Events planned for land use review

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MANCHESTER >> The Manchester Planning Commission will be hosting a series of events in April and May to initiate a year-long effort to comprehensively revise the town's land use regulations.

Manchester was awarded a Municipal Planning Grant from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, which has allowed the town to hire Brandy Saxton of PlaceSense to assist the town's planning staff and Planning Commission with the project.

"The Planning Commission and I have been working with Brandy Saxton of PlaceSense to design an outreach and public comment process that offers people many opportunities to offer input and better understand the intent and purpose of the regulations," Manchester Town Planner Janet Hurley said.

The 2012 Town Plan called for Manchester to continue to improve its regulations to allow more effective and efficient use of land and better address issues of community concern such as the availability, density and affordability of housing within and close to downtown.

"We are looking for community input that will help us refine the land use regulations to better suit the wishes, wants, and needs of the people that live and work within this wonderful community. We'd like to better understand what things are working, big or small, and what things may be in need of improvement from a community perspective. Ultimately, we want to ensure the regulations and Town Plan accurately reflect the consolidated vision that the members of this community have for the town's future, while respecting and understanding its past." said Manchester Planning Commission Chairman Greg Boshart.

The public outreach effort will begin on Monday, Apr. 25, with a community workshop at 7 p.m. in the Kilburn Meeting Room at the Manchester Town Hall.

"This 'Big Picture Meeting' is an opportunity for people to share their perspective on the types of development that would be appropriate in different parts of Manchester, and to talk about what is working and not working with the town's existing land use regulations and development review process." said Brandy Saxton.

The outreach effort will continue with four Walk-and-Talk meetings in May focused on different neighborhoods around town. These meetings will provide people with an opportunity to participate in a tour of an area of town followed by a meeting to discuss potential zoning changes in that area. The dates for these meetings are listed below, but the specific times and places for each will be announced later.

The Saturday afternoon, May 14 Walk-and-Talk will explore the rural areas of town and issues related to farming, rural residential development, and open space and natural resource conservation.

There will be a lunchtime Walk-and-Talk for downtown on Wednesday, May 18.

On Friday, May 20, the afternoon Walk-and-Talk will focus on the Airport Road industrial area and adjacent neighborhoods.

The final Walk-and-Talk will be held in the evening on Monday, May 23 for the Route 7A corridor and adjoining areas north of downtown.

A complete schedule of events and more information about the proposed revision to the town's regulations is available on the project website at www.placesense.com/manchester. Those who want to stay informed about the project are encouraged to sign up for the email list via that website.


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