Town of Otis
Planning Board Meeting Minutes
February 8, 2021
Online using the Zoom link provided below.
*This meeting is being conducted remotely through Zoom. You must check back within 24 hours of the start time for a link to join.
Pursuant to the Governor’s March 12, 2020 order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, Sec 18, this meeting is being held via remote participation to the greatest extent possible. Every effort is being made to ensure that any member of the public may access the meeting in real time, via technological means. Agendas will be amended to show the link and participation code to access the meeting no sooner than 48 hours before. Recordings and/or draft proceedings of the meeting will be available on our website as soon as possible.
- Roll Call
- Hal Kobrin, Chair
- Rona Knight, Member
- Jim Kauffman, Member
- Jen Daily, Member
- Stacey Schultze, Clerk
- Larry Gould, Building Inspector
- Members of the Public Present: Lyn Vedovato, John Weldon, Ralph Huber, David Donahue, Annodonell, Patricia Rizzo
- Approval of Minutes. Approval of January 11, 2021 Planning Board meeting minutes.
- Jen approves, Rona seconds, all in favor
- Special Permit Extension Review: D & J Development LLC
- There has been a request for an extension for the special permit by David Donahue because construction of the building has not begun.
- Larry clarified that progress toward building has taken place such as securing public water through a well and other items. Therefore, there may not be need to secure an extension.
- Jen asked what action would protect the applicant most? It was determined that a year extension would be in the best interest of the applicant.
- Hal proposes that a document be supplied to Mr. Donahue indicating that the Planning Board grants a 1 year extension from the expiration of the original application. Rona seconds, all in favor.
- It was also noted that the applicant could file for an additional extension if needed.
- Mr. Donahue requested guidance from the planning board on if the special permit would be impacted if he sold a small parcel of his land to his neighbor. The response was that so long as it doesn’t impact the special permit parameters and Mr. Donahue submits a Form A application with a survey indicating specifics, that they did not see a problem. This was just the opinions of the board, not an acceptance of the request to subdivide. A few items to consider is if the change in remaining lot size impacts the % of wetlands areas and storm water concerns. Mr. Donahue wanted to make sure that if the Form A was approved and the land sold, that the land would be excluded from the special permit at that time.
- Solar Bylaw review
- Jen and Rona asked questions about some of the changes suggested by the select board and town admin. Why was the special permit jurisdiction moved to the Zoning Board? Why was the approval of ConCom removed from the language?
- Larry answered. The town would save in appeals processes within the various boards if the zoning board were to issue the special permit because if it were to be appealed, it would go directly to the court system. He indicated that if there was a conservation issue at a proposed site, then the applicant would have follow conservation commission protocol, so that it is unnecessary to include it in the bylaw. The planning board can refer to ConCom in the application and decision process for a review of the application before proceeding.
- Jim motions to approve amended version of the Solar bylaw. Hal seconds, all in favor.
- Annual Report
- The report distributed is complete and all approve it to be submitted to the Town Admin and Select board.
- Any Other Business, Old or New.
- Larry brought it to the Planning Board’s attention that there is new language from the state about Flood Plains that should be adopted. This will allow flood insurance programs to continue without question or interruptions.
- The board agrees to review and propose updates.
- Larry suggests the planning board review laws about short-term rentals and consider either a town statute or bylaw be written. There is possible lost revenue through taxes. Additionally, there is no way of tracking where the rentals are, how many rentals there are, or rental sales. The increase in properties being purchased exclusively as short-term rentals in anecdotally on the rise across town. This decreases the number of available housing options for full-time or potential full-time residents.
- Jen suggested the board look at length of occupancy like how many weeks out of a year and number of consecutive days. It would be nice to be able to track through a common registration with the town.
- Hal noted that enforcement of the law should be taken into consideration.
- The board agreed to research the topic to prepare something for the select board to review.
- Hal shared with Larry that he interprets the exemption to the bylaw regarding the cell tower as exclusive to emergency services. He believes the select board would be circumnavigating the law if a commercial company were to erect the tower and allow usage for emergency communication.
- Larry pointed out that no decisions have been made to move in any direction because they are waiting on a report about the effectiveness of the emergency services at that location. Larry suggested Hal bring his concerns to the attention of the Town Admin.
- Questions from the public included questions about a specific solar installation near Algerie Road. The questions address concerns of visibility and proximity to waterways.
- Rona noted that the Solar Bylaw that was discussed at the meeting is a general bylaw. Specifics of a particular project should be discussed with the other town boards such as ConCom or the Select board.
- Update on the HMP/MVP survey. The board agrees to share the survey with Town Admin as is and to forward to Justin at BRPC.
- Jen asked if anyone had heard from Justin about another meeting, no one had. She will follow up with Brandi because there is a breakdown in communication.
- Motion to Adjourn by Jen at 8:19. Rona seconds, all in favor.
The Public is invited to attend using the following Zoom link.
Topic: Planning Board February 8, 2021 Meeting
Time: Feb 8, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
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