To the Editor:

At its last meeting, the Shelburne Planning Commission voted to remove the mixed residential character district from the Shelburne Road form-based code overlay district.

This is a wise and timely decision, marking a course correction for the town — one that has been badly needed since last September when unintended loopholes in the code first came to light.

As a member who served on the commission that introduced form-based zoning under the championship of then fellow member Kate Lalley, I could only agree with the Blue Lines consulting team that Shelburne’s zoning policy in the town’s residential area along the northern part of Shelburne Road is “overly complex for a small geographic area” and “relies on unclear, vague or contradictory language” compared to the town plan.

In retrospect, I think we tried to do too much in too little time to bring about radical change in the look and feel and economic impact of this part of town and assumed that as errors or omissions were discovered that they would be handily corrected.

From today’s vantage point I don’t see the idealized illustrative plan, on which the form-based zoning is based, is being realized. The problems that began in the mixed residential character district are probably just beginning.

To conclude, the planning commission created the problem, and the planning commission is fixing the problem. That’s how it should be.

Ann L. Hogan


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