DRB discusses form based zoning proposal

Kate Lalley, Planning Commission Chair, and Dean Pierce, Director of Planning and Zoning, appeared before the Development Review Board (DRB) at their meeting on Sept. 3 to present the latest draft of the form based zoning proposal. Lalley quickly reviewed the early background of the project, its guiding principles, and the key points of the current draft. Pierce explained some of the specifics, noting that the focus is on the aesthetics, rather than use, of buildings along the Route 7 corridor, from the LaPlatte River Bridge to the South Burlington line.  Lalley expressed the hope that owners of smaller properties in the area would find far more attractive alternatives for redeveloping their land and that a series of “character districts” would emerge along the corridor that would be more visually attractive.  Both Lalley and Pierce noted that the plan emphasizes stormwater management much more than the current regulations.
DRB Chair Mark Sammutt said he hopes the proposal encourages architectural diversity rather than overly prescriptive limitations on building styles. He added that energy-efficiency considerations are currently driving architectural decisions, a trend which is likely to continue. Board member Peter Keelan stated that back street residential development would be key to driving commercial development on Route 7. The DRB will consider the next draft of the form based zoning proposal in more detail at their next meeting on Sept. 17 at 7pm in the Municipal Center.
In other business, the DRB quickly approved three design review applications:
The addition of an address panel and four business sign panels to an existing free-standing support structure at 29/33 Harbor Road.
The addition of a playground and playhouse in the rear of 40 Henry Street in the Harrington Village development.
The replacement of windows and new vinyl siding at the Citizens Bank at 5068 Shelburne Road.