TOWN OF RUTLAND

PLANNING COMMISSION

DRAFT

MINUTES

7-17-14


Meeting open at 7:00 PM

Commissioners Present:

Raymond Leonard, Howard Burgess, William Matteson, Andrew McKane, Dana Peterson and Jerry Stearns


Commissioners reviewed the minutes of June 12, 2014. Mr. Matteson moved to approve the June 12, 2014 minutes as presented. Mr. Leonard made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.


Mr. Stearns moved to approve the June 19, 2014 minutes with corrections. Mr. Matteson made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.


Mr. Ed Bove passed out copies of the draft Town Plan, updated through the Energy Chapter. He said the draft also incorporates the solar standards which are before the Select Board. Mr. Bove said he has not yet done the Natural Resources and Housing Sections. He said the Commissioners should review his work and submit any comments.


Mr. Bove and the Commissioners addressed the Economic Development & Future Land Use section of the Town Plan. Mr. Bove also passed out map for consideration regarding future land use.


Mr. Bove told Commissioners that the Town now has the third lowest unemployment in the County. He said previously the Town had the second lowest unemployment. Mr. Bove said the Town of Hubbardton now has the second lowest unemployment in the County.


Mr. Bove reviewed and discussed his various changes to the draft Town Plan with Commissioners. Mr. Peterson said he would rather entitle the "Threats" section, the "Opportunity" section.


Mr. McKane said high energy costs, expensive waste disposal should be added to the "Opportunity" section.


Mr. Matteson and Select Board member Ms. Mary Ashcroft discussed the process by which the Commission and the select Board would incorporate the new Solar Facility Siting Standards (SFSS) into the Town Plan. Ms. Ashcroft said she expects the Board to adopt the SFSS Town Plan amendment at the final hearing on August 12, 2014.


Ms. Ashcroft and Mr. Matteson explained to Mr. Bove that in addition to the Commission working on adopting an updated Town Plan with the SFSS, the Select Board is in the process of amending the existing plan to add the SFSS.


Mr. Bove suggested the Select Board delay their Town Plan SFSS amendment adoption until such time the new updated Town Plan with the incorporated SFSS is ready. He said the Board would only have to adopt the revised Town Plan rather than adopt the amendment and then adopt the new Town Plan.


Mr. Stearns cited the fact the Town needs to move forward in getting the SFSS in place. Mr. Stearns and Ms. Ashcroft both cited the fact that other projects will continue to be proposed, and having the SFSS in place would give the Town more say in the permitting process.


Mr. Bove suggested the RRPC may not approve the proposed SFSS Town Plan amendment due to the fact the Town Plan is deficient in other areas. Mr. Matteson questioned if the RRPC has to approve an amendment to the Town Plan. Mr. Bove said he believed the RRPC has to approve amendments.


Mr. Bove said that if the Town Plan is amended it would restart the five year re-adoption clock. He said be adopting an amendment the Town would be readopting the entire Town Plan. Mr. Peterson said that presently was the first time he was told that the Town is adopting an amendment and not the entire Town Plan.


Commissioners discussed whether the adoption of zoning would improve the business climate with in the Town. Mr. Peterson said zoning would give the Town more control over what are considered problems. Mr. Stearns questioned if the Commission should be endorsing the adoption of zoning.


Commissioners and Mr. Bove reviewed the "Objectives" Section of the Town Plan. Mr. Bove told Commissioners he would like to make all of the "objectives" into goals. He said the Commission has done so in other parts of the Town Plan update. Commissioners said to be consistent and make the "objectives" into goals.


Commissioners and Mr. Bove reviewed the Future Land Use section of the Town Plan. Mr. Bove said absent zoning regulation the PSB and Act 250 would look to the Town Plan land use Map to see if the proposed use is compatible.


Mr. Bove questioned if Commissioners want to add language to the Town Plan stating that any development which is not in conformance with the Lane Use section of the Town Plan will or shall not be supported by the Town.


Mr. Matteson said the Select Board and not the Planning Commission should make the decision as to whether to add the language suggested by Mr. Bove. Select Board member Ms. Mary Ashcroft cited the fact that most land use maps are based on an inventory of land capability. She said the existing Town Land Use map was made based on what the owner requested.


Ms. Ashcroft cited the Solar Farm proposed for the Cold River Road and said the land use designation is " Industrial / Commercial yet the area is developed primarily as residential. Ms. Ashcroft questioned if it is time for the Commission to look at what types of growth would be compatible in residential areas. She said the Commission should also look at what the infrastructure is capable of supporting.


