By Kara Herlihy

The definition of "workforce housing" has been taken off the table according to Susan Kuegel, who appeared before the Fayston Development Review Board (DRB) on December 18 for the final hearing on a proposed seven-lot subdivision covering 37.4 acres on Randell Road.

Applicants Keith and Susan Kuegel applied for a nine-lot subdivision on the same Randell Road property in 2005 and were denied by Fayston officials who cited inadequate protection of wildlife habitat.

This time around the Kuegels have partnered with development consultant Gunner McCain for a Planned Residential Development (PRD), a designation in the town's land use regulation that allows for smaller lots and conservation of open space.

The proposal calls for seven single-family home lots -- five of which are less than one acre -- and one 29-acre common lot. The Kuegel's existing home is located on a six-acre lot. The property is located in a rural residential zoning district.

Abutters present at the final hearing asked for a definition of workforce housing. Kuegel said that the issue of workforce housing had "been taken off the table for the purposes of these hearings."

The Kuegels proposal includes a set of bylaws for the homeowner's association that could be formed as a result of the subdivision. DRB chair John Shea said that if approved, the bylaws could become conditions in the permit.

Kuegel called the PRD a "trade off" where the lots would have a smaller density but give up any possibility to develop future acreage. The development bylaws would exclude trailers and any animals except dogs and cats.

Kuegel said she would consider making the bylaws "more restrictive" for the proposed single-family homes. Commercial enterprise including home-run businesses of more than one employee would be prevented in the bylaws. Kuegel mentioned that there could be exceptions for those working individually from home.

"We don't want auto repair shops up there, but perhaps if somebody was doing medical transcription work from home, we wouldn't have a problem with that."

Shea said they "don't want to be too restrictive, but not too broad" in the bylaws that could become conditions on the permit.

"Your concerns, we don't want either," Kuegel said.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions here," noted one abutter.  

The DRB closed the hearing and has 45 days to issue a decision to interested parties. The project will have to obtain an Act 250 permit.

The DRB also held a preliminary hearing for a combined minor two-lot subdivision and conditional use review for approximately 12.5 acres on Mikhal drive.

Board members and applicant Lauren Kolitch discussed the degree at which the proposed duplex and driveway would encroach upon a wetland and wetland buffer. Kolitch submitted three different sets of plans to the DRB, all delineating different percentages of wetland encroachment.

Kolitch argued that the wetland, according to biologists, "had no utility" before DRB members realized that the application was only in its preliminary stages and closed the hearing after finding the application complete.