OFFICE OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION
Town of Halifax, Vermont
PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
January 9, 2018
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:06 p.m. Planning Commission members Bill Pusey, Kaitlin Stone, Patty Dow, and Alice Aldrich were present, as were John Bennett (WRC), Stephan Chait, and Robbin Gabriel. Turner Lewis arrived at 7:30, while Patty Dow was called away unexpectedly just after the meeting opened.
Changes and Additions to Agenda
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Board members unanimously approved the 11/14/17 regular meeting minutes.
Town Plan Update with John Bennett
This meeting was devoted to laying out a strategy for approaching the town plan update. John Bennett supplied numerous handouts, including a contract between the Town and WRC for signature. He provided copies of WRC review board comments on past updates; these reviews contain recommendations for strengthening the Town Plan. Other handouts addressed flood resilience and Act 171 (protection of forest blocks and habitat connectors). Vermont Statutes, new since the last update of the Halifax Town Plan, now require towns to address both these topics. Bennett and the Commissioners reviewed maps and printed material for an initial overview of the new requirements, then discussed update scheduling.
Both the Planning Commission and the Selectboard will need to hold hearings on an updated plan prior to an article being placed on the Town Warning late in January 2019, in preparation for a vote at the March 2019 town meeting. To adhere to that schedule, Bennett estimated that the majority of the update work should be completed by September 2018. He recommended the Commission study materials in advance, to facilitate work done in meetings, and said they should review the existing plan and note areas for revision other than those discussed tonight. Bennett also spoke about Act 174, energy planning, which is of particular interest to Stephan Chait, who represents Halifax on the Windham Regional Commission. Energy planning in Vermont is still evolving, he said, and intensive work is involved in developing a compliant energy plan. He suggested that while having an energy plan is a good goal, it might be wise to wait for another update round before pursuing that objective in Halifax. The Halifax Town Plan does have an energy element now, he added, and we can review and perhaps enhance it, without attempting to meet full compliance requirements. Chait mentioned that Halifax has enhanced it by contracting with Windham Solid Waste to participate in their solar project.
Hearing of Visitors
The meeting was adjourned at 9:04 p.m.
Interim Planning Commission Secretary