Town of Halifax, Vermont

June 10, 2014


The meeting was convened at 7:10 PM in the Town Office.  Planning Commission members in attendance were Sirean LaFlamme, Brian McNeice, and Bill Pusey.  John Brimmer and Meggie Stoltzman were absent, as was PC Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.  Also in attendance were John Bennett (Windham Regional Commission) and Edee Edwards (Selectboard), and members of the public Janet Taylor, Susan Kelly, Pete Silverberg, Loretta Palazzo, Matt Maranian, Marilyn Allen, Liz Laona, William (Wyn) Cooper, David Brown, Arthur R (Jesse) Ferland, Kevin O’Donnell, Elizabeth J Martin, Carl M Barmen, Margo Avakian, Rick Gay, and Cara Cheyette.

Hearing of Visitors

Jesse Ferland read a statement and request to the Planning Commission.  Citing that 60 or more people in town (including most of those present) have concerns about the Act 250 permit application by Denison / Ashfield Stone for a quarry, he suggested that a strongly worded request from the Planning Commission to the District commission that at least the initial hearing be held during the evening or on a Saturday may be effective to making the hearing and permitting process accessible to citizens who work during the day.  Ferland noted that parties who are not present at the initial hearing lose their rights to raise concerns / appeal later in the permitting process. LaFlamme responded that seemed a very reasonable request given that many of the Planning Commission members also work during the day.

Zoning Updates

John Bennett of Windham Regional Commission walked through more of the current zoning regulations starting on page 15, as the planning commission continues their work to suggest updates the zoning regulations to present to voters for approval in March 2015.

  • Section 407 Temporary Uses and Structures, 2.e.  Change from Halifax Health Ordinance to State Regulations for Wastewater and Potable Water Supply
    o Gay noted that he wanted contact information to be presented.  Edwards noted that at the last meeting, the idea of a “How To” document came up, and that it was thought best to make this a separate document that could be updated more regularly than the regulations themselves.
    o Barmen asked what the Health Officer responsibilities were, and it was noted that the state now handles things like water and wastewater.
  • Section 408.  Later in the evening, a note to update 3.c. to Section 508 was made
  • Section 409 Signs.  No substantive changes noted
  • Section 410 Offstreet parking.  Bennett said the parking space size noted was on the small side, but if nothing had been problematic, changes aren’t necessary.  Edwards asked about the temporary parking shelters that are somewhat common now.   It was stated that they should conform to the setbacks.
  • Section 411: Wetland Areas.  This should be updated to refer people to the ANR permit specialist (working on 404 may apply).  Part 1: There are now specific VT significant wetland maps.  This section may be a place to add references to the newest Shoreland Protection Rules that passed the VT legislature this year.
  • Section 500 Special Regulations: No changes noted
  • Section 501 Earth/Mineral Extraction: McNeice requested the addition of a new #12 (shifting #12 to #13) that will allow for small-scale sand and gravel usage on one’s own property.  Preliminary discussions about ways to scale that, perhaps by a maximum cubic yardage annually, were held.  Other provisions would remain in effect.
  • Section 502 Home Occupations and Home Industry: 9e: reference to 404 changes to 405.  9g. Reference to 413 changes to 410.
  • Everyone agreed that best practice for the new document will be to ensure internal references in the document include both Section number and name of the section.
  • Section 503 Light Industry: 1. Reference to 321 perhaps should be 405, General Performance.  This was not clear.  4. Landscaping is section 408.
  • Section 504 Child Care/Residential Homes:  Bennett will verify Statutes and Agencies
  • Section 505 Ponds, Impoundments and Dams:  Bennett will verify changes to the allowable order of permits—at a minimum, the PC can no longer require the Septic permit be done first, but they may say that construction permit is contingent upon receiving the wastewater.
    o Threshold for state interest in ponds may be 500,000 gallons.
    o Edwards asked about bridges, which are state-managed.  This was suggested for the “How To” sheet.
    o 2. Certification—although this is not descriptive or strongly prescriptive, it was helpful in one past situation, so the PC and ZA felt the language was fine.
  • Section 506 Storage of Flammable Liquids: Spelling of “gasses” to be fixed.    Check agencies involved (1 and 2).
  • Section 507 Bulk Storage of Fuel: Again, order of permits needs updating.  Adding wood pellets alongside of cord word as exempt from this section was discussed and rejected.  1. Define an “adequate” road.  Edwards suggested paved.  Bennett will take it to WRC’s Matt Mann.  2. Update reference to 1989 Building and Fire Code of Vermont as appropriate.
  • Section 508 Planned Unit Development: 6d: remove the section reference (possible was self-referential. 6g. Section 413 should be 410 Offstreet parking.
  • McNeice asked if this section and 509 would be supplanted by Subdivision regulations.  Bennett said no, they can stand side-by-side.
  • Section 510 Campgrounds: Section 1c.  Rejected the thought to add tent platforms or yurts.  2b exceptions: Place a limit on the number of single-travel trailers exempted, e.g. 3 max.

The discussion ended at the bottom of page 28.

Other Business

LaFlamme asked about getting another copy of the Act 250 Denison permit.  Edwards will ask the applicant first, or Patty Dow can make another copy.

Gay stated that the missing wastewater permit came in today.

Edwards noted the Selectboard would be meeting on Traffic Studies with John Bennett on 6/23, starting at 9 am.

It was decided that no additional joint meeting between the PC/Selectboard would be set up at this time, as the permit is still not deemed complete.


The meeting ended at 9:20 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Edee Edwards, Secretary Pro Tem