and Alex Weinhagen, Director of Planning & Zoning
Rural Residential 1 District – A Proposal
The Planning Commission proposes changes to the Rural Residential 1 (RR1) zoning district. It has taken nearly two years, but we now have a formal proposal for community members to review and provide feedback on. The core of the proposal is dividing the RR1 area into three zoning districts. A public hearing is scheduled for the Planning Commission’s meeting on June 14.
Where is the RR1 District?
The RR1 zoning district is a central portion of Hinesburg, bounded by Route 116 on the west and Richmond Road and North Road on the east, excluding the village growth area. The district includes very densely settled areas along the Richmond Road that are served by municipal water and/or sewer (e.g., Birchwood Drive neighborhood, Sunset Villa mobile home park). It also includes lightly settled areas constrained by steep slopes and sensitive natural resources – e.g., Mt. Pritchard area (near St. George border) and Lavigne Hill Road area.
The RR1 zoning district is characterized by a diversity of settlement patterns and natural resources. However, the current zoning takes a one size fits all approach for the district. Action item 3.4.1 of the Town Plan recommends that we, “Assess and revise the zoning for the rural portions of the Rural Residential 1 zoning district to reinforce the rural character of these areas – particularly the northern and southern portions of the district.”
- Establish three new districts with different priorities and development potential:
Residential 3 – Prioritize housing diversity to address Town and State’s housing goals.
Development potential one acre per home – e.g., a 24-acre parcel could have up to 24 homes.
Residential 4 – Prioritize residential development that identifies natural and cultural resources, providing a transition between the more rural areas and more densely developed areas.
Development potential – three acres per home – e.g., a 24-acre parcel could have up to eight homes.
Rural 1 – Prioritize ecosystem services and limiting impacts on the natural landscape while retaining development potential that aligns with the adjacent Agricultural (AG) and Rural Residential 2 (RR2) zoning districts. Create consistent zoning expectations and regulations among Hinesburg’s rural zoning districts.
Development potential – 10/12/15 acres per home based on quality of public road providing access. Same system used in the other two rural districts (AG & RR2) – e.g., a 24-acre parcel served by a paved or gravel road could have up to two homes.
- In the Rural 1 district, allow parcels of 12 acres or more an opportunity to create one new building lot, even if they are under the size needed to meet the 10/12/15 acres per home standard. Same exemption provided in the AG and RR2 districts.
- Apply rural area design standards to new subdivisions in the Rural 1 and Residential 4 districts. The same design standards already used to protect important resources and guide development in 80 percent of Hinesburg (i.e., AG and RR2 districts).
- Adjust and expand the types of allowed uses to reflect the purpose of each new district – e.g., integrated forestry uses and campgrounds in Rural 1; multi-unit residential structures and small-scale service establishments in Residential 3.
- Allow much more flexible minimum lot sizes when new lots are created, as well as smaller setback requirements when new structures are built.
Why This Change?
Beyond the direction in the Town Plan, numerous considerations informed the Planning Commission’s proposal to create three zoning districts from the current RR1 zoning district. Some factors considered include:
- Oral and written public comment from residents and landowners
- Feedback from the Hinesburg Conservation Commission
- Multiple field visits to properties over the last two summers
- Purpose statements of other zoning districts (particularly AG and RR2)
- Regulation consistency across the town
- Impacts on municipal services
- Built environment – both historical development patterns and future development vision
- Natural features (e.g., slope, waterways, etc.)
- Existing parcel sizes, features, locations
- Climate change impacts, mitigation, and adaptation
- Ecosystem services as well as forest and wildlife habitat connectivity
How to Learn More or Comment?
The proposal, more background, and maps to help visualize this part of Hinesburg are available on the Regulation Revision webpage:
hinesburg.org/planning-zoning/pages/regulation-revisions. We want to hear your thoughts, questions, and comments! Use the method you’re most comfortable with. Options include:
1 Contact Alex Weinhagen (Director of Planning & Zoning), firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-482-4209, 10632 Route 116, Hinesburg, VT 05461. He can answer questions, and will forward your comments to the Planning Commission.
2 Contact any of our volunteer Planning Commission members – phone numbers available on the Planning Commission webpage:
3 Attend the June 14 (7 p.m.) public hearing. Either in person at the Town Office, or from the comfort of your home via Zoom. Zoom connection information will be on the meeting agenda, available on the Planning Commission webpage.