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Saratoga Planning Commission responds to incorrect Facebook rumors, hears storage plans for Saratoga Overlook


Plans courtesy Triple D Construction

Plans for storage units on the Saratoga Forest Management side of the Saratoga Overlook subdivision.

An item for discussion from Bryan and Kathy Drake of Triple D Construction, Floodplain Management and the 1 mile buffer zone were on the agenda for the Saratoga Planning Commission as they met at 5:30 p.m. on June 12 at the Saratoga Town Hall. The Drakes were in attendance, along with several residents of the Saratoga Inn Overlook subdivision, to present to the planning commission their plan for a series of storage facilities that would be erected along the lots adjacent to the Saratoga Forest Management sawmill.

Before moving into the agenda, however, town council representative Will Faust informed the planning commission that he had invited Mark Pesognelli to speak to the planning commission in regards to a house at 112 North River Street owned by Saratoga resident Pat Lundy. In recent days, a post had circulated on Facebook claiming that Lundy's residence was being condemned by the Town of Saratoga.

"I know there's been some hyper-rumors going around that the town actually condemned his property. Just to set the record straight, that is not what occurred," said Jon Nelson, planning commission chairman.

In a letter dated April 19, 2018 and addressed to Lundy from the Town of Saratoga, he was informed that his house was in violation of multiple zoning ordinances and the violations would need to be addressed. Pesognelli informed the planning commission that several members of the community had come together to aid Lundy in repairing his house as well as setting up a GoFundMe campaign that had raised $5,000.

"We've raised $5,000 so far and we were also able to get a lot of other donations of time, lumber and equipment. We are moving forward on this. Just want to let you know we are making progress," said Pesognelli.

Both Faust and Nelson thanks Pesognelli for his commitment to aiding Lundy. The Saratoga Sun will be providing updates on this story as it develops.

Moving onto Triple D Construction and the Saratoga Inn Overlook subdivision, B. Drake spoke to the planning commission regarding his plan for a series of storage units. The units, which would be available only to residents of the subdivision, would be built to match the aesthetic of the homes. Since they would be constructed along the property line that abuts the Saratoga Forest Management sawmill, the rear sections of the units would be built with firewalls on the exterior of the buildings.

Teense Willford, who was among the number of subdivision residents in attendance, informed the planning commission that this plan had the support of the majority of the residents. Willford added that, due to lack of storage at Saratoga Inn Overlook, he was currently renting three units that were approximately a mile away from his residence.

The discussion then focused on the proper path forward would be for Triple D Construction to apply for variances for the project.

"The issue with keeping it 7200 and proceeding that way is there will be multiple variances. Not that that couldn't be overcome," Nelson said. "To keep it RD 7200, in the current zoning, and not go through re-subdivision and the condominium title, I think the variances are rear-yard setbacks, side-yard setbacks and also accessory uses."

Under section 18.18.050 of the Saratoga Municipal Code, rear-yard setbacks are 25 feet and side-yard setbacks are eight feet. Additionally, any buildings that have rear lot lines adjacent to an industrial district have to add 20 feet to the setbacks. As for accessory uses, which is outlined in section 18.18.030, accessory buildings in RD 7200 must occupy the rear half of the lot without being within five feet of the rear lot line.

Some discussion took place as to whether the variances should be issued for all the lots that Triple D Construction planned to develop or if they should be issued as construction begins to meet demand. The planning commission informed B. Drake that they were hesitant to issue a blanket variance that would set a precedence, adding that the variance for the lot lines and accessory uses could be carried over if someone were to purchase one of the lots currently owned by Triple D Construction.

It was decided, finally, that Triple D Construction would apply for a variance per structure and go through the variance process of asking for signatures from their neighbors within 300 feet of the property. It is expected that a public hearing on the first variance will take place at the planning commission meeting in July.

In other business, the planning commission also heard from Dan Ferrin, Town of Saratoga zoning officer, about upcoming discussions that would need to take place concerning floodplain management and the one-mile buffer zone.

In terms of floodplain management, the Saratoga Planning Commission will need to look over and make appropriate changes to a template provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA is currently remapping Saratoga and other municipalities and is expected to finish in 2020.

In regards to the one-mile buffer zone, the commission requested Ferrin contact Sid Fox of Carbon County Planning and Zoning and ask him to be present at the next meeting to walk them through the updates to the buffer zone. As was reported previously in the Saratoga Sun ("Planning commission draws the line" Sept. 21, 2016), the county and the town have been working on an updated and more comprehensive map for the buffer zone that determines areas influenced by either municipal code or county code.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Saratoga Planning Commission will be at 5:30 p.m. on July 10 at Saratoga Town Hall.


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