OFFICE OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION
Town of Halifax, Vermont
PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
August 8, 2017
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m. Planning Commission members Turner Lewis, Bill Pusey, Kaitlin Stone, Patricia Dow, and Alice Aldrich were present, as were Stephan Chait and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and Additions to Agenda
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Alice Aldrich made a motion to approve the 7/11/17 regular meeting minutes as written. Patty Dow seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0-2, with Turner Lewis and Kaitlin Stone abstaining.
John Bennett—WRC Assistance with DHDC Municipal Planning Grant Process
The Halifax Town Plan, adopted by the voters in 2014, is due to be presented for readoption in 2019. Halifax has the option of applying for a Municipal Planning Grant (MPG) from the Vermont Department of Community Housing and Development (DHDC) to assist in the Town Plan update process before readoption, and Windham Regional Commission’s John Bennett was present at tonight’s meeting to discuss the grant application process. Bennett strongly recommended submitting a grant application, although he cautioned that there would be more grant requests than available dollars, so some towns would be disappointed. Last year, $48,000 was available for MPGs, while grant requests totaled $84,000. The timing is good for Halifax, said Bennett; if a grant were to be awarded late in 2017, the Planning Commission could draft an updated Plan in 2018 with WRC assistance, and then hold the required public hearings prior to Town Meeting in March 2019.
Bennett distributed copies of the DHDC MPG program description and reviewed that informaton with the Board. This will be the last year that grants of $8,000 or less will not require a cash match. Bennett reviewed the various grant application competitive criteria with Commissioners. As Vermont State statutes regarding flood resiliency have changed since the Halifax plan was last adopted, he suggested adding a flood resilience section to the plan. Stephan Chait generated a discussion of State enhanced (renewable) energy planning (Act 174), and Bennett answered a number of questions on that topic.
In order to apply for an MPG, the Selectboard must pass a resolution in support of the application, and an online account must be established. Bennett provided contact information for assistance with this requirement, and the Commissioners have an application instructions document for reference. Bennett also provided copies of past WRC Halifax Town Plan review comments and spent some time reviewing an Essentials of Land Use Planning and Regulation handout which was used at a WRC training session in June. Returning to the subject of flood resiliency, he explained that while Halifax has one small area near Route 112 which is designated flood plain, there are now other areas in town, not presently covered in the Town Plan, which have been identified as river corridors.
The Planning Commission will hold a special meeting on August 22nd to prepare a municipal resolution request for the Selectboard.
Hearing of Visitors
Kaitlin Stone make a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:40. Bill Pusey seconded the motion, which passed, 5-0.
Interim Planning Commission Secretary