All posts by Mel Hawley

Planning Commission Minutes 01-23-2017

CITY OF VERGENNES

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES

REGULAR MEETING

MONDAY, JANUARY 23, 2017

Members Present: Shannon Haggett-Chair, Mike Winslow-Vice Chair, Cheryl Brinkman, John Coburn, Tim Cook, Morgan Kittredge, Jason Farrell

Also Present: Mel Hawley, Zoning Administrator; Peter Schneider, VEIC; Scott Hardy

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

Shannon introduced Peter Schneider and Scott Hardy. Mr. Schneider is with the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), also known as Efficiency Vermont, and Mr. Hardy is in the planning stages of Fisher Farm, a planned unit development on Green Street, and has asked the Planning Commission to consider amending the zoning and subdivision regulations by offering a density bonus schedule for standards other than LEED to incentivize builders to construct energy efficient homes, which he submits is cost-prohibitive to obtain and, in the case of LEED Platinum, is impossible to obtain as it includes standards beyond the structures themselves, but also distance to shopping opportunities and public transportation. Mr. Schneider presented the building standards established by Efficiency Vermont. The tiered standards include a base level which Mr. Schneider explained is essentially building “to code” for new construction and a high performance level which brings a building to nearly energy neutral. Mr. Schneider stated that he is also a certified LEED rater. He added there are approximately a half dozen homes in Vermont that obtained a LEED Platinum certification versus around 50 homes that are Efficiency Vermont High Performance Level certified. He stated that Efficiency Vermont standards are not intended to replace LEED certification, but LEED is a brand that was developed for a more urban setting than rural Vermont and Efficiency Vermont standards are a way to achieve energy efficiency goals for our area. The Planning Commission agreed to consider these standards when next proposing amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations.

The minutes to the regular meeting of December 26, 2016 were reviewed. Cheryl moved to approve the minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by John with all voting in favor.

The minutes to the special meeting of January 9, 2017 were reviewed. Tim moved to approve the minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Cheryl with all voting in favor.

Shannon reported the City Council at their meeting on January 10, 2017 had moved the proposed amendments to the municipal development plan to public hearing. Mel stated the first public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. and if no changes are proposed, the second hearing will be held on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. This led to a discussion of the timeline for the other proposed amendments to the municipal development plan and updating the zoning and subdivision regulations to bring them into alignment with the updated plan. The consensus was the Planning Commission would prepare the municipal development plan amendments to be ready to submit to the City Council at the end of February and then begin work on amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations immediately after the plan approval process is complete.

Mel reported Efficiency Vermont and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development have teamed up with the Vergennes Partnership to identify energy efficiency opportunities to support revitalization efforts in the city of Vergennes. The team will promote Efficiency Vermont services, help to identify energy saving opportunities, drive engagement with customers, provide office space for Efficiency Vermont staff to use when visiting Vergennes, and generally help to make sure that efforts are aligned with the City of Vergennes’ planning vision and priorities. The pilot program will run for the next six months.

Shannon reported the pedestrian safety task force is scheduled to meet on February 1, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. at the Police Station meeting room. He encouraged any interested parties to attend.

Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:

Transportation items update – No update.

Stormwater items update – Mel reported the grant application for the Lake Champlain Basin Program for mapping the sewer distribution system and stormwater system had been submitted prior to the January 6, 2017 deadline.

Materials Management items update – Cheryl reported she will make a presentation to the City Council at their regular meeting on January 24, 2017 as the City’s representative on the Addison County Solid Waste Management District Board of Supervisors. The presentation will update the City Council on upcoming deadlines mandated by Act 148 and to inform them of possible assistance from the District to comply with Act 148.

Under new business Shannon asked members to look at Section 1206 – Open Storage in Residential Districts in the zoning and subdivision regulations. He reported he and Mel had a conversation regarding the four sentences in the section. Currently the last three sentences are numbered, but the first sentence is not. Both thought the first sentence should be numbered as well but wanted to confirm with the entire Planning Commission that this was the intent. Everyone agreed and Mel corrected the formatting error.

