OFFICE OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION
Town of Halifax, Vermont
PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
January 12, 2016
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 8:14 p.m. Zoning Board members Sirean LaFlamme, Bill Pusey, Brian McNeice, Stephan Chait, and Linda Lyon were present, as were Doug Grob, Paul Taylor, Janet Taylor, Arthur (Jesse) Ferland, Sue Kelly, Lesley Pollitt, John LaFlamme, Nicholas Bartenhagen, Cara Cheyette, Bonnie Brown, and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and Additions to Agenda
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Linda Lyon made a motion to approve the 12/8/15 Planning Commission regular meeting minutes as written. Stephan Chait seconded the motion, which passed, 5-0.
Lyon made a motion to approve the 12/16/15 Planning Commission public hearing minutes as written. Chait seconded the motion, which passed, 5-0.
Denison/Act 250 Permit Application: Discuss Submitting Findings & Conclusions to Environmental Commission
For the Planning Commission’s consideration, Stephan Chait distributed draft copies of a proposed Findings and Conclusions document he had prepared for submission to the Environmental Commission in the Denison Act 250 permitting procedure. The document includes the Planning Commission’s previously submitted comments on Criterion 10: Conformance to Town Plan, the written decision on the local conditional use permit application, and some commentary which concludes with the statement that the Act 250 application should be denied.
Linda Lyon made a motion to sign the document and submit it to the Act 250 Environmental Commission. Chait amended the motion to read submit the document with a cover letter, and Brian McNeice seconded the motion. In discussion prior to the vote, Sirean LaFlamme noticed some missing copy. Investigation revealed several people who had printed electronic files on their own printers got varying results. Bill Pusey, remarking on a reference to $93,000 in increased road maintenance costs (8% of the town budget), wondered if that information was inaccurate. During the Joint ZBA/Selectboard meeting earlier in the evening, Brad Rafus had stated that no core samples were taken, and accurate estimates could not be made without those tests. Lyon said that dollar figure was offered in opposition testimony as an assumption based on AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) standards, and was presented in the Planning Commission document as an estimate. We’re saying these numbers were presented, and never refuted, Lyon added.
Pusey asked Chait to point out which portions of the document were his words. Pages 1, 2, and 25, Chait answered. LaFlamme said she would prefer not to submit findings to Act 250, as the conditional use decision was currently under appeal in the Environmental Court. Chait said he had talked to April Hensel (District #2 Coordinator), and she had told him it would be acceptable to submit the materials. Pusey recommended getting a second opinion—outside the Board—on the document. We could ask the Selectboard, or Bob Fisher, he said; I don’t want to propose anything to a state board that doesn’t need to go to them.
Lyon restated her original motion, to remove one bracketed notation, insert the signed copy of the conditional use decision, and submit the document with a cover letter to the Environmental Commission as Findings and Conclusions on the Denison Act 250 permit application. Brian McNeice seconded the motion, which passed, 3-2, with Sirean LaFlamme and Bill Pusey opposed.
Hearing of Visitors
Lyon said she had not yet composed a thank-you letter to John Bennett, but would do so soon.
Do we need to meet next month, asked Lyon. Yes, was the answer; the Planning Commission will hold their regular monthly meeting on February 9th. Windham Regional Commission may be prepared to hold their public hearing on Town Plan approval that night—if not, it may be a short meeting.
Pusey made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Lyon seconded the motion, which passed, 5-0. The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
Interim Planning Commission Secretary