Planning Commission Inches Closer to Finishing LDR and Comprehensive Plan Amendments

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Thursday July 09, 2015

The planning commission, a seven-member board of residents appointed by the city council, is entering the final stretch of completing Land Development Regulation (LDRs) amendments along with changes to the Comprehensive Plan.

The Land Development Regulations are the zoning guidelines that the city follows; these are the regulations that the planning commission helps update and that the development review board uses to assess all incoming planning applications. The Land Development Regulations include official language as well as a number of visual tools such as the official map, zoning districts map, and wetlands maps, among others. The last series of amendments were approved by council in September 2013.

The Comprehensive Plan is a guide to the city’s future land use as per state law and contains broader policies and goals that will shape South Burlington. The Comprehensive Plan also contains a plethora of resources to use to help implement the plan, including zoning, city funds (TIF, capital budget and program, impact fees), official map, municipal policies, and land acquisition. Along with implementation resources, the Comprehensive Plan shares resources developed with the plan, including maps and data. The guide remains in effect for five years unless it is replaced with an updated plan. The city’s planning commission is in charge of developing and maintaining the plan, and the city council has the final say whether or not the plan is adopted. The city council re-adopted the 2006 plan on March 9, 2011. The next deadline for the amendments to be reviewed and adopted is March 2016.

Updating these important documents is not only the work of the seven commissioners and planning staff; both the Land Development Regulations and Comprehensive Plan include recommendations on behalf of all city department heads, city committees and stakeholders, as well as the general public. According to state law, the Comprehensive Plan and the Land Development Regulations must align with one another for consistency, so staff and the planning commission have spent countless hours assessing, organizing and incorporating input.

Want to contribute? There will be a formal outreach period for both the Land Development Regulations and the Comprehensive Plan. At the June 23 planning commission meeting, Chair Jessica Louisos suggested holding a joint meeting with city council to reveal the latest revisions of the Comprehensive Plan, which will serve as a kickoff for public outreach. There would then be a six-week comment period and public hearings will be warned. Likewise, public hearings for the Land Development Regulations will be warned. For more information, visit www.sburl.com or contact the planning and zoning department at (802) 846-4106.