Created on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 20:00
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 20:00
By the Waitsfield Select Board
After several years of effort, the planning commission forwarded
completely rewritten subdivision regulations to the select board in
December 2006 for their consideration and anticipated adoption. The
planning commission had undertaken this task in response to changing
circumstances within the town, because the subdivision regulations
currently in place were written in the late 1980s, and to implement
certain goals expressed in the 2005 Town Plan.
We held public hearings in February and March 2007 and, after making
some minor revisions later in the summer, adopted the new regulations
on July 23, 2007. A petition was filed on August 10 calling for a
special town meeting to vote on the subdivision regulations, and that
vote is scheduled for Tuesday, October 23, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the
Waitsfield Elementary School.
A majority of the select board voted to adopt the subdivision
regulations; one member was opposed. While each select board member had
his own reasons for voting yea or nay, there was shared interest among
us to provide an opportunity for voters to decide the matter and we
welcomed a petition as a good way to do it.
Despite concerns individual members have with a particular element or
elements in the regulations, the majority of us support the subdivision
regulations overall. There is agreement that the new regulations are an
improvement over the current regulations. They offer significantly
improved clarity and detail, and move us away from the
one-size-fits-all suburban approach commonly adopted in the late
The following statement in the Town Plan helps explain the purpose of
the subdivision regulations: "Through subdivision regulations,
the Town can ensure that new development does not harm sensitive
natural areas, that adequate sewage disposal and water supplies exist,
that new roads and utilities are coordinated with improvements on
neighboring properties and will meet minimum standards, that farm and
forest land remain available for production, and that residential
development is encouraged at appropriate densities in appropriate
One concern several select board members share relates to future road
connections. This issue needs to be further addressed in the context of
the Town Plan and will require public input and discussion. The closest
interface the select board has with the subdivision regulations is with
the issuance of permits for curb cuts and construction of new or
upgraded town roads serving subdivisions, particularly class 4 roads.
We intend to look carefully at road design and construction standards,
traffic and road capacity, access and safety issues, culvert and
drainage issues, and future road networks.
As volunteers, we know how challenging it is for people to make the
time to attend meetings or even to read a 40-page regulatory document
if you do not absolutely have to. At the same time, these regulations,
which will help shape the future of Waitsfield, are very important and
deserve careful review and informed public input. Thanks to Mad River
Valley Television for their support in broadcasting the first-ever live
call-in program on this topic.
We urge voters to take the time to review the subdivision regulations
and to go to the polls on Tuesday, October 23, at the Waitsfield
Elementary School, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Absentee
ballots are also available. The 1990 and recently adopted subdivision
regulations can be found at the Town Office, the Joslin Library, and
on-line at www.waitsfieldvt.us.
Select board members: Roy Hadden, DVM, Paul Hartshorn, Charles Hosford, Elwin Neill Jr. (Chair), Sal Spinosa