Planning Commission Minutes 10-23-2017






Members Present: Shannon Haggett-Chair, Mike Winslow-Vice Chair, Cheryl Brinkman, Tim Cook; John Coburn

Also Present: Mel Hawley, Zoning Administrator; Mayor Michael Daniels; Alderman Jeff Fritz; Peter Garon, Chair, Development Review Board; Claire Tebbs, Addison County Regional Planning Commission; Dana Allen, Watershed Associates; Mike Shannon; Kevin Robert Perry, Urban Rain Design (via telephone)

Shannon called the regular meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. He then asked if there were any proposed amendments to the agenda. A request by Mel to amend the agenda to include discussion of the proposed Neighborhood Development Area under the items of interest updates was approved.

Shannon then turned the meeting over to Dana Allen of Watershed Associates and Claire Tebbs from Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC). Dana led the group in a design/mapping workshop to brainstorm potential places in Vergennes for future green infrastructure systems. He made a PowerPoint presentation to provide background information on green infrastructure systems and 30 sites within the city have been identified as potential project sites. The group discussed many of the 30 potential sites, eliminating some and suggesting which ones may provide the greatest impact.

Dana and his team will winnow the 30 sites down to three potential areas for projects, report back to stakeholders and once everyone is in agreement on the best sites, they will develop 30% design concepts for those three sites as part of their current wastewater and stormwater assessments project for Vergennes.

The minutes to the regular meeting of September 25, 2017 were reviewed. Mike reported an error on page two regarding Section 1511. He proposed amending the minutes to read “Tim noted the regulation mentions the façade…” as Tim had made the comment instead of Mike. Mike moved to approve the minutes as amended. The motion was seconded by Cheryl with all voting in favor.

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.

Definition of “Bed and Breakfast” and “Boarding or Rooming House”. Shannon reported in doing research about the difference between the two definitions, the only pertinent difference he could find is meals and duration. Bed and breakfasts offer breakfast only whereas a boarding or rooming house may serve more meals (or no meals). Additionally, bed and breakfasts are short-term whereas a boarding or rooming house may be either short-term or long-term. With that, everyone agreed to continue with both definitions, with the proposed amendment made in September to clarify “short-term” rental as being under 30 days in the definition of bed and breakfast.

Next the group began to review the tables of dimensional standards by district. Shannon asked if everyone would prefer to review the standards at the next meeting, given the lateness of the hour. Everyone agreed it would be better to review the standards in November. Cheryl asked if the district names could be included on the tables instead of just their abbreviations. John volunteered to add that information to the tables.

Shannon asked if anyone had any proposed amendments to the rules of procedure. Cheryl said she didn’t necessarily have amendments, but had questions regarding the use of the term “bylaws” versus “regulations” in Section 4, and questions about Section 8 regarding the difference between regular meetings and special meetings. Mel responded he would check into the use of the word “bylaws”, and Shannon noted the rules do not currently address emergency meetings. Collectively the group discussed reformatting Section 8 to include emergency meetings and to move subsection D regarding meeting procedures to subsection A.4 for better flow. Shannon and Mel stated they would make the proposed amendments and include them in the information packet in advance of the annual meeting in November.

Next the Planning Commission heard items of interest updates:

  • Transportation items update – Shannon and Mel reported there was a meeting on October 10th with representatives from VTrans, the City’s state representatives, members of City government and merchants, the City’s representative for the regional Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Executive Director of ACRPC. The meeting was to continue discussion of the problem of truck traffic on Main Street. VTrans acknowledged there is a problem and stated a willingness to explore potential solutions, but any solution would need to work on a regional and state level – not just for Vergennes. Joe Segale, the VTrans Bureau Director for Policy, Planning and Intermodal Development recommended the City adopt an Official Map, where overall planning goals – such as the location for any alternative routes for trucks – could be incorporated. He added having such a map would potentially strengthen the City’s position in terms of any transportation goals. Adam Lougee, Executive Director of the ACRPC, suggested the November meeting of the TAC could be devoted to the truck traffic issue and would communicate to the committee chair to request that action.
  • Stormwater items update – No update in addition to the presentation and discussion from earlier in the evening.
  • Materials Management items update – Cheryl noted the Addison County Solid Waste Management District has matching funds available for any projects pertaining to Materials Management and we should keep this in mind when planning future projects.
  • Energy Planning items update – No update
  • Neighborhood Development Area update. Mel reported he had a telephone conversation with Faith Ingulsrud from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development regarding the City’s application for the development area designation. During the call it was discovered the dimensional standards in several zoning districts would not meet the requirements for a successful application. Mel recommended the City put the application on indefinite hold and consider updating and submitting the application if the dimensional standards were ever amended to conform to the program requirements. Everyone agreed.

No new business was proposed.

The meeting adjourned at 9:39 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Mel Hawley, Clerk