Planning Commission Minutes 06-26-2017





MONDAY, JUNE 26, 2017

Members Present: Shannon Haggett-Chair, Cheryl Brinkman, Mike Winslow, Jason Farrell, John Coburn

Members Absent: Tim Cook, Morgan Kittredge

Also Present: Mel Hawley, Zoning Administrator,

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

The minutes to the public hearing of May 22, 2017 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 regular meeting of May 22, 2017 were reviewed. Cheryl moved to approve the minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Mike with all voting in favor.

Next Shannon informed everyone the City Council was scheduled to hold a public hearing on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in the meeting room of the Vergennes Fire Station to hear testimony regarding proposed amendments to the municipal development plan. He encouraged everyone to attend the hearing.

The Planning Commission discussed existing sign regulations pertaining to murals. Mel reported he had been approached by the developer of the Claybrook neighborhood regarding possibly painting the existing silo on the property with either an artistic mural or with some kind of “Welcome to Vergennes” message. The group reviewed Article 13 of the zoning and subdivision regulations and determined artistic murals are exempt from the City’s zoning regulations. They also discussed whether or not including any wording on the mural would constitute a sign. Ultimately, the Planning Commission agreed the response would depend on what the specific details of the mural would be and as no details were presented, the Planning Commission could form no opinion.

Mel reported the City is seeking a volunteer to serve a one-year term as an alternate delegate to the Addison County Regional Planning Commission. Based on current population, Vergennes may appoint two delegates and two alternates to the Commission. Mel Hawley and Shannon Haggett serve as delegates and Cheryl Brinkman serves as one of the alternate delegates. Mel and Shannon described the nature of the appointment and asked if anyone on the Vergennes Planning Commission was interested in serving as the second alternate delegate. No one offered to be considered for appointment.

The Planning Commission discussed the proposed Neighborhood Development Area. Mel shared a map of the proposed boundary for the area. Jason noted the boundary did not include the Kennedy Bros. property. Shannon responded he could update the map and provide it to the Vergennes Partnership. The Partnership is completing and submitting the application to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

The group next began to discuss the process for updating the zoning and subdivision regulations. Shannon provided a process flow document to show how the proposed amendments to the municipal development plan would necessitate changes in the regulations. The main points will be new regulatory language pertaining to the Solar Energy Overlay District and an update in the language surrounding ground floor residential use in the Central Business District. He asked Cheryl if she had a copy of the model language on solar power she had researched during the plan process. She provided Shannon with the documents. He stated he would present draft language for the necessary regulation changes at a future meeting for the entire Planning Commission to review.

Next the Planning Commission started review of a list of “parking lot” items collected since the last regulation update. Topics discussed include clarification on the calculation of density bonus, the definition of “elderly housing unit”, clarification on residential buildings on lots, whether “planned unit development” should be considered a use or a method of development and sandwich board signs. Shannon stated he would present a document to the next meeting to show updated language for review. He also said he would like to research how other municipalities handle planned unit development prior to the group forming a final opinion.

Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:

Transportation items update – Mel reported a change in sidewalk extension project at the north end of Main Street. He noted the engineering and project management team made a site visit and determined extending the sidewalk past the red warehouse owned by Country Home Products would be potentially dangerous. The project was revised to include a mid-block crosswalk at that point which will connect with the existing sidewalk in front of the Police Station. A rectangular rapid flashing pedestrian crosswalk beacon will potentially be included. Mel informed everyone VTrans is in agreement with the project change. Mel also updated everyone he was seeking authorization from the City Council to pursue a VTrans Small-scale Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant to fund additional crosswalk beacons for several intersections along Main Street and Green Street with heavy pedestrian traffic.

Stormwater items update – No update.

Materials Management items update – No update

Energy Planning items update – No update

Under new business Shannon reported the appointments to the Planning Commission for Tim, Jason, Morgan and Mike are scheduled to end on August 1, 2017. He asked Jason and Mike if they would consider reappointment for another two-year term. Mike agreed to have his name submitted to the City Council for reappointment to the Planning Commission for a two-year term. Jason declined reappointment, citing his lengthy tenure on the Commission and he encouraged the group to seek new members to bring fresh perspectives. Shannon accepted the decisions of both Mike and Jason. He then thanked Jason for his many contributions over the years. He added he would contact Tim and Morgan for their decisions regarding their interest in being reappointed.

The meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mel Hawley, Clerk