Panton to discuss town plan Thursday

PANTON — What should be the last public step in adopting Panton’s new town plan comes on Thursday, when the Addison County Regional Planning Commission will hold its required hearing on the document at Panton Town Hall. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

The proposed plan has already successfully navigated planning commission and selectboard hearings, and the selectboard adopted the plan earlier this summer.

Planning commission chairman David Raphael said this is the final hurdle before the new plan can take effect. Once it is in effect, planners may consider zoning changes if desired.

“We have to have regional planning commission review and approval of the plan,” he said.

Raphael emphasized residents are still more than welcome, as they have been “every step of the way,” to come and comment on and learn about the plan.

Many of the changes have been technical, Raphael said, rather than sweeping and visionary.

Most significant along the way, he said, were those made by planners to reevaluate all the “goals and strategies and actions” required of the planning commission in the plan.

“We ... tried to make those more realistic and more pragmatic, and more reflective of what the planning commission can actually do and have under its control and purview,” Raphael said.

For instance, he said, for the goals of supporting agriculture and preserving open lands, the plan suggests the planning commission write letters of support for farmers who want to sell development rights to land trusts.

The plan also updates, with the help of the regional planning commission and the recently completed U.S. Census, sections that include factual and demographic information about Panton.

Planners also scoured the document for unnecessary and unclear language. That effort resulted in, for example, dropping a section on a proposed Vergennes bypass that planners do not believe is still a realistic possibility.

Raphael said the plan also includes new maps and photos.

Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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