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Addison board OKs updated zoning rules

ADDISON — The Addison Planning Commission on Sept. 16 formally adopted its new proposed update to zoning regulations and agreed to forward the laws to the town selectboard.
Chairman Frank Galgano said planners opted to make only minor changes to the document after the formal public hearing they held the week before.  
“Essentially it’s the same proposal we presented on that evening,” Galgano said.
The new laws build upon the 2007 regulations by adding sections that regulate fences and personal landing strips for private aircraft, and they also consolidate into one section rules that allow residents to obtain waivers from lot-line setback requirements.
Other than what Galgano called “chronological” placement and grammatical changes, planners on Sept. 16 made only one change from what they presented the week before: In the “Good Neighbor” portion of the fencing regulations, they replaced the word “shall” with the word “should” in several places to reflect that fact the recommendations made in that subsection were not mandatory.
Only a handful of residents attended the Sept. 9 hearing. Some lobbied against the waiver regulations, called some of the fencing requirements too restrictive, and asked that the laws also insist that new lakeshore development require state septic review.
Galgano said the planners on Sept. 16 felt the sections on waivers and fences — the latter limits fence heights and requires them around swimming pools — were written with “what is best for every individual” in mind, and they declined to make changes. At the Sept. 9 meeting he said the state already has the power to review septic on most subdivisions.
Some citizens and Selectboard Chairman Jeff Kauffman also asked on Sept. 9 if rules about private roads should be consistently explained in each section. Galgano said those rules are unchanged from the 2007 version that will remain in effect until the new rules are adopted.
Selectmen could revisit that issue, however, he acknowledged.
“We approved the new draft and it will be recommended to the selectboard,” Galgano said. “There are opportunities to have their own public hearings and deal with any changes they want to make.”
Selectboard members are in fact required to have at least one public hearing before the regulations are adopted. If they choose to make major changes, state law requires the laws be returned to planners for a second review and then returned to the selectboard.
Galgano said planners would prefer to move onto their next task after the multi-year zoning update process: They have a year to update the town plan, a process that will involve  making it confirm to new state laws.
“There are some new requirements they are making that we have to address,” he said.
The selectboard may move to make the zoning update law if they make no changes or only minor alterations. The board also may choose, by state law, to adopt the new zoning laws itself or call for a town-wide vote on the question.
Kauffman said the board has not yet sat down and reviewed the laws or made the call on how to proceed.
“A decision has not been reached on how to adopt the regs,” he wrote in an email. “That probably won’t be made until we receive the regs from the PC and have a chance to hold our public hearing.”
Copies of the current and proposed regulations are available at the town clerk’s office, as is a two-page summary of the changes.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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