Chair Britt stated that the ordinance may not go into effect until April.
Director Garman stated that one of the issues that Council discussed was enforcement. He stated that a lot of signs in Town were never permitted even though there was a big push in 2004 to have everyone permitted. He thought it was Council’s intent and direction to go forward with enforcement of all sign issues with regard to permits that were never obtained.
Member Fricker thought before enforcing everything, staff should find out if Council really has its heart in it. Director Garman stated it was one of the major purposes of the presentation to Council. Chairman Forlano pointed out that Council discussed not rewriting the whole sign ordinance, but tweaking it a bit. He stated that the violations had nothing to do with what the Board was discussing. He stated that Council suggested enforcing the violators. Director Garman agreed and added that there were cases where the Town needed to push forward to get the permits in as there will be a lot of cases where a business owner will come in to obtain a permit and find they are compliant. He stated that there was a push in 2004 for all business owners to obtain their permits, but it stopped after a while.
Member Blakaitis asked if there was a sign inspection after a sign was installed. Zoning Technician Cady stated there was if there was a building permit associated with it. She stated that typically when a sign goes up, she goes out to measure the signs. Member Blakaitis thought at that time, Zoning Technician Cady should go up to the business owner to discuss where the sign would be put up. Zoning Technician Cady stated that she did. Director Garman stated that if it couldn’t be verified on a survey, then an inspection would be completed.
Director Garman stated that roof signs were discussed at the Council meeting. He stated that there was a provision in the ordinance that stated that a roof sign could not extend above the roof peak to which it’s attached. He thought the best example was the Waterfront Shops as a lot of signs were attached to the roof or extended beyond the peak of the roof. He believed the intent of the ordinance was to limit the view of the back of the sign from the other side. He stated that the question was whether to help some of the signs come into compliance. He stated that the second issue was the area of the sign relative to the plane of the roof to which it’s attached. He stated that staff was looking at basic language that would limit the sign to 25% of the roof area on which it’s attached or some minimum size, whichever was greater.
Member Blakaitis wondered why there needed to be any roof signs. Director Garman stated that there didn’t have to be roof signs. Member Fricker thought if the Town disallowed roof signs, it would compound the problem. Director Garman agreed. Council Liaison Dave Wessel stated he could see the purpose of roof signs. Member Fricker asked how Scarborough Faire addressed roof signs. He thought that by having a directory sign that lists all the stores, it could be an alternative to roof signs. Walter Story stated that roof signs were not allowed at Scarborough Faire. He stated that they cause roof leaks and look bad.
Chairman Forlano asked if signs could be dropped down to the soffitt area instead of having business owners needing new signs. He stated that it could be expensive for the smaller businesses. Director Garman stated that in some cases, the sign could be dropped down below the peak; however there were signs that were too big and would extend no matter where it would be placed. Vice Chair Britt stated that some of the roof signs at the Waterfront Shops looked like they were on top of one another. Chairman Forlano thought some municipalities did not allow roof signs. Director Garman agreed.
Member Fricker asked if the Board was stating that signs that have been in place for a long time should be above the ridge line on the plane of the roof. He wondered if it was okay. Member Blakaitis didn’t think so. Council Liaison Wessel thought Council wanted to do away with signs that were above the roof peak. Director Garman stated he could suggest language if they didn’t want those type of signs allowed in Town. He stated that they could then get into applying the amortization to the signs as opposed to changing the standards. He stated he would not suggest changing the standards just to make something not nonconforming as there were other ways to deal with it. He stated that if the value was to let people keep what they have and not perpetuate it, then the Board would have to discuss a different way of dealing with the amortization and not with the standards of the ordinance.
Member Yarbrough asked how staff would deal with the issue. Director Garman stated that if it was decided to let people keep their signs and not make them take them down due to a particular deadline, the Town would not make them subject to amortization, but they would be subject to nonconformity provisions. He stated that it was a less aggressive way of dealing with the nonconformities. Member Yarbrough stated she felt more comfortable with that direction. Chairman Forlano agreed.
Member Blakaitis asked if the Board reached any type of agreement that signs should extend at all beyond the peak of any roof. Vice Chair Britt and Chairman Forlano didn’t think the signs should extend beyond the peak of the roof. Member Blakaitis agreed. He suggested language to state: “…roof signs shall not extend above the peak of the roof of which they are attached, nor above the highest roof peak of the principal structure…” Director Garman stated that language was like that now. Member Blakaitis stated it should stay that way.
