FINAL ZONING HEARING MONDAY — Statement of Kimberly Cheney, Chair

Montpelier Planing Commission on proposed new zoning ordinance

The Montpelier Planning Commission met over four years to do a complete rewrite of the City Zoning laws.  The Commission‘s objectives were to comply with the 2005 City Master Plan.   The Commission has completed a proposed new ordinance taking into account the expert assistance of Planning Director Mike Miller, Brandy Saxton, the writer of many Vermont town zoning laws, and over 300 suggestions and criticisms from the many people who submitted their thoughtful comments.  On January 9 at 5:30 p.m., the Planning Commission will hold a final public hearing on a plan they will recommend for adoption to the City Council.  The Commission offers the plan which will:

(1) Reduce lot areas needed for residential dwellings while maintaining existing built patterns so that 90 percent of all existing lots conform to new district requirements, and

(2) Define characteristics of existing neighborhoods to be preserved, and

(3) Provide for mixed commercial and residential use in appropriate areas of the city, an

(4)Encourage downtown growth by eliminating parking requirements to allow new development to serve market preferences instead of fixed formulas, and

(5) Rename residential districts to by the number of minimum square feet required for that lot to bring clarity to the zoning plan, and

(6) Create comprehensive use table to establish easy to find district requirements, and

(7) Delay altering the Historic Design Review Overlay District standards, pending a review for the 2017 Master Plan after consideration of comments and study produced by a Vermont State grant, an

(8) Establish standards for use, dimension, density, wetlands, vernal pools, steep slopes (from 15 percent to 30 percent depending on the amount of land involved), erosion control, storm water management, parking, and signs, in clear written English to avoid ambiguous or subjective interpretation of requirementsto guide  the Design Review Board and the Planning Department. and (9) Provide concise procedural standards to reduce time and steps required for permitting and.

(10)  Provide site plan standards for access, plant screening, lighting, solar and electronic access, visual and design compatibility with existing built environment, and

(11) Create several Planned Unit Development protocols for infill, small single family residencesmanufactured home parks and new neighborhoods to promote appropriate use of different sites.

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