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Welcome to the Town of Chilmark, MA
Planning Board Minutes 07/09/18
Chilmark Planning Board
July 9, 2018
Present: Rich Osnoss, Mitchell Posin, Janet Weidner, Joan Malkin, Peter Cook
Not Present: John Eisner, Chris MacLeod
Public & Board/Comm. Members: Clark Goff, David Smith, Jessica Roddy, Ann Wallace
Staff: Jennifer Christy, Admin. Asst., Leonard Jason, Jr.
Meeting was called to order at 4:30 PM
  • Guest House Zoning Bylaw Discussion:
  • Mr. Osnoss opened the discussion and invited the Building Inspector to give an opinion on whether an increase in the allowable size of a Guest House would be preferable to the Town.
  • Mr. Osnoss stated that a larger Guest House size would allow for more bedrooms.
  • Mr. Jason stated that a reason Guest Houses were built, in the past, was so that homeowners could afford a mortgage. It was, he noted, a secondary structure to help the family to make ends meet rather than a structure only for guests.
  • Mr. Posin stated his position that an industrious, middle-income family may benefit from an increase of the allowable size of the Guest House. Mr. Posin wondered what a person would need to earn in order to purchase a $700,000 lot in Chilmark. He thought that an industrious person could build a house on the lot for $200/sq. ft.
  • Mr. Jason summarized Mr. Posin’s idea that there is an economic strata of residents in Chilmark that are being overlooked in the housing assistance area.
  • Ms. Malkin broached the topic of what unintended consequences would occur with any changes to the allowable size limit on Guest Houses.
  • Ms. Malkin noted that an increase in the allowable size of the Guest House may utilize the parameters of the Residential Building Size Regulation more than was ever intended.
  • The concern with the creation of a larger Guest House and the use of short-term rentals was discussed.
  • The downside to building two larger structures on a lot as opposed to the building of one larger and one smaller structure on a lot.
  • The possibility of both structures being used for short-term rentals.
  • Ms. Malkin noted that it is unlikely that the Board will come to a consensus on a change to the Guest House bylaw.
  • Ms. Weidner expressed doubt about how many people would really be able to take advantage of a provision to make a larger Guest House and thought it would be a very small number of people due to the exorbitant price of lots in Town and high price per square foot for building a house.
  • Ms. Roddy expressed the view that the change to a size of Guest Houses would have an opposite effect than the one desired. Ms. Roddy stated a chance would encourage speculators and it would be an opportunity for those that already can afford to buy here and it will make land in Chilmark even more expensive over time.
  • Mr. Posin suggested that the amendment to the Guest House bylaw include a provision that would require the owner to live in one of the houses year-round. Ms. Roddy stated that, if this provision were included, she would agree that a bylaw that allows for a larger Guest House would not be abused and it would present a different situation.
  • Mr. Osnoss suggested that the Residential Building Size (RBS) regulation guards against a great amount of building space being built.
  • Ms. Malkin noted that if a limit is increased for Guest Houses means that possibly more people may take advantage of the RBS regulation. Ms. Malkin continued to state that the Board most likely will not come to an agreement and stated it would be good to think what the strategy if the Board should be.
  • Mr. Osnoss suggested a report by made to the Town listing the pros and cons on increasing the allowable size of a Guest House.
  • Mr. Cook suggested that the Board develop an informational ‘brief’ in preparation for the public hearing. Ms. Malkin stated there may be difficulties with developing a list of pros and cons due to the differing opinions of the Board.
  • Ms. Weidner stated that she feels it is important for the Board to report to the Town, after a public hearing. She further stated that the recommendation should be made to the Selectmen from the Board, even if the recommendation is to take no action.
  • More discussion occurred regarding how Youth Lot regulations may be amended to address the problem of middle-income residents needing a place to build and reside.
  • After more discussion, it was determined that the Board would continue to host informal discussions regarding an amendment to the Guest House bylaw and would schedule a public hearing in the future.
  • Ms. Christy was asked to inquire when the Board of Selectmen meet at the Community Center for the ‘summer meeting’.
  • North Tabor Farm Solar Array Proposal Discussion:
  • Mr. Smith was present, but due to a loss of a quorum, the Board scheduled a meeting to be posted for Friday, July 13, 2018 at 7:30AM to meet and refer the solar array project to the MV Commission.
  • Update from Subcommittee on the Menemsha Master Plan Work:
  • There was no update from the subcommittee.
  • Mass DOT follow-up letter:
  • It was agreed that a letter would be created that identified the progress on areas that were of concern in the past.
  • Correspondence:
  • There was no correspondence reviewed.
  • Minutes:
  • The minutes from June 11, 2018 were not reviewed.
  • Next Meetings:
  • Friday, July 13, 2018, 7:30AM.
  • July 23, 2018, 4:30PM
  • August 13, 2018, 4:30PM
  • Documents:
  •  North Tabor Farm solar array letter from Fuller’s Energy, David Smith and site sketches.

Meeting adjourned at 5:35PM. Minutes respectfully submitted by Jennifer L. Christy

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