On Monday, September 10, the Moretown Select Board hosted a joint hearing with the development review board (DRB) and planning commission to discuss draft subdivision regulations that the planning commission recommended to the select board. Almost all the members of those three municipal bodies attended and participated in a robust discussion of both the merits and potential consequences of adopting subdivision regulations in Moretown. The select board asked DRB members to send their comments to the planning commission by October 1. The select board has not yet made a final decision about putting the question of adopting subdivision regulations before the voters at Town Meeting 2019.
The current zoning regulations require the zoning administrator to review and approve an application for subdivision, regardless of the number of lots that will be created, if lot size, area, setback and access issues are addressed in accordance with the zoning bylaw requirements for the district in which the subdivision is proposed. If a subdivision application does not include frontage on a public highway, if it falls under conditional use provisions, or is proposed for development in a flood hazard area, then the DRB reviews the application and makes a determination regarding its approval.
The proposed subdivision regulations would establish two categories of subdivision permits. The zoning administrator would review subdivision applications for the creation of three or fewer lots within any five-year period. The DRB would review applications for the creation of four or more lots within any five-year period or amendments that would substantially alter the subdivision, or result in the creation of a new road or a major subdivision. An application for a major subdivision would need to include the number and size of lots; timing of the development; intended use; a survey and site map that shows boundaries, adjacent uses such as roads, drainage, slope in excess of 25 percent, parking utilities, water supply and wastewater systems, physical structures that exist or are proposed.
The Moretown Town Plan calls for addressing development on steep slopes, stormwater, drainage and erosion control for all developments, protecting habitat corridors and the working landscape, encouraging renewable energy where appropriate and efficient use of energy, as well as supporting the traditional pattern of compact settlement surrounded by rural countryside. Those priorities are similar to priorities established in municipal plans all over the state and subdivision regulations would give both the zoning administrator and DRB an additional tool to address those issues.
We thank the select board for convening the joint meeting and hosting a productive discussion of the proposal. We hope Moretown residents might take the time to review the proposed subdivision regulations which are posted on the www.Moretownvt.org website.
Horn is vice chair of the Moretown Planning Commission.