The Warren Planning Commission is in the process of updating the town’s land use development regulations (LUDRs), which were adopted in 2001 with minor amendments made since. The 2019 Town Plan recognized it was time to review and update the LUDRs. The planning commission undertook a thorough process that has included several drafts and extensive public comment. The latest 225-page draft LUDRs is available at planning.warrenvt.org. The planning commission heard additional public comment on the draft LUDRs on October 11.
Some of the issues raised included construction noise and time limits on construction projects, enforcement of the ordinance requiring 9-1-1 signs on houses, short-term rental registration, planned unit developments (PUDs) and tree preservation.
Warren residents expressed concern over prolonged construction in the village causing excessive noise and construction workers parking on sidewalks, which is not prohibited. Zoning administrator Ruth Robbins said construction permits are issued for two years with the option for a one-time renewal of two years. She noted that, due to the pandemic, there is a backlog of construction projects and things are not happening as quickly as they might normally. There is an existing noise ordinance in Warren. She said she has spoken with some contractors about the parking issue and would continue to address it with contractors if the issue continues.
There is an ordinance requiring residents to put up 9-1-1 address signs, though there is currently no mechanism to enforce the ordinance. The planning commission discussed making zoning permits contingent upon putting up the signs, but consultant Brandy Saxton of PlaceSense, who has been working with the planning commission on the new LUDRs, advised that the town cannot issue zoning permits contingent upon another ordinance, though the zoning administrator can advise homeowners to put them up. She recommended getting in touch with the Vermont League of Towns and Cities to see how other municipalities in the state enforce such ordinances.
On the issue of short-term rentals, planning commissioner Camilla Behn (who also serves on the town’s select board) said, “This needs to be a part of a bigger discussion with the community and select board” and suggested interested community members attend the Mad River Valley Housing Summit on October 12 to voice their opinions. The planning district recently conducted a survey on short-term rentals, which planning commissioner Dan Raddock called “the first step.”
Regarding tree preservation, Robbins suggested adding a note to property transfer documents
saying ‘should you decide to do anything with this property or with your new house, check with the zoning administrator’ to avoid property owners clearing trees or making changes to their properties without the proper permits.
Saxton said there are just a few minor tweaks to make to the draft LUDRs. The Warren Select Board will hold a public hearing before finalizing the draft.