The meeting adjourned at 8:41 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mel Hawley, Clerk

CITY OF VERGENNES

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES

REGULAR MEETING

MONDAY, JANUARY 23, 2017

Members Present: Shannon Haggett-Chair, Mike Winslow-Vice Chair, Cheryl Brinkman, John Coburn, Tim Cook, Morgan Kittredge, Jason Farrell

Also Present: Mel Hawley, Zoning Administrator; Peter Schneider, VEIC; Scott Hardy

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

Shannon introduced Peter Schneider and Scott Hardy. Mr. Schneider is with the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), also known as Efficiency Vermont, and Mr. Hardy is in the planning stages of Fisher Farm, a planned unit development on Green Street, and has asked the Planning Commission to consider amending the zoning and subdivision regulations by offering a density bonus schedule for standards other than LEED to incentivize builders to construct energy efficient homes, which he submits is cost-prohibitive to obtain and, in the case of LEED Platinum, is impossible to obtain as it includes standards beyond the structures themselves, but also distance to shopping opportunities and public transportation. Mr. Schneider presented the building standards established by Efficiency Vermont. The tiered standards include a base level which Mr. Schneider explained is essentially building “to code” for new construction and a high performance level which brings a building to nearly energy neutral. Mr. Schneider stated that he is also a certified LEED rater. He added there are approximately a half dozen homes in Vermont that obtained a LEED Platinum certification versus around 50 homes that are Efficiency Vermont High Performance Level certified. He stated that Efficiency Vermont standards are not intended to replace LEED certification, but LEED is a brand that was developed for a more urban setting than rural Vermont and Efficiency Vermont standards are a way to achieve energy efficiency goals for our area. The Planning Commission agreed to consider these standards when next proposing amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations.

The minutes to the regular meeting of December 26, 2016 were reviewed. Cheryl moved to approve the minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by John with all voting in favor.

The minutes to the special meeting of January 9, 2017 were reviewed. Tim moved to approve the minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Cheryl with all voting in favor.

Shannon reported the City Council at their meeting on January 10, 2017 had moved the proposed amendments to the municipal development plan to public hearing. Mel stated the first public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. and if no changes are proposed, the second hearing will be held on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. This led to a discussion of the timeline for the other proposed amendments to the municipal development plan and updating the zoning and subdivision regulations to bring them into alignment with the updated plan. The consensus was the Planning Commission would prepare the municipal development plan amendments to be ready to submit to the City Council at the end of February and then begin work on amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations immediately after the plan approval process is complete.

Mel reported Efficiency Vermont and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development have teamed up with the Vergennes Partnership to identify energy efficiency opportunities to support revitalization efforts in the city of Vergennes. The team will promote Efficiency Vermont services, help to identify energy saving opportunities, drive engagement with customers, provide office space for Efficiency Vermont staff to use when visiting Vergennes, and generally help to make sure that efforts are aligned with the City of Vergennes’ planning vision and priorities. The pilot program will run for the next six months.

Shannon reported the pedestrian safety task force is scheduled to meet on February 1, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. at the Police Station meeting room. He encouraged any interested parties to attend.

Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:

Transportation items update – No update.

Stormwater items update – Mel reported the grant application for the Lake Champlain Basin Program for mapping the sewer distribution system and stormwater system had been submitted prior to the January 6, 2017 deadline.

Materials Management items update – Cheryl reported she will make a presentation to the City Council at their regular meeting on January 24, 2017 as the City’s representative on the Addison County Solid Waste Management District Board of Supervisors. The presentation will update the City Council on upcoming deadlines mandated by Act 148 and to inform them of possible assistance from the District to comply with Act 148.

Under new business Shannon asked members to look at Section 1206 – Open Storage in Residential Districts in the zoning and subdivision regulations. He reported he and Mel had a conversation regarding the four sentences in the section. Currently the last three sentences are numbered, but the first sentence is not. Both thought the first sentence should be numbered as well but wanted to confirm with the entire Planning Commission that this was the intent. Everyone agreed and Mel corrected the formatting error.

The meeting adjourned at 8:41 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mel Hawley, Clerk

Development Review Board Minutes 01-09-2017

CITY OF VERGENNES

DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD

MINUTES

REGULAR MEETING

MONDAY, JANUARY 9, 2017

Members Present: Peter Garon-Chair, Brent Rakowski, Vice-Chair, Tim Cook, Jason Farrell Jason Mullin, Don Peabody, Steve Rapoport

Members Absent: None

Guests: Cynthia Hellyer, Bonnie Beecy

Present: Zoning Administrator Mel Hawley

Chair Peter Garon called the regular meeting to order at 7 p.m.

