Wilmington Planning Commission to discuss updated ordinances


WILMINGTON -- There is no rest for the Planning Commission, which will soon hold a public hearing to receive input on zoning ordinances regarding signs and administration.

"The administration (part) is focused primarily on enforcement, violation and penalties as well as process and procedures for hearings," said Planning Commission Chairwoman Wendy Manners. "And signs was a complete rewrite. So that's all new."

On Monday, April 28, the commission will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall. Copies of the proposed documents are available at wilmingtonvermont.us.

Manners told the Reformer that there were very minor additions to definitions for signage. The administration portion also will cover the appeal process.

"We felt that the general public was not really well informed about how to go about appealing and we provided more information on enforcement," she said.

After the hearing, the commission will decide whether any suggested modifications from the public should be made before the documents are sent to the Selectboard along with a report. Once the board reviews it and holds its own hearing, the documents can then be adopted.

The hearing will not address Articles 2 and 3, which were part of an imperfect document adopted by the Selectboard late last year.

"We just started the process of looking at 2 and 3 again," said Manners.

On April 21, the commission received input from former Development Review Board members Nicki Steel and Andy Schindel. In the past, both were vocal about changes they wanted to see prior to adoption, pointing out typos and issues that could stem from interpretation of the documents.

For approximately 17 years, the commission was in the process of updating those zoning ordinances. Selectboard members felt it was important to adopt the ordinances even if imperfect, as they did not want to delay the process any longer.

According to Manners, the commission will be focusing on those two articles before moving on to anything else.

As part of a municipal planning grant secured by the town, the commission has and will continue to receive assistance from the Windham Regional Commission.

The grant covered the sign ordinance update and waiver provisions. It also will cover historic review district language and site plan review before expiring in June 2015, around the same time that the Town Plan will be up for review.

"We think that's in pretty good shape but there may be some tweaks to make," said Manners of the Town Plan.

The commission likely will include additional information in the Town Plan about the downtown designation the town received and ensure there is enough information regarding flood hazard review.

Last week, Manners was appointed as a member of the Development Review Board. She said she would stay on as chairwoman of the commission until someone else stepped forward.

"I had some discussions with the DRB and think we have a workable plan that will allow me to serve on both positions as long as I need to," said Manners. "Unless we get more volunteers, we may be coasting in this direction for awhile. We do welcome more volunteers to step forward for both the DRB and Planning Commission. We still have two open seats in the DRB."

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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