Planning Commission Minutes, May 6, 2019



MONDAY, MAY 6, 2019

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


Members Absent: John Coburn

Also Present: Peter Garon-Zoning Administrator, Kim Trombley, Amanda Mason, Robert Feuerstein

Shannon called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. There were no changes to the agenda.

Kim Trombley told the Commission that the potential new owner of 61 Main Street had discussed with her the possibility of pursuing zoning regulation changes for that property. She was inquiring about time frames. Shannon explained that it depended on how the Commission ultimately decided to address the issues she has raised previously. If it affects the regulations, it will likely be a couple of years before any changes become effective. He also suggested that the new owner could come to a meeting to provide input to the Commission.

Kim also had questions about change of use at 15 Main Street. Zoning Administrator Garon will meet with her about those questions.

Robert Feuerstein presented some ideas for the Commission about the MDP and regulations. He based some of the ideas on his experience living in Boulder, Colorado. He indicated it was likely his ideas would require City input, however he wanted to begin the discussion with the Commission. His suggestions included:

  • Determine an overall goal in terms of population and development in Vergennes including limits on both
  • Develop a standard number of pre-approved units, predicated on the Act 250 process that would essentially by-pass the Development Review Board to facilitate more development within the city
  • Address sewer and water capacity as factors limiting development
  • Closely review sign limits, particularly as it applies to size of lettering
  • Consider allowing neon signs
  • Create more flexibility for the DRB to consider overall compatibility within a district including esthetics rather than being constrained by strict definitions
  • Consider the difficulty of reconciling development with environmental concerns and how they are articulated within the plan

The minutes of the April 1, 2019 meeting were reviewed. Upon motion of Mike with second by Danelle, the minutes were approved unanimously.

John had provided his revisions for section 4.2. Discussion ensued with Shannon to discuss suggestions made with John.

Carrie updated the Commission on the direction of her work on the transportation section with details to be provided next month. She noted that signage for trails is being considered although signs might reasonably be moved to another section. She will be connecting with the recreation committee and others about city plans for trails.

The Commission discussed how to handle the economic corridor plan and maps in the MDP. Shannon noted that putting a proposed Official Map in the document limits options in the future. He wanted members to consider the impact of where it appears in the plan, particularly given that the current proposed route has not been finalized. He added that the plan should include the map and findings from the recently completed VT Route 22A Alternatives study, and he will present a proposed entry at a later date.

Continuing review of the plan sections will include more specifics on transportation; Cheryl on the childcare plan section of the state plan requirements; Danelle’s section; possibly Tim on recreation.

Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:

  • Transportation – The meeting packet contained information on bicycle/pedestrian grants. Shannon noted that the grants must be tied to transportation plans and can’t be only for recreation. Grant applications are due June 28, 2019.

The final Stantec report on the VT Route 22A Alternatives will be on the ACRPC website on Wednesday. Subsequently it will be reviewed and voted on by the Transportation Advisory Committee before being reviewed and voted on by the full Addison County Regional Planning Commission.

  • Stormwater items update – Mike reported the grant process for the proposed stormwater mitigation project at Vergennes Union High School is ongoing, but it is a new process that is still being developed. Mike is keeping the school updated. There is a short list of applicants under this new funding source, and Vergennes is on the list.
  • Energy Planning update – Cheryl has continued to work with Adam Lougee on specifics and has reviewed current drafts with Shannon. Because there is a lot of material in this section, she feels it may need a special meeting to address it. She expects it to be ready by July. She noted that the charging station grant is on the City Council agenda for action on Tuesday.

In new business, Tim noted that Comfort Hill Kennels has cows on the property. This new fact may impact changes to that zoning district which has been discussed previously.

The meeting adjourned at 8:57 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter Garon, Recording Secretary