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May 10, 2017 [HPC]

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Town of Hinesburg

Planning Commission

May 10, 2017

Approved May 24, 2017

Members Present: Maggie Gordon, Barbara Forauer, John Kiedaisch, James Donegan, Rolf Kielman, Joe Iadanza, Jeff French

Members Absent: Dennis Place

Public Present: Bill Marks, Tom Ayer

Also Present: Dawn Morgan (Recording Secretary), Alex Weinhagen (Director of Planning & Zoning)

Joe I. chaired the meeting, which was called to order at 7:32 pm.

Agenda Changes: None.

Public Comments for Non‐Agenda Items: None.

Village Growth Area – Rezoning & Design Standards: Official Map Revisions (cont’d from April 26th meeting) ‐ **official map attached to end of these minutes for reference**

John K. expressed that he does not support proposing roundabouts at either the #3 (Silver St./Rte 116) or #4 (Mechanicsville/Rte 116) intersections. He said that roundabouts would probably require changing the intersection dimensions as well as grade changes, which would conflict with existing Town resources such as the rain garden, public park and the canal bridge. He went on to say that his understanding of roundabouts is to keep traffic moving smoothly, and both of the intersections are in areas where it makes sense to encourage more controlled traffic speeds.

There was discussion about the Rte 116 scoping study in relation to roundabouts at intersections. Alex W. agreed that there are some site constraints that will need to be taken into consideration at intersections #3 and #4. Joe I. said that he understood John K.’s concerns, but added that sometimes roundabouts can be used to slow traffic as well.

Alex W. offered to clarify the history of the future community facility (identified on the map by a brown section) south of the label “Patrick Brook”. He said that it was originally placed on the map in 2009 with the thought that it would be turned into recreation fields. He said that not only is the area very wet, but the Bissonette play fields project is now underway and there may no longer be a need for fields in this area.

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Approved PC Meeting Minutes – 05/10/2017 Page 1

Alex W. asked the Commission if they still felt the need for a community facility of some sort in that area. John K. asked what could go in there, given that it is in a flood hazard area. Alex W. said that the developer of the Hinesburg Center, LLC project had discussed the possibility of a solar array, small scale agriculture, parking, etc., but that none of the ideas have been decided. Alex W. went on to say that there are site constraints (flood hazard area), so the ability to fill or construct is limited.

John K. asked about the green area to the south, and Alex W. said that the parcel was once owned by the Town and has since been sold to the property owners to the west of Farmall Drive. John K. asked if anything could possibly go there, and Alex W. said his understanding is that the owners would prefer it to remain as‐is, excepting the possibility of a trail or other low‐impact use. Alex W. said that both areas being discussed could be removed from the map due to their highly‐constrained nature, unless the Commission felt they could serve a green space function. There was some discussion about the possibility of a dog park.

Maggie G. asked if the Town had a need for future solar arrays, and Alex W. said that at this time a community solar array might make more sense. Alex W. said that he felt it made sense to keep the trail connections near the Bissonette play fields, perhaps coordinating with the existing VAST trail system.

Joe I. said that he is also in favor of trails, in addition to looking at buffering for all waterways. Joe I. went on to say that the “Patrick Brook” brown area could be reduced, with the remaining area ear marked for a dog park. He said that it would make sense to have a dog park close to high density residential areas to encourage people to walk to it. Alex W. said that some community members have been working in support of a dog park, and suggested that the Commission contact them for more details. There was general discussion about the need, as well as an appropriate location for a dog park.

John K. noted that there are trails represented in the Town Plan that are not listed on the Official Map. Alex W. said that the trail map is town‐wide and the official map is just the village area. There was some discussion about listing trails on the official map, and Alex W. said that the trails committee is interested in discussing the topic with the Commission.

There was additional discussion about a dog park, the flood hazard and riparian park areas, and the past straightening/ditching of waterways. Rolf K. suggested designating larger areas on either side of the LaPlatte to allow the river to recover from ditching. Alex W. said that designating those riparian park areas are a good idea, but if they are represented on the official map then the Town needs to have a clearer idea of what they want developed in those areas. Alex w. went on to say that if the Commission simply wants to make sure those areas are not developed then it would belong in the zoning regulations, and in fact already is for the village area via the stream buffer provisions adopted in 2009.

Joe I. said that the community facilities should be numbered, described, and designated in an area that the Commission feels would best serve the community. There was additional discussion about waterway/riparian setbacks and a dog park.

Approved PC Meeting Minutes – 05/10/2017 Page 2

Tom Ayer said that the brown area behind Town Hall would be a good place for a dog park, and Maggie G. noted that there is also parking nearby. Tom A. added that the baseball field behind the community school is very wet and will soon be closing as a result. Tom A. suggested that the area behind Town Hall might also be good for replacement baseball fields. Alex W. noted that the area is also very wet and in a flood hazard area.

Jeff F. discussed the idea of connecting all green spaces and wildlife corridors in the Rte 116 area. Alex W. said that the stream buffer regulations already specifically call for a buffer to leave the area in a natural state for wildlife. Jeff F. asked if the only reason to call out riparian areas on the official map would be because they are outside of the zoned buffer, and Alex W. confirmed. There was additional discussion about a dog park.

