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Bristol moves forward on zoning ordinance revision

BRISTOL — At a meeting Tuesday evening, the Bristol Planning Commission with help from Addison County Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Adam Lougee moved forward with restructuring the town’s zoning ordinance in accordance with a proposed update of the town plan.
“Basically, we were looking at the core planning area — so largely the old village area,” said Lougee. “What we’re trying to do is make sure the zones within that area implement the vision of the plan, which is largely opportunity for commercial (establishments) and denser residential neighborhoods. Bristol is currently pretty complicated. They have a lot of zones, many of which are left over from the town-village merger.”
On Tuesday, the planning commission made it through two of the proposed zones in the core area: the Village Business and Village Mixed Districts, which comprise the greater downtown area, extending to South Street and including the Bristol Works business campus.  The proposed plan, which will likely be presented to voters in November 2012, uses old zones to create definitions. The planning commission is using the proposed plan to make new definitions, which complicates the process, explained Lougee.
The planners talked about how commercial operations might mitigate traffic that such businesses cause. They decided that wrecking historical structures should be strongly discouraged, but not prohibited. Planner Bill Sayre raised the point that a building might be on its last limb, and using the word “prohibit” would prevent the town from dealing with a potential hazard.
Also on Tuesday, planners grappled with a definition for the “Core” area, deciding to come back to it after the incorporated zones were ironed out. All of this new verbiage can be found in a draft of the new town zoning ordinances.
“The town planning commission should make that information available to the public,” said Lougee.
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected].

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