Town’s building allocation deadline approaching

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Time is ticking for anyone with development ideas in the near future.

Those who want to get in applications for the last building allocation slots in the current growth management system have approximately two months to do so. The last day residents can submit pre-application reviews in time for the Development Review Board to review them by the Dec. 31 deadline is Nov. 1, said Planning and Zoning Director Ken Belliveau.

“There’s a really brief window of opportunity between now and end of year,” Belliveau said.

The current growth management system—laid out in Chapter 11 of the Williston Development Bylaws—runs through June 30, 2015.

Landowners and developers compete for building allocation for a limited number of units in town. The system is set up to ensure that growth does not outpace infrastructure, and it encourages growth in the Taft Corners growth center.

The Development Review Board typically doles out allocation in March, following pre-application reviews that are completed by the end of the previous year. Projects are scored using a point system—the more points a project earns, the better its chance for allocation. Projects can earn points in areas like affordable housing, energy efficiency, mixed housing options, trails, open space and more.

Construction rights for the current system had all been allocated, but the Fontaines ended an appeal for a subdivision in the spring, freeing up allocation for other projects.

Thirty-five units are available in the town’s growth management system—17 in the residential and village zoning districts and 18 in the agriculture-rural zone district.

The Williston Planning Commission last week began considering temporary measures to put in place while the town delves into a new growth management or other system.

“What we’re hoping to do is to be able to craft sort of a short-term stop gap measure to extend the current system or something that closely resembles the current system,” Belliveau said.