Our mission is to collaborate with the community to plan, protect and advance Milton's quality of life.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Infrastructure Standards Committee Draft Minutes of 6/20

Meeting Type: Special Meeting 
Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 
Time: 6:00 p.m. 
Place: Municipal Building Community Room 
Address: 43 Bombardier Road Milton, VT 05468 
Contact: (802) 893-1186 or jhemmerick@town.milton.vt.us 

Taylor called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

Members introduced themselves and Hemmerick explained that Mossey had a family matter to attend to but provided the committee with his written feedback (incorporated into these minutes).
Members Present:  Chris Taylor (Selectboard), Rae Couillard (School Board), Tony Micklus (Planning Commission), John Lindsay (Recreation Commission), Judy Kinner (Conservation Commission), and Bob Brisson (Development Review Board). 
Members Absent:  Lou Mossey (Economic Development Commission)
Staff Present:  Jacob Hemmerick, Planning Director
Public Present: None



Hemmerick reviewed the project as outlined on the project webpage to frame the project scope and mission.  The project aims to cure inconsistencies among Milton's land development ordinances, such as: the Public Works Specifications, the Zoning Regulations and the Subdivision Regulations -- and with the Town Plan -- by establishing coordinated, clear, and context-specific standards for private and public transportation infrastructure to ensure that new infrastructure:
- Is economically scaled and built according to its use and context;
- Calms traffic by aligning design with intended speed limits and modes;
- Expands transportation choice;
- Protects water quality; and
- Mitigates stormwater permitting and permit compliance costs.
To achieve these goals, the project will:
- Create clear standards and processes that can be consistently and efficiently administered;
- Develop hierarchical development standards and design specifications for: streets and roads; sidewalks, pathways and trails; driveways and highway accesses; internal circulation and parking; streetscape features (such as signage, lighting and plantings); and related low-impact development/green stormwater infrastructure.

The standards developed must factor in the infrastructure's:
- Land use/zoning context (village/downtown/transitional/suburban/rural);
- Traffic volume/congestion/safety; and
- Modality: transit, vehicular, bike, pedestrian.

Hemmerick played a short video from Urban3 highlighting the significant expense of right-of-way infrastructure to municipalities and the necessity to consider how land use affects a municipality’s ability to pay for and maintain infrastructure and services.  [Urban3 highlights tax yield per acre as a framework for municipal affordability, as well as stewardship of land as a finite resource; a more in-depth video is here.]  Hemmerick suggested that amenity-rich right-of-way improvement concepts without a grounding in Milton’s fiscal challenges (as a community with low-density spread) is something to keep in mind.  He challenged the committee to consider a property’s tax yield per unit of infrastructure: sewer line, water lines, hydrants, sidewalks, conduit, streetlights, stormwater treatments, street trees, road signs etc.  Hemmerick also noted how right-of-way investment can spur high-yield development. 
Finally, he reviewed the consultant selection and process ahead.  The Board authorized the Manager to finalize the contract with PlaceSense and VHB as the top-ranked firm.  They will be present at the next meeting.  Lindsay later noted that having a hierarchical menu of choices for the committee to consider will be important.

6(A).  Election of Officers
Motion by Taylor to elect Lindsay Chair.  Second by Micklus.  Passed.  Motion by Brisson to elect Micklus Vice-Chair.  Second by Taylor.  Passed.  Motion by Micklus to elect Couillard Clerk.  Second by Brisson.  Passed.

6(B).  Regular Meetings
The Committee selected the 2nd Tuesdays of the month at 6:00 p.m. as their regular meeting date and time.  Couillard said that there could be a potential conflict next school year, and the Committee agreed to review this if it becomes an issue at that time.  The Committee identified a maximum meeting length of 2 hours for the meeting with a target of 1.5 hours.

6(C). Project Priorities
The committee identified the following to inform and guide the consultant for the next project phase: review of summary findings, technical review, and development of preferred alternatives.  (While some of the items below highlight issues and opportunities that could land outside the scope of this regulatory project, they are seen as important planning considerations to building a more functional system of infrastructure development, operation and long-term maintenance).

