TOWN OF HINESBURG
PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
August 23, 2006
Approved September 13, 2006
Commission Members Present: Jean Isham, Joe Iadanza, Nancy Norris, Joe Donegan, George Bedard, Kay Ballard.
Commission Members Absent: Fred Haulenbeek. Johanna White, Carrie Fenn.
Also Present: Alex Weinhagen (Director of Planning and Zoning), Heather Stafford (Recording Secretary), David Lyman, Barbara Lyman, Al Barber, John Lyman, Wayne Bissonette, Debra Perry, Brett Grabowski, Johanna Shal.
The meeting began at approximately 7:30 p.m.
I. Administrative Tasks
Alex distributed the Fire Department's Strategic Plan. He noted that the plan is also available on the town web site on the Fire and First Response page. Alex also distributed the DRB meeting minutes as well as the newest issue of the Planning Commissioners Journal.
II. Wind Turbine on Dynamite Hill
Alex explained that the applicants had been granted a certificate of public good but that the neighbors have appealed the decision and therefore the process is still on-going.
III. Municipal Planning Grants
The application for the next round of municipal planning grants is out and staff is working on determining what projects are still in need of grant sponsorship. These grants are awarded through the State Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Alex reviewed the following list of items to which the staff thought funds could be used:
· Open Space – Natural Resource Overlap Project
· Rural Area Density Project
· Village Steering Committee
· Affordable Housing Committee
He added that grants can also be used to purchase easements and land for conservation purposes if this goal is outlined in the town plan. The deadline for these grants is the end of September.
IV. Minutes of the July 26th Planning Commission Meeting
Alex said that information submitted by David Lyman will be added into these minutes.
V. Village Growth Project – West Side/Ballard's Corner Area
Alex distributed the final report prepared by Arrowwood Environmental in regards to the wetland areas on the west side of 116 north of the village. Dori Barton thought that the wetland delineation completed in 1995 was not entirely correct and that there were at least three areas of upland. Alex thought that although the wetlands in this area still pose serious constraints, there is far more opportunity for development in this area than they had previously thought.
Alex clarified that Dori had only performed an official wetland delineation on lot 31 in Creekside and that the rest of the area she had observed and walked on to some extent. She did not walk onto the Lyman property as they plan to put this area back into agricultural use before having a wetland delineation completed.
Brett Grabowski said that five years ago the area where Creekside is located was not in a wetlands area and was in agricultural use. He thought it was hard to make this sort of wetland classification simply by eye-balling a property and he urged the commission not to look at the Lyman property as being wetlands as he feels it will change once it is used again for agricultural purposes.
**Jean Isham joined the meeting at this point.
Joe Donegan said that he didn't think that the commission should assume that large chunks of land are out of use due to wetland constraints and therefore zone the area for a density that they would not like to see in that location because as the commission has seen, wetland delineations change from year to year.
Jean asked if lot 31 will be usable. Alex said it is very constrained and that they plan to meet with the Army Corp of Engineers to determine what can be done with this lot. Brett added that Peter's delineation of lot 31 looked much less conservative. He said he would forward this delineation to Alex.
Jean asked if the board was still interested in considering the West Side Road concept. Joe I. thought there were some possibilities here but that the commission should also consider other options if they are not able to get south of the brook. A second option might be an access point onto 116. George noted that the speed limit on 116 would need to be adjusted if another access is added in this area. He added that it would be the obligation of the landowners to provide easements that stand a high likelihood of getting approved through the use of thorough delineations. George also thought that they could make the connector an element of this zoning district. Alex said that they could also add this information to an official town map if the town decides to create one.
Alex asked the commission what kind of development and/or conservation they wish to see in this location. Kay said she would like to see mixed use on the west side near Ballard's Corner. Joe I. added that he would like to see professional offices, smaller retail outlets, 2nd story housing or multi-story housing. He also thought the treatment of the open spaces in this area was important and that buildings should be centered on common areas. This area could also prove significant for new restaurants and as a new location for the Farmers Market.
George said he thought it would work well to cluster development in the Northeast corner and leave open area to the south of the Riggs home. Alex suggested using a frontage rd along 116 that would provide building frontage on 116 but would not include any of the access issues associated with it. Jean said she did not want to see more road cuts added onto 116 in this area. George thought that one access onto 116 may be possible, but that the farther south the access, the better. He also thought there should be one to two access points onto Shelburne Falls Road. George added that a street scape treatment with green space along 116 would work well but that it should stay outside the ROW to keep pedestrians away from 116. Joe D. said that depending on the intended density of the area he was not convinced that the development needs to hug 116.
