SOUTH HERO PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES April 6, 2022
Members Present: Sandy Gregg (Chair); Michele Gammal (Vice-Chair); David Roy; Fred Bartle
Member Absent: George Harwood
Others Present: Karen Browning (Take Action); Karin Ames (Grand Isle County Alliance for Racial Equity); Emily Klofft (NRPC); Greta Brunswick (NRPC); Kathy Magill; Joan Falcao.
6:01 PM: S. Gregg opened the meeting.
Changes to the Agenda
There were none.
There was none.
Continue 2023 Town Plan Discussion – –
Greta Brunswick explained that diversity, equity, and inclusion as themes are incredibly important and relevant to municipal planning. Municipalities are required to have inclusive planning processes where all community members have an equitable opportunity to participate. Housing, education, quality services, transportation, etc. all must be considered. Communities need to understand how their policies affect equity. Sandy Gregg read the South Hero’s Statement of Inclusion. The statement can be found on the Town website.
- Grand Isle County Alliance for Racial Equality: Karen Ames represented GICARE at the meeting. She explained that the group started about a year ago. Their focus is on racial justice and equity. They meet 2 times a month. The next meeting is April 12. They are working on a community survey that she will send to Sandy to distribute to the PC members. She further explained that they are intentional about community building. Karen stressed two points – 1) to be clear on what they mean by equity. What are the definitions of diversity and inclusion? and, 2) how to engage people? How to be welcoming, and how to listen to those who are not here? Would Chittenden County BIPOC be interested in taking part in a stakeholder advisory group? Has the Planning Commission reached out to other PC’s who have included equity in their Plans? The same conversations are taking place all over VT. Action items for the Plan should include Education, Policy Procedure, and Community Building. Sandy Gregg invited GICARE to attend the June 27 and Aug 22 community engagement events which will also include the Meeting House Committee, Recreation Commission, the South Hero Land Trust, and the Planning Commission representing the 2023 Town Plan.
Emily Klofft recommended the Planning document “Zoning for Great Neighborhoods.” She will forward the link. Greta added that NRPC is looking into zoning bylaws that create barriers to housing – density standards, reducing the number of parking spaces required per dwelling, changes to the size of accessory dwellings, and minimum lot sizes, multi-family rather than single-family homes. Are there areas that can accommodate various types of housing? Does equity mean affordable housing? What does it mean for the community? Although affordable housing is defined by paying no more than 30% of income on housing, it can affect more than just low-income families. Discussion also included transportation options in Grand Isle County. Would people use public transportation is it was available?
- Take Action: Karen Browning represented Take Action. She said the organization began 5 years ago and has a mailing list of 60 people. Goals include racial equity, working on voter issues, migrant justice, and ‘Milk With Dignity.’ They feel that through action one can support racial equity. Karen suggested more visual aids for the Plan to make clear that we have a welcoming community, including the Town Beach. Take Action hopes to et a BIPOC artist or author- in-residence for the summer. Take Action continues to try to bring programming here. She suggested changes to the zoning bylaws for more diverse and affordable housing. Greta Brunswick offered to put together a presentation and the PC agreed.
- Draft Engagement Plan: Greta sent a draft engagement plan to the PC members on April 3. She will put this on the Town Plan website. She recommended that the Commission debrief the information from all the stakeholders meetings at the next PC meeting (4/20) to decide how each will impact the Plan. NRPC will share their notes before that meeting. The Town Plan survey will be available before and during the fist public event, scheduled for June 27 and will be closed by the second event (8/22). The Commission needs to define its priorities and plan a workshop on the Village areas. They need a more detailed vision of the villages. This can be facilitated by NRPC.
Additional discussion included inviting the Recreation Commission and The S. H. Land Trust to the April 20 PC meeting to explain the VOREC (VT Outdoor Recreation) grant they were recently awarded. The Commission needs to ask about questions included in a proposed VOREC survey. Could this be an opportunity to combine the PC’s survey with the VOREC survey? There was also discussion on VTrans’ plans for the work on the RT 2/314 intersection and their plans not to include sidewalks.
School Safety Zone
The Recreation Commission recommends School Safety Zones. Are these related to drugs, speed limits? Fred Bartle will discuss with David Hobbs and report back to the Commission.
ARPA Committee Update
Dave Roy reported that the ARPA committee is creating a survey to identify where the community wants the funds to go. They propose that the survey go live on April 15 and have asked that there be a link placed on the Town website.
Wastewater Planning and Assessment Committee update
There was no report tonight.
Review of Minutes
Dave Roy moved to approve the minutes of March 16, 2022; Fred Bartle second. All in favor.
- 1. Fred Bartle’s term will expire on June 30, 2022, at which time he can request to be reappointed by the Selectboard for a full 3-year term. Fred was appointed to complete Doug Patterson’s’ 3-year term.
- 2. Martha will send Planning Commission agendas to Dave Roy to be posted on Front Porch Forum.
- 3. Michele Gammal asked that ‘Old/New Business’ be added back to the agenda items.
- 4. Fred Bartle asked that debrief of stakeholders’ meetings be added to the April 20, 2022 PC agenda.
7:42 PM — Dave Roy moved to adjourn; Michele Gammal second. All in favor.
Martha Taylor-Varney, ZA
Signed: _________________________________________ Date: _____________________
For the Planning Commission
These minutes are unofficial until approved at the next regularly scheduled meeting. All motions were unanimous unless otherwise indicated.