WILMINGTON -- Before the first hearing in the new year, Development Review Board Chairwoman Nicki Steel spoke to the new owners of the Fennessy's building.
"You are the second case under the new zoning ordinance. Although a lot of the sections you are applying for were not changed, we're still getting used to it."
At a Selectboard meeting earlier in the month, Steel along with resident and former Selectboard Chairman Tom Consolino voiced their concern over the adopted zoning documents. They did not believe that the Selectboard had done its due diligence because there had been little to no discussion by the board regarding public comment.
Some believe it may have been hasty to adopt imperfect documents but the Selectboard maintained its position, which was largely based on the fact that the Planning Commission had not updated its zoning bylaws for roughly 17 years.
Steel had previously brought up issues that she believed needed further consideration before the documents were adopted.
After Town Manager Scott Murphy said that the Planning Commission had been working on changes from the Selectboard and the public, she asked when the Selectboard would discuss the input that came from the public on Nov. 20.
"I haven't heard any discussion from the Selectboard of the input," said Steel. "You're the ones responsible for taking our public input and I don't feel like that's happening. You're not putting your stamp on it."
There had been typographical mistakes as well as other errors in the maps that show the various districts. Other residents have voiced different concerns with some of the amendments and bylaws that were changed.Since the new zoning documents have been adopted, there have been positive effects. For instance, the new village zoning bylaws allow for zero foot setbacks, which would likely encourage development and may assist the new owners of 20 West Main Street who want to build an attached deck.
According to Zoning Administrator Alice Herrick, previous zoning ordinances called for setbacks in the village to be much further than current ordinances. She believes it is a good change.
"It's a big change," she said. "It used to be 40 feet all around, which means that almost every building intrudes into the setback and makes it difficult to do any new construction down in the village. When you having a zoning district, where every lot or every structure is out of conformance with zoning, there's a kind of disconnect there. This puts the zoning standards really more in line with what's there right now."
At Monday's hearing, one man who was interested in possibly joining as an alternate member sat in. He was given information on how the DRB works on cases. From 2003 to 2008, Sherry Brissette had been a member of the DRB. She had to go through the interview process again.
"It's very important to serve your community," she told the Selectboard before it appointed her.
Currently, there are three openings for alternate members on the DRB. One member whose term is expiring will likely not return for another term.
Herrick told the Reformer that if that happens, the DRB will be down to four members with no alternates. It may be difficult to hold meetings if that were to occur.
Before Brissette joined the board, there were only four members. One member was away while one felt the need to recuse himself for a particular case. Only two were left.
"That's not enough to hold a meeting," said Herrick.
The board had to wait until Brissette was appointed before a case involving a house on Beaver Street could be heard.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.