Town of Halifax, Vermont
April 12, 2011
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM. Members in attendance were Howard Alboum, D. Chris Estep, Norman Fajans, Brian McNeice, Sirean LaFlamme, and Bradley Rafus. Commissioner William Pusey arrived after the hearing of testimony for Application #11-01. Others in attendance were Margaret Stoltzman, Patrick Wilkins, Earl Holtz, Maggie Bartenhagen, Margo Avakian, and Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Mr. Alboum advised that after the public hearing they would be reorganizing and selecting a Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary for the Planning Commission. He advised he had been hesitant to serve as chair but has enjoyed working with the current members of the Commission. He further surprised the secretary with flowers from the Planning Commission and ZBA in appreciation for her work.
Public Hearing: Stoltzman/Chapman Subdivision Application #11-01
The hearing was opened at 7:02 PM and Ms. Stoltzman and Mr. Wilkins reviewed the request to subdivide the property on Green River Road into two lots with a shared driveway and deeded right of way to access the second lot. Mr. Rafus advised that the driveway permit stated the changes that needed to be made: the existing 12” culvert needs to be replaced with a 15” plastic culvert, and the slope of the driveway needs to be cut ½ inch for every foot (state minimum is 15’) so that it is 7 ½ inches lower than the road where it meets.
The Commissioners were each given the opportunity to question the applicants and all were clear on the proposal. The hearing was closed at 7:09 PM. The applicants were advised they would receive the written decision via certified mail within 45 days, and in order to allow them to start sooner they would attempt to have them signed and sent sooner.
Reorganization of Planning Commission
The following nominations were made and approved:
Mr. Pusey nominated Howard Alboum as Chair; Mrs. LaFlamme seconded the nomination which carried 6-0-1, with Mr. Alboum abstaining.
Mr. Alboum nominated Norman Fajans as Vice Chair; Mr. Estep seconded the nomination which carried 6-0-1, with Mr. Fajans abstaining.
Mr. Alboum nominated Phyllis Evanuk as Secretary; Mrs. LaFlamme seconded the nomination which carried 7-0.
Approval of Minutes
Mrs. LaFlamme moved to approve the minutes of the March 8, 2011 as written.
Mr. Estep seconded the motion, which carried 7-0.
Maggie Bartenhagen gave an update regarding the Commissioners’ request for clarification on what the WRC can do for them. She advised that the time allotment is approximately 15 to 20 hours per year. This is not a cut and dried rule, and with possible grants they might be able to assist more. The Planning Commission should request specific areas in which they want WRC assistance. She further advised there are grants that might be available and the WRC will write the grants if needed.
Peter and Joan LaFogg informally reviewed their proposal. He had previously explained his proposal but a complete survey plan was not available at that time. Mr. McNeice advised that it is a wise thing to have a stipulation in the deed that maintenance of the right of way is a shared responsibility of both landowners.
The public hearing for final plat approval will be on May 10th.
Earl Holtz was in attendance to support Mr. Estep if so needed. He has been working with him on the language regarding Broadband communications for inclusion in the Town Plan.
Mr. Estep asked Mr. Holtz to summarize what they have so far.
Mr. Holtz advised that they were trying to tie in to the state’s objectives for Broadband and he has not been able to make contact via email, the person he was trying to reach was Karen Marshall but the messages came back undeliverable. He will try by telephone and see if that works. Once he gets those objectives then they will work on tying them in to our town objectives. They will continue to work on it and update them as they have new information.
The Commissioners had a short discussion of how the Broadband section should be listed in the Town Plan. Mr. Fajans suggested that as there is already a section for telecommunications that if they broke this section out into subsections that would be the place to add this in. All of the members agreed that this is of vital importance to the town.
Mr. Estep advised that one aspect of the Broadband project is that there may need to be as many as four towers for transmission. These towers need to be above the tree line. There are also repeaters that may have to be strategically placed to boost the signal. These do not need to be on the higher towers, but could be on a house or barn. They had a short ending discussion and welcome updates when available.
Mr. Estep advised that members that he had read a packet of information about the relocation of power lines along Moss Hollow Road. Mr. Rafus advised he was aware of it and that it had been in the works for a long time.
Regarding the development of subdivision regulations it was decided that the members should review the three sets that were received from WRC. They will look over the regulations from Newfane, Putney, and Marlboro. At a future meeting they will discuss what they would like in the Halifax version.
They agreed that it is important to put subdivision regulations in place to make it clear what is required, and to protect the Commissioners and the town in the decisions regarding subdivisions.
Mr. Alboum advised that the ZBA would reorganize immediately following this meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk