CITY OF VERGENNES
PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
MONDAY, APRIL 1, 2019
Members Present: Shannon Haggett-Chair, Mike Winslow-Vice Chair, Cheryl Brinkman, Christine Garrow, Carrie Macfarlane, Tim Cook, John Coburn
Members Absent: Danelle Birong
Also Present: Peter Garon-Zoning Administrator, Matt Chabot-City Manager, Kim Trombley
Shannon called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Shannon proposed amending the agenda to defer the approval of minutes until after City Manager Matt Chabot made his presentation on the VT Route 22A Alternate Alignment. Everyone agreed.
City Manager Matt Chabot updated the Commission on his recent visit to Morrisville along with Mike Winslow and Mayor Jeff Fritz to meet with town officials about their experience with an economic corridor (VT Route 22A Alternate Alignment). He indicated that town officials were very pleased with the positive impact that the economic corridor had on the economic and social life of the community. The discussion noted that there are many similarities between Morrisville and Vergennes. Matt noted that the economic corridor discussion narrative had changed from “if” to “when”. There seems to be a high level of support from neighboring towns for this option to deal with the truck issue. Matt noted that current expectations see a $2.8 million annual economic boost to our area.
The minutes to the special meeting of March 11, 2019 were reviewed. Cheryl moved to approve the minutes, seconded by Carrie. Non substantive corrections were made and all voted in favor to approve the amended minutes.
Shannon shared a draft about a new plan section to discuss the City’s aspirations surrounding the VT Route 22A Alternate Alignment and possible inclusion of an “Official Map”. He noted while other sections of the MDP focus on transportation issues, he felt it was important to highlight this issue separately. Suggestions were made and will be incorporated into future drafts. Shannon will send a draft to all of additional language which was developed by Mike for possible inclusion in the section.
Shannon also shared an ACRPC document which outlined state law (24 VSA 4382) on the content of town planning documents. He noted that there are new sections to be addressed related to the availability of safe and affordable child care, and the development of an implementation plan. Cheryl volunteered to work on the child care issue as it fits in with sections she has addressed.
Cheryl discussed work being done on the energy plan. An enhanced energy plan is required for the City to achieve the status of substantial deference in filings submitted to the Public Utility Commission. As part of the requirements, the plan needs to be committed to the state goals of 90% sustainability by 2050. She specifically pointed out the assistance she has received from Adam Lougee, Executive Director of ACRPC. He shared a plan from Salisbury which could be used as a template and guide for our plan as it seems easily adaptable for our needs. Cheryl noted that the plan needed to include what is allowed, what is not allowed, what is preferred, and a discussion of the size of projects. Also there are a variety of other items to be included in the plan such as charging stations, and Vermont gas options. When our plan is complete, there will be other reviews including the City Council and ACRPC.
Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:
- Transportation items update – a reminder of the public forum to discuss Stantec’s current draft report for the VT Route 22A Truck Route Study. The forum will be held at the Vergennes Opera House at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2nd.
- Stormwater items update – Mike reported that there are no stormwater projects underway at this time. He will be meeting with the facilities committee of the Addison Northwest School District within the next two weeks
- Energy Planning update – Energy planning was covered earlier in the meeting by Cheryl.
There was no new business presented, but visitor, Kim Trombley, echoed comments made earlier about safety concerns with the truck traffic. She also mentioned the importance of the child care issue. Pre-schools in the area are full, and the absence of safe affordable child care has a negative impact on development. She commented that affordable housing is difficult to find or develop. She told the Commission about her difficulty in finding a contractor for a $150,000 housing project.
The meeting adjourned at 8:57 p.m.
Peter Garon, Recording Secretary