OFFICE OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION
Town of Halifax, Vermont
PLANNING COMMISSION SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
March 15, 2016
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:07 p.m. Planning Commission members Sirean LaFlamme, Bill Pusey, Brian McNeice, Stephan Chait, and Linda Lyon were present, as were John LaFlamme, Rick Gay, Ray White, and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and Additions to Agenda
Zoning Administrator Recommendation
At their March 8th meeting, the Commission requested letters of interest from potential Zoning Administrator candidates. In response they received a letter from Dan Menerey, Ray White was present this evening to speak on his own behalf, and Rick Gay said Rick Mirucki had intended to call Gabriel to discuss the appointment. As Gabriel had not spoken to Mirucki she called him as the meeting opened. Mirucki advised he had decided to decline.
Ray White told the Board he was willing to serve in the absence of other qualified candidates, but would be satisfied to step aside should someone else be available. John LaFlamme briefly recounted events in 2006, when he (LaFlamme) was on the Selectboard and Menerey was Chairman of the Planning Commission and Zoning Board. At that time, several actions taken by Menerey related to a possible zoning bylaw infraction resulted in the Selectboard voting to terminate Menerey’s appointment to the Planning Commission and requesting his resignation from the ZBA. Menerey chose not to resign; he was removed from the ZBA following a November 2006 public hearing. Rick Gay, who was zoning administrator in 2006, recalled tensions and confusion associated with the aforementioned zoning violation. Hindsite is 20-20, he said; none of us had any civil service experience at the time.
General discussion thereafter covered qualities and skills desirable in a zoning administrator, and past local experiences enforcing regulations. Linda Lyon spoke of the varying ways individuals have of interacting with others, and asked for any other information of relevance. Menery knows the law, said Gay, but he’s not a people person. He (Menerey) retired early, so he has time for this. White, with a full work schedule, had concerns about the amount of time involved, especially in the event of court action on a zoning violation. Gay could not provide an estimate of hours given to the job, but said out of an average 35 permits issued per year, he had to follow up on eight or ten. ZA compensation is in the form of permit fees, minus $10 to the town for recording fees. In response to a question from Lyon, White said he had served on the Halifax Planning Commission and Selectboard in earlier years.
Gay said permit fees have not been changed in 10-15 years. Lyon suggested reviewing the fee structure to determine whether the current rates adequately compensate the zoning administrator and cover processing. She advocated consideration of this issue at a future meeting.
Conversation turned to the possibility of locating candidates in addition to those currently under consideration. Lyon felt the Commission had two suitable candidates they could recommend, but suggested the alternative of writing a job description and advertising the position. Planning Commission members agreed to put the matter before the Selectboard and, with the Selectboard’s approval, post a candidate search. Rick Gay and Stephan Chait volunteered to collaborate on a written job description and notice.
Hearing of Visitors
The meeting was adjourned at 8:12 p.m.
Interim Planning Commission Secretary