By Carol Casey
At its meeting on July 11, the Planning Commission finalized its recommendations on the Sewer Service area boundaries and voted unanimously to forward them to the Selectboard for consideration. The only changes recommended were to (1) incorporate the area along the eastern edge of the Beaver Creek subdivision and (2) incorporate a portion of the New Village Farm parcel west of the Town’s Sewage Treatment Plant allowing service for agricultural use only.
The Commission also discussed five proposed changes to the zoning regulations. The first was whether to make the regulations for temporary signs less stringent on Route 7 south of Bostwick and Marsett Roads in order to accommodate a request by Ken and Gail Albert, the owners of Shelburne Vineyard, who would like to use sandwich boards, similar to those allowed in the Village District, to advertise special events. Commissioners directed Town Planner Dean Pierce to draft language which would permit one sandwich board per property in this area for consideration at their next meeting.
The second proposed zoning change would strike a sentence requiring that outdoor seating areas of restaurants be screened from roads and adjacent properties.
The third proposed zoning change would allow for moving the footprint of an existing structure in the lakeshore overlay district laterally, provided the size and shape of the footprint remain the same.
The fourth proposed zoning change would remove the “developable land” condition from regulations concerning the subdivision of lots of 20 acres or less. The impact of this change would mean, for example, that in rural areas a 10-acre lot could be divided in two five-acre lots for single family homes whether or not the entire five acres were developable land. Pierce was asked to determine how many land parcels would be affected by this change before the Commission makes a decision. The Commission may also decide to set different standards for residential and rural areas, although Commission Chair Brian Precourt argued that all property owners should be subject to the same standards, regardless of parcel size or location.
The fifth proposed zoning change would allow “gateway restaurants” with no more than 60 seats in existing buildings within 200 feet of the Route 7 right of way in the Commerce and Industry South district. This change would allow Folino’s Pizza to operate in compliance with the zoning regulations and would create the possibility of a new restaurant opening in the former day care center building near Vermont Teddy Bear.
The Commission agreed to four of the five proposed zoning changes, will consider the “developable land” proposal at its next meeting, and then will hold a public hearing on all the changes before submitting their final recommendations to the Selectboard.
Earlier in the meeting, Commissioners heard a presentation by Gary Toth, a transportation consultant, who urged the Commission to adopt context-sensitive transportation planning policies. He asked the Commission to think of streets as community spaces rather than as conduits for cars, and engage in place mapping to make Shelburne a “place you don’t want to leave” because there are easily accessible and multiple things to do, rather than “a place you are just passing through.” He encouraged them to consult the Project for Public Spaces website (www.pps.org) for more information on how to begin this process.
The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, July 25 at 7 pm in the Municipal Center. Consideration of a revised VTel tower proposal is likely to be on the agenda.