Planning Commission to convene stormwater summit

Citing stormwater management as a priority issue for Shelburne, the Planning Commission agreed at its meeting on April 28 to convene a stormwater summit in the near future. They plan on inviting the Selectboard, Shelburne Natural Resources Committee members, those associated with the Lewis Creek Association, town officials such as Shelburne Water Quality Superintendent Chris Robinson of the Public Works Department, and a specialist from the Vermont League of Cities & Towns.

The Summit may begin with reviewing the Model Low Impact Development Stormwater Management Bylaw developed by the Vermont League of Cities & Towns, as well as the stormwater management standards they included in the Form Based Code. Persons interested in participating in the Summit are encouraged to contact Planning Commission Chair Jaime Heins or Town Planner Dean Pierce.

In the Commissioner Questions and Comments period, Heins reported that the Form Based Code proposal had been adopted by the Selectboard and offered his congratulations to Commissioner Kate Lalley who spearheaded this effort.

Commissioner Ann Hogan asked about the status of the Envision planning tool, stating that it might be very helpful in measuring the impact of the proposed 100 home development on the west side of the Kwiniaska Golf Course. Pierce reported that the tool is being tweaked at present and should be ready soon. Commissioner Dick Elkins questioned whether the Kwiniaska project included affordable housing. Pierce stated that he would make sure reference to the Town Plan on affordable housing will be included in the staff report on the project when it reaches the next level of consideration.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to meet with the Selectboard on May 10. They reviewed the written responses Heins drafted in answer to the questions raised in advance by the Selectboard. After reviewing its accomplishments over the past year, the report lists the top three priories for the coming year as (1) stormwater (2) connected infrastructure and (3) the rural district.

The Commission then reviewed their Rules of Procedure in light of the new Ethics and Conflict of Interest Ordinance adopted by the Town. Lee Suskin, Chair of the Shelburne Ethics Committee, reported that there will be a training session for all town officials on the ordinance in the fall. He stressed the new provisions on conflicts of interest, and suggested that the language of the ordinance on this issue as well as on ex parte communication and the definition of official act or action be incorporated by reference in the Commission’s Rules of Procedures. The Commission reviewed and amended its current Rules of Procedure and is likely to adopt the revised version at a meeting in the near future.

The Commission took another look at prioritizing its work plan for the coming year, and addressed three issues identified by the Development Review Board as needing clarification that had been included in the work plan. The first concerned sign lighting in order to reduce glare. The Commissioners asked Pierce to propose a district-by-district plan for when lights must be off or at least dimmed at night. The Commission then reviewed and revised the extent that proprosed extraction and fill would trigger the need for a special permit. Lastly, they reviewed materials prepared by Hogan concerning trailers used as storage units. On this issue, the Commission asked that DRB Chair Mark Sammut be invited to a Planning Commission meeting so that they could better understand the current problem.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, May 12 at 7pm in the Municipal Center.

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