Amendments to the Subdivision Bylaw adopted by the Planning Commission

By Carol Casey

No Shelburne residents appeared at the Planning Commission meeting of Aug. 9 to comment on the proposed changes to the subdivision bylaw. Most of the proposed changes were merely to correct numerous outdated references and to conform with the Town Plan. Commission member Dick Elkins did raise questions about seven proposed amendments, but no changes were made. The amendments will now be forwarded to the Selectboard for their consideration.

The Commission then went on to discuss two possible zoning amendments referred back to the Commission by the Selectboard. One concerned expansion of structures in the Lakeshore Overlay district. The Selectboard, the Planning Commission, and the Development Review Board all agreed that a change to the existing zoning regulation needs to be made, but no one has yet to offer specific language that would address the perceived problem. Commission members generally believe that the issue to be addressed is how the expanded structure would look when viewed from the lake. This might be solved by agreeing upon a height limit for buildings while at the same time allowing more leeway for horizontal or away-from-the-lake expansion. Planning Director Dean Pierce referred Commissioners to some lakeshore design guidelines developed by the town of Leicester, Vt. for Lake Dunmore and Fern Lake. The Commissioners agreed to study those designs to determine whether they might be adapted for implementation in Shelburne. In addition, Commission Chair Brian Precourt offered to draft some sketches to illustrate expansions likely to be considered undesirable but allowed by the existing regulations. The Commission will discuss this issue further at its next meeting.

The Selectboard had also referred back to the Commission a proposed change regarding requiring permits for fill in some instances. The Commissioners agreed that the major problem to be addressed was to make sure that any use of fill did not create stormwater run-off issues for neighboring properties, but were uncertain as to what specific language could be used to address this issue. Pierce agreed to look into what other towns do in this regard and to report back to the Commission.

Pierce also distributed suggested introductory text for all sections of the Town Plan and asked Commission members to submit their comments to him.

Precourt reported on the recent meeting with the Development Review Board to learn from them what changes they would like to see the Planning Commission adopt in the future. The Commissioners agreed to invite the Public Works Director and the Fire Chief to a meeting in October or November to discuss public work specifications that may be in conflict with the Town Plan.

Pierce announced that Courtney Synowiec has been hired as the new Development Review Board Administrator, with an anticipated start date of Aug. 22. She has a Masters of Regional Planning degree from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a BA in geography from Wayne State University in Michigan.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7 pm in the Municipal Center.

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