Members Attending: Chairman Ray Rosenberger, Bob Behr, Gene Taylor, John Jester, Tripp Muth, Steve Katsetos
Member(s) Absent: Mollie Cherrix
Staff Attending: Jared Anderson, Town Planner
Public Attendance: SIx members of the public
Chairman Rosenberger convened the meeting at 7:08 p.m in Council Chambers.
Nancy Lane rose to speak on the subject of siting requirements for wind energy systems. She encouraged the Commission to consider lessening the proposed minimum 1/2 acre requirement for these systems, stating that few lots on the island would meet the 1/2 acre minimum.
Chairman Rosenberger asked the Commission members if the agenda, as proposed, should be accepted. The agenda was approved as presented.
Adoption of the May 26, 2009, Minutes
The minutes were unanimously adopted as presented.
Arts and Cultural District
Mr. Behr relayed that he met with Ann Coats of Snow Hill who presented ideas and guidance for the Chincoteague Arts and Cultural District. The state of Maryland has criteria for a subject district while Virginia currently allows these districts but has no criteria. Among the items discussed with Ms. Coats were:
- affordable housing and business space for artists
- affordable restoration, including affordable loans for remodeling
- relaxing some ordinances, e.g., parking in the immediate area
- various financial incentives for the district
- considering multi-use buildings, i.e., store and home
- creating an historic district in addition to an arts and cultural district
- publicizing the advantages of establishing a business on Chincoteague
- setting goals and time lines for the district.
Wind Energy Systems
Mr. Anderson began by stating that he has gained support of the Town Council to proceed with a Wind Energy System Plan. He continued that two major concerns with the draft plan are minimum lot size for installation of a system and the noise generated by the system. One approach for the noise concern is to mirror the town noise ordinance requirements. Chairman Rosenberger suggested that Mr. Anderson continue to work on acceptable solutions for these problems.
Commission members had several comments. Mr. Muth wondered if the town had received any applications for turbine installation. Mr. Anderson replied that the town has not. Mr. Jester suggested that the turbines should be approved with conditional use permits. He also added that Curtis Merritt Harbor would be an ideal location for a turbine. Mr. Katsetos asked if these systems would be allowed in all the town’s zoning districts. Mr. Anderson replied that they would. The discussion ended with Chairman Rosenberger requesting that proposed changes to the plan be submitted to Mr. Anderson before the August meeting.
Signage for Home Occupations
Mr. Anderson began by stating that the issue of incidental signage for home occupations comes to the Commission from the Town Council. The Council has received complaints that the current number of signs allowed in residential neighborhoods is excessive. The July 2008 sign ordinance allows for a small identifying sign, a sandwich board, a banner, and two commercial flags to advertise a home occupation.
The proposal from the Council is that only one small sign identifying the home occupation be allowed. Mr. Jester amplified the Council’s concern by adding that this signage is in residential neighborhoods and the residents in these areas have the right to expect that the residential character of the area be maintained. Signage in nonresidential neighborhoods would not be limited by the proposal. He suggested that the Commission spend some time examining the issue and developing new guidelines.
Commission members had numerous concerns. Mr. Katsetos wondered about the acceptability of non-commercial flags, such as the American flag. Mr. Muth expressed concern about the current business atmosphere and the need to support our business community with signage. He also stated that if the proposed limitation were to be passed current signage would be grandfathered. Chairman Rosenberger relayed that signage should not affect the composure of a residential area and that he believes the community wants fewer, smaller signs in residential neighborhoods.
Mr. Anderson recommended that the Commissioners get additional input from the community. Mr. Jester asked Mr. Anderson to send a memo to Council to get specific information about the complaints they are receiving.
The Commissioners reviewed the building permits from the past two months. The Chairman noted that only one request was structural. Mr. Muth added that the state now requires a costly engineering analysis and that people are waiting to see if this requirement will be discontinued in the near future.
• Photovoltaic Cells. Mr. Anderson suggested that the Commission may want to address the issue of siting solar panels. The Chairman responded that it would be reasonable to include them in an ordinance that addressed alternative energy systems.
• CPEAV Training (the Virginia Certified Planning Commissioner’s Program). Mr. Anderson sent letters to Accomac mayors to gauge their response to offering this training in Chincoteague. He is waiting for their responses. The Commissioners would like to be able to attend this training locally.
• June BZA Meeting. The Board received two appeals for signs that exceeded the ordinance size limit. The smaller sign request (17 feet) was granted; the larger sign request rejected.
• Comprehensive Plan Public Input Sessions. The Town is receiving comments to the Comprehensive Plan on June 22, 23, and 24. The comments will be forwarded to the Council and the Commission.
• No Planning Commission Meeting in July. The Chairman proposed that the next meeting be held on the second Tuesday in August at 7:00 pm. He additionally requested that Mr. Anderson provide the revised Council meeting schedule to the Commissioners.
Commission Members Announcements or Comments.
• Mr. Behr noted that the Virginia Commission for the Arts has given the town a $5,000 matching grant. In a related comment Mr. Taylor pointed out that a five acre lot that supported the Arts with several structures would need to be approved as a subdivision.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:20.
Notes prepared by Nancy Lane
N.B. These notes do not constitute the public record of this meeting. The information contained herein is offered in good faith, is presented as accurately as possible, is thought to be a complete account of the proceedings. These notes are intended to be a public service devoid of political commentary for those who are interested in following the civic affairs of Chincoteague Island. Notes of the meeting are recorded, transcribed and distributed by volunteers who receive no financial compensation for their efforts.