By Benjamin Cohn
Weaverville – Last Tuesday’s meeting of the town’s Planning and Zoning board was attended lightly and saw the recommendation of two zoning proposals to the town council.
Only four members of the board were able to attend the meeting, two of which were alternates, John Chase and Thomas Balestrieri. According to board chairman Doug Theroux, “We’re going to have to appoint both of the alternates this evening as sitting, voting members.”
The board approved the night’s agenda and the minutes from the previous meeting, then moved on to the first big decision of the night, whether or not to recommend a zoning change for the “property commonly known as 37 Brown Street,” according to the meeting’s agenda.
Planning Director James Eller explained the proposal.
“As the board will recall, you’re being asked to provide a recommendation to Town Council related to a conditional zoning district” for the property at 37 Brown Street, Eller said. “This property consists of over 1.918 acres.
“What is being proposed is a 16-unit configuration to house 18 bedrooms. Most of your units will be one-bedroom in nature. An important development since your last meeting is to consider the water commitment for this project and for the units desired which was accomplished and was signed off [by Town Manager Selena Coffey] on March 28,” Eller said.
Thomas Wolfe, a representative of Saba Holding Group, the organization petitioning the town for the development, answered a variety of questions posed by board members. Thomas Balestrieri, one of the newly-appointed alternates, asked if the project needed to conform with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) policies.
“My understanding, from my design team, is that it is not required to comply [with ADA] because of the residential rather than the commercial nature of the project,” Wolfe explained. Board member Steve Warren expressed an interest in whether or not Saba Holding Group plans to make site improvements.
Warren worried about the impact of such site improvements on the residents who live nearby 37 Brown Street. Some of the neighbors’ concerns are “mud on the street” and “the length of time it might take to do the project,” according to Warren.
Wolfe responded that the project will require anywhere from 12 to 18 months to complete. Additionally, he said that “on the revised site plan, you will see that there is minimal grading. The dirt-work is going to be very, very minimal. The way we revised the parking … is we’re going to operate within the existing topography.”
In the end, all four voting members of the Planning and Zoning board voted to approve the motion recommending the change in zoning for the property at 37 Brown Street.
The board heard another petition to zone a property located at 135 Monticello Road as R-12 [residential]. Eller once again explained the proposal to the board.
“At the March meeting of Town Council, they were presented with a couple of documents, one of which being the voluntary annexation petition for the property commonly known as 135 Monticello,” Eller said.
“This property consists of roughly 19 and a half acres. What the application … is requesting is that the Town Council and this board consider an initial zoning of R-12, which of course you know is multi-family in nature.”
Board chairman Doug Theroux noted a potential concern, which is that the proffered site plan appears to be out of date. “You see it on here, Gina Brown, her father owned that land. The house that’s showing up on here is where they lived. That house is no longer there. None of this stuff is,” he said.
The board motioned to recommend approval of the voluntary annexation proposal and it was approved unanimously.