Proposed boundaries dominates Planning Commission meeting

Planning Commission member Gerald Bouchard asks Clark Hinsdale III for clarification of property boundaries. Photo by Juliann Phelps.

The Thursday, March 21, Planning Commission meeting focused primarily on the proposed changes to and comments on the East Charlotte Village District (ECV) boundary and Charlotte Land Use Regulations (LUR). It was clear that the public was also focused primarily on the same agenda item, with approximately 20 people in the audience providing feedback, asking questions and reviewing the three proposed boundary maps. The three maps were submitted by Planning Commission Vice Chair Charlie Pughe and residents Clark Hinsdale and Bill Stuono. Each person was allowed the opportunity to present his rendering with an explanation of his approach.

After presentations, members of the public raised questions regarding the inclusion of open space and conserved land parcels within the proposed village commercial boundary. Hinsdale noted, “When you look at the map, the bright green (parcels), those are the Vermont Land Trust parcels. … That land is conserved, with a capital C.” He added that the open space parcels are conserved “with a lowercase c,” saying, “I just want everybody to know the leadership of the community has authority to change land use agreements, other than the green (parcels).”

Other members of the public offered thoughts regarding the boundary. Carrie Spear asked the commission to consider expanding the village boundary further south to calm traffic. Sarah Thompson said, “By expanding the village boundary down roads as a way to slow cars, my concern is that changes housing density — just to slow down cars.” Thompson also raised the question about density and current lot sizes. Frank Tenney said, “The acreage says the same, the density increases.” Planning Commissioner Marty Illick agreed that the concept is to change the density, saying, “If we can get the concept down, then we can start to crunch some numbers.”

Other comments included concern about the current speed limits on Spear Street and Hinesburg Road and the benefit of the proposed changes to the community. Ed Sulva asked, “If this is the commercial zone, even the ones slightly expanded, what are we gaining?” Alex Bunten asked “what the benefit is for residents in the new proposed commercial area?” Jonathan Fisher noted, “Ttwo big factors will be septic and water capacity.”

The agenda item wrapped up with Joslin proposing the commission provide at the upcoming May 2 meeting, “a set of cleaner maps, taking into account the three proposals that were delivered and, based on comments we heard tonight and in the past three meetings, build a projection.”

In other business, the Planning Commission approved the PC-18-194-BA Hinsdale open space agreement with modifications. The PC-18-151-SK Hinsdale continuation of sketch plan review was moved to a June meeting, and a PC-18-227-SK Couture-Snead sketch plan review for possible subdivision amendment was approved.