Overview

The Planning Commission has been working throughout 2017 to update Windham’s zoning regulations and bring them into compliance with the most recent iteration of the Town Plan.  The current zoning regulations were adopted in December of 2010 and the current Town Plan was ratified in January of 2015.

A summary of the changes the Planning Commission is proposing and a complete copy of the zoning regulations can be found on the town website (http://townofwindhamvt.com/zoning-regulations-survey/) and in the town office.  Some of the proposed changes are minor and technical in nature, but others are more significant.  In particular the Planning Commission wants to call attention to changes in permitted and conditional uses, and design standards in Windham’s two Historic Districts.  We feel these additions are in keeping with the Town Plan’s directive to “Promote historic preservation and development that enhances the historic resources of Windham.” (Town Plan, p.70)  We also have suggested additional guidelines and some changes to permitted, conditional and prohibited uses in Regulated Flood Hazard Areas.  Many of the changes in this section of our zoning (Article VII) are necessary in order to comply with FEMA regulations and qualify for federal assistance and insurance coverage in the event of a disastrous flood.  Relatively few Windham residents live within Historic Districts or Flood Hazard Areas, but those who do may wish to pay special attention to the proposed changes which affect those parts of town.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to Windham’s zoning bylaws in the Town Office at a future time to be determined.  As we get closer to that date, there will be official notices posted in various public places, on the town website and in at least one local newspaper.  The hearing is not a formal presentation or explanation of the zoning bylaws by the Planning Commission. Rather, it is an opportunity for any member of the public to comment on our zoning regulations and for members of the Planning Commission to listen to people’s thoughts and concerns. The hearing will be most useful and effective for all parties if members of the public familiarize themselves with the zoning bylaws and give some thought to their comments in advance of the meeting.

Anyone who has questions about the zoning regulations is welcome to contact Bill Dunkel, chairman, or any other member of the Planning Commission.  Members of the public also are invited to post comments or questions by email address on the town web page below or at the town office by January 24, 2018.  The next meeting of the Planning Commission will be held on Wednesday, January 31, at 6:30 PM in the town office.  All meetings of the Planning Commission are open to the public.

For the Complete Updated Zoning Regulations Zoning-Regulations-Draft-2-6-2018

To leave a comment via email concerning the regulations –

please send email to  tow-zoning@townofwindhamvt.com

Please read the following update and relevant parts of the Complete Updated Zoning Regulations above before sending a comment. The comment should include a note of the particular section(s) being addressed in your comment.  The Planning Commission/Zoning Board will attempt to respond to all email comments before the end of the Jan. 24, 2018 comment period.  All comments submitted by email or placed in the box at the Town Office must include your name, if not the comment will  be discarded.

Report on Updates to Windham Zoning Regulations

Article I  AUTHORITY AND PURPOSE (no changes)

Article II  ZONING DISTRICTS AND DISTRICT STANDARDS

  • A fifth zoning district, entitled Resource Protection Area, has been added.
  • 201.5, Resource Protection Area Overlay, added (pp.11-14) which identifies special resources throughout the town which should be protected.
  • 201.6, Historic District Overlay, added (pp. 14-18) which contains permitted and conditional uses, and design standards for the purpose of protecting the integrity of Windham’s two historic districts.
  • Multi-family dwellings have been added as a conditional use in all districts except the Forest District.
  • 203,204,205(p.19) on site plan review & approval process moved from Article III to Article II; some additional requirements added to identify and protect wetlands, vernal pools, areas prone to flooding and other waterways.
  • 206 (pp.19-20) additional criteria for conditional use permits.
  • 207 (pp. 20-21) additional prohibited uses added.
  • 209 (pp. 21-22) additional performance standards added related to noise levels, turbine setbacks and development on ridgelines.

Article III ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT

  • 304 added on dimensional waivers (pp.24-25)

Article IV  GENERAL STANDARDS (no changes)

Article V  STANDARDS FOR SPECIAL USES (there needs to be a space

Between V and S in the title of this section)

  • 504, Extraction of Earth Resources, has been added (pp.30-31).
  • 505, Individual Wind Energy Systems, added (pp.31-32).
  • 506, Siting Solar Energy Systems, added (p.32).

Article VI  PLANNED UNIT DEVELOPMENT

  • on Planned Residential Development eliminated

Article VII  FLOOD & FLUVIAL EROSION HAZARD AREA REGULATIONS

  • 704A More specific definition of lands to which the regulations apply. (p.34)
  • 704B More detailed process for contesting the boundaries of a Special Flood Hazard Area or a River Corridor added. (p.35)
  • 704C Added section on FEMA identified Special Flood Hazard Areas (p.35)
  • 704D Added Section on how changes in the identification of a Floodplain Area or River Corridor may occur. (p.36)
  • 705 Regulated Flood Hazard Area Administration added which identifies the duties and responsibilities of the Floodplain Administrator and the processes the FA must follow in administering regulations(pp.37-40).
  • 706 New section on guidelines which must be followed to get a permit for development in a Regulated Flood Hazard Area. (pp.41-42)
  • 707 Some additions made to permitted, prohibited and conditional uses in Regulated Flood Hazard Areas (p.43)
  • 707F added on non-conforming structures and uses (p.44)
  • 708, “Technical Provisions” revised. This used to be called “Development Standards”; much more information on standards that must be met for development in Flood Hazard Areas, Floodway Areas and River Corridors (pp.44-48)
  • 709 Revised section on enforcement and penalties (pp.48-49); formerly Sec. 710
  • 710 New section on Regulated Flood Hazard Area Waivers (pp.49-50)
  • 711 New section on Regulated Flood Hazard Area Variances(pp.50-51)
  • 712 A few new definitions and a very helpful map (p.53) showing flood hazard area, floodway and usual stream channel.