The Waitsfield Planning Commission has been working to update the Waitsfield Town Plan for the past several years and commission members want to discuss the updated plan with the public.
The commission will hold a hearing on Tuesday, May 1, at the Waitsfield Elementary School at 7 p.m. to discuss the current draft, answer questions about its contents and revisions and solicit input from the public including proposed revisions and suggestions for additional changes.
The revised Town Plan, which affects all lands in Waitsfield, was prepared by the Waitsfield Planning Commission to serve a number of purposes. First, the plan will serve as the primary policy document to guide municipal decisions regarding matters of public interest. These include land use and development regulations, road and highway improvements, the provision of municipal services and facilities and the protection of natural resources. The plan also provides a range of information, data and maps describing existing conditions and expected future trends related to population, housing, natural resources, municipal facilities and development. Finally, the plan furthers the goals established in the Vermont Municipal and Regional Planning and Development Act, 24 V.S.A., Chapter 117.
According to Waitsfield’s Planning Commission chair Steve Shea, “The Town Plan is an important document that details the resources townspeople value, defines a vision we have for our town’s future and provides essential guidance for Act 250 and Public Service Board permit reviews. On behalf of the planning commission, I would encourage everyone to attend the hearing and engage in a lively discussion about the future of our town."
The revised Town Plan updates policies in respect to transportation, town development and natural resource protection. The energy chapter has been completely rewritten to address the rapid development of emerging technologies such as wind and solar development. Given the observed changes in Vermont’s power generation infrastructure, the commissioners developed a Community Standards for Energy Development section to provide guidance to the Public Service Board in regard to energy facilities permitting.
The Community Standards were established to protect the natural and cultural features of the town from the environmental and visual impacts of energy development and to limit the size and scale of energy development projects to be consistent with existing development patterns and the overall character of the town.