Planning Commission welcomes three new members

Jaime Heins, Chair of the Planning Commission, opened their meeting on April 14 by welcoming three newly appointed members: Jason Grignon, Don Posner, and Peter Antinozzi, the non-voting student member who is currently in his first year at CVU. Heins then went on to appoint three members to the Housing Subcommittee who were in the audience: Tracy Beaudoin Pam Brangan, and Brian Precourt. They will join former Planning Commission Chair Ron Bouchard and current Planning Commission member Mark Brooks on the Committee and are scheduled to hold their first meeting on May 2. In what Town Planner Dean Pierce described as “an interesting and fortunate coincidence,” the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission with which Brangan is affiliated recently announced its intention to facilitate a Regional Housing Conversation. The Housing Subcommittee will work closely with the CCRPC in assembling & analyzing data on housing in Shelburne.

In the Commissioner Questions and Comments period, Heins also brought Commissioners’ attention to the fact that Shelburne had recently won the New England “Stormy” award for its work in collaboration with South Burlington on stormwater issues. He also noted that a grant for a study of transportation in the Southern gateway to Shelburne had been obtained. The study will focus on pedestrian and vehicular traffic on Shelburne Road south of Marsett Road to the Teddy Bear Factory. Concerns include safe walkways from Marsett Road to the Teddy Bear Factory for those who take the bus and pedestrian crossings on Route 7 between Shelburne Vineyards and the Fiddlehead brewery. Commissioner Mark Brooks remarked that he and Commissioner Dick Elkins recently attended a Watershed Quality meeting in Hinesburg and that new state standards for chloride levels in water are expected shortly.

The Commission then opened the hearing on a proposed Zoning Bylaw amendment to allow pet care facilities for not more than 100 animals as a conditional use in the Commerce & Industry and Commerce & Industry South districts. No members of the public commented on the proposal. After discussion, the Commission voted to close the hearing and decided against allowing pet care facilities in the Commerce & Industry South district.

Pierce presented the Commission’s Rules of Procedure and Conflict of Interest Policy, noting that significant changes made in the Town’s Ethics and Conflict of Interest Ordinance now supersedes those in the Commission’s Rules. He recommended that the Town’s ordinance be referenced in the Commission’s Rules in lieu of the present language. He also encouraged Commissioners to review the Rules carefully and recommended other changes they might want to make to clarify and/or simplify them. The discussion will continue at their next meeting.

The Commission next turned its attention to its proposed work plan for 2016. Heins asked each Commissioner to identify three issues that they would like to address in the coming year. After discussion, the consensus was that stormwater issues, a complete streets policy that included connectivity and public works standards revisions, and telecom & solar sighting were priorities. Economic development, simplifying the Town Plan, and housing and in-fill development were also named as important issues. In addition, the Commission will continue to address the request from the Development Review Board for clarification on certain existing regulations.

As background for further work on stormwater regulations, Pierce gave an overview of possible planning activities. The Commission will continue its work on this issue, identified by Heins as priority #1 for 2016, at subsequent meetings.

The Commission then reviewed the proposed changes to sign regulations it had discussed at a previous meeting and began its consideration of amendments regarding special zoning permits for extraction, filling or removal of natural resources. Both of these issues had been identified by the Development Review Board as in need of clarification. The Commission agreed that the permit requirement should be triggered either by the volume or the extent of the project rather than simply by square footage. Of concern is the impact of stormwater runoff on neighboring properties when such projects occur. Both issues will be further discussed at a subsequent meeting.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, April 28 at 7 pm in the Municipal Center. Commissioner Kate Lalley also noted that the Selectboard will be considering the Form Based Code proposal at their meeting on Tuesday, April 26 and urged Commissioners to attend.

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