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Select board re-approves revised subdivision regulations

01/24/2008

By Lisa Loomis

After the planning commission revised contentious sections of proposed subdivision regulations, the Waitsfield Select Board re-adopted those regulations on January 21.

The town expects a petition calling for the subdivision regulations to be voted on by townspeople at Town Meeting. The regulations were adopted last summer by the select board, and a petition calling for a vote was received shortly thereafter. The regulations were voted down in October and in public hearings afterwards the town heard from a handful of people about concerns with two areas of the regulations.

Those areas are connectivity between subdivisions and how open/ag land is used. The planning commission revised those two sections, clarifying that the parcelization of prime ag land (open/ag land) should be minimized in creating subdivisions.

The commission changed the regulations where they dealt with future connectivity between subdivisions. Under the current regulations, adopted 20 years ago, the clause read:  "Wherever extensions of proposed roads could rationally provide public access to adjacent properties or connection to existing public State or Town highways, a right of way across a subdivider's property may be required."

The regulations that were shot down called for town regulatory bodies to maximize connectivity within subdivisions and to adjoining parcels and road networks.

What the select board adopted this week allows the development review board to ask for a future right of way linking one subdivision to another only if the select board has already identified and approved such a future road network.

At this week's hearing, the regulations were approved 3-1 by board chair Elwin Neill Jr. and board members Charlie Hosford and Roy Hadden voting in favor and board member Paul Hartshorn voting against.

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