Planning Commission holds public hearing on proposed zoning changes

By Carol Casey

At its Dec. 12 meeting, the Planning Commission held a public hearing on three proposed zoning changes. No members of the public offered substantive comments. The changes will be forwarded to the Selectboard for consideration.

The changes:

  • Authorize pet care facilities as a Conditional Use in Mixed Use districts and establish conditional use criteria for those facilities.
  • Remove Shelburne Heights from the Neighborhood Overlay District and modify the Neighborhood Overlay District map to reflect this change.
  • Modify requirements for periphery buffers in PUDS in the Commerce and Industry districts, exempting structures in existence on the effective date of the change from the minimum side and rear yard setbacks on the periphery of the PUD.
  • Ratify a letter sent to the Public Service Board (PSB) regarding the proposed wireless telecommunications tower at Air Park Road.


The Commission moved on to prioritize their proposed work plan, ranking “Growth” as the number one concern, followed by “Village.” The Commission will also focus on storm water regulations as part of its form-based code discussion. The Commission agreed to hold educational sessions on the PSB and population growth. As time permits, the Commission will look into streamlining the work of the Development Review Board (DRB). Commissioner Ron Bouchard suggested adding an additional Planning Commission meeting every other month.

Town Planner Dean Pierce led a discussion on “developable area” or “developable land.” The Commissioners appeared in agreement that they would like to revise the Land Use section of the Town Plan to include a recommendation specific to the Rural Area to “continue to stress the protection of the scenic and natural resources and features of the area.” Commission Chair Brian Precourt will ask the Selectboard if they intend to refer the proposed Town Plan back to the Planning Commission so that amendments may be included before the proposed Town Plan is warned for a public hearing.

The Commission turned its attention to a request to modify the Mixed Use district boundaries in the Longmeadow Drive neighborhood. Pierce noted that the current boundaries do not coincide with parcel boundaries along Shelburne Road and suggested that the Commission might want to look at all of them.

The Selectboard asked the Commission to consider allowing owners to increase the footprint of noncomplying structures within the Lakeshore Overlay district as long as the structure is no closer to the lakeshore or to the side lot lines than the existing structure. Chair Brian Precourt will explain to the Selectboard why the Commission opposed increasing non-conformity of buildings and to illustrate the various issued involved in changing the regulation.

Pierce reported the charrette on the Route 7 form-based code project will be held on Feb. 1, 2, and 3.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held Thursday, Jan. 9, at 7 pm in the Municipal Center.

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