Planning Commission reviews population projections for Shelburne

By Carol Casey

At the request of Commissioner Ann Hogan, the Planning Commission delved deeper into Shelburne’s 2030 population projections at its Jan. 23 meeting. Ken Jones, an economic research analyst for the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, explained that population projections were based on U.S. Census data for Chittenden County, allocated to the towns based on their growth rates in the 1990-2010 period.

Generally, birth rates are declining, and while mortality rates continue to decrease slightly, they have become more consistent. In Jones’ study, the population of Shelburne is projected to grow to 7,512 in 2020, and 7,725 in 2030. Population projections extrapolated by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission were based on a county-wide study by Woods & Poole and indicate a higher level of growth, forecasting an increase to 8,092 in 2020 and 9,087 in 2030.

In general, both studies predict:

  • An increase in children up to the age of 15;
  • A drop in the 15-to-29-year-old population as young Vermonters leave the state for college or employment opportunities;
  • An increase in the 30-to-54-year-old population as adults move back to raise their families;
  • A loss in the 55-to-64-year-old population;
  • An increase in the 65-to-74-year-old category as baby boomers return for retirement; and
  • A decrease in the 75-plus population.

The Commission turned its attention to the proposed modification of boundaries between the Mixed Use District and the Residential District in the area east of Shelburne Road. The changes will make the district boundaries consistent with property boundaries and natural features. The Commission will hold a public hearing on the issue at its March 13 meeting.

Town Planner Dean Pierce noted the Planning Commission will have an opportunity to comment on any changes the Selectboard makes to the Town Plan. The Commission will review those changes at its Feb. 13 meeting if the Selectboard has completed its work on the Town Plan.

Commission Vice Chair Kate Lalley reviewed the schedule for the charrette on Feb. 1-3, regarding developing a form-based code for the Shelburne Road corridor north of Webster Road.

No response to the Planning Commission’s letter regarding the proposed data tower on Air Park Road was received from the Public Service Board. AT&T completed balloon testing for a possible tower on the Demers property near the Shelburne Limestone Quarry, but AT&T has yet to file a formal proposal.

Commissioner Ron Bouchard suggested that an extra meeting be scheduled every other month so the Commission may focus exclusively on priority issues, which other Commissioners agreed upon.

The Commission met in executive session to review a letter from the town’s attorney regarding Commission voting procedures. In the future, all motions before the Planning Commission will require the approval of a majority of the Commission members – four affirmative votes – rather than a majority of members present.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held Feb. 13 at 7pm in the Municipal Center.

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