Public input is sought on changes to Waitsfield’s Town Plan which has been updated with a partial rewrite of a 2017 version of the plan.
The Waitsfield Select Board will hold a public hearing to take comments on Monday, May 8, at the town office at 6:30 p.m. Zoom options are available on the town website.
The select board’s public hearing comes after the Waitsfield Planning Commission completed three years of review and rewriting of the Town Plan and adopted it on March 21. Per state statute, once approved by the planning commission, the plan is sent to the select board for an additional public hearing and adoption.
The changes to the 2017 Town Plan are found primarily in Chapters 4, 9, 11 and 12.
Some of changes to the Town Plan are technical and grammatical. Data and information related to the town, its residents, housing, and economy have been updated throughout Chapter 4 (Housing) and Chapter 9 (Energy). The tables in Chapter 4 and 9 reflect current data from the Waitsfield annual reports, 2020 U.S. Census, or other sources.
Substantive revisions were made to the 2017 Town Plan, as well. Updates were included in response to new statutory requirements, including the incorporation of the goals of Act 174 and the State’s Commitment to be 90% renewable by 2050, and the Energy chapter is now intended to serve as the town’s Enhanced Energy Plan. Chapter 11 was updated to address Act 171 and the Designated Village Center boundary has also been included.
Specific updates to several chapters have been made. Chapter 3, Population, has been updated to reflect the 2020 federal census data for Waitsfield, Washington County, and the state. Updates were also made to the goals, policies, and tasks section.
Specific chapters that have been updated:
Chapter 4, Housing, has been updated with current data about housing in Waitsfield. Updates were made to the goals, policies, and tasks section.
In Chapter 9, Energy, extensive revisions were made to incorporate the town’s enhanced energy plan. The energy plan reflects efforts to meet the goals of Act 174 and the state’s commitment to be 90% renewable by 2050. This includes a draft map showing potential siting for renewable energy projects.
Chapter 11, Natural Resources, was updated to address Act 171, which calls for improved preservation of intact forest blocks and habitat crossings. The chapter includes new mapping of critical forest tiers and habitat crossings. It also includes the designated village center boundary and changes in preferred development illustrations.
Finally, Chapter 12, Land Use, has been updated with new future land use mapping that is consistent with the goal of maintaining rural character with a designated village center and to address the new forest block goals in the plan. The new map includes forest blocks, habitat connectors, water service area, and conserved lands and reflects roads, rivers, perennial streams, and ponds. Five new designated areas were agreed upon for the future land use map: industrial, forest/conservation, moderate density, rural, and village.
Copies of the full text of the proposed Waitsfield Town Plan and accompanying maps are available for examination at the Waitsfield Town Office during regular office hours or can be viewed online at: http://www.waitsfieldvt.us/.