Planning And Zoning Commission Minutes — May 14

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Chairman Paula Johnson, Jonathan Boardman, Charles Kraiza, Eric Lukingbeal, Eric Myers, James Sansone and Brennan Sheahan and Director of Community Development Abby Kenyon.

Seating of Alternates

Brennan Sheahan was seated.

Public Hearing

Application seeking an amendment to Zoning Regulations Sections 8.3.1 Alcoholic Beverages that would add manufacturer permit for cider.

Eric Myers read the public notice into the record.

Applicant Rebecca (Becky) Clark, Clark Farms at Bushy Hill Orchard, 29 Bushy Hill Road, addressed the Commission. She explained the application proposes to add the word ‘cider’ to Zoning Regulation Section 8.3.1 Alcoholic Beverages, to allow the manufacture of hard cider by Special Permit. The manufacture of hard cider is a value-added item for the farm and will help the farm sustain a livelihood. She added Clark Farms will use homegrown apples from its farm to manufacture the hard cider. Clark Farms has received federal licensing for the manufacture of cider and are now working on local and state approvals.

Abby Kenyon noted this proposed change is similar to two other recent changes to this section of the Zoning Regulations when a farm winery and farm brewery were added. Adding this language to the regulation also aligns with the goals of the Plan of Conservation and Development to encourage and promote new businesses and farming.

There was no public comment.

Kenyon stated that typically the effective date for a regulation change is 15 days after the date of publication. However, the commission has, in the past, set the effective date sooner than 15 days allowing an applicant to submit the Special Permit application under the new regulation. The public hearing closed. The commission has 65 days to make a decision.

Consideration of the above applications, where the commission has concluded the public hearing

On a motion by Eric Lukingbeal seconded by Jonathan Boardman, the commission voted (7-0-0) to approve an application seeking an amendment to Zoning Regulations Sections 8.3.1 Alcoholic Beverages to add the manufacture of cider. Effective date to be May 15.

Staff Reports and Correspondence

Kenyon announced there will be a Special Meeting workshop on June 4 for the commission to discuss drive-through regulations. Kenyon will send information to the commission in advance.

Kenyon stated she has been reviewing the Zoning Regulations regarding notification to abutters. Currently, town staff mails abutter notifications as a courtesy when an application is pending on a nearby property. If the commission is agreeable, an amendment to the regulations requiring notification will be added that will be the responsibility of the applicant. This is currently required when there is a zone boundary change and the proposed amendment would align with this practice.

Commissioner Reports and Correspondence

Boardman stated he passed the Farmers Kitchen restaurant yesterday and there are still blocked sidewalks. Kenyon stated she met with the restaurant owner and he had moved the tables to provide access. She will follow up again.