·         No clear trajectory for infrastructure improvements/investments by the Town (lighting, sewer, water, landscaping, intersection improvements).  
·         Lack of a clear plan for targeted and concentrated investments in specific areas planned for growth.  If we can’t do everything, where can we invest?  How do we move away from being reactive?
·         Ability and affordability to connect to services.  What can we do about barriers to entry for existing development and new development in areas planned for growth – especially when the enterprise depends on subscribers?
·         Not fully pedestrian friendly (sidewalks gaps, lack of crosswalks, speeding, etc.). 
·         Parents don’t feel like there are safe routes to school.
·         Many bikers do not feel safe; bike infrastructure does not offer this as a credible choice even for high-confidence, risk-tolerant riders.
·         Decades of planning for multi-use pathways, no pathways to show.
·         The walk/bike network does not consistently link key destinations (schools, library, employment centers) or provide regional links to other communities.
·         Speeding.
·         Transit stops for bus line are unappealing: poorly defined, provide no area to sit while waiting, and provide no shelter.
·         Over-dependence on north-south, linear corridors (like US Route 7):  lack of connectivity, lack of network, lack of planned improvements in the project queue to stay ahead of traffic demands as Milton grows (e.g. left turn lanes, lights, crosswalks, road parallel to US7 etc.).
·         Milton struggles to get projects through the pipeline and stay ahead of traffic demands.
·         Lack of lighting makes some areas feel less safe.
·         Infrastructure standards do closely connect to land use planning or traffic volume/road typology; public works specifications offer narrow a set of choices.
·         Too many conflicts between the Town’s ordinances.
·         Too much standing water and ice in roads and on sidewalks; too many drainage issues, no specifications for green stormwater infrastructure.
·         Oversized infrastructure in some cases, undersized infrastructure in other places (affecting emergency services access).
·         Unpredictable development outcomes.  Inconsistent application of the regulations and specifications in planning, development review and highway access permitting over the years, confusing expectations.  Lack of technical capacity.
·         Town struggles to keep up with road maintenance/funding.
·         Lack of gateway treatments to Town Core (place-making arrival indicators), especially at secondary gateways.
·         Mix of uses that cause compatibility issues (traffic and infrastructure needs); conflicts that frustrate economic development and development patterns.
·         Lack coordination between governments and jurisdictions that maximizes Milton’s influence: Town, RPC, VTrans.
·         No I-89 interchange in Milton; concerns about US Route 7 and Exit 17 capacity.
·         Difficulty for visitors to find destinations in town without wayfinding signage.
·         Concerns about over-exposure from private signage, but also hesitations about limitations on signage.  What’s the right balance of noise along our roadways?

·         Infrastructure that is built to be maintained by a Homeowners Association that ends up failing or being accepted as public (with no consistent standard applied or is substandard and becomes a taxpayer liability).
·         Poorly built or executed construction accepted as a public liability (failing sidewalks, sidewalks that hold water, drainage issues in the ROW).
·         In-house engineering technical expertise, institutional knowledge and administrative capacity to achieve follow-through.

·         Map resources and destinations (especially as people rely more on online mapping tools for wayfinding).
·         Prioritize areas for improvements and develop hierarchy.
·         Look to areas that present a high potential development and redevelopment (growth).
·         Strengthen public access to key amenities and assets (especially waterway access and recreational venues).
·         East-west Parallel connectors providing alternatives to US Route 7.
·         Traffic calming and speed enforcement.
·         Separated multi-use pathways between key destinations, including regional destinations.
·         Invest in expanded infrastructure.
·         Street parking
·         Green stormwater infrastructure.
·         Clear project pipeline and coordination among planning tools, resources and funding and governments (Town Plan, Capital Plan, RPC Unified Planning Work Program, RPC Transportation Improvement Program, VTRANS planning, Highway Dept. work program).
·         Clear standards that can be consistently, cost-effectively and efficiently administered for new and upgraded infrastructure.  Develop clarity!
·         Complete streets, especially in new development.
·         When tackling a project, closely consider how to leverage the crew and resources to be more than just the minimum.
·         Protect waterways and natural resources.
·         Wayfinding signage, placemaking gateways.
·         Official map.
·         Road diets.
·         Railway station in Milton at creamery.
·         Advocacy for I-89 interchange at W. Milton Rd.

·         Close-knit, small-town, family-oriented community.
·         Reverence for property rights and individualism.
·         Hard-working, service-oriented.
·         Frugality, cost-effectiveness, affordability, low maintenance.
·         Safety, especially for kids.
·         Accessibility: expanded choice and equity for all modes of travel (walk, bike, transit, personal vehicle, freight).
·         Clarity, consistency, predictability, fairness.
·         Transparency and competence.
·         Sustainability (consideration of carbon, waste, water quality impacts)

The committee ended by discussing some general logistics, noting the importance of involvement from Public Works and the Fire Department and continued cooperation among Boards, Commissions and Committees.


Motion by Micklus to adjourn at 7:43.  Second by Kinner.  Passed.

Draft filed with the Town Clerk this ___________ day of _____________, 2017.

Minutes approved by the Commission this ___________ day of _____________, 2017.

John Lindsay, Chair                                                                                                                  /jmh

Final Minutes filed with the Town Clerk this ___________ day of _____________, 2017.