DRB Minutes 2017-3-28

Town of Fairlee Development Review Board Final Minutes
Town Of Fairlee Town Hall
75 Town Common Road
Fairlee, Vermont 05045

Tuesday March 28, 2017

CALL TO ORDER: Zoning Administrator Chris Brimmer called the meeting to order at 7:00pm.


  • David Fracht, Nancy Anderson, William Dunnack, Peter Lange and Tim Danen
  • MINUTES CLERK: Stephanie A. Taylor
  • VISITORS: Frank J. Barrett, Jr., Peter Berger, Cathy McGrath, Georgette Wolf-Ludwig, Noel Walker, Chris Brimmer, Michael Regione, Linda Bryant

MOTION: Nancy Anderson/Bill Dunnack (moved and seconded) made a motion to nominate David Fracht as Chair. The motion passed unanimously.

MOTION: David Fracht/Peter Lange (moved and seconded) made a motion to nominate Nancy Anderson as Vice-Chair. The motion passed unanimously.

MOTION: Peter Lange/Bill Dunnack (moved and seconded) made a motion to approve the minutes of October 25, 2016 as written. The motion passed unanimously.

AGENDA MODIFICATIONS: The board members agreed to move the public hearing to 7:15pm. Procedural and Ethics Rules will be discussed after the public hearing.


  • Cathy McGrath addressed the Development Review Board members to clarify an earlier communication regarding the best practice of rotating chairs on town boards. She explained that this decision is entirely the decision of the DRB members.
  • Peter Lange emphasized that he believes that the DRB needs to remain independent.
  • Nancy Anderson stated that David Fracht is very knowledgeable and works well with the Zoning Administrator. This is in the best interest of the board and facilitates smooth functioning of the board and its duties.
  • Bill Dunnack also endorsed David Fracht in his continued role as chair. He has served on the DRB off and on for twenty years.
  • David Fracht expressed appreciation to Tim Danen for joining the DRB and noted the value of his experience as a former Planning Commission member.


Addition to Fairlee Town Hall for ADA Access

At 7:15pm Development Review Board Chair David Fracht opened the public hearing.

Frank J. Barrett, Jr. (Licensed Architect) was sworn in as representing the Town of Fairlee. Mr. Barrett has been involved in the proposed renovation and ongoing maintenance of this building for many years. The key issues are that a lack of ADA compliance will require the installation of an elevator and state fire requirements will require the construction of a fire-rated stairs. In February 2014 the building was added to the National Historic Register. The Fire Marshal and the building committee have endorsed the renovation concept.

A front setback waiver will be required (building sits in road.) Any construction in the southeast corner would require a 45 foot waiver on a 50 foot setback requirement.  Emergency vehicles would continue to be able to access the drive between the two buildings after the renovation. A boundary survey was done by Byron Kidder.

Existing fire escapes will be removed and one handicapped parking space will be constructed.

Frank J. Barrett, Jr. explained that the Town Hall is considered an “Existing Place of Assembly” not a new place of assembly.

Zoning Administrator Chris Brimmer explained which uses of the building are grandfathered. Chris Brimmer said that DRB will need to make the call. The use of the upstairs part of the building was never fully discontinued. Continuous tenants have been allowed to use the space. Frank J. Barrett, Jr. noted that substantial investments have been made to the building over the years.

David Fracht described the Site Plan Review process which facilitates the harmonious relationship between the proposed uses and existing uses. Retail and church uses are adjacent. The septic system for the Town Hall will be upgraded.

Peter Lange commented to the Chair that a more detailed plan of boundaries, septic location and water line location is necessary for the DRB to make an informed decision.  The Town of Fairlee has hired an engineer to design new septic system. 

The Zoning Administrator had expected the DRB review at this meeting to focus on the addition to the building not the entire renovation project.

Frank J. Barrett, Jr. noted that the building has a 4800 square feet footprint on the first floor and a smaller footprint on the second floor. The capacity upstairs is 250 persons in addition to 50 persons on the balcony and 50 persons on the stage.

During the Site Plan Review the full parking requirement would work out to 117 parking spaces. Zoning Administrator Chris Brimmer explained that there is adequate parking at the Railroad Station and in other areas owned by town. The Development Review Board could condition a permit on getting a proposed parking layout from the architect.

Chair David Fracht advised recessing the hearing until next regular meeting date of April 11, 2017 when more information can be provided.


Development Review Board Chair David Fracht swore in Michael Regione. Mr. Regione is an adjacent property owner. He asked how the renovation project would impact his property.

Georgette Wolf-Ludwig and Noel Walker were sworn in by Development Review Board Chair David Fracht.

Georgette Wolf-Ludwig noted that there is parking available throughout the day along Route 5. During large events such as funerals and weddings there are large numbers of cars parked there.

Peter Lange requested more details about the Town Hall renovation and proposed boundaries of the renovations.

Zoning Administrator Chris Brimmer noted that the front of the building is currently nonconforming and is located within the setback, which is why a waiver is necessary. The project triggered a site plan review and approval which will need to be determined by the DRB.

The Development Review Board members would like the applicant to show water lines, septic location, vehicular circulation, parking, the existing footprint versus new addition (the architect will superimpose both boundaries on a plan.) The adequacy of the landscaping, screening and setbacks with relation to adjacent property will also need to be depicted on the plan.

Zoning Administrator Chris Brimmer will generate a public hearing recess memo. The board members agreed to continue the warned hearing on Tuesday April 11, 2017 at 7:15pm.


Chair David Fracht discussed the Development Review Board’s Procedural and Ethics Rules which were distributed to the board members.  He noted that he has a different version of this document at home and will coordinate with Zoning Administrator Chris Brimmer on the two versions before the next meeting.

Chair David Fracht noted that the Minutes Clerk will take minutes of each meeting and that the Development Review Board will not elect a secretary.

Vice Chair Nancy Anderson would like to have the contact list for the Development Review Board members and alternates updated.

The Town Hall Renovation and Waiver application will be continued on April 11, 2017.


MOTION: Bill Dunnack/Tim Danen (moved and seconded) made a motion to adjourn at 8:37pm.

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