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Opinion: Town plan offers flexibility to consider new options

Victoria DeWind has raised the question as to whether the proposal to build town offices on the Osborne site, new recreation facilities on Creek Road, and replacing the present municipal building and gymnasium with a park is in compliance with the town plan.
The Middlebury Planning Commission reviewed the passages that Victoria DeWind referenced from the town plan. Most passages use words such as “encourage” and “promote.” It also states, “The Middlebury Town Plan is a living document” (p.174), and was never intended to keep the town from taking advantage of opportunities that were unanticipated at the time it was written. The town plan is to be considered in its entirety.
The planning commission stresses the importance of the “five themes” test:  trends, affordability, sustainability, community character and human interaction. We find it to reflect all of the themes positively. If Article 1 passes on May 13 then clarifying language will be offered reflecting the will of the voters. It would be premature to do so until after the vote results. Town counsel has stated that the town plan is an advisory document.
The DRB will make the final ruling on compliance at the appropriate time.
Nancy Malcolm
Chair
Middlebury Planning Commission

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