No railyard move in city plan
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | March 07,2014
The railyard relocation is out and solar power is in as Rutland City updates its master plan.
The Charter and Ordinance Committee, a subset of the Board of Aldermen, met with the city Planning Commission on Thursday as the commission handed over the draft of the updated plan. The plan is due for its five-year update, as required by state law.
Planning Commission Chairman Jack Facey said his group spent the last year working on the update with the Rutland Redevelopment Authority, seeking input from sources such as the Department of Public Works, the city schools, the College of St. Joseph and the Rutland County Solid Waste District.
“Theoretically, you guys are supposed to read every word, as well,” Facey said. “It’s up to the full board to adopt it.”
Facey said the Board of Aldermen can send the plan back to the commission for revision or make its own changes. The city must hold two public hearings on the plan before adopting it.
The only major change to zoning is a call for a “college park” zone to cover the 150 acres owned by the College of St. Joseph. The land is zoned single-family residential, which Facey said could prove an impediment if the college wanted to build another dormitory or academic building.
Other major changes include references to the Green Mountain Power-led drive to encourage solar development in the city and the abandonment of the long-dormant railyard relocation project.
“The relocated railyard has fallen by the wayside,” Facey said. “There was a lot of language that referenced that five years ago. We’ve eliminated it.”
Facey said the plan has language allowing for improvements to the current railyard behind Price Chopper.
Brennan Duffy, executive director of the RRA, said the plan includes a section on combating blight and incorporating data from the housing needs study.
No one on the committee argued against any part of the plan. Asked about the purpose of the plan, Facey said it serves as a guide for developers, telling them what the city wants built where.
RRA grant administrator Barbara Allen said she consults the plan daily.
“Every grant that I apply for, there has to be language in the document that says that’s what the city wants,” she said. “Otherwise, we can’t get the grant.”
The committee took no action, with Board President David Allaire saying the aldermen can set the public hearings at their next meeting and Committee Chairman William Notte saying the committee can reconvene to continue discussing the plan some time thereafter.