Form Based Zoning adopted at Selectboard meeting

After years of work, Form Based Zoning was adopted at the April 26 meeting of the Selectboard. It was one of several issues on the agenda for the meeting.

“This has been a long project,” Dean Pierce, director of Planning and Zoning, said as he started a presentation on the proposed subdivision and zoning by-law amendments associated with Form Based Code.

The changes will create an opt-in Form Based Zoning overlay district on the Route 7 corridor. It is expected that this sort of zoning will help to promote economic activity development. There will be more of an emphasis on building design and site layout.

The overlay district will use a fine-grained districting scheme, Pierce said. It will include character districts such as the Mixed Use Street District and Conservation District.

With the new overlay district, there is a hope that the character of the historic village will expand outward.

“We hope that it will create a Shelburne identity so that when you arrive from the North, you know where you are,” Planning Commissioner Kate Lalley, who was instrumental in the work on Form Based Zoning, said.

New members joined the town’s Committees, Boards and Commissions (CBCs). Michael Abrams joined the Natural Resources & Conservation Committee, and Georgene Grover gained a spot on the Social Services Committee.

There was a change within the Development Review Board. Judith Christensen moved into a full spot, and Jeff McBride switched to being an alternate.

Chief Jerry Ouimet and First Assistant Chief John Goodrich of the Fire Department were on hand to give an update on equipment status and updates. The department is looking to replace one of its engines with a ladder truck within the next couple of years.

Goodrich said that the replacement of Engine 2 with a ladder truck will bring with it a number of benefits. It will address newer construction styles, which tend toward higher roofs and larger square footage.

The ladder truck would be used for fire attack, fire rescue, roof top operations, technical rescue operations and vehicle extractions. It is expected to add both to the firefighting capabilities of the department as well as the safety of those fighting the fires.

“[It is] going to enhance our capabilities quite a bit,” Goodrich said.

A second reading for a proposed solar electric generation facility siting standards ordinance was held. Joe Colangelo, town manager, said that in its current form, the ordinance is likely too aggressive to enforce.

Selectboard Chair Gary von Stange expressed support for the ordinance but said that he is concerned that if the town takes the most aggressive stance in the state, it will end up being the body that picks up the legal tab later to enforce it.

Planning Commission Chair Jaime Heins, who has championed the ordinance, will take a look at it. Then it will be turned back over to the town attorney.

A first reading was held for an amendment to the Parking Ordinance. This would eliminate parking on the North side of a stretch of Harbor Road. The move is expected to enhance safety, especially in the area of the dog park.

Members also voted to approve applications for two grants. One was for a speed cart. The other was for tree planting at the town beach. The former requires no local match. The latter requires $500 in matching funds.

Finally, members wrapped up the meeting by going into executive session to discuss litigation between the town and Vermont Railways and to discuss lease renewal for the Champlain South Supervisory Union and the Pierson Building.

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