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