DRB approves plans for Blanck, Green Street, Hinesburg Center

By Gail Callahan
Decisions about large-scale projects in Hinesburg occupied much of the Development Review Board (DRB) meeting last Tuesday.
Staff provided the board with a draft decision. Much of the discussion centered on lighting, as existing lights are non-complying. According to information from the Hinesburg Planning and Zoning office, the proposed replacements would be mounted on 20 to 25 foot poles from Green Mountain Power (GMP) with LED lights.
The applicant agreed to ask GMP to remove the existing light poles; the Board approved the draft decision as amended.
Green Street:
In consideration of feedback from the Board and public the applicant presented a revised sidewalk plan. One change involved shifting the sidewalk toward a unit to open up green space. More detailed information on trees planned for the site were detailed.
The panel also looked at building elevations, concentrating on a five-plex building with an array of elevations with a change in grade. Board member Dick Joedan raised questions about sloping in the rear and garden space in the area of the drainage swale, expressing concerns about the impact of storm water runoff in that area. Hinesburg Director of Planning and Zoning Alex Weinhagen noted those areas are actually east of the swale with a slight slope. The applicant assured the Board that gutters running along rooflines should aid in runoff from the site.
The Board decided to add requirements regarding rental agreements and availability of garden spaces, storm water runoff impacts, and modifications to ease parking concerns if any problems should arise on a lot.
The Board approved the re-worked scheme.
Hinesburg Center, LLC:
The Board re-opened plans for the site to iron out remaining issues regarding utility box screening and a bike rack. Noting GMP disallows trellises around the box, the Board supported developers’ plans to add vegetation. Issues about the bike rack were resolved with the addition of a concrete slab. With plans in place, the Board approved both the subdivision revisions and an amended site plan.
After hearing plans for swapping acreage on the parcel, comprised of 48-acre lots, the Board decided to continue the hearing until Nov. 4, seeking more information about a building envelope for Lot 2. Lot 2 is 10 acres or more with remaining acreage spilling into Lot 1. The applicants have plans to switch those acreages. With no new development planned, Lot 1 will likely be sold and landowner Stephanie Limoge is anticipating enrobing remaining acreage from Lot 2 into a Current Use Program.
Other concerns include wildlife habitat and impacts from a proposed building envelope. Possible installation of one or more utility poles on Lot 2 was also discussed, but Board member Greg Waples noted that the town’s regulations clearly mandate that an applicant must clearly spell out that placing underground utility poles are prohibitively expensive.
The application was extended to the Nov. 4 meeting.
Annul & Meena Dam:
Representing the applicants, Bill Maclay outlined the importance of an open meadow on the property for wildlife and agricultural operations. The potential of solar power on the parcel was also mentioned.
The applicants presented plans for screening housing sites, allowing scenic views west of development, and proposed 16-foot LED lights with motion sensors.
The Board asked questions centering on infrastructure, the necessity of lights in a rural subdivision, and winter visibility. Waples noted concern about impacts to neighbors.
To stem concerns about impact, developers want to add a 50-foot wooded buffer with a remaining 50-foot area dedicated to meadows and grass.
Butch and Marion Holcomb, adjoining landowners, expressed frustration that the application was re-opened for revisions. Noting their attendance at previous meetings, the couple voiced concerns regarding runoff, wildlife disruption, habitat destruction, and housing site visibility. Another resident, Allen Hunter, shares many of the Holcombs’ concerns. The Board scheduled a Nov. 8 site walk. The hearing on the proposal is slated to resume Dec. 16.