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Planning Commission developing renewal energy site map  

Credit:  By Carol Casey on October 19, 2016 | Shelburne News | www.shelburnenews.com ~~

At its meeting on Oct. 13, the Planning Commission continued its work developing a map to indicate areas within the town requiring more extensive impact evaluation prior to the establishment of solar or wind energy facilities. This was in response to a request by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission for a map that will be included, perhaps with modifications, in a countywide renewable energy siting plan to be submitted to the Vermont Public Service Board.

The Planning Commission added scenic view areas, archaeologically sensitive areas, conserved lands, the green corridor in the Form Based Code, and the 100-foot lakeside shore area, as other maps to be included in the overall Level 2 Constraints map. According to the Vermont Public Service Board, Level 2 constraints are those conditions that would “impact development, but not necessarily prevent it.”

Town Planner Dean Pierce reiterated the definitions of Level 1 and 2 Constraints in the materials for the meeting, emphasizing that the parameters set forth by these guidelines should be considered carefully before proceeding with any wind or solar energy projects.

The Regional Planning Commission will gather comments from all the towns by the end of the year in order to develop the countywide plan. At that time, there is likely to be an opportunity for further input from the Planning Commission.

The next item on the meeting’s agenda concerned zoning requirements related to sidewalks and paths. The Commission considered amendments to the zoning bylaws that would more clearly link the requirements to the Comprehensive Town Plan and stress the need for pedestrian and bicycling connectivity. The Commission will continue the discussion about the proposed amendments at their next meeting.

Planning Commission Chair Jamie Heins then opened discussion on the Commission’s future consideration of zoning changes in the Rural District. He urged members to review the Comprehensive Town Plan, especially the vision statement and land use sections pertinent to the rural area, as well as the 2006 Open Space Plan developed by the Natural Resources Committee.

Sean McFaden, a member of the Natural Resources Committee, noted that their plan is in the process of being updated; he hoped to be able to provide a draft to the Planning Commission by December. He added that the Natural Resources Committee would like to be involved in the discussion of the rural areas.

A member of the audience suggested that the Commission also consider revising the integrated agriculture provisions in the bylaws and would like to collaborate with the Commission on this issue. Hope Johnson of Air Park Road also asked that consideration be given to moving that neighborhood out of the rural district and into the residential district. Commissioner Kate Lalley suggested differentiating certain areas within the Rural District because they vary in their level of importance. Commissioner Dick Elkins stated that he would like to tighten up the language regarding rural Planned Unit Developments. Commissioners agreed to study the materials presented to them and continue the discussion at a later date.

Shelburne Finance Director Peter Frankenburg was next on the agenda, presenting the proposed Capital Improvement Plan. This spans six years, and includes more than 100 projects. The Commission’s task is to evaluate the plan by assessing whether any elements are in conflict with the town’s Comprehensive Plan. Commissioner Dick Elkins recommended adding wetlands mapping in rural areas as a future project. Commissioners Jason Grignon and Heins noted that the stormwater project budget should likely be increased in the coming years. Heins also suggested moving up the timetable for Falls Road improvements. The Selectboard will hold a public hearing on the draft Capital Improvement Plan at its Oct. 25 meeting.
Town Planner Dean Pierce informed the Commission that the Colletttes had submitted an application for installing a rooftop solar installation on their property on Shelburne Road.

The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7pm in the Municipal Center.

Source:  By Carol Casey on October 19, 2016 | Shelburne News | www.shelburnenews.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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