Planning Commission Minutes 05-07-2018





MONDAY, MAY 7, 2018

Members Present: Shannon Haggett-Chair, Mike Winslow-Vice Chair, Danelle Birong,

John Coburn, Tim Cook, Christine Garrow, Carrie Macfarlane

Members Absent: Cheryl Brinkman

Also Present: Mel Hawley, Zoning Administrator

Shannon called the regular meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. He asked if there were any proposed amendments to the agenda. No amendments were requested.

The minutes to the meeting of April 2, 2018 were reviewed. Mel suggested several grammatical changes. John moved to approve the minutes as amended. The motion was seconded by Tim with all voting in favor.

Shannon reported the City Council held their second public hearing on the proposed amendments to the zoning and subdivision regulations on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. He noted no additional public testimony was submitted. After the public hearing was closed, the City Council voted unanimously to adopt the amendments. Mel added the amendments will take effect 21 days after adoption giving them an effective date of May 15, 2018. Mike asked if there was a likelihood of anyone filing a petition calling for a public vote. Mel and Shannon responded while possible, it seemed unlikely anyone would submit a challenge to the adoption of the amendments.

Mel reported he had not found time to articulate the duties and responsibilities of clerk of Planning Commission in a memorandum to assist members in determining how best to fill that role after July 24. He said he would write the memorandum prior to his retirement.

The Planning Commission discussed the municipal development plan rewrite effort. Shannon provided a draft calendar to help organize the project. He added it would change over time based on the group’s progress. The Planning Commission held a lengthy discussion on public engagement events, topics and vehicles with the goal of obtaining guidance from the community during the rewrite process. Everyone agreed the three major topics where the Planning Commission should seek public input are:

  1. Dimensional standards and density bonus structure for the High Density Residential District.
  2. Should Vergennes continue to have an Agricultural and Rural Residential District and, if not, what vision is desired for those areas?
  3. What should the city look like in the future in terms of connectivity of pedestrian/multi-modal resources (sidewalks, trails, paths, etc.)?

A more detailed public engagement plan will be discussed at the June meeting.

Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:

  • Transportation items update – Shannon reported the deadline for applications to the VTrans 2018 Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Program is June 22, 2018. After discussion about what kind of projects may qualify for funding, the Planning Commission determined they would not pursue an application at this time. Mel reported this federally funded program results in a substantial increase in the cost of a project as evidence by the Northern Gateway Sidewalk Extension Project that is funded under this program. Shannon reported Addison County Regional Planning Commission had announced that VTrans has allocated $100,000 to re-examine a Vermont Route 22A truck route to alleviate truck traffic on Main Street.
  • Stormwater items update – Mel reported he received an email from Claire Tebbs at Addison County Regional Planning stating the final report from Dana Allen from Watershed Consulting Associates was ready. Mel added he would respond to Claire to request a meeting to review the report and to include Shannon, Mike, Christine, Public Works Department Supervisor Jim Larrow and Wastewater Treatment Plant Chief Operator Rick Chaput.
  • Materials Management items update – No update.
  • Energy Planning items update – No update.
  • Emergency Management – As a follow-up from the April meeting, Mike reported the City has an emergency management plan in place.

Under new business, Shannon reported the Addison County Regional Planning Commission was holding a training session on the essentials of local land use planning and regulation on Monday, June 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and said it might be a beneficial presentation for new members. Danelle pointed out the timing of the session conflicts with the Planning Commission’s regular meeting for June. Shannon said he would contact staff at regional planning to see if he could get a copy of the training materials to share with everyone.

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mel Hawley, Clerk