October 17, 2013
The meeting was called to order and took the roll call of members present.
Commissioners in Attendance: Jerry Burroughs, Chairman, Marshall Rickert, Chantey Nelson, William Craig.
Other Representatives in Attendance: Anne Roane, Rob Collision
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Jerry Burroughs. For the record before we start this process Mrs. Nelson has a statement to make.
Ms. Nelson address this Commission that in regards to the agenda for Mr. Harwood, I wanted to let the Board know that I ask to be recused from making a vote on this issue because of my contact with Mr. Harwood. My business has worked for Mr. Harwood which is a security business and there may be a possibility where we may work with him again as need basis, he may contact me if he may need security with his previous business.
Mr. Collison advised that a problem that we've got is if she were to recuse and not participate we would not have a quorum to act and there is a provision under Section 2-14 4-E, if that would recall that would result in not having quorum if that can be disclosed and she feels she can proceed and can objectively evaluate account of body can continue, decision can continue. Ms. Nelson said that she could participate.
Mr. Collison also advised that for the record to this is just advisory it's not the final approval.
Mr. Burroughs asked that Ms. Roane, present the information for the Special exception BZA 03 FY 13/14 for 314 Mill Street.
Mrs. Roane addressed the Commission, "Yes this is an application for a Bed and Breakfast, which is permitted in the NC Zones through a Special Exception. There are provisions, supplemental use regulations that have to be addressed and those have been addressed in your packet. As you know a Special Exception is a recommendation that's made by the Planning Commission and that recommendation is forwarded to the Board of Zoning Appeals that is a public hearing and that Board is actually the Board that grants the Special Exception. That public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday the 22nd of October at 7:00 in this building and it has been properly advertised, the property has been posted and the surrounding neighbors have been notified via mail. I have reviewed the application and I can go through those recommendations if you'd like.
There are eight standards that need to be addressed via the special exception. These are standards that are in the State Code.
1. The establishment, maintenance and operation of the Special Exception will not be detrimental to or endanger the public health safety convenience, morals, order or general welfare. We have no reason to believe that this would cause any detrimental effects regarding any of those considerations.
2. The Special Exception will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted nor substantially diminishes and impair property values within the neighborhood. The property is well maintained and is a historic structure which blends well with the surrounding residential Mill Street neighborhood. There's no evidence that would indicate that this use would adversely affect property values within the neighborhood. We don't have any evidence that Bed and Breakfasts are a detrimental land use to surrounding properties.
3. To address architectural and changes to the structure. There are no proposed changes to the exterior property. It is in a well-established neighborhood so there are no issues with adequate facilities.
4. There are adequate measures that have been or will be taken to provide ingress and egress so designed to minimize traffic congestion in the public street. There is adequate on street and off street parking.
5. In your packet is an aerial view that shows four spaces to the rear of the building and there's also a photograph taken during the day that shows adequate on street parking.
6. The proposed Special Exception is not contrary to the objectives of the current Comprehensive Plan for the City of Cambridge. The current Comprehensive Plan does not specifically address Bed and Breakfast land uses other than to encourage conservation and preservation efforts in the historic district. Supporting businesses is part of the City's Economic Development Initiative.
7. The Special Exception shall in all other respects conform to the applicable regulations of the district in which it is located or to the special requirement to establish for this specific use. This property shall conform to all applicable regulations of the NC3 district.
Those were included as well in your packet and the supplemental use regulations that outline what is allowed in Bed and Breakfast. For instance there's a limit on the length of stay which is up to 14 days, there is a limit on the number of bedrooms you can have, which is only up to eight bedrooms. There are regulations regarding what you serve there; you could only serve breakfast and you cannot serve, sell or serve other meals.
I am sorry the maximum number of sleeping rooms will be six. The applicant is requesting five to six rooms and it also requires that the applicant reside in the dwelling; that smoke detectors shall be maintained in operating condition in each sleeping room but that's already a code; and proper and convenient lavatory and bathing facilities shall be available to all guests in addition to lavatory facilities for the owner.