  1. Public Hearing (continued) – Hopkins Ridge Homeowner’s Association, Inc., Proposed Amendment to Declaration of Covenants

Jason Mullin moved to the head of the table as an applicant and recused himself as a member of the Board since he is one of the property owners and officers of Hopkins Ridge Homeowner’s Association, Inc. Peter Garon read the public hearing notice and reminded Jason Mullin, Cynthia Hellyer, and Bonnie Beecy that they are still under oath. The covenants for Hopkins Ridge prohibit the raising of livestock or poultry and the association is seeking an amendment to the covenants so that chickens can be raised. The Development Review Board recessed the public hearing at the request of the applicant to provide an opportunity to submit revised language. Jason Mullin submitted a version which added a second sentence in the covenant outlining the exemption for raising chickens which requires written permission from the Hopkins Ridge Homeowner’s Association in accordance with rules and restrictions that have been duly adopted by the Association. Jason Mullin also submitted a draft of such rules and restrictions. Bonnie Beecy, who owns a condominium in Country Commons located across the street from Hopkin Ridge, suggested that the rules clearly state that property owners are expected to keep their chickens in their respective enclosures and are not allowed to be free-range. With no further comments, Brent Rakowski moved to close the public hearing and that Zoning Administrator Hawley be directed to draft an affirmative decision on the application. The motion was seconded by Don Peabody with all voting in favor.

Jason Farrell departed.

  1. Review and accept minutes of previous meeting

The minutes to the regular meeting of December 5, 2016 were reviewed and corrected. Peter Garon moved to approve the minutes as corrected. The motion was seconded by Tim Cook with all voting in favor.

  1. Pending Decision – Vergennes-Panton Water District, 7 Canal Street, Storage Container, Site Plan Review (see Section 311)

As directed, Zoning Administrator Hawley drafted an affirmative decision approving the application. Brent Rakowski moved to authorize Peter Garon to sign the decision on behalf of the board. The motion was seconded by Jason Mullin with all voting in favor.

  1. Pending Decision – Ryan Block, LLC, 155 Main Street, Demolition of Accessory Structure, Proposed Accessory Structure, Site Plan Review

As directed, Zoning Administrator Hawley drafted an affirmative decision approving the application. Tim Cook moved to authorize Peter Garon to sign the decision on behalf of the board. The motion was seconded by Steve Rapoport with all voting in favor.

  1. Pending Decision – James Amblo, 89 South Water Street, Subdivision

As directed, Zoning Administrator Hawley drafted an affirmative decision approving the application. Steve Rapoport moved to authorize Peter Garon to sign the decision on behalf of the board. The motion was seconded by Brent Rakowski with all voting in favor.

  1. Pending Decision – James Amblo, 210 Main Street, Change the Use of First Floor from Personal Service and Office to Retail and Dwelling Unit, Site Plan Review, Conditional Use Review

As directed, Zoning Administrator Hawley drafted a decision approving the change of use of the front portion of the first floor from personal service to retail but denying the change of use of the back portion of the first floor from office to a dwelling unit. Tim Cook moved to authorize Peter Garon to sign the decision on behalf of the board. The motion was seconded by Jason Mullin with all voting in favor.

  1. Appointments to City Green Displays Committee

Zoning Administrator Hawley reported that the City Council adopted a City Green Policy a number of years ago which creates a three-member committee to review and act on request for displays on the City Green. The committee is comprised of the City Clerk, or in his/her absence, the Assistant City Clerk, a member of the Development Review Board, or in his/her absence, an alternate member, elected at their annual organization meeting, and a member of the Planning Commission, or in his/her absence, an alternate member, elected at their annual organization meeting. Zoning Administrator Hawley said that the election should have occurred in November. Don Peabody was elected to continue his service on the committee and Jason Mullin was elected as the alternate member.

 

  1. Report of Zoning Administrator

Zoning Administrator reported that Scott Hardy is still working on his plans for Fisher Farm and will likely return next month.

  1. Other Business – none

10. Adjournment

Chair Peter Garon adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mel Hawley

Acting Recording Secretary