Hinesburg’s DRB debates projects

By Gail Callahan

During last week’s Development Review Board (DRB) meeting in Hinesburg, the panel discussed a handful of applications and the potential impact on the town’s infrastructure and school system.

Six members of the Board started the evening with a site visit to the Enos subdivision. The property, at the south end of Enos Road, is the proposed site for a three-lot subdivision. An existing house sits on one of the parcels and two other parcels of land are slated for development.

Back at Town Hall, Chair Zoe Wainer discussed the site visit. She noted that flags mark the boundaries of the proposed lots, and property owner Glenn Enos gave details about storm water disposal and a proposed driveway location.  In the end, the Board voted 6-0 to draft approval language for the plan.

Haystack/Blackrock Construction

In an unusual move, the DRB discussed Haystack/Blackrock application when the applicant was present, and again later in the evening. During the second phase of the discussion, continued form March 18, DRB member Kate Myhre asked about the project’s phasing and its impact on Hinesburg Community School and Champlain Valley Union High School. Zoning Administrator Peter Erb, trying to alleviate Kate’s concerns, noted impacts on schools could be examined again at another level of Board review. Erb went on to urge panel members to specifically state what concrete concerns they have about the plan.

Also, Board member Sarah Murphy, noting that three-story buildings are planned, also discussed building height and access fire departments might encounter if there was a blaze. Murphy’s point led to a general conversation about height limits for residential and non-residential structures. Along with other concerns, Wainer also worried about a lack of “village feel” in the project.

Other questions include width of a proposed road; street scapes and green space. After hearing concerns voiced by the Village Steering Committee, Ben Avery noted the company is willing to work with town officials, re-designing what areas stand out as places of concern.
Other areas Board members were concerned with included parking availability, CCTA access and road access, particularly for rescue and fire departments, Vermont 116 frontage, and passive solar gain.

After listening to the Board express concerns, Avery appeared frustrated with the town’s review process, noting project planners made necessary changes. He appeared to lose patience with the repeated requests and additional hearing to present those changes to the town. Murphy expressed sympathy for Avery, and urged him to be patient, noting the large scale of the proposal. At the same time, Board members reminded Avery about the volunteer nature of the panel, pointing out they will be diligent during the review process.
The Board plans on continuing the project next month.

Haystack is an 84-acre undeveloped parcel on Vermont 116, owned by Haystack Crossing, LLC.

Among the Trees, LLC

Continuing its review from June 3, the Board discussed Nancy Wright’s request for a conditional use permit for a camp expansion of a non-complying structure. Wright is planning to build a year-round residence, demolishing the current structure. She hopes to start construction this building season. Additionally, Wright plans on turning the house to protect trees and stream banks.

During the hearing process, Wright said the proposed house’s footprint will actually be smaller than the existing one, which she described as poorly insulated with old wiring.
The Board indicated its approval.