Planning Commission Minutes 04-24-2017





MONDAY, APRIL 24, 2017

Members Present: Shannon Haggett-Chair, Cheryl Brinkman, John Coburn, Tim Cook, Morgan Kittredge

Members Absent: Mike Winslow, Jason Farrell

Also Present: Mel Hawley, Zoning Administrator

Shannon called the regular meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. He then asked if there were any amendments to the agenda. No amendments were requested.

The minutes to the regular meeting of March 27, 2017 were reviewed. Cheryl moved to approve the minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Morgan with all voting in favor.

Shannon reported he, Mel, Amy Bodette Barr, and Kevin Rooney met with Gary Holloway and Faith Ingulsrud on April 19th for a pre-application meeting to the Neighborhood Development Area designation. During that meeting, the Vergennes participants asked if there was any flexibility in mapping the area beyond the recommended half-mile boundary surrounding the Designated Downtown. Faith and Gary responded there is flexibility. The participants also asked for clarification of the stated program benefit of “limited risk of project appeal” as that language caused concern with members of the City Council and Planning Commission as it could be interpreted as infringing upon the rights of abutters and other interested parties. Faith and Gary clarified the appeal couldn’t be based solely on the character of the area or neighborhood affected, but would need to be based on performance standards or other substantive reasons. This is already embedded in the review process for Vergennes and thus is not an infringement. They added they will clarify the meaning in future literature on the program to avoid such misinterpretations. Faith also provided an application partially completed for Vergennes along with recommendations on what would be needed to obtain a positive score. She suggested the City complete the application and she would review it prior to submitting to the Vermont Downtown Development Board. At the Planning Commission meeting, Shannon gave everyone a parcel map showing the Designated Downtown and the recommended half-mile boundary for the Neighborhood Development Area and asked members to bring recommended adjustments to the May meeting.

Mel reported the notice of public hearing had been disseminated regarding the proposed amendments to the municipal development plan. The public hearing will be held on Monday, May 22, 2017 at 7 p.m. at City Hall for the following purpose. Pursuant to 24 V.S.A. § 4384, the Planning Commission proposes to amend sections 1.3, 3.1, 3.2, 5.1, 5.2, the Land Use Map and the APPENDIX of the Municipal Development Plan. The proposed amendments will then be delivered to the City Council for the next stages of the process which includes a minimum of two public hearings.

Shannon reminded everyone the next project after the amending the plan will be to bring the zoning and subdivision regulations into conformance with the updated plan. He suggested having much of the new language ready by the time the amendments are adopted by the City Council following their public hearings. Everyone agreed. He added he would prepare a process flow document for the May meeting to identify elements needed to bring the regulations into conformance with the plan.

Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:

Transportation items update – Shannon reported there will be an Addison County Transportation Summit on Thursday, May 11th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Vergennes Opera House and he encouraged everyone to attend.

Stormwater items update – Mel reported the City was awarded a grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program to digitally map our sewer mains and stormwater system. Work will begin once Mel receives the grant agreement.

Materials Management items update – Cheryl reported the Addison County Solid Waste Management District is conducting a siting survey for a district operated drop-off facility for the area. More information will be available at a later date.

Under new business Shannon informed everyone the Vergennes Downtown-Basin Master Plan had been nominated for “Plan of the Year” by the Vermont Planners Association. The plan was not selected as the award winning plan, but did earn a certificate of merit.

The meeting adjourned at 7:51 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mel Hawley, Clerk