OFFICE OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION
Town of Halifax, Vermont
PLANNING COMMISSION PUBLIC HEARING
December 16, 2015
Call to Order
Chairwoman Sirean LaFlamme opened the hearing on the revised Halifax zoning bylaw amendments at 7:07 p.m. in the Halifax Town Offices. Planning Commission members Sirean LaFlamme, Brian McNeice, Stephan Chait and Linda Lyon were present; Bill Pusey was unable to attend. Also present were Lesley Pollitt, Arthur (Jesse) Ferland, Cara Cheyette, Nicholas Bartenhagen, Mary Horne, Janet Taylor, Paul Taylor, Norman Fajans, Bonnie Brown, Maggie Bartenhagen, and Robbin Gabriel.
LaFlamme read the notice of public hearing into the record as follows:
In accordance with the provisions of Title 24, Sections 4441(d) and 4444, of the Vermont Statutes Annotated, the Planning Commission for the Town of Halifax, Vermont, will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, December 16, 2015, at 7:00 P.M., at the Halifax Town Offices, 246 Branch Road, Halifax, Vermont, to hear public comments on proposed amendments to the town’s zoning bylaws. The purpose of the proposed changes is to improve the quality of the collaborative process between property owners, the Zoning Administrator, and Zoning Board of Adjustment; increase understanding and simplicity of administration of the Halifax Zoning Ordinance in accordance with the duly adopted Town Plan, and clarify processes, procedures, and the roles and responsibilities of town governing bodies. The entire geographical area of the Town is affected by the proposed amendments.
LaFlamme then invited comment from the floor, asking whether anyone had a particular article or section they would like to address. Bonnie Brown complimented the Commissioners on their work. Brown had discovered several missing words or lines of type in the online .pdf version of the text. Under Section 505, Ponds and Impoundments, some words had been dropped, and several lines were missing beneath the chart in Section 804, Summary Table. The Board referred to original documents to retrieve the correct wording in each instance. Cara Cheyette pointed out a discrepancy under Section 501, Earth and Mineral Extraction, #15, which, after review, was corrected by moving conditions a, b, and c, to follow the text in item #14. Cheyette asked about the reasoning behind the revision process. The Commissioners explained they had worked together with WRC’s John Bennett to craft a document reflecting updates and changes in state law, made comparisons with approved zoning regulations from surrounding and similar towns, and considered specific needs in Halifax. Brown initiated a discussion about noise level regulations which led into an extensive review of the noise provisions but did not result in any changes to the proposed wording aside from shifting the position of one phrase for better clarity.
The Board reviewed emailed comments from a citizen on the proposed revision. Maggie Bartenhagen thanked the Commissioners for a job well done. LaFlamme told Nick Bartenhagen the proposed revisions would be presented as a single “yes” or “no” article on the March town warning, but prior to that would be subject to a Selectboard hearing. Cheyette said the pre-town meeting informational meeting would also present an opportunity for discussion. Linda Lyon made a motion to accept the typographical changes to the proposed zoning amendments and pass the revised document to the Selectboard. Brian McNeice seconded the motion, which passed, 4-0.
The public hearing closed at 7:58 p.m.
Interim Planning Commission Secretary