It also controls the number of people to a room, the occupancy for the rooms shall be limited to two adults and accompanying minor children and there's a minimum size of 120 square feet for the sleeping rooms.
So, I think that Mr. Harwood has addressed all of those in his application that was sent out as a supplement material and he is here to answer any questions. Staff has reviewed the proposed project and recommends its approval to the Board of Zoning Appeals. Mr. Harwood is here to answer any questions.
Mr. James Harwood this Commission and state that he only found out about this meeting 15 minutes before it started. He has been ill and will try to answer any questions that Commission might have.
o The purpose of this Bed and Breakfast.
The purpose is solely as a Bed and Breakfast; it is for the purpose of making people aware of the
property and also who Albanius Phillips was and his importance to the community and to the
state; and also to try and make some money.
o What does the Zoning Code say regarding a minimum number of off street parking spaces for this kind of project?
One parking space per guest room plus the two spaces per owner's unit. It doesn't say if it's off
street or on street, it just has to be provided.
o So there needs to be eight? Six guest rooms and two for the owner. So how do you determine?
That's not true those are off street, in this area we do allow for on street parking.
o Is that what is being heard as a Special Exception is to have fewer than the number of required spaces?
That would be a variance.
That's not what he's requesting but I know with the Mill Street Bed and Breakfast, they were
allowed to count the on street parking towards their required parking.
o Would the spaces be directly in front of the house, is that how that works?
That's how that works.
o Could you squeeze another space or two in and respecting the interest in preserving the gardens and the exterior appearance?
There is a possibility that instead of four that I could possibly have five. However that would
substantially change the landscape behind the house. What I have allowed is forty feet for three
cars. You could realistically get a forth car into that forty feet. There is one space in the garage.
o You have a hundred and five feet of street frontage?
Correct and will accommodate four to five cars.
Mr. Rickert though that it would be helpful and he raised the issue because Mr. Hardwood had indicated to have five to six rooms with four parking spaces. He was satisfied with the explanation he received but thought it would be very helpful as part of the package that we might be submitting to the Appeals Board to have a certification from the City's Engineer that they review this and with the inclusion of on and off
street parking there is specific parking because he didn't want to see a problem come up in the future. Ms. Roane agreed that the DPW engineers could do that.
o The second question I have is that this is simply a Bed and Breakfast meaning that there would be a breakfast meal served may or may not be, but that's it. Is that correct?
There definitely would be a breakfast.
o We've had other applications with a similar nature that concerns were raised about meals being served to people who were not residing there or perhaps even, I think in one case there, was a possibility of dinner meals being served.
They were asking for a Country Inn which is a different.
Mr. Rickert commented to the Commission that we don't need to stipulate, if we simply approve this or recommend approval as a Bed and Breakfast it's evident from the standard that it will be breakfast only and only for the guests.
Mr. Collison advised the Commission that with regards to transfer ability if a Special Exception is approved, generally it can be transferred to subsequent owners without any further hearing unless there is some stipulation by the Board of Appeals so if they wish to have it reviewed upon a transfer to see if it's in compliance that could be a condition that could be added but absent having a condition specified, it is transferrable to subsequent owners.
Mrs. Roane advised the group, that there is a section in the Supplemental Standards number three that says, any Bed and Breakfast facility and tourist home existing at the time of passage of the ordinance from which this section is derived may continue to operate irrespective of its zoning district location but lavatory facilities as prescribed in this section must be provided within six months of the adoption of this section. The other regulatory provision contained in this section must be complied with or allowed by variance by the Board of Appeals, non-use of any existing Bed and Breakfast facility or tourist home for a period of one year is considered an abandonment of that use. Any new owner would have to re-apply.
Mr. Burroughs spoke with the group and said that he has been asked by members of the neighborhood on the validity of the business itself and he wanted that to be on the record that he have had calls from the community expressing their concerns about the validity of this Bed and Breakfast.
