Planning Commission defers action on zoning changes

By Carol Casey

At its meeting on Oct. 24, the Planning Commission continued its discussion on three proposed zoning changes but deferred any decisions until its next meeting. The first proposed change is to reduce the acreage necessary for a pet daycare facility and amend related definitions. The second proposal concerned alterations to the Neighborhood Overlay District lot coverage requirements in Shelburne Heights. The third addressed a request to create a mixed-use district off Longmeadow Drive, west of Munroe Brook. Commissioners appeared to be in agreement on the second issue but asked Town Planner Dean Pierce to draft alternative language concerning the other two issues so all could be acted upon at once.

In the public comment portion of the meeting, Dave Marshall requested a change in the setback requirements for the proposed additions at Shelburne Green. He was urged to seek conditional approval from the Development Review Board for the project while the Commission considered his request.

The Commission also discussed and accepted the Selectboard’s recommended changes to the Land Use section of the proposed Town Plan. Commissioner Dick Elkins would like the Commission to reconsider a deletion in the recommended action section for Rural Areas. It previously read: Add provisions to the Planned Development Section, specific to the Rural Area, to stress the projection of the scenic and natural resources and features of the area. Undevelopable land area, such as wetlands, steep slopes or floodplains, shall not be counted in determining density.

There was substantive discussion of the town growth rate, with Commissioner Dan Burks labeling the “110 new persons per year” projection a “fantasy,” given current trends.

Commission members were divided on whether there should be an official town map. Commissioner Kate Lalley was strongly in favor while Commissioners Elkins, Bouchard, and Hogan were opposed. The Commission will continue to review the Town Plan as comments are received from the Selectboard before making final decisions.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held Thursday, Nov. 14, at 7 pm in the Town Center. A presentation and discussion of the Route 7 form-based zoning project is on the agenda.

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