Created on Thursday, 28 February 2008 06:58
Last Updated on Thursday, 28 February 2008 06:58
To The Editor:
On Tuesday, Waitsfield voters should vote in support of the revised set of subdivision regulations. The current subdivision regulations are severely outdated and have not been revised in nearly 20 years. The Waitsfield Planning Commission worked tirelessly over the past three years to bring the subdivision regulations into compliance with state statute and update them in response to public feedback.
The subdivision regulations were voted down by a narrow margin of voters several months ago. Since that time, the planning commission has listened to the public and changed the subdivision regulations in a proactive way to address concerns over road connections and to allow more flexibility in farmland conservation policies. The changes were made to complement other improvements that will streamline the review process for applicants and provide greater clarity over how the standards should be interpreted. In fact, the new regulations provide greater flexibility for when road connectivity may be required than the old regulations. The old regulations were stricter because the town could require a right of way for road connectivity without linking it to an official map or the select board process for laying out new roads. The old regulations will remain in place until the town adopts new regulations.
As a member of the Development Review Board, I urge Waitsfield residents to support the revised subdivision regulations. I have seen firsthand how these regulations will improve the process for applicants.
For example, the new regulations allow most landowners wanting a boundary line adjustment to receive administrative approval from the zoning administrator, rather than applying to the board with a formal public hearing. In addition, the new regulations promote an informal sketch plan review process so that landowners receive feedback on their proposal before spending money on surveyors or engineers.
The new regulations also provide specific discretion to allow the board to waive or modify various requirements -- such as road construction standards -- based on site conditions. Finally, the new regulations improve natural resource protections to encourage new development that is mindful of and would mitigate environmental impacts that would diminish our town's rural character.
The future of Waitsfield's character is at stake in this vote. Please vote in favor of the new subdivision regulations.