Planning Commission hears ideas from public about Route 7 corridor

By Carol Casey

Nearly two dozen people attended the Nov. 14 Planning Commission meeting to offer suggestions for improvements along the Route 7 north corridor. Town Planner Dean Pierce; project manager Jim Donovan, a landscape architect and certified planner with Broadreach Planning and Design; and Ted Brovitz, a consultant with Howard/Stein-Hudson, reviewed the goals of the project which include developing a Master Plan, a Regulating Plan, and a form-based code for the area. According to Brovitz, the goal is to “match the community vision to the regulations.” Planning Commission Vice Chair Kate Lalley characterized the effort as “very exciting,” noting that “we’re limited only by our imagination” in creating a vision for the corridor. Donovan invited everyone present to join the Steering Committee of the project. The Steering Committee will develop the concepts they would like to see implemented, while a smaller Working Group will manage the project. A two- or three-day public design workshop – called a charette – will be held in January to ensure that all interested citizens have a chance to offer their views. Project managers will also interview key stakeholders, VTrans officials, Rotary members, seniors, and students.

The consultants are currently mapping the corridor to provide an in-depth, visual look at existing conditions. Some suggestions made by the project managers and attendees included:

  • Assuring the area is economically viable for property owners while achieving design goals,
  • Making the area more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly,
  • Creatively using green space,
  • Reducing the number of large, visible parking lots,
  • Promoting access to and use of public transportation,
  • Ensuring a noise buffer between residential and commercial areas,
  • Making Lake Champlain more visible along the corridor,
  • Providing incentives for making buildings “green,”
  • Setting specific building design standards that are more aesthetically pleasing,
  • Thematic signage and lighting along the corridor,
  • Incorporating state-of-the-art stormwater management strategies,
  • Promoting more and varied housing along the corridor,
  • Screening dumpsters from public view,
  • Burying utility lines or having them placed behind buildings, and
  • Highlighting public recreation sites.

The project managers encouraged Shelburne residents interested in participating in this project to contact Dean Pierce at dpierce@shelburnevt.org or by calling 264-5033.  Further information is available on the town’s website, www.shelburnevt.org.

The Planning Commission then addressed four zoning changes previously considered.  The Commission adopted new standards for Pet Day Care facilities, accepted changes in lot coverage requirements in Shelburne Heights, and allowed existing structures within PUD buffer areas in the Commerce and Industry South District. These proposed changes will be the topic of a public hearing at the Commission’s next meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12. The Commission deferred acting on a request to change the boundary of the mixed-use district, east of Shelburne Road near Longmeadow Drive.

Commissioner Dan Burks asked that a clarification of developable area zoning requirements be an agenda item for a future meeting. Commission Chair Brian Precourt reported that he and other Commissioners had attended the recent Development Review Board (DRB) meeting to solicit their suggestions for issues the Planning Commission should address and that the DRB concerns would be presented to the Commission at a later meeting. Town Planner Pierce reported that V-Tel had filed its application for a telecommunications tower near the Shelburne airport with the Public Service Board.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 7 pm in the Town Center.

Planning Commission hears ideas from public about Route 7 corridor

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