Agenda shifts with Selectboard chair absent

The Town of Charlotte, VT

Several items deferred to future meetings, short-term rentals discussed

Monday’s Selectboard meeting started with Vice Chair Frank Tenney at the helm and an agenda ahead of schedule. With Chair Matt Krasnow absent and the presentation on the upcoming tractor parade not quite ready, several agenda items were deferred to a future meeting, including the repurposing of the old playground equipment still at the Town Beach, discussion of the Recreation Commission mission statement and improving accessibility to Town Hall.

Short-term rentals
With most agenda items being approved quickly, the bulk of the meeting focused on whether the town should consider regulating short-term rentals, an issue brought before the Selectboard by Michael Wool of Hills Point Road. He appeared in person, along with several interested property owners, and shared concerns about traffic, noise and littering from adjacent landowners renting their properties, some going for $1500 a night. “It’s a difficult balancing act between property rights and what you can do with your property, and the balance of maintaining an integrity of a neighborhood.” He added, “We raised this issue two years ago and had a productive discussion with the Planning Commission. The ball was going to be kicked over to the Selectboard and nothing really happened.”

Selectboard member Louise McCarren asked Wool what he would like to see in an ordinance, and he responded the board could consider language modeled after Ashville, NC, which set a minimum of 30 days stay. Town Administrator Dean Bloch added it’s common to rent camps on Thompson’s Point for a week, saying, “I agree with the definition of the minimum stay is important. I think it can potentially be different for different parts of town – and that could be decided through a public input process.”

The discussion moved on to whether the process of regulating short-term rentals should be added to the zoning bylaws or town ordinance. Tenney firmly recommended several times the zoning bylaws saying, “I look at the bylaws as how we regulate a lot of things.” He continued, “it is easier to define it and incorporate into our zoning bylaws than come up with an ordinance, even if we use an ordinance from another town to try to manipulate it to fit Charlotte.”

McCarren asked “what’s the best vehicle to get input?” Boad member Fritz Tegatz suggested establishing a committee to provide recommendations to the Planning Commission and Selectboard, similar to the West Charlotte Village Wastewater committee. No motion was made, though the board asked town staff to research the Ashville, NC ordinance Wool recommended and the minutes of the Planning Commission on the subject. Wool added, “if the Selectboard were to take action and if a regulation was adopted … Charlotte would be right at the top in terms in the state of Vermont of actually doing something – which is probably a good thing.”

Zoning permit issue
Resident Phil Barone of Meadowside Drive appeared in front of the board after his initial appearance on August 26. He again presented his concerns that a zoning permit (19-94-ZP) was incorrectly issued to his neighbors, Charles and Cynthia Burns, by the previous zoning administrator. Barone, reading from a letter accompanying the permit, said the permit allowed the landowner to replace a round, above-ground pool with a rectangular in-ground one, 10 feet from the property line. Both Tenney and Tegatz said they were unprepared to talk about the issue and were “looking for more (paperwork).” Tenney added, “I wanted verification of the location on property, not on the paperwork we’ve got. I would like to see what the actual is.” Both said they wanted to visit the Burns property and gather more information to bring back to the Selectboard and provide an update.

Other business
The Selectboard authorized the Thompson’s Point Association to apply for conditional use review and for a zoning permit to construct a water treatment and storage facility. Members of the association and an engineer from Otter Creek Associates were present to answer questions.

The board selected Dubios and King as the contractor for the Monkton Road engineering project, with Bloch and Tegatz tasked with working with the contractor to come up with a “whittled down” contract.

The Selectboard then approved waiving the zoning permit application for the Charlotte Library addition, signed the amendments to the Motor Vehicle and Traffic Regulation Ordinance to create a 40-mph speed limit on Church Hill Road, set the date for meeting on the budget process with all town committees for Monday, September 16, and planned their next site visit to the Burns Property and Town Beach.

The next regularly scheduled Selectboard meeting will be held 6:00 p.m. on September 23.