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By Lisa Loomis
After over 18 months of work, the Waitsfield Planning Commission has entered the final push to complete its re-write of the Irasville District zoning.
The commission, working with consultants Scott Baker and David Sellers, is modeling the re-write on the Smart Code zoning concept. The re-write is for all of Irasville which runs from Fiddlers Green/Route 17 north to just beyond the Valley Pizzeria and Back To Action PT.
While the current zoning has one uniform set of regulations for that entire zoning district, the new proposed zoning breaks the area into seven districts, each with very specific permitted and conditional uses, dimensional standards, and possible density bonuses.
At the heart of the planning commission's work on this project over the past year and a half has been a desire to guide development within Irasville into historic village settlement patterns. That goal reflects a broader Town Plan goal to direct development to places within the town where it is most appropriate and Irasville has been identified as Waitsfield's designated growth center.
Waitsfield is also actively pursuing the state designation of a downtown growth center for Irasville. That title means qualifying for state funding for planning and infrastructure. Completing the Irasville zoning re-write and achieving another state designation of having created a TIF district are both critical to achieving the growth center designation. A TIF district is a designation which allows towns to capture some or all of the tax base increase due to new development and use those funds for infrastructure directly related to the development.
Planning commissioner Robin Morris who has been working closely with Baker and Sellers on the new zoning told his fellow commissioners that a time table has been created to try and move the new proposal forward so that it can be adopted in March in time for the town to stay on course with its other state designation pursuits.
"One of the things we worked on in creating this timeline is how to present the proposed changes to the landowners and others affected in each of the seven districts. We'd like to begin, district by district, and invite the landowners and public to attend to hear presentations about what is allowed under the old regs, what is allowed under the new regulations and how their district works with the others in Irasville," Morris said.
The seven districts are as follows:
• Fiddler's Green District, running from just north of the Fiddler's Green access road east to the river and south to just beyond the property line of Mad River Massage.
• Irasville Residential, running along the Mad River from the Fiddler's Green district line, north to the end of Irasville and west towards Route 100 until the land begins to rise (behind Mehuron's through the Den)
• Irasville Business District, running on both sides of Route 100 from roughly the intersection of Routes 17 and 100 to just past the northern entrance to the Mad River Green Shopping Center.
• Mill Brook District, running along both sides of Route 17 from the intersection with Route 100 west to the town line.
• Irasville Civic District, where the most important wetlands are located and where the Skatium is located. This district begins at the Carroll Road and runs south to the Shaw's property line and backs up to the former Mad River Canoe buildings, now the Waitsfield Business Park.
• Arts and Entertainment District, running from the Carroll Road north to the district line and east to Route 100, containing the movie theater and town pond.
• The River/Recreation district is a thin strip of land running along the banks of the Mad River from the southern end of the district to the northern end.
Planners will holds a specific meeting to explain uses in each of the districts beginning January 8. The public will receive additional information prior to the meetings.