Planning Commission Minutes, 9-9-19

CITY OF VERGENNES

PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES

MONDAY, AUGUST 5, 2019

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

 

Visitor: Tim Clark

Chair Shannon Haggett called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. The agenda was amended to defer the approval of minutes until after visitors were heard.

Tim Clark, Waltham resident and area representative on the Addison County Walk-Bike Council gave a presentation on potential improvements to North Main Street and to Monkton Road which would allow for safer bike traffic along those thoroughfares. He noted we will likely see a trend of growing bike ridership in the area, including use as transportation and working/commuting. He said the trend fits in with the State’s energy goals and there could be grant opportunities for such improvements. He asked the Planning Commission to consider including language in the Municipal Development Plan to encourage potential road improvements similar to those he outlined.

Upon motion by Cheryl Brinkman, seconded by John Coburn, the minutes of the regular meeting of August 5, 2019 were approved unanimously with one non-substantive change.

The Commission began the continuation of the Municipal Development Plan update with a focus on Tim Cook’s updated entry on the Bixby Library, Carrie Macfarlane’s revision of the Transportation Network section, John Coburn’s draft on the Vergennes Partnership and the City’s Designated Downtown and Danelle Birong’s updated entry on Housing and Population, including updated graphs and population data.

Shannon Haggett brought up the prioritization of the plan’s goals and strategies/policies. He explained he originally planned to have everyone identify what they considered to be the most important goals and strategies through a voting exercise. He added that process appeared to be cumbersome and might not achieve what everyone intended. Cheryl Brinkman suggested that each chapter of the plan might need a small number of over-arching goals and then corresponding strategies/policies to achieve the goals. She pointed to the structure of the updated enhanced energy plan as an example. Mike Winslow suggested we start from scratch instead of prioritizing the current goals and strategies/policies. He further asked if everyone could envision new goals for all of the chapters, not just the chapters we have been editing. All agreed. These will then be vetted by the entire group at the October meeting.

Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:

  • Transportation – Mike Winslow reported the City has been awarded grant funding for extending the sidewalk on the north side of Main Street from Macdonough Drive to the Otter Creek Bridge. He also noted the recent public forum for the Triangle Bike Loop project was well-attended. Finally he stated there will be a workshop on the Transportation Climate Initiative to be held on Wednesday September 18 at 2PM at the Addison County Regional Planning Commission.
  • Stormwater – Mike Winslow reported the Addison Northwest School District has chosen to not pursue any stormwater mitigation grant funding at this time.
  • Energy Planning – Cheryl Brinkman reported the Energy Committee of the Addison County Regional Planning Commission would start reviewing Enhanced Energy Plans. She said she expected they would schedule a review of our plan in early 2020. She also noted that there soon may be grant funding to establish municipal energy committees and she would keep the group informed as that develops.

Under new business, Danelle Birong announced she has volunteered to be the communications point person for the upcoming Main Street paving project. She will liaise between the City, The Vergennes Partnership and local businesses as the project evolves.

The meeting adjourned at 9:02 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Shannon Haggett, Chair