OFFICE OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION
Town of Halifax, Vermont
PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
November 13, 2018
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. Planning Commission members Turner Lewis, Bill Pusey, Kaitlin Stone, and Alice Aldrich were present; Jason Ashcroft was absent. Stephan Chait, Robert Leete, Olive Quinn, Jennifer Preston, and Robbin Gabriel were also present.
Changes and Additions to Agenda
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Kaitlin Stone made a motion to approve the 9/11/18 meeting minutes as written. Alice Aldrich seconded the motion, which passed, 4-0.
Aldrich made a motion to approve the 9/13/18 public hearing minutes as written. Stone seconded the motion, which passed, 4-0.
Stone made a motion to approve the 9/26/18 special meeting minutes as written. Aldrich seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0-1, with Turner Lewis abstaining due to absence.
The October 9th meeting and hearing minutes could not be approved due to various absences from those sessions. They were tabled until the December meeting.
Stone made a motion to approve the 10/29/18 public hearing minutes as written. Lewis seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0-1, with Aldrich abstaining due to absence.
Enhanced Energy Plan Committee Discussion
Chairman Turner Lewis first read, for informational purposes, the recently distributed notice requesting volunteers to assist with the Planning Commission’s energy plan project:
“The Halifax Planning Commission is looking for any interested citizens to be part of the enhanced energy planning force. It will be under the direction and guidance of Marion Major, Energy Planner of the Windham Regional Commission. This project, a coordinated effort to develop a plan to meet the requirements of Vermont’s Act 174 Regional and Municipal Energy Planning Standards, will involve research specific to Halifax as well as a few joint meetings with Newfane, Putney, and Townshend.”
Lewis introduced Bob Leete, who had responded to the notice and was invited to tonight’s meeting. He read Leete’s email to the Planning Commission, as follows: “I would be interested in being part of the Enhanced Planning Force. Before my retirement I held a construction supervisors license, a Master Plumber, Heating Tech, Oil Burner Tech and HVAC Tech.
Being part of the team to help the Windham Regional Commission and the Town of Halifax to achieve the goal of the Act 174 would be a way for me to contribute. Also I can take on the ADA Coordinator and Energy Conservation Officer if needed.” Lewis thanked Leete for stepping forward, and told him he would be working with Alice Aldrich on the project. Lewis had prepared a packet of pertinent materials for Leete, who agreed to be the primary contact person when work with Windham Regional began.
The Board discussed an email related to a High Meadows grant application for a proposed forest ecosystem integrity project. Stephan Chait said that while he was involved with the High Meadows-funded Green River Watershed Alliance, this was a different project. The email indicated a number of towns, including Guilford, Dover, Newfane, Wardsboro, and Marlboro, were involved in this new endeavor, but neither Chait nor anyone else present had further information. Windham Regional’s Emily Davis is assisting with the grant application, and Chait offered to talk to her to learn more. Lewis recommended that, if Halifax were being considered for inclusion in the group of towns involved in the effort, our town name be included in the application.
Hearing of Visitors
Jennifer Preston told the meeting she had recently moved to Halifax, lives with Tristan Roberts on Thurber Road, and is an architect with a small practice out of her home. She has an interest in energy conservation and while she was not prepared to immediately volunteer for the current enhanced energy project she wanted to learn more about it. The Commissioners gave her some printed information and Leete shared his contact information.
Preston also spoke of her concerns related to a Thurber Road neighbor’s request that the Town discontinue a portion of the legal trail. The Planning Commission was not aware of the request; Gabriel said the topic would be on the Selectboard’s November 20th agenda for discussion. Preston said she valued the trail as a public right-of-way, which she believes has been in place for hundreds of years. The road was of great importance when it saw use during Irene, she said. Olive Quinn, who works with Preston on Thurber Road, added that they see a lot of people using the trail for recreation. Bill Pusey asked whether a complaint had been made. There’s no complaint about the way we’re using our property, answered Preston; our land abuts both sides of the trail. There is a gate, and beyond, the trail is abutted by the old Ray property, which is now Nancy McCrea’s. It’s that section, maybe 500 to 1,000 feet, that she (McCrea) wants to close. It would segment the road. Does the Town plow Thurber Road?, asked Aldrich. Preston said the Town plows to the McCrea property, but does not plow the trail portion through the Roberts’ property. Aldrich said she would attend the next Selectboard meeting.
Kaitlin Stone left the meeting at 7:35 p.m. to answer an emergency response call.
Pusey made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:36 p.m. Aldrich seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0.
Planning Commission Interim Secretary