Victor Impact Area; Public Hearing Process for Subdivisions; Orton Family Foundation Grant
Victor Impact Area
Victor and the county are once again entering into discussions about Victor’s Impact Area. On the 16th of September, the city and county Planning and Zoning Commissions will meet to discuss the Victor Impact Area agreement and map. The Victor staff and P and Z expressed their desire for a relatively hard edge to the city that would be akin to an urban growth boundary. The urban growth boundary is a two and a half square mile box that encompasses the present distribution of subdivisions. This new boundary is intended to encourage development in the city core.
Victor’s vision for the Impact Area includes the following zones. Inside the urban growth boundary, landowners within the Impact Area could apply to be annexed under an R-1 designation, which if granted would allow them to build 1 house on a 1/3 acre. Outside of the urban growth area, landowners who are adjacent to the urban growth boundary could apply for a zoning that would allow 1 house on every 1.5 acres, with the developer being required to provide municipal water or septic. Landowners outside of the urban growth boundary will also have the option to be zoned with 1 house on 5 acres and up to 1 house on 20 acres. Anyone who is currently zoned Ag 2.5 will be grandfathered in at that zoning. A trans-agricultural zoning will describe farmland over twenty acres. These zones will be discussed at the September 16th meeting.
Public Hearing Process for Subdivisions
The city staff presented the Planning and Zoning Commission with the idea of eliminating the Final Plat Hearing in the subdivision approval process. The way the subdivision process currently works is that a developer goes to Preliminary Sketch Plan Review where they receive non-binding feedback from the P and Z. They then have Public Hearings at Preliminary Plat Review with both the P and Z and the City Council before having a Final Plat Hearing with the City Council. The staff would like to move everything forward as a way of streamlining the process and making it fairer to developers. Under this scenario, the developer gains vested rights at Preliminary Plat Review, which means that there will have to be a higher level of scrutiny earlier in the process. Final Plat then becomes more of a formality where the City Council makes sure the city’s recommendations have been incorporated.
Mike O’ Neill, P and Z chair, stated that he would like to invite the public in for non-binding input at the Sketch Plan review stage. Some of the benefits he stated of allowing the public to voice their input earlier, is that it allows the developer to hear that feedback earlier on in the process. It also would allow the P and Z to avoid some of the confusion of trying to incorporate public input further into the process. VARD supports the idea of encouraging input at the Sketch Plan review stage.
The P and Z supports the idea of eliminating the Final Plat Hearing. For the subdivision approval process to be changed, it will need to go to Public Hearing.
100 K Orton Family Foundation Heart and Soul Grant awarded to Victor
Earlier in the summer the Orton Family Foundation awarded Victor a $100,000 grant to be dispersed over the course of the next two years. The foundation will also provide staff support to Victor. The Orton Foundation specifically hopes to help communities strengthen their unique sense of place and identity by reaching out to all sectors of the community and finding out what community members want for their towns. This is the first year these awards have been granted. Two other communities in Maine as well as one in Colorado were also recipients. As one of the grant writers and partnering organizations, VARD is excited for the opportunity to work with the Victor community, TVTAP and the Orton Family Foundation on this worthwhile initiative.