Interim Zoning

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Thursday June 30, 2011

Interim zoning, the placid-sounding phrase that’s become a catch-all for South Burlington’s proposed development freeze, belies the underlying controversy roiling developers and residents around the city. Barely six weeks old, the proposed moratorium first surfaced at a May 16 City Council meeting  when 2010 Census figures showed higher than expected growth rates in South Burlington.

Consequently, the City Council requested that Planning and Zoning staff study interim zoning options for specific areas of concern and advise them. Paul Conner, director of Planning and Zoning, presented the findings at a June 6 City Council meeting.

During that meeting, the City Council voted 4-1 to send a resolution to the public for a July 18 hearing, addressing four areas under interim zoning bylaws: the city’s open space planning, residential and mixed-use planned unit developments (PUDs), PUD waivers, and all waivers allowable under the city’s Land Development Regulations.

Following the proposed June 6 resolution, city by-laws require that South Burlington staff follow the proposed interim zoning resolution during the period between the City Council’s initial proposal and their final vote, which will occur sometime after the July 18 public hearing.

In accordance with the resolution, city staff and the Development Review Board currently cannot grant developers approval for any new PUDs, PUD waivers, and general LDR waivers.

At a June 20 meeting, the City Council once again took up interim zoning. In a 3-2 vote, they resolved to reject their June 6 interim zoning proposal as written, and in a subsequent 3-2 vote, asked the city attorney to draft a resolution with a narrower scope.

The revised resolution, introduced by Council chair Sandra Dooley, must be publicly warned at least 15 days prior to a public hearing, as required by state law. As of press time, the July 18 public hearing is still scheduled. City staff continue to follow the original June 6 resolution pending public release of the revised June 20 resolution from the City Council.

SOURCE: Eric Blokland, Correspondent