Sept. 2, 2020 PC Agenda

September 3, 2020

6PM on September 2, 2020

This meeting will be at the Town Office. Masks are required in the Town Office Building. Proper social distance protocol will be followed.


1. Changes to the Agenda
2. Discussion – Junk Ordinance
3. Discuss Mobile Vendor Ordinance
4. Meeting Minutes
5. New/Old Business
6. Administrator’s Report
7. Adjournment

August 19, 2020 PC Minutes

September 3, 2020


Members Present: Doug Patterson (Chair); Sandy Gregg (Vice-Chair); David Roy; Michele Gammal; Jonathan Shaw
Public Present: Tim Maxham; Martha Taylor-Varney, ZA

6:00 PM – Doug Patterson called the meeting to order.

Changes to the Agenda
There were none.

Discuss 7/29 Site Visit
Members of the Planning Commission attended a site visit on Partridge Rd. on July 29, 2020 as part of the ongoing discussion on whether there is a need for a junk ordinance in South Hero. Doug Patterson was not able to attend. Comments from the Commission included that the trees and leaves blocked the view of much of the debris in the woods; that neighbors should attempt to work together to alleviate issues; that visual barriers (other than tarps) or other screening could be encouraged; that it is a bigger problem during the winter. The Commission asked if the Town could enforce a junk ordinance on a private road? Martha will contact the VLCT Municipal Assistance Center to find out. Sandy Gregg suggested starting with the problems that can be seen from public roads and to set basic, generic ground rules. She asked that the Selectboard vote whether there is a need for a rudimentary junk ordinance so there would be a public record of their decision.
Sandy Gregg moved for the Town to develop a junk ordinance; Michele Gammal second. Voting in favor – Doug Patterson, Sandy Gregg, Michele Gammal, and David Roy. Voting against – Jonathan Shaw.

2021 Municipal Planning Grant
The Commission members discussed the current planning grant for the Old White Meeting House that is to be administered by NRPC, and whether there was interest in applying for any other 2021 grant. Deadline for application is at the end of September. There was discussion about an MPG for sidewalk upgrades and new sidewalks in the two villages. David Roy was concerned about walkability of the villages, especially considering the proposed senior housing in South Hero village. Questions included — who is responsible for maintaining the current sidewalks that are within the State’s right-of-way? VTrans used to but no longer will. A couple of abutting businesses or residents have maintained their sections, but the balance has been voluntarily maintained by Tim Maxham, with some assistance by the Town road crew. Tim stated that the sidewalks were installed in 1970 but have fallen into disrepair and he is disgusted by how they look. The Commission agreed to bypass a 2021 MPG application but to consider one next year.
Martha suggested getting more information about the VTrans program for the reclassification of State highways in village areas so the Town could have more options for the use of space that is currently within the State’s ROW. She will get more information on the program for the Commission to consider.
Jonathan Shaw told the Commission that he plans to talk with Island Racing to see if they would allow CIDER to park their vehicles there. Although the CIDER offices have moved to the PUD at 260 US RT 2, their vehicles are still parked at the public parking space behind the Old White Meeting House.

Review draft Zoning Application Forms
The Commission reviewed and approved the draft of a new zoning application, “Application for Determining if a Use is Allowed When Not Listed in Table 2.1.” The Commission approved an amended draft and it will be presented to the Selectboard for their approval at their August 24 meeting.

Meeting Minutes
Sandy Gregg moved to accept the minutes of July 15, 2020, Jonathan Shaw second. All in favor.

New/Old Business
Martha asked the Commission if there was a need for a food truck ordinance, rather than reviewing each under the zoning regulations at a hearing before the DRB. David Roy said that food trucks impact traffic, parking, and health and should be regulated. Would food carts be included? Doug Patterson felt food trucks were already covered in the Development Regulations, but wondered if food carts could be covered with an itinerant vendors license? Jonathan Shaw said that the Town needs something that can be enforced. Sandy Gregg will research and report back to the Commission at a future meeting.

Administrator’s Report
1. Martha received a new publication called “Enabling Better Places — A Zoning Guide for VT Neighborhoods” produced by the VT Housing and Conservation Board and AARP. The publication will be part of the Zoning Office collection but is available for members or public to borrow. Sandy Gregg said she would try to get additional copies.
2. The Commission members received updated copies of Table 2.1 (pages 7 and 8) from the 2020 Development Regulations to replace the original pages. The Selectboard recently approved minor changes to the Table under ‘accessory uses’ and ‘industrial.’

