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Meeting Minutes - PC

Town of Leicester

Special Planning Commission Meeting

Continuance of Town Plan Revisions

Thursday, October 20, 2011



** See subsequent minutes for any changes


Members Present:  Donna Swinington, Chair, Pete Fjeld, Jeff McDonough, Jim Russo


Others Present:  Tom Barker, Ron Fiske, Gerry Flint, Cecile Todd, Linda Pitkin, Adam Lougee, Sandra Trombley, Secretary


Call to Order & Roll Call:  Donna called the PC Meeting to order at 6:05 p.m. with roll call.


Donna welcomed everyone.  She was pleased that there were visitors at their meeting.


Approve Minutes of October 12, 2011:


Motion by Jeff to approve minutes of October 12, 2011 as written.  Second by Pete.  All in favor.  So approved.


Selectboard Appointment:


Chair welcomed Jim Russo.  Selectboard appointed Jim Russo to serve on the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Adjustment. 


Town Plan Revisions:   


Adam Lougee, Director of Addison County Regional Planning Commission introduced himself.  Adam’s purpose of attending is to help the Board work on the Land Use section of the Town Plan.


The Chair introduced Adam to all in attendance.


Adam handed out the results from the public survey in August and the Future Land Use section of the current Town Plan.  He provided a large map to be put up on the black board.  Adam provided everyone with a full set of maps and Lake Pattern Books.


Adam explained that the Town Plan creates a description of how you would like Leicester to grow and exist in the future.  It is a collective community vision.  If done correctly, you use the zoning regulations, your subdivision regulations to create the vision you want.  The Plan is more general, but the zoning regulations are the enforcement.


They started with #9 Future Land Use and read the first two paragraphs.  It is a brief description of what the Town is trying to achieve.  Adam asked how everyone would like to see Leicester grow five years into the future.  Adam encouraged everyone to think farther ahead, but recognizing the Plan has a five year life.


There was discussion about the basic plan and the thoughts of those who worked on the plan fifteen years ago.  Linda wanted something about infrastructure choices and infrastructure that is available also impacts the settlement patterns.  Adam stated that you could make a statement in this section and talk about home-based business and whether you want to provide encourage or provide more opportunities for people to work within the Town of Leicester.  You can cover it other sections.  That’s a discussion as you get into the districts for your vision to do or not.


Jeff thought Adam’s statement was encouraging major change.  Jeff commented that maybe we don’t want change and like the plate as it is.  Jeff stated that the Town needs growth, but not sure how to promote growth.  He doesn’t want to be strict, but does want to encourage opportunity.   Jeff likes the small rural town.


Adam explained that if the vision is to stay the same then that’s fine.  What if anything, would you like to see or do differently?  Your desire for growth and your desire to have the plate as is; cuts in different directions.  He doesn’t mean to imply we have to do anything.  It’s an open ended question.


Linda brought up the idea of transportation and technology because if they want to continue to become more of a bedroom community, there is going to be an emphasis on roads.  If they like the idea of encouraging business in town, one way to do that and retain the character of the town, is to encourage the home businesses where you would just see a house.




Linda spoke that Claire was suggesting they use Village Center instead of Hamlets.


There was discussion about the first paragraph of Leicester Junction and Leicester Four Corners.  Adam explained the State’s plan on the rail system.  It is in a flood plain.  Adam will include words for the draft such as; Leicester Junction is a traditional settlement, surrounded by flood plain, reuse historic buildings, there are not a lot of extra areas in the Junction to develop but has good rail access, not a lot of opportunity for expansion.


Leicester Four Corners in paragraph two.  Discussion about the Rte.7 corridor. 


Adam shared his thoughts as a regional perspective, putting their cards on the table.  He feels basically the rural, agricultural, commercial district area along Rte.7 has the potential to lead to sprawling businesses out along Rte.7.  He encouraged everyone to think about that and potentially limit that and try and drive things with zoning.

Jeff felt the Board is being led in a certain direction.  He stated it is Leicester’s plan.  Jeff stated this particular area needs opportunity.


Adam addressed Jeff’s concern.   As Director of Regional Planning, Adam admitted that they do look at the entire region, but that he is here to help the Board write their plan; and as the Board tells him to write it.  He will give his opinion which the Board can take or ignore.


Tom shared history about the corridor and how they tried to keep industry out of the Lake District and Residential District. 


Jim recommended they designate area square footage for the Village Center.


Jeff McDonough excused himself, as he had to leave the meeting early.


Before Jeff left, Linda wanted to comment that she has spent 50 years in Leicester.  She is really not an outsider coming in.  She is not a resident, but she is a property owner.  Jeff answered that property owners sometimes have outside interests.


Jeff asked Adam if he ever got back to him about his question about liability that Jeff has been waiting for, for a few months.  Adam stated he had not, but would get back to Jeff with an answer by the end of next week.


There was discussion about the Village Center area and whether to expand or not.  We do have the surveys to think about; as well.


Adam asked the Planning Commission to give him thoughts so he could draft something for the Village Center.  Jim commented that he thought it should stay the same.  Donna agreed.  Pete thought it was fine. 


Adam skipped to the Route 7 Corridor and wanted to hear from the Planning Commission.  Donna recommended that they delete the portion north of Maple Run Road that is totally unusable for any kind of development.  Jim recommended that the southern corridor stay the same. 


Adam asked what the Board means about the sentence; wants to prevent sprawling highway development that is out of character with the town.  Adam will bring some language about mass scale, limiting access, clustering.   Pete mentioned the comments.  They are pretty strongly in favor of reducing the RAC District all along Route 7 and increasing the footprint of the Village Center. 


Adam brought up the Swinington Hill area.  The Board would still like to encourage residential.


Industrial District Area


The Planning Commission would like to continue this area for industrial use.


Conservation Area


This area follows the Green Mountain National Forest on the east and the flood plain and wetlands on the west and the islands outside the flood plain. 


Kate and Ron attended a meeting in Montpelier about water and flooding.   Ron brought up L2 and Conservation District and where they meet.  On Lake Dunmore Road there are very steep areas behind homes that clearing is already causing water problems.  People are talking about developing.  It’s a bad place to build because it drastically affects people below.   Ron suggests they change the base of the mountain where it is steep; into conservation.   Ron wanted to bring it up and get it discussed.   Everyone agreed.


The Planning Commission agreed they would be interested in expanding the Conservation District on the east side of Rt.53 behind Lake Dunmore Road.  Adam will get our ZA a bigger map with contours to bring a proposal back to the PC with recommendations.


Linda reminded them to include Fern Lake residents.


Residential and Agricultural Areas


PC felt it should be mostly the same with Adam making minor changes to the wording.


Lake Districts


Donna stated they need to change the sentence that talks about significant proportion of seasonal homes.  Jim recommended taking that sentence out totally because the next paragraph covers it. 


Year round homes should be allowed, but there is a problem with private roads that do not allow for access of emergency vehicles. 


Linda talked about legislation being discussed about a Road Association to enforce legal remedy to road maintenance for those who do not want to contribute to the cost of road maintenance.


Adam will bring us a draft of the wording changes and map in the Plan.


Adam will get back to Donna with a Thursday date to come back for the next meeting.


Call Gerry Flint and Cecile Todd with the next meeting date.


Motion by Jim to adjourn PC meeting at 8:27 p.m.  Second by Peter.  All in favor.  So approved.


Respectfully submitted,


Sandra L. Trombley

PC Secretary