SOUTH HERO PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES February 16, 2022
Members Present: Sandy Gregg (Vice-Chair); Michele Gammal; David Roy; George Harwood
Others Present: Martha Taylor-Varney (ZA); Emily Klofft (NRPC); Erin Morse; Susan Arguin; Marion Palermo; Kathy McGill; Bob Fireovid; Linda Burger (Rec Commission); David Hobbs (Trails Committee); Guy Maguire (SHLT); Karen Yacos (Local Motion); Emily Alger (SHLT); Jonathon Weber (Local Motion), MonteCristo; Fred B.; Tim Maxham; Tim Bryan.
6:03PM – S. Gregg open the meeting.
Changes to the Agenda
There were none.
Elect New Chair and Vice-Chair
Upon retirement of previous Chair Doug Patterson, D. Roy nominated S. Gregg to be Chair; M. Gammal second. There were no other nominations. All voted to approve.
- Gregg nominated M. Gammal for Vice-Chair; D. Roy second. There were no other nominations. All voted to approve.
There was none.
Continue 2023 Town Plan Discussion
Emily Klofft of NRPC provided an overview of the process. The 2023 update is in the early stages. A link to the South Hero Town Plan website is on the NRPC website (NRPCVT.org) and under Planning Commission on the South Hero website. S. Gregg asked that it be moved to the website homepage. Public outreach will also include 3 public sessions to be held in the Spring/Summer of 2022. A poster and brochure have been created to increase awareness of the project.
Discussion at this meeting centered on Recreation. Stakeholders attending tonight are South Hero Land Trust, South Hero Recreation Commission, and Local Motion.
South Hero Land Trust – Emily Alger and Guy Maguire represented the South Hero Land Trust. Emily Alger told the meeting that healthy communities need outdoor spaces such as trails, beaches, and parks. These are vital from a health and economic perspective. Guy Maguire noted that the use of trails had increased during the pandemic. Trails serves as a valuable gathering space for recreation. Through surveys, SHLT has found that there is a desire for access to the outdoors and trails. A priority on outdoor spaces are inclusive and accessible to all residents of South Hero.
South Hero Recreation Commission – Linda Burger represented the Recreation Commission. She agreed with the Land Trust that recreation and an increase in outdoor activity is important for a healthy community. She added that there also needs to be places within the Town for particular activities, and a variety of active, creative enrichment for both children and adults. The Rec Commission is working on a survey to evaluate community interests. Could this be included in the Town Plan as an appendix item?
Trails Committee – David Hobbs, Chair of the Trails Committee, explained that they are a subcommittee of the Recreation Commission. David presented a draft map, Robinson Trail Scouting Map, showing a proposed trail from Tracy Rd. to South St. between the Masonic Lodge and the South Hero Cemetery. David said that all property owners supported the trail. Trails like this could encourage kids to travel to school on multi-use trails. Trails will need to walkable, bikeable, and handicap accessible. David explained that trails of this type have support from Local Motion, SHLT, Safe Routes to School, and Folsom School. G. Harwood stated he’d like to see more work toward walkability in the villages included in the Town Plan. David stated that he hoped a new proposed park behind the Old Meeting House in South Hero village could include access via trails rather than by cars.
Local Motion – Karen Yacos commented that Local Motion can work with the Town to access grants for improvements in infrastructure, streetscaping, and signage that is needed for bicycling. Grant possibilities are from ARPA funds or State Transportation grant funds. The Governor. Legislature, and Department of Transportation have all expressed interest in funding recreation projects. Including this vision in the Town Plan will help access grant funding. Jonathon Weber emphasized accessibility for everyone – adults, children, and disabled — and transportation systems that provide a safe alternative to cars, such as walking school busses and bike trains.
The Town Plan webpage will have a comments and questions section. All agendas going forward will address these. Since NRPC hosts the webpage, Emily Klofft will send these weekly to the Commission.
ARPA Committee Update
- Roy will be the Planning Commission’s representative to the ARPA Committee.
Wastewater Planning and Assessment Committee Update
- Harwood told the Commission that two engineering consultants had been deemed qualified to assist the committee – Otter Creek Associates and Weston & Sampson. The Committee felt that Otter Creek was a better fit and will negotiate for their services. George commented that Greta Brunswick of NRPC has been a great help. The Committee will continue the application process for the State revolving fund.
- Roy moved to approve the minutes from Feb. 2, 2022; G. Harwood second. All in favor.
ZA Martha Taylor-Varney introduced Fred Bartle to the Commission. Fred has expressed interest in filling the vacant seat on the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission will recommend that the Selectboard appoint Fred to the Planning Commission to complete Dooug Patterson’s 3-year term that expires on June 30, 2022.
The Commission made final corrections to the updated map for the Designated Village Center to be included with the application to renew the designation. The map will be sent to NRPC to produce a final draft.
7:50PM – D. Roy moved to adjourn; S. Gregg 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.