TOWN OF RUTLAND
Board members present: Don Chioffi, Mary Ashcroft and Joe Dicton (via telephone)
The meeting opened at 7:05 P.M.
Mr. Chioffi requested those present to bow their heads in a moment of silence, for a good friend, a great Town servant, a wonderful father and husband and a personal friend of his and Ms. Ashcroft's, for Mr. Stacy Chapman who was lost to this community and the world. Mr. Chioffi said we are all very saddened.
Mr. Chioffi read the Town Plan public hearing notice aloud. Mr. Chioffi announced that Select Board member Mr. Joe Dicton would be participating via telephone.
Mr. Chioffi opened the hearing to receive comments. Town resident Ms. Ester Swett said she is glad the Town is adopting the Town Plan and she said she hope zoning will now follow.
Ms. Swett requested asked if someone could explain the changes between the old Town Plan and the draft Town Plan. Ms. Ashcroft cited the following examples:
Solar facility Siting Standards are now included in the Town Plan.
The Bypass language was removed by the Planning Commission
Some minor changes to the land use districts
Data was updated to current census data.
Ms. Ashcroft said every 5 years the Town is required to update and readopt the Town Plan. Town Planning Commissioner Mr. William Matteson said the Commission also modified the Child care section in the Town Plan as well as Flood Hazard section. He said both sections were updated due to State requirements. Mr. Matteson said the Land Use map was not touched.
Mr. Matteson said Utilities, Fire Districts and Town land are now shown as being in the same district on the Land Use map. Ms. Swett asked if there were and changed to residential districts. Mr. Matteson said no changes were made to the residential districts.
Ms. Swett asked if someone would still need to have 10 acres to build a home in the agricultural district. Town Administrator, Mr. Joseph Zingale Jr., said an individual could build on one acre of land in the agricultural district if no act 250 permit were required.
Ms. Swett asked when the Town would develop zoning regulations to complement the Town Plan. Ms. Ashcroft said the next step is to update the Land Use map. She said one possible change to the Land Use map may be to change the designation of land where industrial abuts residential land.
Ms. Ashcroft said the Planning Commission could work on a zoning ordinance after the land Use map is updated. Ms. Ashcroft said the Board has to first adopt the Town Plan before it can more on to zoning.
Ms. Ashcroft cited the fact the Town would not be allowed to apply for State grants if it does not have an approved Town Plan. Ms. Ashcroft said the Select Board must hold another Public Hearing before it can vote to adopt the Town Plan.
Ms. Swett said it is important for the Town to adopt the Town Plan and then begin work on zoning. Ms. Swett thanked the Board for the work they are doing with the Town Plan.
Town Planning Commissioner Mr. Howard Burgess said the Commission needs to begin work on the Land Use map. He said it would be a process to review the entire town. Ms. Matteson said input from Town residents will be critical to making changes to the Land Use map. Mr. Matteson said there needs to be a lot of public involvement in making changes to the Land Use map.
Ms. Ashcroft said she would like a series of neighborhood meetings involving Planning Commissioners and Select Board members.
Mr. Chioffi asked Mr. Dicton if he had any comments. Mr. Dicton said he did not have any comments. Mr. Burgess cited the fact there would have to be public meetings to discuss any proposed changes to the Town Land Use map. Mr. Burgess said the Commissioners should make the changes to the Land Use map and then meet with the public. He said the Commission should not try to make changes to the map with 30 residents present.
Those in attendance and Select Board members discussed the Town Plan update process and how public comments will be considered. Mr. Chioffi said the adoption process is a transparent ongoing process.
Ms. Swett asked if Town officials would consider abutting land uses allowed in neighboring Towns. Mr. Matteson said copies of the proposed Town Plan were sent to all abutting municipalities as well as a copy to the RRPC and the State of Vermont.
Mr. Matteson said in the past the Town Planning Commission has found incompatibilities when reviewing plans submitted by neighboring towns.
Mr. Matteson said the neighborhood meetings would be good so residents can understand why something is being done or not done. He said people have to be in agreement that this is what they want and then it will fly.
Mr. Chioffi said because of the diversity and geography of the community land use planning will be difficult. He said the Board would review any proposed changes to the Land Use map to ensure they make sense and are not out of place, with the general uses allowed in the district.
Ms. Swett questioned how much the Town spends on the Town Plan adoption. Mr. Matteson said the Town generally gets a grant to pay for a consultant and that the Town budget covers the Planning Commission's time.
Ms. Ashcroft said the Board had enough money in the present Planning Commission budget to pay for Mr. Ed Bove's time working with the Town Commission. Mr. Matteson said he estimates the Town is paying about $10,000.00 a year for Planning Commission activities. Mr. Chioffi asked Mr. Dicton if he had any comments. Mr. Dicton said he did not and that he did not hear all of the comments.
Ms. Ashcroft acknowledged that the previous night the Select Board received comments from the RRPC regarding the Town Plan. Ms. Ashcroft said most of the comments indicate they like what we have done.
Ms. Ashcroft questioned why the RRPC is late getting the comments to the Town given the fact the RRPC has had the Town Plan for some time. Mr. Chioffi questioned why RRPC just didn't add the language they would like to see, since the RRPC developed the plan with the Town.
Mr. Matteson suggested the Select Board invite the RRPC planner who commented on the proposed Town Plan to the Board's next meeting in order to address the comments.
Ms. Ashcroft said that if the Board were to make changes, which are deemed to be substantial, it would restart the Town Plan adoption process. Mr. Dicton said the document is put together well and that a good deal of time went into the writing of the document. He said the Board should move forward with the adoption. He added that the Board could consider changes in the future. He said the document looks good to him.
Ms. Ashcroft moved to set the second Town Plan Hearing for Wednesday October 22, 2014 at 7:00 P.M., as part of the regular Select Board meeting. Mr. Dicton made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Chioffi thanked those who attended the meeting and closed the meeting.