January 4, 2023 PC Minutes

SOUTH HERO PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES                          January 4, 2023


Members Present: Sandy Gregg (Chair); Michele Gammal (Vice-Chair); David Roy; George Harwood; Fred Bartle.

Others Present: Donna Boumil; Kathy Magill; Joan Falcao; Bob Fireovid; Phil Reynolds; Michael Frett; Mike Domenic; Nate Hayward; Devin Hackett; Doug Patterson; Tania Bertsch; Shaun Robinson; Sue Straight; Bob Wigness; Ruby Brezinski; Ruth Ring; Mike Gammal; Donald Bedard; Bridget Kerr; Ashley Williams; Carl Sahler; Steve Robinson; Martha Taylor-Varney (ZA).


6:00 PM – Chair S. Gregg called the meeting to order.


Changes to the Agenda

There were none proposed at this time.


Public Comment

There was none.


Continue Discussion on Proposed Changes to Village District Maps and Land Uses

[As a result of the Village Vision Public Workshop held at the Library in September, Northwest Regional Planning Commission presented a proposed map and district standards that introduced Village Core and Village Neighborhood zoning districts in both South Hero and Keeler Bay villages. This meeting began the discussion on the proposed dimensional standards for the proposed Village Core and Village Neighborhood zoning districts.]

Village Core: Dimensional standards — S. Gregg suggested a minimum lot size of .25 acre. D. Roy agreed that ¼ acre was appropriate for the village core.  Minimum road frontage was proposed as 50 ft. and a maximum building height of 40 ft.  The Commission members discussed the minimum percentage of green space, where they agreed to 10%.  Previously, the amount of greenspace was left to the DRB to determine during conditional use review.  Additional discussion focused on the whether “light industry” should be defined.  M. Gammal expressed concern that attempting to make a list would inevitably leave something out.  D. Roy noted that the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines light industry as “production of small goods that will be sold to the people who use them rather than to another manufacturer.”  The Commission agreed that this was a good definition.  Could a list be made with the stipulation that a use not included on the list must go before the DRB for a conditional use review to determine if the proposed use is considered light industry?  Discussion on this will continue.

There was also discussion about whether to require sidewalks to be included in any future development in the core village where there are currently none.  The Commission agreed that, because safe walkability is a priority in the village core, any new development should include sidewalks along RT 2.  D. Roy reminded everyone that ARPA funds can be used for sidewalk maintenance.


Open to the Public

Mike Gammal asked if the proposed village core boundaries could limit growth in the villages by restricting development.  He noted that in Keeler Bay village the Shoreland zoning district had been added back within the village, extending almost all the way to RT 2.  He suggested that the Shoreland district be reduced to 250 feet from the lake instead of the current 500 feet.  The Commission will include this discussion when proposed descriptions for the Shoreland zoning district are discussed later.  Bridget Kerr asked if the proposed village core in South Hero village was larger than the current Designated Village Center.  It is not.


  1. Roy moved to accept, as a final draft description of the Village Core in South Hero and Keeler Bay villages, the following:
  2. minimum lot size – ¼ acre;
  3. setback from the right-of-way – 10’ to 40’;
  4. setback from boundaries – 10’ for principal structures, 5’ for accessory structures;
  5. minimum percentage of greenspace – 10%;
  6. and to include a requirement for sidewalks for new development;
  7. Gammal second. All members voted in favor.


The Commission agreed to continue with the rest of the meeting agenda and return to the discussion of the Village Neighborhood draft descriptions if there is time [per Planning Commission Rules of Procedure, meetings are limited to 2 hours].



Old Business

  1. ARPA Committee update – Roy stated there was no update at this time.
  2. Wastewater Planning and Assessment Committee update – Harwood stated the committee had no updates at this time.
  3. South Hero Meeting House – Gregg told the members that she would have more information at the next meeting.
  4. Open Seat on Planning Commission – Bartle told the Commission that he will be resigning effective Jan 31st.


New Business

  1. Gregg asked the Commission members if they would support more “Community Cheers and Cheese” events in 2023, as an opportunity for Town Commissions and Boards to meet with the public and get feedback. M. Gammal recommended just one event, in June, preferably on a Monday night. G. Harwood said it would provide an additional platform to present the Town Plan update.  S. Gregg will propose the idea to the Selectboard.


Meeting Minutes from December 21, 2022

  1. Gammal moved to accept the minute of Dec. 21, 2022; D. Roy second. All in favor.


Administrator’s Report

  1. There will be an administrative meeting on January 5 with VTrans representative Ashley Andrews for the Sidewalk Scoping Study Grant. ZA Martha Taylor-Varney and Gregg will attend.
  2. An ad for a South Hero Town Administrator/Listers Administrator was placed in 7 Days, in the Islander, and on VLCT’s online certified ads. Martha has received several inquiries and letters of interest.  The Town will be accepting resumes until February 1.


Next Meeting

January 18, 2023.



Return to Discussion on Proposed Changes to Village Zoning Maps and Land Uses

Village Neighborhood zoning district:  Continuing the discussion on light industry, the Board asked if this should be the only zoning district that cannot have light industry.  No decision was made.

Dimensional Standards — S. Gregg suggested that since this district would be between the Village Core and the Rural Residential zoning district, should the minimum lot size be somewhere between ¼ acre and 1 acre?  Initial suggestions from Commission members varied – G. Harwood, F. Bartle, and M. Gammal suggested ½ acre; D. Roy recommended ¾ acre but was open to ½ acre.  Minimum lot frontage distances of 75’ and 100’ were proposed.  A 100-ft. frontage would allow for a right-of-way to access any development without frontage or an accessory dwelling unit that may be behind the primary structure on the lot.  Should setbacks from boundaries be 20’ or 15’?  This discussion will continue.


Public Comment

Sue Straight recommended a minimum lot size of ¾ acre.  She suggested looking at the home and lot where she used to live at 35 South St.  That lot is ¾ acre and said that it would give people a better idea of how large ¾ acre is.  Bridget Kerr said that ½ acre is too small.


The Commission made no decisions, and the discussion will start here at the January 18 meeting.



  1. Gammal moved to adjourn; D. Roy second. All in favor.


Respectfully submitted,

Martha Taylor-Varney, ZA


Signed: _____________________________________ Date: __________________

Map8-VillageInsets-ProposedLandUse2023-Letter (1)

Proposed Land Use Area Standards