CITY OF VERGENNES
MONDAY, JULY 24, 2017
Members Present: Shannon Haggett-Chair, Cheryl Brinkman, Mike Winslow, Jason Farrell, Tim Cook, Morgan Kittredge
Members Absent: John Coburn
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 regular meeting of June 26, 2017 were reviewed. Mike moved to approve the minutes as presented. The motion was seconded by Cheryl with all voting in favor.
Next Mel, Mike and Cheryl updated everyone on the City Council’s public hearing held on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 to hear testimony regarding proposed amendments to the municipal development plan. They reported there was testimony opposed to returning the prohibition of ground-floor residential use in the Central Business District which led to discussion among the City Council members present. The amendments were adopted by the City Council with a vote of five in favor and one (Alderman Mark Koenig) opposed. Mel explained that Alderman Mark Koenig said the City Council had been flip-flopping on this policy and felt that it warranted further review.
The group next began to review potential changes of the zoning and subdivision regulations to bring them into conformance with the newly adopted municipal development plan.
- The group agreed to strike the definition for “Elderly Housing” and replace it with a definition for “Elderly Housing Unit” and to replace any references in the regulations of “Elderly Housing” to “Elderly Housing Unit(s)”.
- Section 1003.2 concerning allowing planned unit development in all districts as outlined in Article XVI will be removed as it was agreed that a planned unit development is a method of development and not a “use”.
- Section 1006.D.1 concerning density bonus will be reworded to refer to a “call-out box” that will explain the methodology used to calculate a density bonus based on whole units instead of fractions of a unit. For example, a calculated result of 6.9 units would be rounded down to a total of 6 units.
- This led to a lengthy discussion about awarding a density bonus based on LEED certification, Efficiency Vermont standards, or some other third-party standard. Cheryl volunteered to draft language to review at the next meeting.
- Section 1306.I.1 concerning sandwich board signs. There are differing opinions regarding whether or not the current regulations are accurately showing what was intended. Shannon stated he remembers a meeting in 2012 where Jason suggested they be allowed in all districts and Mel did not recall that. Shannon said he would locate the details and bring them to the next meeting.
- Section 1408.C concerning residential buildings on lots. It was agreed to change the section to read “There shall be no more than one residential building on a lot with the exception of 1)Dwellings developed as part of a planned unit development 2)Lots containing a one-family dwelling, with one unattached accessory dwelling unit allowed after conditional use review by the Development Review Board.
Shannon announced that Jason Farrell and Morgan Kittredge have decided they will not continue as members of the Planning Commission at the expiration of their terms on August 1. Shannon stated that both have been members of the Planning Commission longer than anyone else currently in the group and both have greatly contributed to the work of the Planning Commission over the years. He noted that Jason and Morgan often brought perspectives and ideas that had not been considered. He added he felt comfortable speaking on behalf of the entire Planning Commission to say we have all learned a great deal from both of them and their work is appreciated and their valuable contributions will be sorely missed.
With the departure of Jason and Morgan, the Planning Commission will have five members. Shannon reported this was acceptable as State statutes require a minimum of three and a maximum of nine members. Ultimately he would like to operate with seven members. Mel stated there were several community members who have expressed interest in appointment to the Planning Commission and noted in the past there has been an interview process with the chairs of the Planning Commission, the Development Review Board and himself conducting the interviews. Jason mentioned the benefit of having one or two members who sit on both boards and suggested polling Development Review Board members to see if any would be interested in participating on the Planning Commission and if so to include them in the interview process along with other interested parties. Everyone agreed. Shannon also stressed the benefit of having a diverse membership to bring a more complete cross-section of perspectives to the process. Everyone agreed this would be a good idea as well.
Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:
Transportation items update – No update.
Stormwater items update – No update.
Materials Management items update – No update
Energy Planning items update – No update
No new business was presented.
The meeting adjourned at 9:12 p.m.
Mel Hawley, Clerk