Charlotte Planning Commission examines changes to town plan

SCOOTER MACMILLAN
Staff Writer

Charlotte Planning Commission members said they may not need to designate changes to a village district East Charlotte Village when updating the town plan.

At a commission meeting May 16, town planner Daryl Arminius said he is looking into existing regulations to see if a density bonus allowing more buildings per acre for affordable or senior housing would allow as many structures as the town has been mulling the intersection of Hinesburg Road and Spear Street.

At previous meetings, the planning commission has been discussing what the boundaries would be for a village district designation and a village commercial district designation in East Charlotte. However, it may not be necessary to work on village district boundaries. If the existing regulations are consistent throughout the land use regulations, it may allow the projects and the type of growth the town has encouraged with a revised town plan.

Density bonus questions

Vice chair Charlie Pughe said they are checking to see if the density bonus allows quarter-acre lots for elderly housing. He said that in one portion of the land use regulations, it outlines a density bonus, but they want to make sure that it’s not contradicted elsewhere in the regulations.

Clark Hinsdale wants to build senior housing on property that he owns in the southwestern corner of the intersection stretching south to behind and west of the Charlotte Grange.

Looking at one of the three proposed maps for changes to the town plan for East Charlotte, Pughe said, “If it’s already allowed it might not be an issue for what he’s wanting to do.”

Pughe told chair Peter Joslin, who was absent at the last commission meeting, that they had postponed discussions about proposed village district designation boundaries because the density bonus might affect that as well. The commission decided that it might help in their deliberations  to do a site visit and walk around East Charlotte.

They scheduled a walking tour for 6 p.m. on June 20 and their regularly scheduled meeting at the Charlotte Grange. Pughe said he would ask Charlotte resident Peter Richardson, who he said knows a lot about affordable housing, to attend.

Pughe said that people often think of affordable housing as only Habitat for Humanity or other housing for people with assisted incomes but that it also includes people who work jobs that don’t pay enough for housing.

Prioritizing land use regulation issues

The planning commission started the meeting with the news that the first item on their agenda had been cancelled. Without another agenda items to take its place, the members went back to prioritizing the items on their list of proposed land-use regulations, which has been consuming a good portion of their recent meetings.

Planning commission members have been prioritizing issues that have been raised. They have designated as high priority those issues with complicated proposed changes to land use regulations that will take discussion and work to resolve.

Lower priority items on the list of proposed changes are issues that town planner Arminius or other town staff members can resolve. These items are sometimes as simple as typographical or grammar errors in the land use regulations.

The commission made it to the end of the list of issues raised and proposed changes to the land use regulations.

“I didn’t think we would get through it that fast,” Arminius said.

Now, at the planning commission’s request, he will develop a list of priorities to guide their deliberations in future meetings.

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