After a sparsely-attended public hearing this week at the Waitsfield Planning Commission, the proposed new zoning bylaws will move to the town select board for a public hearing and adoption next month.



This week’s December 5 planning commission meeting was a warned public hearing for the new regulations. The town has been working on modernizing the land use and development regulations with the SE Group since last year. That work, undertaken with SE group contractors Alex Belensz and Julia Randall, focused on bylaws impacting Waitsfield and Irasville Village the town’s two planned growth centers.

In those areas, the minimum lot size was cut from one acre to a fifth of an acre to allow for infill development. The height limit has been increased, minimum road frontage requirements have been dropped and setbacks were dropped from 40 feet from the centerline to 25 feet. There is a section where that setback is 35 feet from the centerline for properties contiguous with Route 100.


Other changes include updating the purpose of the district to function as the town’s growth center, as defined in the Town Plan, to enable coordinated expansion of residential development and, and promote affordable and attainable housing, shopping facilities, and other custome-facing commercial uses.

Other changes to the bylaws include changing what uses can be approved administratively and what uses require conditional use review. Multi-family dwelling projects with four or fewer units will be approved administratively versus via conditional use review. Other uses were removed from conditional use review and made uses by right including artist studios, gallery, personal services like hair salons, home businesses and some mixed use commercial and residential uses.

The town received a state grant with a $2,700 local match to help pay for the consulting work to update the zoning regulations. That grant is forgivable if the town adopts the new bylaws by January 31, 2024.