SAXTONS RIVER -- Severe weather postponed last week’s meeting to discuss the possibility of breaking the village into multiple zoning districts, a plan Rockingham Planning-Zoning Administrator Ellen Howard said is still in the preliminary stages.
Saxtons River is made up of one zoning district, and the idea of dividing the village is one that has periodically been brought up for debate among the members of the Rockingham Planning Commission. Howard said the plan was last discussed in 2007, though it was shelved to make room for talking about the town plan, which must be revised every five years. She told the Reformer the Planning Commission is now revisiting the issue.
Howard said the plan would have to be subjected to a public meeting and then a public hearing before being implemented. The plan would regulate how development is approved in the future.
Louise Luring, the chairwoman of the village trustees, said she has not seen a copy of the plan currently in the preliminary stages.
Howard said Saxtons River’s zoning district has "all sorts of uses allowed within it," from single-family homes to enclosed manufacturing. She said the benefits of having multiple zoning districts include having it clear that Main Street is commercial and other areas are more residential. She said the plan on the table would permit a new look at different sorts of uses and decisions over what is appropriate and inappropriate for each zoning district.
Howard said she suspects another look will be taken at the Vermont Academy campus, which should probably be its own institutional zone. Howard said the campus stretches well beyond the village limits and into the town of Rockingham.
The Saxtons River village trustees last introduced a plan for zoning district division at the Annual Meeting in 2007 and Howard said the plan being discussed now has "the same basic idea" as the one addressed back then. The Rockingham Planning Commission, which regulates development throughout the town, proposed a new ordinance that would separate five distinct areas in town and set up limits on the type of development that would be allowed there. Bob Thomson, a village trustee at the time, said he supported the plan but wanted the voters to have all the information.
The Reformer reported the plan seemed to be supported by most of the audience at the 2007 Annual Meeting.
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