Planning Commission Minutes, 06.28.2023

Planning Commission DRAFT Minutes
Wednesday, June 28, 6:30pm, 236 School Rd, Guilford VT

Planning Commission members attending: Julie Holland, Charlie Light, Jeannette Tokarz,  Jethro Eaton, Nathaniel Matthiesen, Marty Ramsburg, Zon Eastes (Selectboard liaison)

Call to Order. The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m.

Recognition of the Public, Dan Mallach & Emily Lewis from Dubois & King, Sarah Noble, Ron Wells, Sue Wells, Julie Hamilton, Tina Squires, Lynn King, Deborah McNeill, Steve Petersen, Jaime Durham

Rules and Procedures: No changes. Follow Robert’s Rules and basic respect and civility

Changes to Agenda:  None 

Jethro moved to accept the minutes from 5/24/23. Marty seconded and motion was carried unanimously.

We went over the proper procedure to deal with the minutes, which is that the Secretary prepares the draft minutes and sends them to Erika Elder, the town administrator. The Secretary then distributes the rough draft to PC members.

Elections were held. Jethro nominated Jeannette for another term as Chairperson. Charlie seconded and Jeannette was elected unanimously.

Marty nominated Charlie for Secretary, and Jeannette seconded and Charlie was elected Secretary unanimously for another term.

The PC then voted to table the vote for Vice Chair until Christina could attend the meeting in the hope that she would accept the position.


Emily and Dan recapped the community meeting on June 15th to discuss the strategic plan. There were a lot of ideas and passions re balancing interests and visions for the town going forward. The use of the overlay maps, showing wildlife corridors, farms, etc. really helped people to understand and make informed choices. People felt that while initially tensions were running high, Dan and Emily and other PC members were able to explain the strategic plan process and how the PC is actively working to get as much public feedback as possible. Jethro brought up the fact that a few years ago, Guilford was voted to be a compassionate town. Marty said that we all live here because we love Guilford. Zon said that the town government was working on trust issues.

The Strategic Plan will be put on Guilford’s website. The PC should also encourage more public meetings. The last one is the current series is the business community outreach meeting scheduled for July 8th, where we went over possible topics of discussion. Please see addendum re topics and a copy of the flyer announcing the meeting. Some changes to the flyer were recommended and adopted.

Dan and Emily will host the business meeting on July 8th and facilitate discussion. There was talk of making the business outreach meeting a monthly or quarterly event.

A member of the public brought up a field trip to visit various mixed use housing developments in Brattleboro and/or surrounding towns.

The Windham Regional Commission was discussed as a great resource and a facility that is in touch with other communities locally and around the state.

The idea of sharing resources, such as a grant coordinator, with other towns was discussed. Zon attended the Southern Vermont Economic Conference where people spoke of inter-town relations and possible areas of cooperation.

There was discussion of another, more specific survey, perhaps in September, before having a community envisioning meeting.

A member of the public asked what constitutes land use planning and a discussion was held comparing a more flexible land use planning strategy as compared to traditional zoning with more hard and fast rules.

It was acknowledged that there is a strong desire in Guilford to preserve the things we have and the lifestyle we enjoy living in such a beautiful place. The PC will further research what tools are available to us to figure out land use planning options to present to the town. 

At this point, there is no way to limit development except through Act 250.

People brought up concerns about the possible development by Guilford Preservation, Inc. (GPI) of affordable housing in Algiers. The PC stated that we would, again, urge GPI to hold a community meeting to discuss the plan. The feeling was that it was still largely in the planning stages, but the PC would also like to clarify where the development stands at this moment. It was also explained that the PC (and the SB, for that matter), lacking zoning or any land use plan with teeth, had limited input into the matter. The members agree that housing in town and throughout the area is a major issue and look forward to discussing the GPI proposal when it is brought forward.

Marty motioned to adjourn, Jethro seconded and the meeting was adjourned at 8:20 pm, approximately.

The next PC meeting is scheduled for July 19, 2023 at 6:30 at the town offices.