Planning Commission Minutes 06-04-2018





MONDAY, JUNE 4, 2018

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

Cheryl Brinkman, Tim Cook, Christine Garrow, Carrie Macfarlane

Members Absent: John Coburn

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. Mel requested to add “Zoning Administrator Search Update and Discussion” to the agenda. This proposed amendment was accepted.

The minutes to the meeting of May 7, 2018 were reviewed. Mike moved to approve the minutes with corrections. The motion was seconded by Cheryl with all voting in favor.

Shannon reported he had inadvertently included an incorrect land use and zoning district map during the recent update and adoption process for the zoning and subdivision regulations. As a result, two parcels on West Main Street in the Low Density Residential were intended to be designated Medium Density Residential by extending the district to the south but were not included in the proposed amendments. He added the mistake means the regulations are not consistent with the municipal development plan. The solution is to correct the mistake by amending the regulations. This requires a public hearing by the Planning Commission and two public hearings by the City Council. Discussion centered on whether this process should proceed now or wait until the municipal development plan is updated. Everyone agreed it should be corrected as soon as possible. Tim moved the Planning Commission proceed with a proposed amendment to the regulations with a public hearing on August 6, 2018 at 7:00 pm. The motion was seconded by Christine with all voting in favor.

Acting on Mel’s request for an amendment to the agenda regarding the zoning administrator search update and discussion, Shannon reported Mayor Renny Perry had formed a Zoning Administrator Search Committee. The committee members are Shannon Haggett, Mike Winslow, Tim Cook, Cheryl Brinkman and Peter Garon. Jeff Fritz is the City Council liaison to the committee. He added the committee met on May 24, 2018 to finalize a job description, job advertisement, and search process. The committee will begin reviewing résumés on June 25, 2018.

Mel reported on his duties and responsibilities as clerk of the Planning Commission. These include writing minutes to the meetings, posting the agenda in advance of meetings in three designated public spaces to conform to the state’s open meeting law, and generally ensuring the Planning Commission’s actions are in accordance with state law. The group discussed whether these functions should be fulfilled by a member of the Planning Commission or if there needs to be paid staff for part or all of the administrative functions. Shannon stated he would contact Mayor Renny Perry in regard to what options may be available.

Christine presented a draft public outreach and participation plan for the municipal development plan re-write effort. The plan included the following:



  1. Determine the KEY issue areas for public feedback
  2. Lot sizes/dimensional standards and density bonus structure in the High Density Residential District
  3. Should the City continue to have an Agricultural and Rural Residential District and, if not, what should that area “look” like?
  4. What should the City look like in the future in terms of accessibility/connectivity/safety of pedestrian/multi-modal resources, including:
  • Walking & biking options…trails? paths? rail trail? greenbelt connecting ROWs?
  • Sidewalk conditions or missing sidewalk
  • Vehicle speeds, # of tractor trailer trucks, safer crossings
  • Is the ½ mile radius around downtown truly walkable and, if not, how is that goal to be achieved?
  1. Other?
  2. Determine the key target groups for notification
  3. Determine the avenues for public outreach and participation
  4. Determine the methods and timing for providing notice of the avenues chosen
  5. Determine the information to be included in the notices

III. Public Meeting Outline

  1. Location
  2. Timing and Date
  3. Possible Hooks
  4. Presentation Format and Content
  5. Public Feedback Options
  6. Meeting Materials
  7. AV Equipment
  8. Misc. Notes


  1. Location
  2. Timing
  3. Content
  4. Public Feedback Options
  5. Misc.

Everyone agreed the plan was very thorough. During the lengthy discussion of the details, the Planning Commission set a target date of Thursday, September 13, 2018 as the initial public planning event. Choices for location in order of priority are the Vergennes Opera House, Bixby Memorial Free Library, or the Vergennes Fire Station. Initial tasks from the plan were assigned to members of the Planning Commission. The plan will be reviewed and updated at the July meeting with the intent of completing all the necessary tasks in time to hold the September event.

Shannon reported Josh Donabedian, the transportation planner at Addison County Regional Planning Commission, was willing to hold a special training session on the essentials of local land use planning and regulation for Vergennes planning and zoning officials during the weeks of June 11 or June 25. The group discussed when the best time would be and everyone agreed Wednesday, June 27 would be best. Shannon said he would contact Josh to finalize arrangements and would update everyone once the session was scheduled.

Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:

  • Transportation items update – Shannon noted Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. had presented the best proposal and has been selected for the Vermont Route 22A Truck Route Study and included in the scope of work are public engagement events. He said he thought the Planning Commission will be able to include results from those events in the update of the municipal development plan as the study is scheduled to be completed by February 2019.
  • Stormwater items update – Shannon updated everyone about a meeting held on May 31 with Claire Tebbs of Addison County Regional Planning Commission, Dana Allen of Watershed Consulting Associates, Wastewater Treatment Plant Chief Operator Rick Chaput, Mel, Christine and himself. Shannon quickly presented the engineering and landscape designs from the project and stated Dana was scheduled to have the final report ready by June 18. He added he would update everyone at the next meeting. He also stated he had been in contact with Sue Rakowski, Chair of the Addison County Northwest School District, regarding the possibility of presenting to the school board and administration the designs for a proposed gravel wetlands on the high school property.
  • Materials Management items update – Cheryl reported the Addison County Solid Waste Management District is exploring editing their host town agreement with the Town of Middlebury to allow individuals to drop-off recyclable materials at the transfer station. They are also seeking alternatives to address the potential termination of the Vergennes recycling drop-off program in light of the substantial increase in cost.
  • Energy Planning items update – Cheryl reported the Energy Committee of the Addison County Regional Planning Commission was scheduled to meet on June 5, 2018 and the proposed regional energy plan would be moving to public hearing soon. She would keep the Planning Commission updated as this progresses.

Under new business, Shannon reported the City Council is looking for alternate delegates to the Addison County Regional Planning Commission. He asked to be informed if anyone had an interest in becoming an alternate delegate. Mike and Cheryl recommended that anyone who is interested should attend a meeting of the Addison County Regional Planning Commission to get a better understanding of the organization prior to committing.

The meeting adjourned at 9:48 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mel Hawley, Clerk