7:00 PM – Sandy Gregg moved to adjourn; David Roy second. All in favor.

Signed: ______________________________________ Date: __________________________
For the Planning Commission

These minutes are unofficial until approved at the next regularly scheduled meeting. All motions were unanimous unless otherwise indicated.

July 15, 2020 PC Minutes

August 13, 2020

SOUTH HERO PLANNING COMMISSION                                                       July 15, 2020


Members Present: Doug Patterson, Chair; Sandy Gregg, Vice-Chair; David Roy; Michele Gammal; Jonathan Shaw.

Public Present: Tim Maxham; Martha Taylor-Varney (ZA)


6:01PM – Doug Patterson called the meeting to order.


Changes to the Agenda

There were none.


 Annual Reorganizational Meeting

Sandy Gregg nominated Doug Patterson to the position of Commission Chair; David Roy second.  All in favor.


Jonathan Shaw nominated Sandy Gregg to the position of Commission Vice-Chair; Michele Gammal second.  All in favor.


Sandy Gregg nominated Martha Taylor-Varney as Commission Secretary; Jonathan Shaw second.  All in favor.  Sandy asked that the minutes reflect that David Roy will be the Clerk when the Secretary is not available.


Update Planning Commission Rules of Procedure

Sandy Gregg moved to approve and sign the amended Rules of Procedure, David Roy second.  All in favor.


Continue Discussion on comments from the July 1, 2020 public meeting on a Junk Ordinance

Jonathan Shaw – The Commission needs to recognize that it is difficult to determine what is considered junk and how to define it.  Who makes that decision?  The Health Officer takes care of some junk issues if they are related.  Would an ordinance apply to farms?  Would it apply to private roads?  The possibility of the Town having to incur legal costs to enforce this could be high.  He suggested that approaching and talking to the landowner would be less threatening and gets results.  An ordinance may not reach the goal.  We need to know what statutes the State has that may already cover some of the issues here in South Hero.  You don’t want to single out people based on socio economics or personal values.

Michele Gammal – The Town needs to be prepared, with something enforceable, in case of an environmental nuisance.  An ordinance gives the Town credibility.  Could a lien by the Town be a way to encourage compliance?  The ordinance would be based on health and environmental reasons – not aesthetic.

David Roy – The Town needs a universal approach, setting a standard that is applied the same for everyone.

Sandy Gregg – Sees this as having 3 Categories: a Health Issue, Environmental Concerns, and Impacts on Property Values and Safety.  She would like to go on some site visits to see firsthand some of the areas that have caused complaints.  How do other Towns enforce their junk ordinances?

Doug Patterson – The problems are progressive.  They start out small then continue to grow to a point where it is hard to resolve them.  The Town needs to set a good example by cleaning up the Town Garage area, which is in the new South Hero Village Zoning District and within full view of RT 2.  A general ordinance is needed that can be enforced.


Arrangements will be made for the Commission to have some site visits at a time other than their regular meeting day/time.


Continue Discussion on the definition of “Industrial”

Jonathan Shaw suggested that Table 2.1 (allowed Uses) in the recently updated Development Regulations be amended to allow the DRB to decide whether an application for an industrial use in either of the Village Zoning Districts could be approved with conditional use and site plan review.  Currently, ‘industrial’ is not allowed in these Districts. He suggested letting the DRB interpret the standards in the Regulations and set conditions.  If the Applicant can meet them, then the application can be approved.   David Roy suggested letting the DRB apply reasoned judgement to each application rather than rejecting an application outright.  Some proposed industrial uses could be okay.  One way to establish a threshold would be if there is an EPA permit required.  If there is no negative environmental impact based on EPA regulations, it could be considered by the DRB.  Doug Patterson referenced Section 203 (Zoning District Purposes), where “small, low-impact industry” is encouraged in the Village districts, pointing out the contradiction between that Section and Table 2.1.  How can the DRB deny any industry base on the broad definition of ‘industrial’ in the Regulations?  Sandy Gregg suggested letting the DRB use their judgement, guided by the Regulations.  The Commission agreed not to redefine “industrial” in Article 10 and instead follow the lead of Section 203.