Mr. Matteson said the properties on the Cold River Road either abut the rail line or the industrial park, which have municipal services. Mr. Matteson said he thinks the owners of land subject to change by the Commission need to be notified. Mr. Bove said individuals would have an opportunity to comment on ay changes at the public hearing.


Mr. McKane suggested the commission finish the narrative in the document before returning to the Future land Use section.


Commissioners reviewed the Residential 40A district. Mr. Bove suggested the Commission delete "churches" from the list of permitted use since under federal law churches can be located anywhere. Commissioners decided not to delete churches from the residential 40A district.


Commissioners reviewed the Residential 40B district. Mr. Peterson inquired as to why less land is required if a parcel has municipal services verses more land without municipal services. Mr. Stearns said more land would be required to locate a septic system.


Commissioner discussed whether to leave in a provision that allows the clustering of homes in the Residential 40B district. Mr. Bove will add the language "one dwelling unit or accessory structure per lot" to the Residential 40A district section. Mr. Bove said the Commissioners need to decide a density bonus for the Residential 40B District.


There was much discussion regarding achieving a "Bonus" for clustering homes in the R40 B district. Mr. Matteson and Mr. McKane said there should be a 20% bonus allowed for clustering homes.


Commissioners reviewed the Residential C district. Mr. Bove will add professional services to the list of permitted uses.


Commissioners reviewed the Affordable Housing district. No changes were made.


Commissioners reviewed the Agricultural district. Mr. Bove said the Commission could prohibit residential development in the Agricultural district. He said prohibiting residential development would preserve agricultural land from development. Commissioners decided not to include Mr. Bove's suggestion.


Ms. Ashcroft questioned if there is a Forest district in the Town Plan. Mr. Matteson said forest has been addressed in the Conservation district.


Commissioners reviewed the Rural Residential 10 district. No changes were made.


Commissioners reviewed the Conservation district. No changes were made.


Commissioners reviewed the Commercial district. Mr. Bove will check the town's previously proposed zoning regulations to see the minimum parcel size required for a business. The last sentence in the Commercial district description will be deleted.


Commissioners discussed whether the word "unit" referrers to a building or the number of units in the building. Mr. Matteson said the unit is the building. He said there could be 10 business in a single building.


Mr. Bove said by requiring businesses without public services to have a minimal of two acres is a lot of land since business use less water and sewer than a homes and would not need as large an area. Mr. Bove will check the previously proposed zoning regulations to verify the minimum commercial lot size and will change the Town Plan to comply if different than two acres.


Commissioners reviewed the Utility district. Mr. Stearns questioned whether solar farms are utilities. Mr. Matteson said solar farms with a Certificate of Public Good are utilities.


Mr. Matteson said water companies in Town should be listed as Utilities. Mr. Matteson said the telephone company is also a Utility. Mr. Matteson said the land owned by the Telephone company next to East Creek on US RT 7 is a utility yet is shown as commercial on the Land Use map.


Ms. Ashcroft questioned if the planned gas pipeline would be a Utility. Mr. Matteson said if there is a conversion built in Town then the gas Line would be a Utility. He said if the gas line just runs through Town it would not be a Utility.


Ms. Ashcroft inquired if the Commission would be proposing a corridor for the gas line. Mr. Matteson said he is not planning on doing so. Mr. Matteson cited the fact the Town does plan the location of electrical lines.


Ms. Ashcroft said the Commission should plan for the gas line since the route selected could result in development. She said the Commission should guide the line to where there is development or potential for development.


Mr. Matteson said the area along Route 7 is all commercial and that it would be a good place to locate the gas line.


Mr. Burgess informed Commissioners that all of the Green Mountain Power properties in the Town are listed as Commercial and not as Utility.


Commissioners decided that if the Utility district is eliminated from the Future Land Use Map then the Utility description in the Town Plan will be deleted.


Commissioners reviewed the Municipal / Government district. Mr. Matteson said the 40,000 sq. foot requirement in the district should be eliminated. Mr. Matteson suggested that Fire Districts be added to the district. Commissioners agreed. Commissioners agreed to eliminate the minimum lot size of 40,000 sq. ft.


Mr. Matteson moved to close the meeting at 9:05 P.M. Mr. Leonard made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.