Sewer service discussion dominates Planning Commission meeting

By Carol Casey

Most of the Planning Commission meeting on March 28 was devoted to a presentation and question and answer session with Chris Robinson, the wastewater facility superintendent. Robinson provided Commission member with a memorandum in advance, reporting that “current facilities are approximately at 73-77 percent design flows.”  He added that “once treatment capacity has reached 80 percent of design the State can require additional monitoring and future planning for the next level of expansion.” He appended charts showing water usage billed and wastewater treated at each of the town’s two facilities. Responding to questions, he agreed that the town would benefit by adding customers in density areas, and that the capital budget does include funding repair or replacement of an aging piping system that “has reached its life expectancy or have failed prematurely.” The oldest section of the pipes runs from the Harbor Road treatment facility down to Falls Road. Private sump pumps in the Longmeadow Drive area have caused excessive flow, but the system is able to handle it even during a big storm event. Gail Albert suggested that requirements for dealing with drainage issues should be required in new developments. Robinson added that a stormwater system for each property would be desirable.

The meeting opened, though, with a public hearing on the proposed amendments to the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. Town Planner Dean Pierce gave a power point presentation on changes in the plan and reported that the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) would be sending their comments shortly. He added that the town’s ability to apply for grants from the CCRPC would be enhanced if the town plan was reviewed by the CCRPC. The Commission therefore decided to continue the hearing until their meeting on April 25 so that the comments of the CCRPC could be taken into account.

In the next order of business, the Commission approved a waiver of the education and recreation impact fees for the Harrington Village project which would have been approximately $22,000.

The Commission then considered whether to sign a letter to the Vermont Public Service Board concerning the Limerick Road Solar Facility. In the version adopted, the letter will state that the Planning Commission voted to “indicate its support for the project.”

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Kraig Richard appeared to request reconsideration of the setback required in rural areas. He had previously appeared before the Development Review Board (DRB) to request a variance but the request was denied. Currently, Richard has a storage trailer located within the required setback. Commission Chair Brian Precourt asked Richard to submit a written request asking for specific changes in the setback requirement that the Planning Commission would consider at subsequent meeting.

Bill Stewart, a resident of General Green Road, asked the Planning Commission to overrule a decision by the DRB concerning the reconstruction of the Appe property on the lakeshore. Precourt stated that overruling the DRB was not within the Commission’s authority.

In response to the Selectboard’s recent request that the Planning Commission consider bylaw changes that would allow additional changes to lakeshore structures, Precourt asked Pierce to provide graphics on possible lateral movement allowances for the Commission’s next meeting and to gather data on how many lots any changes might apply. The Commission will also consider changes in the “developable area” definition in the Rural Zoning District, as requested by several residents.

Before adjourning, the Commission unanimously re-elected Brian Precourt as Chair and Kate Lalley as Vice Chair of the Commission.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, April 25 at 7 pm in the Town Center.

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