Road Standards Ordinance
The Lamoille County Planning Commission (LCPC) includes many of the fastest growing municipalities in Vermont. The region’s growth is expected to be 20 percent between 2000 and 2010. The amount of traffic and the number of curb cuts is increasing on rural roads, and miles of private roads are being constructed to serve new homes. LCPC recognized that their member communities lacked the basic regulatory tools and administrative processes needed to ensure a safe, functional system of local roads as development proceeds.
In response, the LCPC developed a model road standards ordinance for their towns, which is also transferable to other Vermont communities. The model is designed to be flexible and is annotated to help guide discussions with local officials. Another feature of the model is that the road standards vary based on functional class and amount of traffic. The model also contains administrative and process sections.
At the start of the Northwest Project, only three of the RPC’s ten member towns had local road standards. None of the towns with zoning bylaws or subdivision regulations referenced local road or driveway access standards. Those with land use regulations had different standards for private streets than for town roads. As a result of the Northwest Project:
- The towns of Belvidere and Wolcott adopted road standards for the first time.
- The Town of Cambridge made significant revisions to their previously adopted standards.
- The towns of Cambridge, Hyde Park and Wolcott now reference their road standards in their zoning bylaws and subdivision regulations. All three require that private streets be constructed to town road standards. The towns also coordinated their highway access standards and permitting process with their zoning standards and permitting so that there is a single permit and review process.