Jonathan Shaw moved to recommend to the Selectboard that “Industrial” in Table 2.1 of the 2020 Development Regulations be amended to C/S [conditionally permitted with site plan review] from X [Prohibited] in the South Hero Village District and Keeler Bay Village District;  Sandy Gregg second.  All in favor.


Public Input

Tim Maxham asked the Commission that, per Sec. 204.B(3), if the Planning Commission is given the opportunity to submit written or oral recommendations regarding a use not included in Table 2.1, do the Commission members respond individually or should it be as a group?  The Commission agreed that it should be as a group.  Going forward, the Zoning Administrator will add to the agenda of the next PC meeting any request for DRB review of a use not listed in Table 2.1.


Meeting Minutes

Sandy Gregg moved to approve the minutes of July 1, 2020; Michele Gammal second.  All in favor.


New/Old Business  

  • Meeting Schedule – The Commission will continue with the regular August meeting schedule.
  • A draft application form created by the ZA for Determination of an Allowed Use Not Listed In Table 2.1 was distributed to the Commission members and will be reviewed at the next meeting.



Administrator’s Report

The ZA gave the Commission members amended pages for the Regulations reflecting the amended Table 2.1 approved by the Selectboard at their 7/13 meeting.  Further amendments of tonight’s discussion will be added after/if the Selectboard approves at their 7/27 meeting.


The next meeting is August 5, 2020 at 6PM at the Town Office



7:25PM – Sandy Gregg moved to adjourn; David Roy second.  All in favor.


Respectfully submitted,

Martha Taylor-Varney, ZA



Signed: ________________________________________ Date: _____________________

For the Planning Commission


These minutes are unofficial until approved at the next regularly scheduled meeting.  All motions were unanimous unless otherwise indicated.


July 1, 2020 PC Minutes

August 13, 2020

SOUTH HERO PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES                                                   July 1, 2020

Meeting held via Zoom


Members Present: Doug Patterson (Chair); Sandy Gregg (Vice-Chair); David Roy; Michele Gammal; Jonathan Shaw


Public Present: Tom and Mary Evslin; Bill Rowe; Brigitte Barrette; Larry Dubin; Peter and Bari Dreissigacker; Gareth Hunt; Matthew Reed; The Islander (Tonya Poutry); Mike Donoghue; Bridget Kerr; Martha Taylor-Varney (ZA)


6PM: Doug Patterson called the meeting to order.


Changes to the Agenda

There were none.


Public Hearing – Does South Hero Need a Junk Ordinance?

Doug Patterson explained that the Planning Commission is doing something new by bringing ideas before the public for comment and feedback to help the Commission determine if there are proposals for regulations or ordinances that may need further consideration or study.  The issue for discussion at this evening’s meeting is a junk ordinance.  He explained that the discussion at this meeting would not be about specific instances or situations, but whether there is a need for a junk ordinance or not.

Sandy Gregg said she thought the Town needs to be proactive, to have something in place before it is needed.  David Roy agreed but, although there had not been many terrible situations in South Hero, there was a need to prepare for what may happen down the road.  Michele Gammal felt that having an ordinance would give the Town something in place should it be needed in the future.  Jonathan Shaw said that the Selectboard’s stand on the issue was that if there was no problem then there should be no ordinance.  Complaints up to this point have been dealt with by the State.  A junk ordinance would be hard to apply equally and could create an economic bias.  The best way to deal with a junk situation is to talk with the person involved.  The Town needs to avoid the risk of lawsuits.  Doug Patterson felt there needed to be something in place that is enforceable.


Public Comment:

