Zoning Board Meeting Minutes – 5/15/19

 FYI – Lots of interesting information in these minutes. There’s a thorough description of the Library expansion and the summer location. I learned a lot from the description about the new vaping store. – Lil

Present: Chair Jan Galloway Leclerc, Vice-Chair Myra Mansouri, Tom Murray, Pauline Barnes. Alternate: Don Sellarole. Absent: Judy Trow, Bob Anderson. 


Roll Call: Alternate Sellarole was asked to take Ms. Trow’s place on the Board.


Recording: Marilou Blaine. These minutes are unapproved and will be reviewed at the June 2019 meeting for corrections, additions and/or omissions. 


Minutes: Ms. Mansouri made a motion to accept the minutes as written. Ms. Barnes seconded the motion and the motion carried.


New Business:

Addition to Walpole Library.

Library Board president Fred Ernst and Librarian Justine Farara presented.


Mr. Ernst and Ms. Farara came to explain the renovations to the library that will begin on the Tuesday after Memorial Day. Mr. Ernst said the only thing about the Bridge Memorial Walpole Library that will not be changed is the facade. He said that decision was the result of a survey of townspeople a couple of years ago about what they wanted at the library. Although the footprint of the building will not change, the layout and uses of the space will be different.


The room in the front of the building, where the stacks of books are now, will become the Carol and John Hubbard Community Room. It will have tables to work at, Wi Fi,  and will be able to accommodate seating for 75 people for lectures or meetings. Some of the older children’s programs may be held there as well. It also has two doors that can be closed to contain any noise from their enthusiasm.


The stacks will be where the children’s area is now and they will be mobile. The mobile stacks, which will move at the push of a button, allow for 50 percent more books to be stored in this room. The mobile stacks are on tracks, are not as high as the current stacks, and have several safety features so readers remain safe while using them. 


The fireplace room will now be the Ken Burns Room. His books, posters and DVDs will be displayed here. There will also be a computer with a special app that ties in with all his works including behind the scenes footage and research done for his work. New books will also be displayed in this room.


There are two small new spaces. One is a space for the librarian’s office and the other is a workroom where books can be processed (that space is now in a closet) and a spot where librarians can eat lunch. The basement, which is only under the front of the building, is too damp to use and the attic is so small a person cannot stand up straight.


The timetable for the move is as follows: volunteers are packing up books now. One-third of the library’s collection will be moved to the second floor of the Town Hall and the library will be open for business on June 3. Librarians can always get books that are not at this location through the inter library loan system. Volunteers are still needed to pack books.

Mr. Ernst concluded by saying it is not true that libraries are dead. In April of 2019, 20 percent more books were taken out than the previous April and in one month 2,500 books were circulated from the adult collection.


Signage for Store in Ames Plaza


Brady Weinstock and her husband Gaetano Putigano would like to open an electronic cigarette store. They operate a similar type store in Bellows Falls for five years but the state is levying a 92 percent tax on all their products so they have decided to open across the river. They also have a store in Brattleboro. 


Vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking, Ms. Weinstock said. Vaping is putting a liquid into a pod-like devise, inhaling and out comes a cloud. The pod is battery operated. Their store only sells open-system devices, which means you chose the liquid you put in the device. If you were a one pack a day smoker, they would suggest the client chose a liquid that’s numbered 12 to 18. The numbers go up to 24. The mission is to slowly decrease that number and taper the liquid use down to zero. 


The owners only buy the liquid from one source, which is an FDA-approved lab in Philadelphia. They also only sell vaping devices, not marijuana. A person can “just vape,” which means they there is no nicotine in the liquid. Her husband’s mission is to help people get off cigarettes.


The store in Walpole will be next to Ocean State. Ms. Weinstock said they do not sell these products to minors and are careful to check IDs. They also do not sell the product called Juul. Juul, which she said is often talked about in the newspapers, is a closed system, and you can’t control the amount of nicotine you inhale and Juul doesn’t have a zero nicotine device. Juul is the main choice of teenagers. Ms. Weinstock said the vaping products they sell are designed to help smokers quit smoking cigarettes. Their clients range from 18 to 87. 


The 14-foot-by-2-foot size sign they wish to install is permitted in the commercial district and Ms. Weinstock said it will be placed on the facade of the building, near the roof. The sign says “802 E-Cig Supply and Vape Lounge”. Because there was a Sears sign there before, this sign is grandfathered. There will also be a small lighted “Open” sign in the window, and another small sign hanging from the walkway ceiling and perpendicular to their store. Ms. Leclerc asked if the facade is not 2 feet high, how would it fit. Ms. Weinstock said that her husband is a master carpenter and she’s assuming he would have already measured the space.


The Board asked Ms. Weinstock to take a picture of the sign after it is up and bring the photo to the Town Offices so it may be placed in their file.


Map of the Town

The Board spent about an hour discussing the difficulties of creating a map for Avitar from the  references in the Zoning Ordinances about the boundaries of the different zones. They are hoping to find a copy of the original 1968 Zoning Ordinances in help them with this task. 


Mark Stevens, Watkins Hill, building new home

Mr. Stevens is building a home on property where his parents, John and Peg Stevens, previously lived. The parents’ house is still standing and the Zoning Board suggested a one-year time limit to build his new home without demolishing the other building.  He does not need a variance. If he is unable to complete the new home in one year, Mr. Stevens must go back to Zoning Board of Adjustments in May 2020 and explain his case. Before demolishing the house, he needs to get a demolition permit from the town offices.


Inquiry about Tavern at Hooper Golf Course: Since it has been some years since an eatery was at the Hooper Golf Course, the Board said that anyone wanting to put a restaurant in the rural/ag location would need a Special Exception.


Mr. Murray made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Mansouri seconded the motion and the motion carried. The meeting adjourn at 8:50 pm.


Handouts: Residential and Non-Residential Solar Regulations.


Respectfully submitted,

Marilou Blaine

ZBA Secretary

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