Sheds will be able to sit to the side of small lots
The Planning Board hammered in the final standards for sheds on small lots last night, subject only to a once-over by town attorney, Don Packer, who was on vacation.
Board member Sam Bird led a debate over size. Town Planner Jane Weidman had given them a 10-by-20-foot footprint, but Bird thought that was too large, and possibly large enough to fit a car. The sheds are meant for smaller equipment like dingys and mowers, he remarked, and “the potential for garage use …with the [reduced] setback is not fair to neighbors.”
Norris Pike liked the larger size, but after some jockeying with suggestions of other possibilities, Denny Heinz suggested using 144 square feet as the standard. This passed muster with everyone.
Side and rear variances were reduced to 15 feet from the former 50 feet in the RA zone, the rationale being that on a small lot, a shed in the center of the yard is obstructive. In the RB zone, the side setback will be 10 feet, reduced from 25 feet, and the rear 15 feet, reduced from 50 feet; and in the RC zone, side and rear will both be 10 feet, reduced from 20 for the side and 40 for the rear.
The buildings will be limited to a height of 12 feet and standards for building lot coverage still apply.
Discussion on how to control parking arose from comments about the West Side 20, where several board members noted street parking has been rampant. Sven Risom, Pike and Heinz mulled over how to control the problem in future development, and Chair Margy Comings cited the need in order to keep the streets clear for fire and rescue trucks. They agreed to limit the parking to two cars per home, and any additional vehicles would have to be parked on homeowners’ lawns. Comings proposed limiting zoning’s ability to decrease the parking requirements. Weidman will make on site parking a performance standard.
The board worked on the expired 405C, affordable housing double density provision, which allows a second house on a lot if it fits the definition of affordable. They did not finalize it, though.
In the provision that expired, the Housing Board reviews all applications submitted under the 405C. That board sent a memo to the Planning Board that in the absence of standards, they would rather not review them. However, in response, Weidman suggested points for them to consider when applications come before them, such as addressing whether or not the proposal meets a need, such as rentals versus owner occupied, whether it is new or a redevelopment, and its location, with preference given to the village.
The Housing Board also had requested allowing three- and four-bedroom units, and Weidman added them in.
The Planning Board did not agree with the Housing Board’s suggestion of a 10-year span for the new 405C, settling on five years instead. If still needed, it could easily by renewed, Comings said.
Weidman will incorporate the new decisions into the document and present an updated 405C to the board next month.
Applications and decisions
An application by the Ernst family to move a lot line on Plat 9, Lots 93-1, 93-4 and 93-5, on Payne Road was unanimously approved. The Ernsts will be required to put in a gravel driveway as part of the approval.
Also approved, an application by the Millikin, Margaret, Trust. Plat 8, Lot 194, for a minor subdivision of property off Pilot Hill Road. The change will add one lot there.
The board signed off on a mylar for James and Linda Rondinone, Plat 18, Lot 24-11. The couple had their land resurveyed.
Edward and Dawn Phillips’ application to adjust property lines between their lots Plat 8, Lots 13-1 & 13-2 was looked at again, with Mary Anderson, who is a family member, recusing herself. The board had asked for fewer turns in the new line, and Phillips, Sr. returned with a redrawn plan that had three fewer turns. Risom and Pike remarked it looked a lot better and all agreed. Risom remarked, however, that the applicants will have to ask for relief from setback standards at zoning.
The board approved an adjustment to a lot line for Gary and Grace Doyon, Plat 5, lot 4 and 5-6 on Corn Neck Road. One of the lots was formerly known as a “Solviken” lot, and the Doyons purchased it last summer. The existing house on lot 4 was formerly owned by “Captain Bob” Cotter and the Doyons plan to demolish it and move the building site to straddle the line between their two lots. The stonewall on the property line will be moved and they have placed an easement on part of lot 5-6, thus, it will never be built upon. The plan still needs Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council approval.
After three years, Carol Brown’s preliminary plan to subdivide her property, Plat 18, Lot 18, atop Beacon Hill with the iconic stone tower, has been approved. Initially the Planning Board objected to the layout of the lots, but they have been reconfigured to the satisfaction of the board members. The board had requested the driveway to lot 1 not come directly off Beacon Hill Road, so it was redrawn across lot 2 from the driveway already going to the property. Chair Comings liked the fact there were no additional cuts to Beacon Hill Road, but Pike, who had not been a member of the board when the plan was initially discussed, thought there was more than enough road frontage to make another cut. “There’s something to be said for minimizing the road,” he said. After some discussion, the board decided to leave the driveway placement up to the applicants, specifying it must be at least 75 feet from the southwest corner of the property line.
Lot 1 would be the only one of the three to possibly be built upon, and the applicants said that at the highest building point on that lot, a house would not obstruct the view from the other homes above it.