Alex W. said that it would be a good idea to keep the brown areas on the map just in case there becomes a need for additional play fields. Joe I. reiterated that each piece on the map needs to be as specific as possible and aligned with the capital plan. Alex W. said that there is a small section in between the Bissonette fields and the Blackrock development that could be designated for community facilities such as tennis courts, pickle ball, a playground, etc.

There was some discussion regarding uses for Lot 1, and Alex W. said that since the Town owns the lot there is not as much need to be specific about naming community facility uses. He went on to say that some of the proposed uses are a farmer’s market, an outdoor music venue, a town green, a park & ride, small children’s playground, etc.

John K. asked about the small brown area in the village NW district, west of Rte 116 and south of Shelburne Falls Rd. Alex W. said that the Select Board felt that the district needed a central community facility to give people a reason to come to the area. Alex W. asked if the Commission still felt the need for the brown area on the map, now that the Bissonette fields are being developed. John K. suggested moving it to a different location, and Alex W. said that the Blackrock project proposes a linear green which could represent the brown area in question. Alex W. also said that if the Commission believes the linear strip is not enough then they could keep the brown area and define it as they saw fit.

There was general discussion about the concept of a central community green space, and whether the preference was for a strip of green (as proposed) or for a rectangular‐shaped area surrounded by restaurants, mixed‐use buildings, shops, convenient parking, etc. Alex W. noted that the official map’s function was to identify needed facilities in certain areas, and not necessarily what development is created around the areas. General discussion about the best approach followed.

Rolf K. mentioned several facility functions previously identified such as a multi‐generational facility, an indoor recreation facility independent of the schools, an indoor swimming pool, etc. He suggested making the facility contiguous with the Bissonette fields, which would then lead people to the area.

Approved PC Meeting Minutes – 05/10/2017 Page 3

There was additional discussion about the scale of the map and determining how much room was available for additional facilities. Joe I. suggested identifying a list of needs and then putting them on the map where it made sense. The Commission agreed to continue the conversation at the next meeting.

Town Plan Input for Select Board Review ‐ Discuss proposed wording changes to action items 5.1.1 & 5.2.1

Alex W. said that the Select Board had asked for input on the wording of two action items in the Town Plan. He said that some board members wanted this revised because they felt this language was too stringent, and could be used in a regulatory context to restrict any impact on the resources listed when in fact our Zoning Regulations and Subdivision Regulations designate these as “secondary resources”, and require that development only minimize, rather than avoid all impacts. He went on to say that other board members wanted the language left as written to retain the stronger sentiment.

Joe I. said that he had no problem mimicking language that is already in the zoning regulations. He noted that the Town Plan can be used in a regulatory context by the State in Act 250 development review and in Public Service Board proceedings, and that if the Plan is specific enough then the regulators may not look to zoning regulations for further guidance. As a result, Joe I. felt that the Plan should serve as detailed guidance to communicate the Town’s goals and wishes effectively.

Joe I. noted that the proposed Plan is more aggressive than what the current bylaws state, and Barbara F. said that the bylaws could be changed to match the Plan. Alex W. clarified that theses sections were under the Natural Resources chapter of the Plan, and were intended to address only that section, as opposed to repeating the list of primary/secondary resources in the zoning regulations.

Bill Marks suggested rephrasing item 5.1.1 to call for minimization of impact to the resources to the extent possible/practical. There was discussion about how specific to be in the wording of the items, whether the Plan should mirror the zoning regulations as they currently are, and whether the regulations should be changed to mirror the Plan.

Maggie G. agreed with rephrasing the item to include language about minimizing the impact in the listed areas as indicated in the zoning bylaws. Tom A. said that the words “keep” and “shall” are what bothered him (as a Select Board member), saying that under a regulatory review those words are absolute. Tom A. went on to say that he did not believe that such strong language belonged in a visionary document.

There was additional discussion about wording, phrasing and the potential impact on regulatory proceedings. The Commission agreed that Alex W. will inform the Select Board that the Commission came to consensus of rewording the two items to refer back to section 5.26 in the zoning regulations.

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Approved PC Meeting Minutes – 05/10/2017 Page 4

Minutes of 04/26/17 Meeting: Maggie G. suggested attaching the official map to the minutes so that future readers would be able to cross reference the intersection numbers.

Barbara F. made a motion to approve the 04/26/17 minutes as amended. John K. seconded the motion. The Board voted 6‐0. Rolf abstained

Other Business & Correspondence

Alex W. said that he had previously emailed the Commission about a Shelburne Planning Commission Hearing for a proposed zoning change on May 25th.

Joe I. asked if there was an update on the status of the Zoning Administrator or Town Administrator vacancies. Alex W. said that the Zoning Administrator candidate is still interested and will be recommended to the Select Board at Monday’s meeting. Alex W. said that the Town Administrator’s last day will be May 25th, and the Select Board has devised a transition plan.

Joe I. asked about the status of the Select Board’s review of the Town Plan, and Alex W. said they have fallen slightly behind but will work to catch up in an attempt to hold a public hearing in June.

Maggie G. made a motion to adjourn the meeting. James D. seconded the motion. The Commission voted 7‐0.

The meeting adjourned at 9:56 pm. Respectfully submitted,

Dawn Morgan, Recording Secretary

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Approved PC Meeting Minutes – 05/10/2017 Page 5


Episode Number: 
Original Airdate: 
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

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