Jean asked how many acres are included in the Riggs property. George B. said about 10. Alex noted that the town's stream setbacks are good, however the commission may wish to consider smaller setbacks in this area or development will be very constrained. Joe D. said he would be hesitant to alter the setbacks on Patrick Brook. Alex agreed and mentioned that he was thinking more of the feeder streams for Patrick Brook that have a smaller capacity.
George suggested that the commission may wish to require a certain percentage of open space, pedestrian pathways, and street scape-type development as a part of the multi-use zoning component in this area.
Jean asked if the board would consider any of this area for light industrial. George thought the whole east side of 116 up to CVU road could be light industrial to fit in with NRG. Alex noted that this area is comprised of some land owned by Hinsdale and Smith. A flood hazard zone cuts through 2/3 to ½ of the Hinsdale lot and a good portion of the lot is in the wetlands. There is not much wetland delineation on the Smith lot. Jean thought that perhaps the board could expand the Industrial 5 district. Alex suggested that it could be expanded towards 116. Joe D. thought they should still screen the types of light industrial businesses allowed here. George said they could mirror the limitations written for the NRG development. Joe I. said that he wants development in this area to be visible to cue people that they are approaching the village.
Joe D. added that whatever is developed on the West Side of 116 should complement the I5 district on the other side of the road. He thought that perhaps they could utilize the southern and east/west exposure of this area for solar purposes. George suggested that trackers be condensed onto one area as opposed to spreading them out.
Alex asked if the board would be comfortable expanding the I5 district towards 116 and north along the hillside utilizing mixed use in the industrial sense. The commission agreed with this expansion. Kay thought it was important that compatible uses be considered in this mixed use area. Jean said she thought the I5 district is compatable with housing given some distance between the two. Joe D. thought that the soils should be considered in this area and that the best soils should be reserved for the light industrial development as they will need that to build here. Joe I. thought the commission should do something similar on the west side of 116 as well.
The commission also discussed zoning the South east corner of Ballards Corner as mixed use with light industrial. Jean was concerned that a 2nd entrance onto CVU Road would be problematic. George pointed out that trucks entering and exiting the property would be utilizing 116 and therefore would not be increasing traffic that much on CVU Road.
The commission also discussed utilizing design standards on the west side of 116. Brett Grebowsky said design standards can be a great development tool for both the town and developers. The commission said they would like to see a green buffer run parallel to 116. Joe I. added that he would like to see a percentage allocated for contiguous open areas, residential uses and commercial uses. In addition he did not want to see dead end roads. Joe I. felt loops and block-like street designs create a better village feel. George said he thought cul de sacs can work well and that perhaps they could limit the number of houses on the cul de sacs. Joe I thought open space should be spread out so that it is of a meaningful size. Joe D. thought that perhaps the town should utilized the state agricultural soils on the West side of 116 to incorporate a rural agricultural feel. The commission discussed setting aside community garden space and area for a community stormwater plan.
Wayne Bissonette said that he owns 93 acres in this area and that he was concerned that given the many limitations being discussed at this meeting there would be little room left for actual development on his parcel. He noted that in the 1950's there used to be 88 farms shipping milk in Hinesburg. Now there are 3. Wayne was not sure how much small-scale farming could be attracted and sustained in this area. Alex suggested that development could be clustered to have less impact on agricultural lands.
George said he envisioned a more commercial feel to the 8 acres on the south west corner of the 4-way intersection. Joe I. said he thought this area was transitional and that if they are limiting access onto 116 from the west side they should concentrate development on the corner to utilize access onto Shelburne Falls Road. The board also discussed allowing commercial space with residential apartments above and thought this was a good way to provide affordable housing space. George noted that the commission should be mindful of the way in which Hinesburg's sewer allocation is used up. Typically residential allocations are used up quickly. Hinesburg needs to be mindful of its ability to attract businesses to town. The commission agreed that residential development will probably happen first to drive demand for the commercial end of the development.
The commission decided that at the next meeting they would like to being working on some of the documentation of these zoning changes. They also hoped to update the missing commission members on their thoughts for this area.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 10:05 p.m.