By Carol Casey
Due to business commitments, Tucker Holland submitted his resignation as a member of the Planning Commission effective Jan. 15. The Commission members immediately adopted a resolution commending Holland for his role in updating the municipal plan, in the revision of the zoning and subdivision bylaws, and in enhancing the natural and built environments of Shelburne. The resolution conveyed the Commissioners’ thanks and best wishes. Holland responded that serving has been “the highest honor” and that Shelburne “will forever be close to my heart.”
In the public comment portion of the meeting on Jan. 10, John Dubrul of Automaster requested to reconfigure the former site of the Harbor Hideaway to include three display area pads for two or three cars each. The pads would be surrounded by shrubbery and would be no closer to Shelburne Road than the restaurant. Town Planner Dean Pierce advised that the Commission could either grant an exception or a waiver on the setback requirement, but noted that ultimately it would apply district-wide. Commissioner Dan Burks commented that he was in favor but would like to know the district-wide impact. Commission Chair Brian Precourt asked Pierce to draft some options for the Commission’s consideration at a February meeting.
Steve Mayfield of Shelburne Country Store also appeared seeking information on the plans to eliminate parking spaces and construct a sidewalk on Falls Road. He is concerned that it would adversely impact his business. Precourt stated that nothing is yet “set in stone” and that there is “plenty of time” before any project moved forward. He urged Mayfield to be diligent in viewing meeting agendas and promised to make sure that all businesses and stakeholders be notified before any decisions.
Pierce reported the possibility of receiving funding for the next stage of the “Vision for 7” project through a $55,000 grant from the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. Under the grant’s terms, the town would have to contribute $15,000, representing 20 percent of the total cost. The Selectboard is willing to consider putting an item for $15,000 in funding for the project on the March ballot. Pierce and Commissioner Lalley will work together to draft specific language for the ballot item.
The Commission then moved on to review the Transportation chapter of the Town Plan, paying close attention to a new parking section. Based on Mayfield’s earlier comments, Commissioner Supple wanted to ensure the plan did not mandate that sidewalks take precedence over parking if it would have a negative impact on businesses. She requested an opportunity to review the 2006 Village Plan before acting. The Commission next reviewed Volume 2, suggesting some editorial changes. A final draft will be presented at the Commission’s next meeting for adoption. A public hearing will then be scheduled on the revised town plan before its submission to the Selectboard.
The Commission next discussed possible zoning changes to expand allowable uses within existing structure located within 200 feet of the Route 7 Right of Way in the Commerce & Industry South District. The proposed change was prompted partially by a request from the owner of Folino’s pizza and an interest in opening a small boutique hotel. Although Commissioner Elkins objected permission for the restaurant after the fact and allowance of a restaurant located so close to the road without sufficient on-site parking, commissioners were generally in favor of allowing “gateway restaurants” and “boutique hotels” in this district. The Commission will reconsider the matter at its next meeting.
Precourt and Pierce reported that the Selectboard asked the Commission to look at the existing Sewer Service Area and recommend details for its expansion. The Selectboard’s action was prompted by O’Brien Brothers’ request to have sewer service extended to their property just across the LaPlatte River Bridge on Irish Hill Road. The Commission’s review will take a global focus of the issue rather than of just that area.
The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 pm in the Municipal Center. Representatives from the Meach Cove Trust will present their plans for a solar orchard.