OFFICE OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION
Town of Halifax, Vermont
PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
October 10, 2017
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m. Planning Commission members Bill Pusey, Kaitlin Stone, and Patty Dow were present; Turner Lewis and Alice Aldrich were out of town. Stephan Chait, Greg Marguet, and Robbin Gabriel were also present.
Changes and Additions to Agenda
The Board added approval of September’s meeting minutes to the agenda.
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Patty Dow made a motion to approve the 9/14/17 meeting minutes as written. Kaitlin Stone seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Town Plan Update Discussion
Gabriel told the Board the municipal planning grant application has been completed and successfully submitted online. Decisions about grant awards are expected from DHCD in early December. A number of towns are applying for these grant monies, so there is a possibility Halifax will not receive funds. With or without financial assistance, the update process must be completed prior to March 2019 Town Meeting. Gabriel suggested that, should the Town not receive grant funding, the Planning Commission might request monies be included in the 2019 Selectboard budget to cover the cost of some expert assistance from Windham Regional Commission. Bill Pusey advised that, in particular, the Board would need assistance in drafting a new section on flood resilience, text that would be appropriate to the Town’s specific needs while conforming to new State rules and legislation.
Dow said questions posed at the September meeting, regarding a right-of-way, had been resolved. The Zoning Administrator was consulted, a permit issued, and the building’s position was moved.
Hearing of Visitors
Greg Marguet asked how many properties received FEMA assistance after Tropical Storm Irene, and how many of those properties would be included in designated flood-prone areas when the Town Plan was updated to include a section on flood resilience. Marguet mentioned several instances, in Halifax and elsewhere, of private individuals getting assistance for flood damage, but he wasn’t sure who furnished the funds. While Board members were not aware of Halifax property owners receiving FEMA assistance, Dow said that there was no requirement to report such instances to the Town. Marguet wondered whether new flood resilience recommendations would result in expanded requirements for private property flood insurance. What does the town get if they receive the grant?, he asked. It will help us fund expert assistance with the Town Plan update, answered Pusey, including a section on flood resilience. He added that we don’t yet know what specifics will be included in flood resilience language.
Prior to the November meeting, Commissioners will begin reviewing the existing Town Plan and making note of comments or questions to bring back to the Board for group discussion. Stephan Chait said State changes in energy planning may also require revisions in the Town Plan. Chait will research specifics on the energy topic.
Dow made a motion to adjourn at 7:45 p.m. Stone seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Interim Planning Commission Secretary