LUDLOW, Vt. – The Ludlow Planning Commission continued their review of the village zoning regulations at the meeting on Jan. 17. While the debate was around different sections of the zoning regulations, there was a large discussion among everyone present about what the problem was that they were trying to solve.
The part of section 530.1 that was being looked at had to do with how many parking spots would be required for a rental unit, based on number of units and bedrooms. Everyone at the meeting agreed that there was both a housing and a parking problem in Ludlow, but everyone did not agree which of these two to solve first, or how to do it.
Some members and citizens looked at the problems as something that should be solved together. Saying that adequate parking should be provided for units with more bedrooms as to prevent a larger parking problem. This worried others who saw the required parking spaces as something that could scare away developers. The board attempted to compromise on this issue. The discussion ended requiring one space for one-bedroom units, two spaces for two-four bedroom units, and three spaces for five or more bedroom units.
The board moved on to approve the previously proposed wording for section 520.14 of the village zoning regulations on conversions and changes of use. The changes made were in an attempt to streamline the town permitting process and make it easier for people to change the use of their property.
Chair Theresa Carter inquired on the zoning of Pleasant Street, wondering why the side of the street abutting Main Street was zoned residential-commercial and the other side was residential. Board member Ryan Silvestri spoke about the development possibilities this opened up for the town. The board mentioned their interest in renaming the village center as the business district, and the possibility of turning Andover Street into a designated neighborhood. Silvestri stated that having separate districts in the town allows them to be more specific about what type of development is wanted in what areas. There were no changes made to the zoning map.
The board moved on to discuss their plan for public outreach as required for the Municipal Planning Grant. Most members were open to the idea of putting out a survey to the public as well as having open forum meetings to hear their thoughts. Board member Andrea Goldman suggested that a survey is made available to those that live and work in Ludlow, as the issues being discussed affect those already living here and those who are interested but cannot afford it.
Citizen Eric Alden reminded the board that this was all done before when they organized the town plan in 2018. He referenced meetings and forums led by the commission and the town plan that lays almost untouched. The board explained that if a survey was to be done it would be more specific than in the past. They agreed that it should not be a simple “what do we want fixed?” type of survey. The need for a specific, in depth, almost probing survey was discussed, one that could really inform the board on how the public feels about the specifics of the housing issue, and also informs the public on those specifics. Carter asked that all the board members review the town plan before the next meetings so they can be informed while discussing the potential method of outreach and what they hope to gain from it.
Alden reiterated the importance of the planning commission, referring to it as the town’s most important board. He stressed the need for more public involvement, “there needs to be some discussion on how to get residents more involved and get that information out there. Everyone likes to complain about everything that is happening in town, but as you guys see at these meetings, it is the same two or three people that show up, and a lot of the time it’s because folks just don’t know.”
The Ludlow Planning Commission meets on the third Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. in the first floor conference room of the Ludlow Town Hall. The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 21.