Home News and Features Nine Zoning Changes Proposed; Public Hearing Nov. 29

Nine Zoning Changes Proposed; Public Hearing Nov. 29

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Montpelier City Hall. File photo.
Nine Zoning Changes Proposed; Public Hearing Nov. 29

The Montpelier Planning Commission is holding a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 29 to take public comments on nine sets of zoning changes, some significant and some minor. Four of the changes were prompted by requests by property owners to make changes not allowed under current zoning.

Another proposed change would remove existing limitations on residential density in two of the city’s zoning districts, Riverfront and Residential-1500, allowing many more units per lot in some cases. The Residential-1500 district includes three neighborhoods: Blanchard Park, Franklin Street-Southwest, and Liberty Street-West.

The proposed changes as identified in a Planning Department memo include:

• A map change in the Harrison Avenue and Whittier Avenue area to shift 19 properties from a Residential-6000 district in the College Street-North neighborhood to the Residential-3000 district in the Liberty Street-East neighborhood. This would double the allowed density from one dwelling unit per 6,000 square feet of lot size to one per 3,000 square feet of lot size and would also double the ratio of floor area to lot size from 0.5 to 1.0, also allowing more units.

The proposed change was initiated by a resident of Harrison Avenue who wants to add a tiny house to a property that already had a single-family home with an accessory apartment, according to the memo. 

• A map change for Heaton Woods and Washington County Mental Health from Residential-6000 in the College Street-North neighborhood to Residential-3000 (with a new neighborhood designation, the Heaton neighborhood), also doubling the allowed units per square foot of lot size and the ratio of floor area to lot size.

The proposed change was initiated by Washington County Mental Health, which would like to add additional housing for their employees to the property to an extent that would exceed the density limitations in Residential-6000.

• A map change on Northfield Street to shift some parcels on the east side of the street from the Mixed Use Residential district in the Northfield Street-North neighborhood and the Rural district in the Hill Street Neighborhood to Residential-9000 in the Northfield Street Neighborhood. The change would also remove one parcel and part of a second parcel from the Design Review Overlay.

This amendment is being initiated by a potential affordable housing development, identified elsewhere by the zoning administrator as one being contemplated by Central Vermont Habitat for Humanity, on the larger parcel. This project would involve extending city sewer and water into the site, at the expense of the property owner.

• A proposal to reduce side setbacks in the Residential-9000 district from 15 feet to 10 feet.

• A change to setbacks on property lines abutting the rail line for properties in the Eastern Gateway–Farm and Factory neighborhood. This change is being initiated by a developer looking to build another building and who would like to have the same rail setback as the other buildings in the area. 

• New Planned Unit Development rules for General and Footprint Planned Unit Development requests. 

• Removal of language in the New Neighborhood and Conservation Planned Unit Development sections, changing them from required to optional.

• Removal of residential density requirements from Riverfront and Residential-1500 districts, which are both currently limited to one residential unit per 1,500 square feet of lot size. Other existing limitations such as maximum lot coverage, floor area ratio, and height would remain, but the number of units allowed on a lot would now be unregulated.

• Minor technical fixes: these include a change allowing structures such as decks and garages to encroach beyond allowed setbacks, a change to split nature and recreational parks into two groups, and changes to sign regulations. 

For more details about the hearing, including the Zoom link, go to montpelier-vt.org/129/Agendas-Minutes

The agenda (with Zoom link) and a packet of information can be downloaded by clicking the download button to the right of the Planning Commission special meeting scheduled for Nov. 29 at 5:30 p.m.