Planning Commission holds public hearing on Town Plan Amendments

By Carol Casey

Only one Shelburne resident spoke at the Planning Commission’s public hearing on proposed amendments to the Town Plan on April 25. He questioned why the Falls Road growth area extended over the LaPlatte River when in fact the relatively narrow bridge over the river would likely jeopardize pedestrian safety, should growth occur. Town Planner Dean Pierce responded that the map’s boundaries coincide with the current zoning district boundaries. Commissioner Dan Burks recommended that if the Commission reopened discussion about designated growth areas, the Commission should take a closer look at the Webster Road area. Pierce then reviewed the comments in detail on the Town Plan made by the Regional Planning Commission. The Planning Commission voted to continue the public hearing until their next meeting on May 9 when they will also decide whether and how to incorporate the Regional Planning Commission’s comments.

The next item of business was a continued discussion of the sewer service area boundaries. The Commissioners looked closely at the Mt. Philo Road area, and decided that at the next meeting they take votes on a series of specific areas where sewer service might be extended. These areas include Mt. Philo Road, Beaver Creek, New Village Farm, and Shelburne Point. They will ask for a more detailed presentation by O’Brien Brothers on their plans for a new development south of Irish Hill Road and east of Thomas Road, but will not vote on that proposal at their next meeting so that town residents will have an opportunity to express opinions on the project.

Turning to zoning issues, the Commission considered the question of eliminating the phrase “developable land” in determining lot size for subdividing parcels. Some Commissioners argued that the “developable land” terminology was an important density control tool and should not be eliminated. Commissioner Elkins suggested new language that would retain the “developable land” concept but be less stringent than the current requirement. The Commission will consider the Elkins recommendation at its next meeting.

In regard to the proposed amendments pertaining to the lakeshore overlay district, one resident commented that it would force him to  “build up” which would be less aesthetically pleasing than if he were allowed to “build back” on his property. Commission Chair Precourt suggested that the Commission might consider allowing waivers in such instances. The matter will be discussed again at a subsequent meeting.

Finally, the Commission voted unanimously against reducing the sideyard setback requirement as had been requested by Kraig Richard at a previous meeting.

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

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