Addison to mull town plan change

ADDISON — Addison residents on Aug. 12 will have a second and most likely final chance to weigh in on a town plan update that the town’s planning commission has said would allow Addison to adopt some new zoning laws that have been on hold since late last year.
On next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Addison firehouse, the selectboard will hold a public hearing on the update, which includes many new factual updates and maps, changes made to conform with state laws, and new sections on town history, education, economic development, and recreation and tourism.
Key elements in those new zoning laws that could be adopted once the plan update is in place include a rewritten section on waivers that would allow residents flexibility from lot-line setback requirements and a new section regulating fences.
The Addison Planning Commission after a June 30 public hearing attended by only a half-dozen residents voted to forward the town plan update to the selectboard.
The next night, at their July 1 meeting, selectboard members accepted the document — on which both boards had cooperated during the writing process — and voted to hold their required hearing this coming Tuesday.
Town officials have made clear the new plan does not make changes to zoning laws some residents and the selectboard have suggested, including easing home lot-size and road-frontage requirements, primarily in the town’s Low Density Residential and Agricultural District (LDR/A) zone.
The LDR/A zone covers much of the town and now requires a minimum of 5 acres and 400 feet of road frontage for a building lot. At a June 15 planning meeting, selectboard members recommended a 2.5-acre minimum for the LDR/A zone, according to a document that planners handed out on June 30.
Selectboard members and some residents have said easing those restrictions could make some property more affordable and thus encourage growth in Addison, with the added benefit of increasing the town’s tax base.
At the June 30 planning commission hearing, chairman Frank Galgano said as soon as the plan update is in place that a new process including public forums and a mailed survey will start.
That process, he said, could result in a rewrite of plan provisions that would support those zoning changes. July 1 selectboard minutes also cite “mailing/public meetings to discuss lot sizes.”
At the June 30 planning hearing, the update that will be on the table on Aug. 12 drew little comment, and those attending focused instead more on the issues of lot size and road frontage.
Suggestions at that hearing for changes to zoning included carving out areas within the LDR/A zone for eased restrictions rather than changing the entire zone, and possibly targeting areas within other zoning districts for smaller lots and road frontage.
Planning commission members also said they hoped to hear from as many residents as possible during the upcoming discussions on rewriting the plan further.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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