  1. Tom and Mary Evslin felt there should be an ordinance. What should it cover?  Mary remarked that VSA 24 [State statute] does not eliminate small junkyards.  She invited the Planning Commission to visit their property.  She was also concerned about the effect junk can have on the water/wetlands, and that it could be a fire hazard.  The road they live on is difficult for emergency services vehicles to access.
  2. Bill Rowe was in favor of something enforceable. It should be done carefully.
  3. Peter and Bari Dreissigacker have googled other VT towns’ ordinances and wondered how to enforce them. She said the State is reluctant to get involved with small issues.  The definition of ‘junk’ needs to be addressed.
  4. Gareth Hunt said an ordinance needs to be considered where the State or neighbors’ intervention has not worked. There needs to be some form of enforcement.  The costs are low when a junk issue is small but there is a high cost of correcting a larger problem that affects neighborhoods.   The Town must be able to do respond, but it doesn’t have the means currently.  If the Town could act sooner, the problem would not be able to get large and out of hand.
  5. Larry Dubin said he is in full support for an ordinance for the same reasons as Gareth. Enforcement may be an issue.  Need to be able to act when the problem is small to avoid the larger one.
  6. Brigitte Barrette asked what the definition of junk is. She had to get rid of junk on her property after she bought it.  She was concerned about the effect of junk on the environment.  She is in favor of a junk ordinance.
  7. Matt Reed said he was in favor of a junk ordinance. The issue may be to keep it out of sight.  He doesn’t want to restrict all things, but perhaps keeping it behind a fence rather than forcing removal could be considered.


Doug Patterson thanked the public for their input.  The Planning Commission will continue to review this issue and it will appear on future agendas.  He thanked the public for their participation.


Continue Discussion on Definition of “Industrial”

Michele Gammal gave the Commission members 2 printouts – Industrial Building Types Matrix, and the Dictionary of Real Estate Appraisal (Industrial) — with definitions of Industry.  In the Matrix, David Roy liked the definition under ‘General Purpose Flex’ – R&D, Cold Storage, Office, Lab, Light Manufacturing, High-tech, Data or Call Center.  He said that currently Table 2.1 (allowed Uses) does not allow industry in the Village Zoning Districts.  But considerations need to include scale.  Should the DRB be able to review whether a proposal would be an allowed use?  He felt Flex Industry opportunities should be considered.  Doug Patterson does not want to ban small industry.  He feels ‘Industry’ needs to be better defined.  Jonathan Shaw was concerned that some existing businesses within the South Hero Zoning District might meet the current definition of industry because they could be considered manufacturing.  Sandy Gregg emphasized the need to consider scale.  Jonathan Shaw asked what the objection was to a larger building?  The size of the lot should be factored in when considering the size of the building.  David Roy agreed and felt that this should be part of a DRB review.  Doug Patterson felt that the goal was not to set strict limits but to provide guidance to the ZA and the DRB.  Jonathan Shaw said they needed to be careful that the regulations do not preclude something that is needed in the Village Districts (i.e. infrastructure).  Bridget Kerr said that, as a resident of the Village District, she wants to live in a place that is in human scale and would enhance the village.


Additional discussion included the definition of ‘storage facility’ and ‘Accessory Uses.’  ‘Accessory Uses’ is in Table 2.1 under the designation for Commercial Uses.  The Table shows Accessory Uses to be permitted (P) with a zoning permit in all zoning districts.  The Commission agreed that this should be conditionally permitted with site plan review (C/S).


Sandy Gregg moved to request the Selectboard approve a change of review requirements for ‘Accessory Uses’ in Table 2.1 from P to C/S; David Roy second.  All in favor.


Meeting Minutes

David Roy moved to approve the minutes from June 17, 2020; Michele second.  All in favor.


New/Old Business

There was none.


Administrator’s Report

  1. Martha reminded the Commission members that the June 29, 2020 NRPC newsletter has 2 surveys (Transportation and Northern VT Economic Development Goals) that they are requesting members to fill out.
  2. The July 15th PC meeting will include the annual reorganization meeting for the Commission and an update to the Rules of Procedure that will include the new meeting hours approved earlier this year.
  3. The Commission will discuss the rest of the summer meeting schedule at the July 15 meeting.


7:26PM – Sandy Gregg moved to adjourn; Michele Gammal second.  All in favor.



Signed: ___________________________________ Date: ______________________

For the Planning Commission



These minutes are unofficial until approved at the next regularly scheduled meeting.  All motions were unanimous unless otherwise indicated.

August 19, 2020 PC Agenda

August 13, 2020



6PM on August 19, 2020



This meeting will be at the Town Office.  Masks are required in the Town Office Building.  Proper social distance protocol will be followed.






  1. Changes to the Agenda
  2. Discuss 7/29 site visit
  3. 2021 Municipal Planning Grant? Sidewalks?
  4. Review draft application forms
  5. Meeting Minutes
  6. New/Old Business
  7. Administrator’s Report
  8. Adjournment