SOUTH HERO PLANNING COMMISSION January 18, 2023
Members Present: Sandy Gregg (Chair); Michele Gammal (Vice-Chair – via Zoom); David Roy; George Harwood
Member Absent: Fred Bartle
Others Present: Tim Maxham; Everett Dubuque; Judy Duvall; Ethelyn Dubuque; Don Bedard; Doug Patterson; Dotty Donovan; Michael Frett; David Gardner; Robert Fireovid; Joan Falcao; Rick Whittlesey; Beverly Blakely; Greta Brunswick (NRPC); Emily Klofft (NRPC); Bridget Kerr; Mike Gammal; Jonathan Debono; Nate Hayward; Phil Reynolds; Martha Taylor-Varney (ZA).
Changes to the Agenda
- Move item 3 (presentation of S.H.O.R.E. project) to the February 15, 2023 agenda.
- Add as Item 4a – presentation by NRPC of draft Town Plan review
- Move proposed Village District Maps and Land Uses to Item 4b.
- The Agenda will move forward while the Commission waits for Greta Brunswick of NRPC to arrive.
S.H.O.R.E. Project presentation, by Donna Boumil
Moved to the February 15, 2023 agenda.
- ARPA Committee update – Roy reported that there was no update at this time.
- Wastewater Planning and Assessment Committee update – Harwood reported that it is currently too cold to continue digging test pits. This work will continue in the spring. No proposed locations for any systems have yet been identified.
- South Hero Meeting House update – Gregg reported that there is a scheduled Congressional walk-through on Friday, Jan. 20 at 9AM. The purpose of the meeting is possible funding opportunities. Attendees will meet at the Town Office afterwards. The Meeting House Committee is recommending a $1.2 million bond for the completion of phase 1. This will include removing and restoring existing windows, a new foundation, and stabilization of the east wall of the structure. David Gardner questioned the need for restoring the windows rather than putting in new ones. S. Gregg explained that the historical preservation grant they’ve received requires that the restoration include the existing windows. The newly restored windows will be efficient. Everett Dubuque asked where the septic will be. Nate Hayward explained that it will be provided from existing systems on his property behind the Meeting House. There was additional discussion regarding whether there will be association fees and the maintenance of the elevator. Joan Falcao stated that the addition of an elevator and kitchen will change the character of the building. People are used to it being unheated and uninsulated. S. Gregg explained that the town-wide survey conducted 3 years ago by the committee showed the community was in favor of restoration. ADA access, running water, bathrooms, and HVAC are required for public buildings. Dotty Donovan asked if the Grannies would remain. S. Gregg said she thought so.
- Moved to later in the agenda.
NRPC Presentation of 1st Draft of Town Plan
Greta Brunswick and Emily Klofft presented 1st drafts of the 2023 Town Plan table of contents, the Introduction, and sections including Natural Resources and Land Use. The draft is not yet in its final format. Greta explained that additional drafts of the Plan will be presented to the Commission during the next couple of months and asked that the Commission members review the parts presented tonight and send comments to them before the next meeting. The 1st draft is meant to be rough – NRPC is looking for feedback from the Commission and members of the public. [Copies will be posted on the Town website, under Planning Commission, and will also be added as attachments to the minutes on the Town website.] Comments are requested by February 1st and will be incorporated into the document by February 15.
The draft Introduction is from the previous (2015) Plan and will be updated. The focused themes – Housing and Transportation, Climate Change and Resilience, Equity and Inclusion, Recreation and Recreation Economy, and Vibrant Villages – were identified in summer 2022 through surveys and community engagement. S. Gregg asked that the “word cloud” be included in the Introduction also. Joan Falcao asked that the vision statement be revised to include agriculture. The Commission and NRPC will add it to the statement. M. Gammal asked that the Introduction or Table of Contents include a note referencing which parts of the Plan are required to be included, by statute.
The section on Natural Resources and Land Use will include subsections — Topography and Geology, Soils and Earth Resources, Water Resources, Habitat Blocks/Wildlife Corridors/Forest Land, Air Quality, Scenic Areas, Current Land Use, Considerations for Future Land Use, and Land Use Planning Areas. All of these are used to guide the Town’s Development Regulations. There was discussion re maps, wetland areas (the “Crick”), defining “character of the area” in the Plan, and whether to reduce the Shoreland Zoning District to areas 250 feet from the lake from the current 500-ft. depth.
NRPC will have drafts of the following sections prepared for the February 15 meeting: Housing, Transportation, and Commercial Facilities and Services. Comments and edits of the sections presented tonight are requested prior to the Feb. 1 meeting. S. Gregg asked PC members to send their comments to her by January 25. Bridget Kerr asked if “light industry” will be defined in the Town Plan. M. Gammal is researching a definition, but it will not be included in the Plan. Definitions are included in the Development Regulations. Bridget also stated that the Town needs ordinances for sound and light.
Continue Discussion on Proposed Changes to Village District Maps and Land Uses
Due to meeting length limitations in the Commission’s rules of procedure (meetings limited to 2 hours), the discussion was rescheduled to February 1. The agenda for that meeting will include time limits for each item.
Old Business, continued
- Gregg thanked Fred Bartle, who has resigned as a member, for his service to the Planning Commission.
There was none.
David Roy moved to approve the minutes from January 4, 2023; G. Harwood second. All in favor.
Martha reported that the Open Meeting Law amendment that allowed meetings to be held virtually without a physical location provided expired on January 15. The VT Legislature is currently considering extending it.
Review of Proposed Articles submitted by Bob Fireovid and Joan Falcao for Town Meeting
Sandy read the opinion by the Town Attorney received the afternoon of January 18. [This will be included at the bottom of the minutes posted on the Town website].
February 1, 2023 at 6PM.
- Harwood moved to adjourn; D. Roy 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.