Chairman Forlano stated that the Board was in agreement to leave Section 130 as is and grandfather all the roof signs that were nonconforming. He added that non-permitted signs would be enforced as far as coming into compliance.
Director Garman and the Planning Board discussed reader boards. Director Garman stated that staff would not recommend increasing the allowable size of them. Chairman Forlano stated that if a sign was within 64 square feet, he would not have a problem with the size of the reader board. Vice Chair Britt agreed. Chairman Forlano stated he was more concerned with the size and location of the sign. Vice Chair Britt thought 12 square feet was too restrictive for a sign.
Member Blakaitis clarified that an actual ordinance was not written yet. Director Garman stated that he had some language in ordinance form that he thought the Board would agree on.
Director Garman stated that another issue was the Town’s ability to put up banners. He stated that he had some language for it. Member Blakaitis wondered if Walter Story had any comments. Walter Story thought the Board addressed a lot of the issues. He stated that he had not seen any draft revisions, therefore he could not comment on them. He guessed they would eventually come out for public inspection. He stated that he handed in his comments to Director Garman. He added that there were certain things in the ordinance that were in conflict with each other. He asked if they would be addressed. Director Garman stated they could be discussed at a future meeting. Member Blakaitis agreed, but thought the issues had already been discussed. Chairman Forlano agreed and thought one of the issues was determining the frontage of a building. Vice Chair Britt agreed. Director Garman stated that an actual zoning interpretation was presented that described in detail how frontage was calculated. He added that the goal was to have a whole series of sign ordinance guidelines.
Walter Story stated that his other issue was regarding banners. Director Garman stated the issue was previously discussed at the January 9, 2008 Planning Board meeting. He stated that the consensus of the Board was not to allow banners in Town. Mr. Story asked if the Town would keep their banners up. Director Garman stated it would. Mr. Story felt it was unfair. He asked if a special exception would be allowed. Director Garman stated that it is always available.
Chairman Forlano noted that the Town banners had not been addressed. Director Garman stated that the ordinance was a clarification on the Town’s authority to post banners beyond what was written in the ordinance. Chairman Forlano clarified that the Town Council looked up their authority and found they had the authority to do it. Vice Chair Britt stated it was Town Council’s decision. Walter Story thought the intent was not to put banners on utility poles. He wondered what was wrong with putting a banner on a light post at a private site. He thought it would enhance the Town’s banners. Member Blakaitis didn’t think the issue was finished yet. Chairman Forlano stated that he had brought the issue up and wasn’t going to disagree with Walter Story. Vice Chair Britt thought the Board felt there wasn’t a right way to write an ordinance that would not have some loopholes in it. Member Yarbrough agreed.
Director Garman clarified that the consensus of the Board was to leave things at 12 square feet with regard to reader boards. Vice Chair Britt stated he would like to see it expanded as he felt it was too small.
Chairman Forlano asked what Director Garman would come back to the Board with. Director Garman stated he would work on porch signs, operating based on language he proposed. He stated he would do some research on the size of porch signs, how far above and below the fascia that they extend and the size of them relative to their frontage and bring back information on making a recommendation. He stated he would need to look at something to not subject roof signs to amortization, but make them nonconforming. He stated that he would leave the reader board left as is. He stated that other items the Board discussed relative to signs, along with a complete ordinance draft, would be brought back at the next meeting. Chairman Forlano requested that Walter Story be provided with a copy of the draft in advance of the meeting.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Planning Board Meeting January 9, 2008
Chairman Forlano directed the Board to review the minutes from the January 9, 2008 meeting. Vice Chair Britt moved to approve the minutes as presented. Member Blakaitis seconded.
Motion carried 5-0.
Planning Board Meeting January 23, 2008
Chairman Forlano directed the Board to review the minutes from the January 23, 2008 meeting. Member Fricker had one change to Page 1. Chairman Forlano had a change to Page 8.
Member Fricker moved to approve the minutes as amended.
Motion carried 5-0.
Chairman Forlano stated the next meeting would be on Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. Vice Chair Britt stated he would not be able to attend the next meeting.
Member Yarbrough stated that she felt the agenda was fairly long this time around and was concerned about the length of the Board meetings as well as their ability to digest the issues. Chairman Forlano felt the agenda was short. Director Garman thought he could contact Chairman Forlano and other members of the Board to review future agendas before putting it together to see if there were any concerns. Chairman Forlano stated that as long it doesn’t hold anyone up from getting things done. Director Garman agreed.
Chairman Forlano adjourned the meeting.
The time was 9:12 p.m.
/s/ Ron Forlano, Chairman