Planning Commission Minutes 10-1-2018





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: Peter Garon, Zoning Administrator; Emily Tupper


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 September 3, 2018 were reviewed. Cheryl moved to approve the minutes. The motion was seconded by Carrie with all voting in favor.

Shannon reported that the City Council had approved the changes to the land use and zoning map after a public hearing held on September 25, 2018. Carrie has placed the amended map on the City’s website. The amended map will be effective October 16, 2018. Shannon has asked Kevin Behm at ACRPC to update the land use and zoning map.

The public planning forum was discussed. Everyone was pleased with the attendance. It was noted that many of the comments from the public were not directly related to planning issues, but all would be helpful as background information going forward. The summary was reviewed with changes suggested by various members. A final draft will be circulated after further comments are received. When complete, Carrie will place the summary on the website.

Shannon had circulated a draft of potential homework assignments for review of the MDP. Member assignments are attached. Completion time frame is 4 months, but discussions will be helpful on an ongoing basis. Shannon suggested that sections be updated and refreshed with new data as relevant while keeping the general tone and direction of the Plan. The review should also include looking at policies and goals for changes. Shannon also suggested that consideration be given to mentioning stakeholders who might be interested in assisting in certain areas. Christine noted that editing and formatting were important to the final product. She also brought up the point of coordinating the MDP with other city plans. Resources could include looking at other town plans for areas of similarity.

Cheryl asked that overall goals be brainstormed by the group. Individuals would lead the discussion on the topic areas. Shannon will extract relevant sections and pass them on to assigned members.

The sidewalk inventory and improvement recommendations from July 2016 were circulated. Contrary to reports, sidewalks have not really been part of Planning Commission discussions. Shannon did report that Public Works has been using the document as a planning tool. The South Water Street sidewalk issue was raised with no clear consensus. This item will remain under discussion for feedback to the City Manager at a later date. It was the general feeling of most members that they oppose removing sidewalks that currently exist.

The annual reorganization meeting of the Planning Commission will take place at the regular meeting scheduled for November 5, 2018. This will include election of officers and any proposed amendments to the rules of procedure. Shannon reminded members that any proposed amendments to the rules must be submitted in writing ahead of the meeting so they can be circulated with other meeting information. Tim noted that the DRB may have a conflict in meeting dates which could impact the Planning Commission. Further discussion was deferred pending DRB action.

Tim informed the group that there were grants available for recreation purposes, but there is probably not enough time to access them now. He will be working with the new Recreation Committee for future opportunities.

Carrie reported on progress with the tri-town cycling loop. Matching funds of $3,500 were needed for the $35,000 grant. Vergennes authorized matching funds of up to $1,500 and New Haven authorized $2,000. The grant application has been submitted.

Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:

  • Transportation items update – Members expressed concerns about the organization and effectiveness of the recent VT 22A Truck Route study public forum hosted by Stantec, VTrans and the Addison County Regional Planning Commission. Hearing participants was a particular issue. Shannon reported that Bill Benton is working with some stakeholders to further explore some of the ideas that did come from the meeting. The Committee felt that consideration should be given to adding some component about the truck issue to the MDP.
  • Stormwater items update – Mike noted that there was nothing new on this front, but that a new grant cycle was coming up in January, 2019.
  • Materials Management items update – Cheryl reported that the ACSWMD has been talking to the City Manager about alternatives for Vergennes when their drop-off center closes. ACSWMD has also been having discussions with Ferrisburgh about property at the Route 22/7 intersection.
  • Energy Planning items update – Shannon has received authorization and support from the City Council for pursuing the enhanced energy planning grant through ACRPC. The public forum supported the concept and this was a factor in the Council approval. Cheryl reported that the ACRPC was going to award grants on October 2, and Vergennes would be considered.

Under new business, Tim reported that he has talked with Elise Shanbacker from the Addison County Community Trust and Bob Feuerstein who have expressed interest in working together on community access issues. This could be the beginning of a public/private partnership. Tim will update everyone on the progress at a future meeting

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Peter Garon, Clerk