A Vision for 7

Transforming Development Patterns for a Better Future Background on Form Based Zoning

Over the past several years, the Town has been exploring ways Form Based zoning might be applied in Shelburne.   Recommendations contained in the Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) report completed in late 2011 and the Shelburne Road Pilot Project (PP) report completed in mid 2012 note that the portion of Shelburne Road located north of the LaPlatte River could be enhanced through the adoption of a Form Based Zoning. According to the SDAT report, for example a Form base code approach could serve to produce better a physical environment in the corridor with each incremental development over time.  

Form Based Zoning Phase 1


In late 2013, a team of consultants (consisting of Broadreach Planning and Design of Charlottte, Vermont, Howard/Stein Hudson of Boston, Massachusetts, and Dodson and Flinker of Ashfield, Massachusetts) was hired to assist the Town in developing a Form Based zoning “code” for the section of Shelburne Road north of the LaPlatte River. Funds for the project came from two primary sources, a grant provided by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission and local funds approved by voters as part of the budget process.  
The work of the consultants included conducting interviews with property owners, completing of a 3-4 day public involvement and design exercise (known as Charrette), creating an illustrative Master Plan, and developing form-based Code language applicable to the corridor.  One of the first activities to be addressed by project organizers was the creation of a Steering Committee. The Steering Committee provided input on charrette preparations, the public preference survey and associated activities. After the charrette the Steering Committee reviewed and discussed the material created during the charrette and associated activities. 

Over a period of eighteen months, the Planning Commission worked with the consultant team in preparing and refining the regulatory framework. The framework translates the illustrative plan into specific standards for development in different segments of the Route 7 Corridor. The Planning Commission reviewed and later modified drafts of the form-based code and conducted public hearings on the proposal.  The proposal was revised further in response to public comments and eventually presented to the Selectboard for consideration in early 2016.  The Selectboard hearing on the proposal took place on April 26, 2016. The bylaw was adopted and became effective on May 18, 2016. 

Form Based Zoning Phase 2


Even as FBZ moved toward adoption in early 2016, there was recognition of the need for further work on the bylaw.  In August of 2016, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (working on behalf of the Town) issued a Request for Proposals to three consulting firms with experience preparing Form Based zoning materials.  Responses were received from two of the firms, and a team headed by PlaceSense of Hartland, Vermont, was chosen to assist the Town.  A copy of the consultant’s proposal for phase 2 is available for review by clicking the link at right.  A video recording of the kick off meeting also is available for viewing.   

To date, the consultant has revised the layout of the FBZ and also developed a technical memorandum outlining “a series of proposed revisions and additions to the SR-FBOD based on the consultants’ review of the adopted code and feedback from the town’s planning staff and Planning Commission.”  The technical memorandum was discussed by the Planning Commission on February 9.