SHAFTSBURY -- The Shaftsbury Planning Commission met on Tuesday in an ongoing effort to update the town plan.
"The old town plan repeats things, chapter after chapter. That redundancy is something we're trying to remove," said one board member.
While most of the editing done at the meeting involved fixing typos and removing redundancies, the commission spent much of the meeting talking about the evolving demographics of the town of Shaftsbury. The town's population has been relatively stagnant since around 2,000, and has been getting statistically older during that time. The board suggested that the reason for this might be that college-aged people were leaving the town, and there weren't enough employment opportunities to draw people into Shaftsbury from outside.
These statistics and others will prove vital to the planning commission as they work to update the town plan, the last version of which was approved by the Select Board on May 4, 2009. The commission noted the lack of job producers in Shaftsbury as an area that could be improved upon.
The commission also discussed a passage discouraging ATV use in Shaftsbury. ATV trails are often illegal, as written permission to ride on private property from the property owner is required to be carried by the rider at all times. As trails may stretch for miles, it's impractical for riders to carry letters from each property owner along the trail. ATVs also damage the topsoil, and the trails can cause severe cases of runoff onto local roads. No decision was made about including the passage, which would only have discouraged the activity, not banned it.
The commission was unable to meet during their last scheduled meeting time, on Oct. 8, because only two members were in attendance and at least three are required for a quorum. Four members of the five-person commission were in attendance for Tuesday's meeting.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB.