LYNDONVILLE -- Mark Bean, who owns a mobile home park on Route 114 and land adjoining the park where he put in some fill to level the site off went before the town Thursday seeking an after-the-fact permit.
Lyndon Zoning Administrator Justin Smith on Friday said the Lyndon Development Review Board approved the after-the-fact permit Bean sought in a vote of 5-2, with the two members who dissented being Jon Prue and Eric Paris.
Bean and his attorney, L. Brooke Dingledine, and his engineer, Nate Sicard, presented their case and request for both a site plan and conditional use permit before the DRB Thursday night.
Bean, through his attorney, is appealing the zoning administrator's ruling that the situation requires a permit, and is fighting that in the state's environmental court. The town recently issued Bean a notice of violation and may fine him for the violation.
Smith said the court was waiting to see the outcome of the permit process, and he would suspect that Bean may now drop the appeal. He said he was uncertain what the town may end up fining Bean in connection with the situation.
"I'm here tonight with my attorney and my engineer to try and plow through this," said Bean. "We're doing this a little backwards, I guess, and I apologize for the direction we went, but we're trying to move on."
Bean had not sought a permit from the town nor the state before filling about 9/10ths of an acre adjacent to Northeast Kingdom Mobile Home Park, and was fined by Vermont District 7 Environmental Commission of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and had to amend his Act 250 permit overseeing the park.
His fine was reduced to $4,000 to the state and now his Act 250 permit includes the work done on the adjoining lot, which he, his lawyer and his engineer testified does not impact flood problems in Lyndonville.
Bean told the DRB that the field is now hayable, and that it had a bowl in the center, and by filling it, it is easier to mow and is elevated enough to be out of the special flood hazard area. He and his attorney testified that there are no plans at present to use the site for any expansion or business use.
Dingledine said, "One of the issues that I think is of most concern was even though this is a very small area whether there was a measurable impact that would cause any impact or damage to downstream properties." She testified, as did Sicard, that the impact on flooding by the .3 of an acre being filled would be so minuscule as to almost not be measurable.
Sicard said that even if properties along the street were filled in, that the effect would not be much, and that the bridges' impact by creating dams in the river, and the impact of the streets is the larger concern.
"The areas that currently flood will flood will continue to flood until they are removed from the flood plain," he said. "If we went through and filled every property we possibly could that had access to the road you might see a few inches' change, but it still doesn't change the fact that unless our roads and bridges are changed, the community will continue to experience flooding and his property has no effect on that whatsoever."
When Dingledine asked about ANR's position now on the fill, Sicard said, "They're naturally against these issues -- so they put some rhetoric in there [in the amended Act 250 permit] but they do at least include in there that the applicant is following the rules and that the town if following the rules -- because if the town does not follow the rules, you can be removed from the flood insurance program."
Bean said he's been trying since about 2005 to "get that whole area above the floodplain. Now, after Irene, people are anxious for me to continue that and get them on safe ground."