Historic properties to be protected under form-based code

The Planning Commission continued their discussion with members of the Historic Preservation and Design Review Commission at their meeting on Oct. 22 about how best to protect historic properties on the Route 7 corridor. They agreed that incentives, such as density bonuses and perhaps property tax relief, should be offered to developers for adaptive reuse of these buildings. Nine historically significant properties have been identified in the corridor, plus an additional dozen that merit preservation.

Historic Preservation and Design Review Commission members Fritz Horton and David Webster also argued that a design review step for these properties should be added to the process, with the commission making a recommendation to the DRB. Specific details for incorporating these ideas into the form-based code proposal will be worked out before the commission’s next meeting.

After accepting editorial recommendations made by Commissioner Ann Hogan, the Planning Commission voted to continue the hearing on the form-based code to its next meeting.

The commission next considered possible amendments to the subdivision bylaws to make them more consistent with the proposed form-based code. The draft presented by Town Planner Dean Pierce, as amended by the town’s attorney, would classify all properties of nine or fewer lots as minor subdivisions under the form-based code. If not using the form-based codes, properties with four or more lots would be classified as major subdivisions. The commission intends to review the proposed amendment in more detail at its next meeting.

The commission then discussed language drafted by Commission Vice-Chair Jaime Heins for an ordinance on solar energy facility siting which would identify specific areas in town where such facilities would be prohibited, and would establish specific setback, screening and decommissioning standards. The commission will discuss the proposal in more detail at their next meeting.

Commissioner Kate Lalley initiated a review of the proposal for improvements to the Bay Bridge. The commissioners looked at the bridge study, focusing particularly on alternative five, the option chosen by the Selectboard and the subject of a $3 million bond proposal which will be voted on at the Nov. 3 election.

In the public comment portion of the meeting, Dennis Webster of Hillside Terrace asked the commission to reconsider the frontage requirements in cul-de-sacs. Because of the nature of these neighborhoods, most properties are pie-shaped and meeting the 75’ frontage requirement of the bylaws is difficult.

Commissioner Ann Hogan reported that a survey of some 625 business enterprises in Shelburne will be mailed shortly. Among other things, the survey will ask business owners what help they need from the town.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7pm in the Municipal Center. The commission will meet again on Thursday, Nov. 19 to discuss pending zoning issues with the town attorney.

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