Shelburne zoning updates tinker with fences, building additions and math errors

The Shelburne Selectboard recently voted unanimously to approve changes to town zoning bylaws that fixed some math mistakes, now allow lakeshore property owners to put up fences and rural property owners to add onto non-conforming structures.

These changes came about as residents and property owners brought the issues to the Planning Commission.

In one case, a Shelburne resident pointed out that calculations didn’t add up in one of the tables within the zoning regulations.

The other changes resulted from instances where various property owners were told “no” by the town’s Development Review Board.

Instead of fighting the ruling or asking for a variance, the property owners went to the Planning Commission asking to change regulations.

“Property owners come to the Planning Commission asking, ‘We would really like you to change this, or think about changing this,’ and that’s how many zoning changes happen,” said Dean Pierce, director of planning and zoning.

The homeowner requested permission to put up a fence around his property, Pierce said. After the resident was denied the permits to put up the fence, he decided to appeal the ruling to the Development Review Board and the state Environmental Court. Both denied the appeal.

With no place left to appeal to and instead of asking for a variance, the property owner asked the Planning Commission to change the regulations.

The Planning Commission responded by adding fences to the list of allowed structures within the overlay setback rules for lakefront properties, Pierce said.

Kwiniaska Golf Course asked about the additions to non-conforming structures in the Rural District.

The owners of the golf course are looking to add a deck to the clubhouse. However, the clubhouse sits within the setback area from Spear Street. The regulations did not allow for structures already within the setback to be expanded. The golf course’s plans could not move ahead under the previous rules.

The term “setback” refers to the distance a building has to be from an adjacent boundary such as a road or a property line.

The Planning Commission ultimately decided to allow additions of up to 25 percent of the building’s footprint within the setback.

About 50 structures in Shelburne could benefit from this zoning regulation change, according to Pierce’s rough estimate.

The Selectboard must approve any changes to zoning regulations. It voted unanimously at its April 10 meeting to accept the changes proposed by the Planning Commission.

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