That would be for Appeals Board but they also wanted him to express that so he has done that. He has expressed that this is going to be a Bed and Breakfast and Bed and Breakfast only. No other operations will be done in this building once we give approval. Because once we give our recommendation it goes to Board of Zoning Appeals and they will pass it on. There's a change in it; that's a concern and that's what the people are worrying about right now.
Andrew Passen, 312 Mill Street spoke in regards that there is only parking on one side of Mill Street, there's no parking on the other. It's prohibited to park on the right side of the street; you can only park on the left, which means the people who live on the other side of the street have to park on the left side of the street. So there really aren't as many spaces as it appears.
• We thought the residents had off street parking on the other side.
There is some.
o What we are asking for is the engineers at DPW to look at this bearing in mind that if a successful business is operated there.....parking that is on the street; that the spaces after the normal needs of the neighborhood have been met. Correct? And I am asking that there be an engineering review.
Mr. Harwood spoke that won't need to be five spaces on the street; the code requires a total of eight so the maximum that would be on the street would be an allowable four.
1. Your previous testimony, the open area in the backyard could accommodate four, plus the one in the garage would be five.
Right, three plus one in the garage. What I've allowed there is more than twelve and a half feet
for each car that's in the open area.
Mr. Rickert still would like for the engineers at DPW to review this and see what the parking capacity is for off street and also the analysis given whatever their conclusion is for off street that is to whether that is adequate parking given the existing needs to the neighborhood. It should be presented to the BZA prior to their meeting.
• Is the property is for sale now.
The property has been for sale for the past two and a half years which is almost impossibility,
therefore I am selling one of my other residences and this will now be my exclusive residence and
at that particular point I probably will take this property off the market.
• Do you currently live at this particular house.
Correct. I fully intend to live at this location and that is the reason that I am going to have
approximately two to three of the rooms for my exclusive use. At the present time there is an
office, there is another sitting room and office up at the top floor and I will be using two or three
of the other rooms for my exclusive use.
• Do you intend to actually operate and be there or are you trying to get zoning changed so that you can offer it for sale as an approved Bed and Breakfast?
No, it is my intention to operate a Bed and Breakfast and to that end I have some excellent people
who are right now consultants and possible might be coming onboard as associate managers.
• So they will be working just in in the managerial positions and will not be staying there?
Oh absolutely, they will not be staying there.
Mr. Rickert expressed that some of the issues that have been raised that really are issues that are the responsibility of the Appeals Board to resolve. There are concerns that we've expressed but he is not certain that it is within our preview to base a decision on. We can in our motion, make some stipulations that would be among the elements that the Appeals Board would review.
I am going to try a motion and before there's a second or not if it needs to be better crafted I am open to advice. I move that we recommend approval of a Bed and Breakfast with the following stipulations.
• The first thing it was pointed out that it's not clear in the application, I think we need to stipulate no more than six rooms,
• I think that the recommendation is contingent on a certification from the Department of Public Works that there is adequate on and off street parking to meet the requirements of this Ordinance and to meet the needs of the surrounding community. And that this certification will be a stipulation prior to the recommendation being valid.
• Third is recommending that the Appeals Board consider requirement that if and when the property is transferred as a Bed and Breakfast that there be a review at that time as to whether or not the zoning permit is transferred as well.
Compliance with the zoning ordinance.
You heard the motion Mr. Rickert, you heard the second made by Mr. Craig. All of those in favor, of the motion to approve with conditions, say aye.
Voting: Mr. Craig: No
Mr. Burroughs: NO
Mr. Rickert: Aye
Ms. Nelson: Aye
The vote is two yes, two no. That is our recommendation, we would recommend a brief summary to show the motion that was made and the vote was two to two to the BZA.
Mr. Rickert asked if is it going to BZA without a recommendation but with a record of the public comments transcribed and discussion. Mr. Collison replied that it still continues on, it will continue on to the Board of Appeals.
Our next meeting will be October 29th and there's another one on November 5th.
There is a motion made to adjourn by Mr. Craig and second by Ms. Nelson. All those in favor say aye, those opposed. Meeting is adjourned.
Note: These minutes were approved by the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on ???????????
Jerry Burroughs, Chairman Date