East Village District discussion continued

BY SCOOTER MACMILLAN
Staff Reporter

How much development the Charlotte Planning Commission will recommend for Clark Hinsdale’s property off Hinesburg Road will continue to be discussed until at least June 6.

The planning commission voted unanimously at a meeting Thursday to continue discussion regarding the property at 1824 Hinesburg Road to the first regularly scheduled meeting in June.

Much of the discussion at this past meeting was about how decisions about building density might be affected if amendments to the Charlotte Land Use Regulations, particularly in the town plan for East Charlotte, are made.

The continuation was supported by Hinsdale, who started the conversation with the commission by suggesting it should be postponed until after a decision about the town plan has been made.

“In terms of the details of what is allowed, it will matter if it’s in the village district or not in the village district,” Hinsdale said.

He suggested continuing the decision on the sketch plan review of his property for a least a couple of months.

Planning commission chair Peter Joslin asked if wastewater issues had changed his thinking. Hinsdale said that, when the planning commission makes its recommendations to the select board, he would know more about where and how he’d like to develop his property.

“The village district specifically allows and encourages being able to run utility lines under the public right of way, whereas in a rural district it’s discouraged,” Hinsdale said. “Moving septic capacity to serve village areas is something I’ve already done a lot of the research for. I know where the locations of good septic soil are. What we do with the regulations will allow or not allow me to make use of them.”

He said he would like to build senior housing on property that he owns in the southwest corner of the intersection of Spear Street and Hinesburg Road behind the Charlotte Grange. This property is not part of the sketch plan review and Hinsdale said he would like it to be zoned village commercial.

Resident Alex Bunten asked why Hinsdale wanted to build senior housing instead of affordable housing, and Hinsdale replied that he was “tired of seeing our senior citizens going to Shelburne” to live. He thinks that Charlotte is losing a valuable resource of volunteers and “the living resource of the history of the community.”

The planning commission followed the motion to continue the discussion of Hinsdale’s property north of Hinesburg Road near the solar panels with a discussion what the boundaries of future village district might be. Three different sketches of the proposed boundaries of a village district and a village commercial district in East Charlotte have been presented to the planning commission.

Planning commission member Charlie Pugh, Hinsdale and Bill Stuono from Sheehan Green each have drawings of possible boundaries and these were discussed again. Joslin said that all of the drawings were pretty similar.

One difference is that Stuono’s drawing does not extend the village commercial district north of Hinesburg Road on Spear Street where Sheehan Green is. He said that Spear Street is dangerous there, and he doesn’t belief there is a way slow down vehicles traveling south as they approach Hinesburg Road. He also said that the soil north of Hinesburg Road has almost no septic capacity.

“I question whether we want to encourage development north of Charlotte-Hinesburg Road,” said Stuono.

“I was thinking about the village district in general,” Joslin said. “The idea is to promote growth in the village. So, I’m inclined, based on that, to not make the village district smaller.”

Joslin mentioned that there had been a number of residents of Sheehan Green, morth of Hinesburg Road, who have expressed a desire not to be included in the village designation. He wondered if that was a consensus.

“I would say it’s a unanimous consensus. Stuono said,”

After this discussion, the planning commission returned to the subject of Hinsdale’s property at 1824 Hinesburg Road to review an open space agreement for 33.63 acres of the property. At the Charlotte Selectboard’s last regular meeting on March 7, it tentativly approved the open space agreement, contingent on the planning commission’s approval.

The planning commission approved the agreement unanimously.

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