Development Review Board Hearing March 31, 2022, at 6:00 PM

Application 22-01

Bruce Rosow (applicant)
Kate Conway (applicant)
Merle Tessier (Zoning Administrator)
Wanetta Powling (Administrative Assistant to the Selectboard)
David Cotton (Chair DRB)
Walt Dadik (DRB)
Piet van Loon (DRB)
Lynn Forrest (DRB)
Erica Walch (DRB alternate, Secretary)

Site Visit

A site visit to 111 Baker Brook Road was held at 5:00 PM. The applicants and DRB members Cotton, Dadik, van Loon, Forrest, and Walch were present. Applicants showed the proposed footprint of the garage, indicated leach field, property line, and telephone pole. DRB members and applicants estimated distances that might require variances.


The hearing was called to order at 6:00 PM and applicants were sworn in.

Applicants Rosow and Conway explained that they would like to construct a 15 ft x 25 ft garage, 18 ft tall on their property. It would be a single car garage with barn doors and there would be a room upstairs that would be used as storage and a home office.

Their lot is an irregulary-shaped 1/4 acre lot. They do not have space to follow zoning requirements about side setbacks and buffer zone to water (Baker Brook) due to the small size of their lot and its configuration. Therefore, they have come before the DRB to request variances to those requirements.

At 6:03, the chair asked DRB members if they had any questions or comments.

Piet van Loon asked applicants if they had received variances for other building projects. Applicants stated they have gotten variances to build a back porch and additional room on their house on the Baker Brookside (closer to water than the proposed garage); to build a second story on their house; to build a woodshed near their front door, and to build a fence.

Walter Dadik noted that he would like the proposed garage to honor the 15 ft side setback requirement. He then asked how far into the 75-foot water “buffer zone” the proposed garage would extend. Discussion about that distance ensued, with reference to the site plan submitted by the applicants and the visual inspection made by DRB members at the site visit. It was estimated that the distance from the back wall to the water high point is 50 feet.

David Cotton asked about the design of the proposed garage. Applicants indicated they currently plan for a gravel floor and stanchions for footings.

Piet van Loon asked about the elevation or vertical rise between the floor of the proposed garage and the brook. Applicants noted that the ground on which the proposed garage would stand is higher than the brook (one has to walk down several steps to reach the brook) and estimated the rise to be 15 ft. Discussion ensued about the likeliness of the water ever reaching that high. It was agreed that it was unlikely.

Merle Tessier noted that none of the applicants’ property is in a flood hazard zone. He stated that the “buffer zone” regulation is a local one (in the Newfane Bylaw) and not a state concern. He had given the applicants the contact information for an official from the VT Environment Department (John Booker-Campbell), and both applicants and Merle were told the proposed building is fine with the state.

Erica Walch asked if the 75 ft “buffer zone” was in the Bylaw when applicants built their rear porch and house addition, which are closer to the brook than a proposed garage. David Cotton noted that the “buffer zone” bylaw was established in 1975 and the addition was done in 2002.

At 6:20, Lynn Forrest made a motion to grant the side and rear variances with no conditions. David Cotton read Section 212.4 of the zoning by-laws about the granting of variances due to hardships and noted that due to the location of the leach field and telephone pole, the small lot, and existing non-conforming structures, the garage could only be located on the site proposed. In addition, Cotton noted that no abutters came to the hearing. van Loon made a suggestion that the applicants raise the rear of the proposed garage. Applicants thanked him for his suggestion. van Loon seconded Forrest’s motion, and it passed 4-0.

Cotton explained that applicants would get hearing minutes and a decision in the next few days, followed by a permit issued by Zoning Administrator. Permit needed to be posted in town and on the proposed site for 15 days before beginning work. Applicants asked how long they had to build after the permit date, Cotton replied that they have one year and may ask for an extension if needed.

Forrest made a motion to adjourn, seconded by van Loon. The hearing was adjourned at 6:35 PM.


A variance to the side yard setback for the property at 111 Baker Brook Road was granted, allowing applicants to build a garage 10 ft, rather than the required 15 ft from their property line on the south side of the property.

A variance to the water buffer zone requirement was granted, allowing the applicants to build a garage 50 ft, rather than the required 75 ft from the normal high water mark of Baker Brook.


NOTICE: This decision may be appealed to the Vermont Environmental Court by an interested person who participated in the preceding(s) before the Development Review Board.  Such appeal must be taken within 30 days of the date of this decision, pursuant to 24 V.SA Section 4471 and Rule 5(b) of the Vermont Rules for Environmental Court Proceedings.