Town of Halifax, Vermont
May 13, 2009
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:25 PM. Members in attendance were Chair Christina Moore, Frank Maltese, Norman Fajans, Craig Stone, Sirean LaFlamme, Paul Placentino, Brian McNeice, and William Pusey. Board member Howard Alboum was absent. Others in attendance were Margo Avakian, William Oglesby, and Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
The floor was opened for nominations for Planning Commission Chair. Mr. Maltese nominated Christina Moore as Chair. Mr. Placentino seconded the motion, which carried 8-0.
Mr. McNeice nominated Howard Alboum as Vice-Chair. Mr. Maltese seconded the motion which carried 8-0.
Mr. Oglesby was in attendance to inquire about the letter he had requested be sent regarding the tax issues he had raised. He also requested that copies of the correspondence be sent to him.
Mr. Oglesby was advised that no response had been received but that a more specific request would be sent as a follow-up to the general request in the first letter.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Maltese moved to accept the minutes of April 8, 2009 as written. Mrs. LaFlamme seconded the motion which carried 8-0.
Town Plan discussion
Mrs. Moore advised that after inquiries made to VLCT, the Secretary of State, and the Windham Regional Commission, they were referred to the Town Attorney. A written reply has been received and the procedure for readopting the Town Plan is clear. She briefly covered the process and suggested that they should decide on the timeframe and a date specific for the first public hearing to be held by the Planning Commission.
Mrs. Moore moved to hold a public hearing for the purpose of readopting the existing Town Plan at 7:00 PM on July 15, 2009 in the Multipurpose Room of the school. Mrs. LaFlamme seconded the motion which carried 8-0.
Mr. Oglesby asked why the Planning Commission did not have the necessary updates, changes and public hearings completed within the time to have it approved before the current plan expired.
It was explained that although they had begun working on the changes, they did not have enough time to finish because they had been dealing with ZBA matters which, with only one meeting a month, took up more time than they had anticipated. It was further explained that with the adoption of the new ordinance in March 2009, the process for approval changed. Prior to the new ordinance the Planning Commission and the Selectboard would hold public hearings and the Selectboard had the authority to approve and adopt the plan. With the change in process, the Town Plan cannot be approved except by the voters through Australian ballot. Due to the current economic situation it had been decided that a special election/town meeting would be more costly to the Town than going for several (9) months without a plan.
Further general discussion followed and Mrs. Moore advised she would work with the Secretary to produce a letter for submission to the Deerfield Valley News and the Reformer. The letter will be given to the commission members for review and approval prior to submission.
It was decided to set the guidelines for participation in the public hearing at the next Planning Commission meeting in June.
The mail was reviewed and appropriately filed.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:08 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk