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Joint Board Meeting — Zoning Board of Appeals & Planning Board
Meeting Minutes — March 31, 2008
Memorial Hall

A duly posted joint meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board was held Memorial Hall, 51 Bridge St, Shelburne for the purpose of an "informational meeting" about proposed zoning by-law changes.

ZBA Present: Joseph Palmeri , John Taylor, Ted Merrill
ZBA Absent: Catherine Smith, Laurie MacLeod, Lowell Laporte, William Sweeney
Planning Board Present: Charles Washer, John Payne, Beth Simmons, Chris Davenport, Rodney McBride
Planning Board Absent: None

Visitors: See sign-in sheet

Planning Board Chair Charles Washer called the meeting to order at 7:00pm and described the purpose of the meeting. Washer called on Taylor, Clerk of the ZBA, who reported that this was a posted ZBA meeting, and there were 3 members present, but the ZBA members were there to hear, ask, and/or answer questions about zoning but it is the Planning Board who is hosting the meeting.

Washer designated John Payne to chair the remainder of the meeting to discuss revising the Zoning Bylaws.

Payne presented a 15 minute Powerpoint presentation on the bylaw revisions, then reviewed the proposed zoning document, use change summary sheet, and discussed the "new" zoning map. During the presentation resident Richard Dils questioned Payne as to whether the Town was included in a suit between 2 landowners. Payne asked that questions and comments wait until the end of the presentation, which Washer confirmed. At the conclusion of his presentation Payne briefly discussed the meat-processing venture being discussed in Shelburne and his involvement in their feasibility study.

The Board took questions and comments:

M Parry: Questioned the change to the industrial district stating that by dropping the old language in section 7 it "leaves the barn door wide open" for any industrial development anywhere in Town. Payne responded that many industrial uses that are allowed by right are being changed to by special permit giving the residents input. Parry stated that where many additional items which the PB needed to add to get the document "right".

M Taylor: Inquired about Section 14 and whether those environmental controls addressed Parry's concerns. ZBA commented that Section 14 was one part.

ZBA member John Taylor reviewed the difference between a use allowed by right and one allowed by special permit, the special permit process, and the "balance" that the PB must achieve to not be too onerous so as to discourage business growth, but have enough regulation to be able to address town concerns about a large scale development.

R Dils: Questioned Payne as to whether this whole document was his personal "summer project" and suggested that the rest of the PB had no input. Payne declined to respond.

J Wall: Expressed concern about the process and that his concerns are not being addressed by the PB. He requested that the PB members explain why they voted as they did when asked whether to bring the matter to public hearing.

Washer intervened and re-assumed the role as Chair of the meeting, and stated that he could not force any member to explain to Wall why they voted as they did.

Wall insisted that Chris Davenport explain why has abstained from the vote (of March 27th where the four members of the PB voted 2-1 with 1 abstention to bring the revisions to public hearing). Washer asked Davenport if he wished to respond. Davenport agreed.

Davenport spoke about the process, and that he felt the PB did not fully discuss and understand all the changes. He felt he could not support the revisions based on those concerns, however he did not want to block the voters from having a chance to hear both sides of the debate. He stressed that voters must read and understand the document before they vote, stressing the changes to the special permit criteria, definitions, and use table. Davenport wants the Town to develop regulations which will support business growth and expand the tax base.

Wall questioned Washer as to how the revisions can move ahead when, as he figured it, 60% of the PB does not support them. Washer pointed out that two of the three members who voted were in support.

R Dils: Stressed the need to study further. He stated changes are needed "but this is not the document".

M Parry: Reviewed that there are "shades of gray" in the document, and further he does not support the changes to the parking regulations. Payne responded that any changes shown in the parking regulations were his error in not removing the proposed changes from the document. The changes were discussed last year but he agreed that they had not been discussed again during this revision process.

J Taylor: Supports the changes to the use table. He comments that during the process over the last two years he believes the PB has made numerous changes based on public comment and discussion between the PB and ZBA. He feels that when there was extensive debate or disagreement on whether a use should be allowed or not it was frequently added as a use "allowed by special permit" which permitted discussion on a case-by-case basis.

K Gould: Objects to the process used by the PB, and also opposes changes to the language relative to special permits. She stated that the current bylaw section 5.2.4 allows special permits for the listed uses "by right" and the changes would totally change the special permitting process.

J Palmeri: Responded to Gould's review of bylaw section 5.2.4 by stating that he does not see any wording that special permits are allowed "by right". Palmeri reviewed the reasons for adding special permit criteria, better mapping, use tables, and more clear definitions by citing complaints and legal challenge to the current bylaws and the need to be more clear for the ZBA when granting permits and other decisions.

K Gould: Explained that her life as a property owner has been spent building equity and the changes reduce her equity. She disagree with Palmeri's interpretation of the special permit process. She stated that resident must recognize that the bylaw revisions present a "huge change" in the ability for residents to be allowed to do things "by right".

L Gould: Questioned why the PB did not focus on sections such as section 12 (mobile homes) which is very difficult to understand. Washer responded that the PB did discuss the section but did not make any changes to it in this revision.

K Parsons: Spoke to the question about the suit against the Town of Shelburne that is part of the Pioneer Nutritional Formulas vs Mitchell action. Parsons says that one issue is that there is no special permit criteria outlined in the current bylaw, only in the ZBA regulations. Secondly, the bylaws can no longer use the catch-all language (i.e in 7.2.6) that is present in the commercial and industrial use sections. He says that the proposal has very standard language (i.e. as used in many towns) and has the needed criteria. Parsons stated he opposed the changes proposed last year due to their complexity but this year the PB & ZBA "has done a yeoman's job of improving the document".

R. Dils: Suggested the PB adopt the change to the Special Permit section only (new section 6). He further stated that the other language changes were too "black and white" and that he favors some ambiguity in regulation. He feels proposal is too restrictive. He also criticized the revision process.

J Taylor: Spoke to contradict others earlier comments that this represents a major change in the Town's zoning and special permit process. He cited that special permitting is regulated under Chapter 40A and the change was the introduction of the special permit criteria into Shelburne's bylaws, and this was a positive step not a negative one.

Washer closed the informational meeting at 9:05PM.

Merrill moved and the ZBA voted to adjourn at 9:10pm.

Respectfully submitted,

John E Taylor
Clerk Pro-tem