Planning Commission considers lakeshore overlay expansion regulation

by Carol Casey

At its meeting on Sept. 27, the Planning Commission discussed proposed amendments to the zoning regulation for the expansion of buildings in the Lakeshore Overlay district. Reiterating the Commission’s intent to develop a regulation that controlled the height of buildings as seen from the lake, Town Planner Dean Pierce recommended allowing walk out basements but limiting exposure on the lakeside to no more than two stories plus a roof.

Commissioner Dan Burks requested that language be added to state that the building envelope cannot be expanded in the non-conforming area, and his colleagues concurred. Commission Chair Brian Precourt added that the regulation should also require conformity with neighboring properties, and his colleagues agreed.

Given concerns that the overall height limitation might lead to a proliferation of flat roof buildings, the Commission decided to set the height limit at 28 feet if the roof had a 6-12 pitch and to 24 feet if the roof had a pitch under 6-12. This would apply only to the non-conforming part of the structure. The current height limit of 35 feet would still apply in conforming areas.

Expressing concern about further erosion of the lakeshore, Commissioners also discussed banning any excavation on the lakeshore or limiting the amount of grading that could be done or stating that the existing grade would be determinative in any future expansion.

Pierce was charged with incorporating the Commissioners’ recommendations in a new draft of the regulation for consideration at their next meeting.

The Commission next reviewed the Natural and Scenic Resources/Land Conservation section and the Historic and Cultural Resources section of the Town Plan, making some editorial changes.  They also agreed to a suggestion from a member of the Historic Preservation and Design Review Committee to send a draft of this section to the State Historic Preservation Office to ensure that it complies with all state laws.

Commissioner Kate Lalley reported on the Vision for 7 project, noting that steps have been taken to inform the public about the $70,000 ballot initiative to be voted on in the November election to fund a study of the Route 7 corridor north from the Webster Road bridge to the town line.  She hopes that the ECOS grant will offset the cost of the study in whole or in part.

Precourt noted that Commissioner Tucker Holland was attending this meeting via Skype and would continue to do so through the fall while he is on an island off Cape Cod.

Commissioner Ron Bouchard suggested that the Commission consider banning the use of windsocks for advertising purposes in Shelburne.  His colleagues agreed to put this subject on the agenda for a future meeting.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 7 pm in the Municipal Center.

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