Planning Commission tackles subdividing and boundary adjustments

The Town of Charlotte, VT

Boundary adjustments and lot-splitting were on the agenda at the January 17 Planning Commission meeting at Town Hall. The commission met for two sketch plan reviews and a request for reconsideration on a previous decision.

The meeting began with a sketch plan review for Linda Radimer’s property at 2012 Prindle Road. Planning Commission members had made a site visit earlier in the day to assess the 10-acre property that Radimer proposed splitting into two lots, one 3.3 acres and the other 7.7.

The commission discussed various options for creating a boundary line to divide the current property, focusing mainly on whether to split it in half with two lots that each have road frontage, or whether to create the second lot behind the first and then provide right of way through the first lot, which would have road access. The commission voted to proceed with the second option.

The next item on the agenda took up the majority of the meeting time.

David and Diane Nichols own nearly 315 acres at 138 Morningside Drive off of Spear Street, south of the intersection with Charlotte Hinesburg Road; the commission conducted a site visit to this property, as well. Though Nichols was out of town, he still participated in the meeting via smartphone.

Clark Hinsdale, Nichols’ friend and neighbor, stood in for Nichols at the meeting, outlining his proposal to divide the current parcel, which includes land conserved through the Vermont Land Trust, into three parcels, two of which would be farm and conserved land, the third of which would be a small site for a future retirement residence for the Nicholses.

Hinsdale outlined the Nichols’ plans for the property. In his sketch plan application, Nichols wrote, “I conserved a large part of my farm. I now want to sell that protected land to a young farmer. The new boundary lines are to delineate the conserved land from the unconserved land. Lot 3 is to provide a place for me to live because I can’t keep my original house because, per Land Trust, it has to be sold with the conserved land.”

After much discussion of house placement (commission member Marty Ilick remarked that the house site choice was “not that brilliant,” and Nichols responded, “I chose that spot because I like that spot”), plans for the future of the property and the impact of this decision on things like farm financing and current usage taxes, Hinsdale threw “a curveball” into the discussion. He proposed splitting the lot into two parcels rather than three, with the option of subdividing lot 2 in the future. Commission Vice Chair Charlie Pughe noted that people are usually approaching the commission with requests for more lots, not fewer; Town Planner Daryl Benoit concurred, saying, “Combining lots is a good thing.”

The commission moved to consider the sketch plan be classified as a boundary adjustment, and all approved.

The third item on the agenda was a request from Gill Barlow and Molly McClaskey for reconsideration of a December 14 commission decision regarding an application they had made for a boundary adjustment at 4100 Mt. Philo Road. The request was approved and will be addressed at the March 7 meeting.

The commission then deliberated during an executive session on a matter to be revealed at a later date.