Town of Halifax, Vermont
July 13, 2010
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:07 PM. Members in attendance were Chair Howard Alboum, D. Chris Estep, Norman Fajans, Sirean LaFlamme, Brian McNeice, and Bradley Rafus. William Pusey was absent. Others in attendance were Alan McBean, Edee Edwards, Earl Holtz, Edie Fenton, Blaise McGarvey, Rick Gay, and Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Estep moved to approve the minutes of the June 8, 2010 meeting as written.
Mrs. LaFlamme seconded the motion which carried 6-0.
Findings for Ashcraft Subdivision
Commissioners in attendance signed the Findings of Fact and Decision for the Allan and Rhonda Ashcraft subdivision #10-03. Once they are signed by all of the commissioners copies will be sent to the owners and applicant. It was noted that subsequent review in six months is required to insure that the conditions of approval have been met. The Secretary will review and advise the Commissioners at that time.
The Commissioners reviewed the preliminary plat for a 3 lot subdivision on Phillips Hill Road. Alan McBean was in attendance to summarize the proposal and answer any questions. He advised that the parcel had been left to six individuals by an uncle. He further advised that there were stakes in place for the lots and for the right of way which will be deeded and referenced in the appropriate deeds. The Chair advised they would set a public hearing date at the end of the evening and he and the owners would be notified.
Earl Holtz and Edee Edwards were in attendance to encourage the Planning Commission to review and update the Town Plan telecommunications section and to offer the assistance of the Broadband Committee. Mr. Holtz advised that they were researching options and could offer input and write a draft for consideration. He advised this would avoid a duplication of efforts.
The Commissioners enthusiastically accepted the offer.
Public Hearing – AKA, LLC
The public hearing on this application was opened at 7:45 PM. Mr. Gay was in attendance to represent the property owners. He noted that Lauren Kurtz had stated that the right of way that had been created years ago to benefit the abutting property owned by Chris Long was no longer needed and she did not want it there. After a short discussion and careful review of the survey, it was located. If this is a deeded right of way it needs to be addressed by attorneys not the Planning Commission. Mr. Gay was advised of this and he will inform the owner.
Mrs. LaFlamme moved to approve the subdivision of as presented.
Mr. Fajans seconded the motion which carried 6-0.
On another matter Mr. Gay advised the Commissioners that Abbott’s Glen would like to exchange a tent site for a 16’x20’ cabin with no plumbing. Because it is a commercial venture, he cannot approve this proposal. He advised them that they should contact Act 250 and then come to the town if it is possible.
The Commissioners agreed that they cannot address the issue until they have a written request/application.
In the matter of the HAM radio antenna structure, Ms. Evanuk advised that she had heard from Bob Fisher the town attorney and basically the situation is that while they cannot refuse to allow the structure, they can put conditions on it such as the location, height requirements, and stipulations regarding removal if no longer in use. It appears that the ZBA should conduct a public hearing and consider the request under conditional use criteria but apply the criteria in a relaxed manner, taking those criteria pertinent to the individual application and consider it accordingly. Basically he meets the setback requirements under the telecommunications requirements in the zoning (Section 605; #2). She advised that the antenna is 85’ and the setback for the district is 50’. It is more than 135’ from the property lines.
Mr. Fajans brought up the question of distance from the house across the road. He began reading the distance requirements under telecommunications requirements which states in part that “Freestanding telecommunications towers or antennas over 20 feet in elevation may not be located in any of the following locations:” “3. Closer than 500 feet horizontally to any structure existing at the time of the application which is used as either a primary or secondary residence, to the property of any school, or to any other building.”
Mr. Gay advised that that condition doesn’t pertain to this application, it is not telecommunications, it is a Ham Radio.
Mr. Fajans advised it made no difference it is still a tower and in his my mind it still pertains for this application. People will still have to look at it. We can still allow it but not closer than 500’ from the house across the road, push it back so it is outside the 500’.
Mr. Alboum advised that if that is a condition, if it was approved for less than that distance someone could complain and they would have grounds.
Ms. Evanuk advised that she and Mr. Fisher had also discussed the possibility of splitting the application into 2 parts to allow Mr. Hammarquist to pour the concrete base in advance of the final approval to allow it to cure the required 30 days and be ready when the final approval was granted. She advised that because a slab could be utilized for other purposes, no problem was seen with doing this. Mr. Gay was here to ask for approval to issue “part A” of the permit to let the slab be poured. However he stated that if the ZBA was going to impose a condition on the location he might not want to do it.
The feeling was that a site visit was needed and measurements taken to insure that the placement was in compliance with the zoning. The Commissioners would not split the application, and advised that a public hearing and site visit should be scheduled. Further discussion was to be continued during the ZBA meeting.
Mr. Gay alerted the Commissioners that the sign permit application form needs to be updated.
Public Hearing Dates
After some general discussion regarding dates and whether or not site visits were needed they agreed that two public hearings would be scheduled for August 10, 2010 meeting: one Planning Commission hearing (for the Reavey et al Subdivision application) and one Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing (for Mr. Hammarquist’s HAM Radio Antenna support structure).
Site visit to Mr. Hammarquist’s property at 6:00 PM with that hearing to follow immediately after, and Reavey subdivision hearing at 7:45 PM.
The meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk