Planning Commission Meeting Minutes 5.23.24



Minutes of Meeting – Thursday May 23, 2024

Attendees: Sebastian Massey, Charles Moore, Jon Murray, Sunjit Chawla, and Michael Murno

Other Attendees: Nick Zaiac (TA), Joan Nash (Land Use administrator)

Attendees from the public: Dawson Skidmore, Jennifer Skidmore

In the absence of Chairman Garret Siegel, the meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm by Sebastian Massey.

A motion was made to approve the minutes of March 28 by Jon Murray.  The motion was seconded by Charles Moore.  Motion carried.

A motion was made by Charles Moore to approve the minutes of April 25 as amended. Seconded by Sanjit Chawla. Motion carried.

Public Comments Unrelated to the Agenda:  There were no public comments.


  1. Sebastian announced that Joan Nash is resigning as Land Use Administrator as of June 1 and that we should be actively looking to fill the position. In the meantime, Nick Zaiac has agreed to assume the responsibilities of the Land Use Administrator as of June 1 on a temporary basis until the position is filled.
  2. The Skidmore site plan for a Residential Home Business was reviewed, including the size and location of the sign for advertising the business. The Planning Commission required the following amendments to the plan:
  3. Delineation of the Flood Plain
  4. Addition of a North Arrow and the location of Route 7A on the plan for orientation.

Charles Moore made a motion to approve the site plan as amended by the preceding requirements. Seconded by Michael Murno. Motion carried.

  • Chairman Garret Seigel’s Email regarding S 213 was reviewed. The Email regarding the issue is excerpted below for reference.

PC Members,

I am forwarding here the link to a post from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) highlighting some legislation finished at the end of the legislative session that just finished.  Of particular note is the new ethics legislation as well as an update to the Vermont Open Meetings law.

I will also note that as expected the S213 bill that establishes river corridors over the special flood hazard zone for development was approved.  The governor has not made an official decision about whether he will support the bill, but I have read elsewhere that he is expected to veto the bill, which would force the legislature to override the veto to enact the legislation.  

Here is an excerpt from the VT Digger article on the administration’s thinking regarding the River Corridor legislation:

Gov. Phil Scott and members of his administration have publicly expressed concern about all three of the bills. Asked whether Scott would veto them, Jason Maulucci, Scott’s spokesperson, said the governor hasn’t made a final decision. 

“We’re at the point in the session where things change rather quickly in bills, so he will reserve judgment until final versions reach his desk,” Maulucci said, referring VTDigger to Julie Moore, secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, for the administration’s positions on S.213 and S.259. 

While the two bills are very different, Moore said the administration’s opposition to both can be boiled down to a similar sentiment: “The principle — in both of these cases — is good and important. But that doesn’t mean you should just charge headlong into it without doing all of the groundwork necessary for it to be successful,” she said. 

S.213, which passed the Senate in March and passed the House on May 3, addresses development in river corridors, sets new standards for wetland protection and increases dam safety measures. Supporters of the bill say it’s an important policy that will protect Vermonters from events like the July 2023 floods. 

Lauren Oates, a lobbyist at the Nature Conservancy Vermont, said Vermont has experienced flooding with more regularity and severity since Tropical Storm Irene hit the state in 2011. 

“We know that that trauma and those damages, physical or otherwise, are going to continue to be incurred,” she said. “And this bill, the Flood Safety Act, is the bill that we have that uses some of the best available science, and then has come up with a cohesive and semi comprehensive suite of solutions that recognize our flood problem.”

Moore contends that the bill does not give her agency the money or time it needs to build out the new permitting program. While the agency asked for roughly 15 new staff members — and the bill would create 15 new positions — “it only provides enough funding for 11 of those 15 positions,” she said. 

While acknowledging the Legislature’s financial challenges, Moore said lawmakers haven’t expressed “any real interest in adjusting the scope of the bill to match the resources they do have available.”

Moore is also concerned that Vermonters may be caught off-guard by the regulation, which could apply to as many as 45,000 parcels in 2028, when the permitting system would kick in. She said she thinks the process could benefit from additional time. 

Oates, who has been working closely with lawmakers on S.213, said the bill balances both limited resources and the urgency of flood-related disasters with the agency’s needs. 

“The worst case scenario of an aggressive timeline is the agency has to come back to the Legislature and ask for more time to do this well and to do this right. The worst case scenario of an extended timeline is more homes are put in harm’s way,” Oates said.

The full article can be read here:

In the last month, I have started receiving regular updates from the VLCT at my town email address.  Please let me know – or let Sebastian know at the meeting tomorrow – if you would like me to continue to share information from the VLCT. 


The Planning Commission agreed that sharing information with VLCT is a good idea and that we should continue to share information. It as also recommended that we write our congressmen to support the bill.


The discussion turned to short term rentals and what direction we should head going forward. It was agreed that registration of short-term rentals, and Air B&B’s is a good idea for safety and emergency management purposes as well as inventory.

We stepped back from any regulation at this time and agreed that we should take our lead from our neighboring towns; Manchester Village, and Sunderland.

With regard to regulation, the consensus is that regulation, in the event that it goes forward, should remain with the individual towns and not become a state matter. It is more likely to be problematic under state control as ski towns vs small rural towns are not a one size fits all solution.

Another point was made, namely, that short-term rentals, or Air B&B’s reduce the number of housing units available for purchase. Moreover, private Air B&B’s are more subject to be purchased by large corporations adding to the housing problem. On the other hand, private unregulated Air B&B’s promote local business. There are many aspects to consider on this subject, thus reinforcing our decision to wait and see how our neighbors address the issue.

It was agreed that more affordable housing is needed and different life styles need to be accommodated, for example, small apartments vs larger apartments, and small houses vs larger ones. Sunjit Chawla brought the Vermont Housing Initiative Program (VHIP) to our attention. This is a grants program which provides grants to developers who improve and/or renovate neglected or run down housing for occupancy or convert single family homes into two or more family homes to increase the number of dwellings for habitation. Some developers may not know of these programs and providing information to them could be beneficial.  Pre-Engineered Architectural Designed Housing, such as we previously discussed for properties in East Arlington is another avenue to pursue.

Aaron Jones for Neighborworks is another resource to consult in the search for solutions for affordable housing. Jones is a HOME repair coordinator for neighborworks of Western Vermont, a nonprofit that promotes and assists people with housing.

Seeing there was no other business, Michael Murno made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Jon Murray. Motion carried and the meeting Adjourned at 8:02 pm.

Our next meeting will be on June 27, 2024 at 7:00 pm

Respectfully submitted:  Michael Murno

Land Use Administrator’s Report for APC Meeting

There was no formal LUA Report; however, the Barnes violations still exist, and Gould built a pavilion in the floodway.

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