DRB Hearing Minutes February 7, 2023, Application 23-01

Newfane Development Review Board Hearing Minutes February 7, 2023 Application 23-01

Jason Freeman, George Lazarakis, Antonio Ciolfi (z) (applicants), David Cotton (DRB Chair),
Walt Dadik, DRB,,Lynn Forrest, DRB, David Lucido, DRB, Erica Walch (DRB Secretary)
Geoff Van Kirk (DRB Alternate), David Hull (z) DRB Alternate), Merle Tessier (z) (Newfane Zoning Administrator), Wannetta Powling (Admin Asst to Newfane Selectboard)

In-person: Paul Dutton, Wendy Dutton (abutters), Tristan Simonds (abutter), Priscilla Cotton

Via Zoom: Attny. Bailey LaFlam and Attny. Andrew Subin from Vermont Cannabis Solutions, on behalf of applicants, Jean Pollock, Beckley Gaudette, Aurelia Simonds (abutter)

Site Visit
A site visit to 386 VT Route 30 was held at 3:00 PM. Applicant showed the proposed layout, including parking area.

The hearing was called to order at 6:00 PM and applicants and members of the public were sworn in. The application before the DRB was for a change of use from restaurant to retail and the application listed Cynthia Hubert as the property owner and Michael Freeman as the applicant. Jason Freeman, who appeared in person, stated that when the application was submitted, the sale of the property had not been finalized, but it has now been closed. Applicants were asked to resubmit application that reflects current ownership and proposed use of the property.

A review of the tax map showed that the parking area for the proposed retail store is owned by abutter Tristam and Aurelia Simonds. The applicant presented the deed to their property which includes easements and rights of way for the abutters to access the applicant’s property, but did not present a deed for the parking area (owned by abutters) showing easements or rights of way for the business to park in the parking area. It is understood that there was some such agreement in place for the previous owner of the property (operating as Rick’s Tavern). Tristam Simonds, the owner of the parking area, said he had not been approached by the applicant about using the land for parking.

The applicants gave details about the exterior of the building, which would not undergo any immediate changes, but they stated they might re-side the building in the future. DRB Chairman noted that the site plan was unclear and asked applicants to meet with their architect/planner and present a clearer site plan with parking, entrances and exits along with screening for trash areas with new application.

DRB noted that signage falls under a separate permit application and the rules can be found in section 460 of the Newfane Zoning Bylaw, trash screening can be found in section 452.3 and exterior lighting in section 480.

DRB Chairman asked abutters if they had any comments. Duttons said they had nothing to say. Tristan Simonds asked about an ADA plan and applicants said the Fire Marshall had approved their plan.

DRB Chairman asked for comments from other members of the public. Jean Pollock, Newfane resident, noted her concerns about impaired driving from cannabis customers consuming the product in their cars. Attorneys LaFlam and Subin and applicant Ciolfi noted the strict VT laws prohibiting consumption of cannabis products on the grounds or parking areas of retail stores and stated there would be signage indicating that.

After no additional comments were made by the public, the DRB Chairman continued the hearing without finding until March 1, 2023 at 6:00 PM, at which time the applicants should come back to the DRB with a new application (listing current owner of the building and the proposed usage including lighting, trash screening and parking), a written agreement or legal documentation of easement rights to use the parking area owned by the Simonds, and a clear site plan.

Continued without a decision until March 1, 2023.