Yeses for Charlotte Family Health Center and Vermont Commons

Charlotte Family Health Center and Vermont Commons School both got a thumbs up from the Planning Commission this week

The Charlotte Family Health Center got site plan final approval for a proposed health care facility on Ferry Road after a year of work. Photo by Robert Coleburn.

Yes to the health center and yes to Vermont Commons

Planning Commission hands down two site plan decisions this week

By Chea Waters Evans

The Charlotte Planning Commission issued decisions today on two applications of high public interest. The Charlotte Family Health Center and Vermont Commons School applications were both granted Site Plan Final Plan approval. Planning Commission votes broke down the same way for both applications, with five yeses, two abstentions, and none opposed. Peter Joslin, Gerald Bouchard, Charlie Pughe, Kyra Wegman, and Kelly Devine all delivered yes votes for the two applications. Linda Radimer and Bill Stuono abstained on both.

In light of recent community concerns, there are clear provisions and requirements included in the site plan approval regarding stormwater management and nearby wetlands.

The decision clarifies that in order to “minimize encroachment into the wetland buffer,” CFHC plans should reduce the parking lot size from 27 to 24 total spaces, eliminate any asphalt paving to the south of one bank of 11 parking sports, and relocate a currently existing tree next to the dumpster on the south end of the parking area along the west property boundary. 

The PC’s decision says, “The Commission finds the project will provide adequate on-site treatment of stormwater runoff arising from new impermeable surfaces,such as the building and parking lot.” The decision also notes that documentation provided by a state wetland specialist indicates that the “proposed stormwater treatment plan adequately meets the requirements of the proposed encroachment into the delineated wetland and wetland buffer. A maintenance schedule has been provided, to ensure that the functioning of the proposed treatment methods will be monitored and maintained.”

In addition, the PC requires relocation of the facility’s dumpster from the west end to the east end of the property, mandates that a proposed screening fence along western boundary line is a minimum of five feet high, and limits exterior lighting to business hours. It also requires a sidewalk around the northwest corner of the building and calls for a bench or sitting area along the Ferry Road frontage.

Vermont Commons School owns a 54.3-acre parcel of land on Spear Street, and they were given the go-ahead to develop an outdoor education center on the property. In addition to standard site plan requirements, the approval requires that a note is added to the site plan “indicating that forest and wetlands identified on the property shall  remain in their natural state, and be protected as Significant Forest and Aquatic Habitat, except for the approved trails, tent platforms and other alterations.”

The approval decision also stipulates that “to protect wildlife connectivity, property boundaries in the forested portion of the parcel shall remain unfenced. Boundaries should be marked by paint blazes and appropriate  signage, as a reminder to students and staff to respect neighbors’ privacy, and to discourage trespassing.” Screening hedgerows will be planted to offer privacy to neighbors.

Editor’s note: PC member Kyra Wegman is married to Charlotte Bridge contributing editor and writer Jesse Wegman.