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Waitsfield voters to cast ballot on subdivision regulations

10/04/2007

By the Waitsfield Planning Commission

On Tuesday, October 23, 2007, Waitsfield voters will cast a ballot on whether to adopt new subdivision regulations that were revised by the planning commission and adopted by the select board on July 23, 2007. The planning commission is glad that voters will have the opportunity to accept these new and improved regulations by a town-wide vote because it is a way to increase the community's participation in this important matter. 

We also look forward to the community's participation in the first-ever live call-in program on MRVTV Channel 44 on Thursday, October 11, at 7:30 p.m., where representatives from the planning commission, development review board, and select board will discuss their views about the proposed regulations and be available to answer questions from callers.  

The prior subdivision regulations were written in the late 1980s and adopted as permanent regulations in 1990 after being in effect for two years on an interim basis. Although they served an important purpose, they were also vague, inflexible, and did not adequately address current situations. The planning commission dedicated a tremendous amount of time over several years developing and refining revisions to the regulations, which included dozens of open meetings and at least three public hearings. Substantial input from local attorneys was also incorporated in the final draft, which the planning commission felt represented a spirit of compromise on many issues.

The new subdivision regulations:
• implement specific policies of the Waitsfield Town Plan, which was updated in 2005;
• support the Irasville growth center planning currently underway;
• incorporate changes required by state law;
• allow for a more efficient use of land;
• does a much more comprehensive job of responding to many issues that have come before the planning commission in subdivision review over the past 15 years;
• offer more specificity on important issues like natural resource management, stormwater, agricultural lands policy, road development, etc.;
• will provide for improved flexibility on the part of the Development Review Board, while more clearly defining the rules and procedures;
• are written in such a way to be much more clear and understandable to both applicants and board members, including a comprehensive flow chart of the process;
• allow the zoning administrator to approve lot line adjustments without the need to go to the development review board; and
• are a badly needed improvement over the previous subdivision regulations.  
The planning commission supports the revised regulations and hopes the voters will, too. The revised subdivision regulations can be found at the town office, the Joslin Library, and online at www.waitsfieldvt.us .
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