Planning Commission Minutes, 10-7-19




Members Present: Shannon Haggett-Chair, Mike Winslow-Vice Chair, Danelle Birong, Carrie Macfarlane, Tim Cook, John Coburn


Members Absent: Cheryl Brinkman, Peter Garon – Zoning Administrator

Chair Shannon Haggett called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. There were no amendments to the agenda proposed.

Upon motion by Tim Cook, seconded by John Coburn, the minutes of the special meeting of September 9, 2019 were approved unanimously with one non-substantive change.

Shannon Haggett alerted everyone to an email request from resident Mel Hawley regarding the uses and definitions of “Professional Residence/Office” and “Professional Service” in the current Zoning and Subdivision Regulations as it pertains to use in the Central Business District. Mr. Hawley questioned whether there was a non-substantive error in the regulations and that “Professional Services” should be included as a permitted use in the district. After lengthy discussion, the group unanimously determined that this would not be considered a non-substantive error and should be addressed when the Planning Commission reviews the regulations for updating in 2020.

The annual reorganization meeting of the Planning Commission will take place at the regular meeting scheduled for November 4, 2019. This will include election of officers and any proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure. Shannon reminded members that any proposed amendments to the rules must be submitted in writing ahead of the meeting so they can be circulated with other meeting information.

The Commission began the continuation of the Municipal Development Plan update with a focus on sections covering public engagement and plan compatibility within the region. Shannon Haggett stated he had met with Kevin Behm at Addison County Regional Planning Commission to review maps in the plan, and identify which ones need updates. Shannon said updated maps should be available for review at the November meeting. He also discussed re-formatting the plan. He intends to have a complete draft available for the November meeting for review and discussion.

Mike Winslow facilitated a group discussion on proposing goals and action-items for each section of the Municipal Development Plan. After lengthy discussion and brainstorming, the group developed preliminary goals and action-items. Mike and Shannon will compile the results into a cohesive list and will present them for review at the November meeting.

Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:

  • Transportation – Mike Winslow reported that he had discussed the concept of replacing the ditches on Monkton Road (which had been discussed at the September meeting) with culverts, with Jim Larrow, Supervisor of the Department of Public Works. Mr. Larrow agreed it was a great idea but cautioned that it might prove to be an expensive project. Mike also reported that the City of Vergennes is nearly complete in confirming compliance with the state’s Municipal Roads General Permit process.
  • Stormwater – No update.
  • Energy Planning – No update.

Under new business, Shannon reported that Faith Ingulsrud, Planning Coordinator with the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development had been in touch with him regarding using Vergennes as a case study town for the state’s “Zoning for Great Neighborhoods” project. She had indicated that Tim Cook had discussed the possibility with her. Shannon said that Vergennes would participate in the project if selected and publicly thanked Tim for his work in housing and networking to bring this potential project to the City.

The meeting adjourned at 8:52 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Shannon Haggett, Chair