BRATTLEBORO — Citing the proposal’s failure to meet zoning district standards, the Development Review Board denied an application to build a single-family home at 55 Black Mountain Road.
Wednesday’s decision will not be finalized until it is reviewed by council chairwoman Maya Hasegawa in the coming weeks, zoning administrator Brian Bannon said. Once signed, the decision becomes official and can be appealed.
In the spring, a house was demolished on property that falls under the city’s service center zoning district. According to draft minutes from Wednesday’s board meeting, Hasegawa “reported from the deliberative session that the board found that the proposal did not meet the dimensional standard for minimum height, or the construction standard. for street orientation, or mixed use, the higher density character of the neighborhood as set out in the future urban plan land use map and statement of neighborhood objectives, or compatibility with higher density commercial and residential uses planned for the neighbourhood.
John Brunelle told the reformer he would speak with Bannon and other city workers about his options for the future. Brunelle, whose former construction company built the retirement homes near Black Mountain Estates and whose daughter co-owns the property at 55 Black Mountain Road, presented plans to council at a hearing on Wednesday.
“We’re basically proposing to build a small one-story single-family home with a two-car garage instead of the type of home that existed before,” Brunelle said. “Before, there was a small house with a garage underneath. We’re just going to put a garage next to it.
Brunelle described the property as being “stuck against the cemetery” on Black Mountain Road.
“And there are big, beautiful acacia trees and there are beautiful maple trees,” he said. “Basically, every tree that is now can stay.”
Brunelle said a “dilapidated little green house” has been on the property since the 1950s or 1960s and sat unoccupied for about a decade.
“My daughter bought it and she tried to do something with it to put it to good use,” he said. “We tried several different things, but this is the most practical use.”
Brunelle said the proposed landscaping had to do with a nice view and lawn, a convenient driveway, and effective management of stormwater runoff.
“It’s going to look like rain,” he said. “Any other way, he would almost look twisted sitting there.”
Hasegawa told Brunelle that the front door of the house should face the road, according to building standards for the service center district. She also said garage doors should be on the side or back of the house and the building should be at least 24 feet tall.
Board member Nora Dissinger said she wanted to speak privately as a board during a deliberation session to discuss the possibility of granting conditional use approval. At the end of the deliberative session, the Board of Directors voted 5 to 1 against the proposal.
Gary Stroud voted for and Dan Handy did not participate in the vote.