Town of Halifax, Vermont

July 12, 2011

Call to Order 

            The meeting was called to order at 7:07 PM.  Members in attendance were Howard Alboum, Norman Fajans, Sirean LaFlamme, Brian McNeice, and D. Chris Estep.  Bradley Rafus and William Pusey were absent. Others in attendance were Jeffrey DeForest, Scott Tiefenthaler, Jessica Rizio, Earl Holtz, Margo Avakian, and Secretary Phyllis Evanuk. 

Approval of Minutes 

            Mr. Estep moved to approve the minutes of the May 19, 2011 meeting as written.
            Mr. Fajans seconded the motion, which carried 5-0.

             Mrs. LaFlamme moved to approve the minutes of the June 14, 2011 minutes as written.
            Mr. McNeice seconded the motion, which carried 4-0-1, with Mr. Fajans abstaining as he was not at that meeting.

Hearing of Visitors 

            Mr. Alboum advised that Jessica Rizio of Beck Engineering was in attendance to present an informal overview of a proposed subdivision of property on Route 112.  Also presenting with her was Scott Tiefenthaler one of the property owners.

            Ms. Rizio advised that the parcel is 257+/- acres and the clients would like to subdivide it into four 10+/- acre lots with the remaining land to continue to be jointly owned.  The four owners would each individually own one of the newly created ten acre lots.  She further advised that the existing driveway would become a right of way to access the new lots.  The existing house would remain.  She advised that they would need to obtain a state access/right of way permit as it is off a state highway.  She further advised that the existing driveway has two points of access, which the state would most likely direct them to change to a single access from Route 112.  The length of the proposed right of way is approximately 2500 feet in length.  

            The question was raised regarding ACT 250 permits being required for right of way /roads of more than 800 feet.  Mr. Tiefenthaler advised that he thought that the rule regarding that had been eliminated but he assured the commissioners they would check into that before requesting any approvals from them.  

            Regarding the amount of frontage on Route 112, Mr. Tiefenthaler advised it was approximately 1400 feet.   

            Ms. Rizio asked what requirements the town has for right of way/road construction.  She was directed to call the Road Commissioner who would be able to answer her questions.

            The Secretary gave them the general instructions for the process of submitting the formal permit application.

            When asked if they had applied for the state Water/Wastewater permit for this property, Ms. Rizio advised they have not because they didn’t want to apply before they had approval from the town for the lot configurations. She further advised that the well and septic plans shown on the preliminary plan would meet the state requirements and there would be no problem in approving them.  She advised that it would be a problem to readjust the lot lines after the state permit is granted, if the town did not approve the lot lines shown.  She further advised that because the river flowing through the property between the existing dwelling and the proposed subdivision has drainage of more than ten square miles, the state considers the property containing the dwelling a separate parcel.  Therefore the five lot subdivision as far as the state is concerned is separate from the part on the other side of the river.  

            Mr. Tiefenthaler advised the commissioners that the existing logging road was constructed over the path of least resistance, and they propose to utilize that road so as to not further disturb the natural surroundings.  

            Regarding the shared septic systems, they advised that the allowance is 1,000 gallons per day and the proposed houses would only generate approximately 420 gallons per day each.  They noted that there is also no requirement to designate a replacement area as they now allow replacement in the same location as any failed system.

            A short discussion of the strength and size of the existing bridge over the river followed. 

            A copy of all of the application forms that they might need was given to Ms. Rizio.  She was also informed that no final subdivision permit would be issued until all other required state and local permits have been obtained and submitted to the town.

            After a short further discussion, they thanked the commissioners and left the meeting. 

            The commissioners discussed the creation of an approved right of way in order to access the new lots.  While each of the lots would have the required frontage for the district along the proposed right of way (private lane), none of the four lots have frontage on a public road.  They will discuss this further at a future meeting. 

            The secretary distributed a copy of the legal notice to abutters that she had sent regarding the Drummey Subdivision, along with a revised notice to be sent in the future.  She advised that this was in response to Mr. Adamski’s complaint to the commissioners that the notice was unclear and he expected many further opportunities to voice his concerns regarding that application.

            It was the consensus of the commissioners that the original notice was clear and that the revised notice certainly left no doubt that participation in the hearing that was listed in the notice was required if someone wanted to retain the right to appeal the decision. 

            Mr. Alboum advised that he was happy to hear that a site visit to the Drummey subdivision had taken place, but he advised that Mr. Bell was still very upset.  Mr. Alboum had been told that the participants in the site visit had been rude and unaccommodating to the Bells in regard to his drainage issues.  He further advised that Mr. Bell wanted to come before the Planning Commission again and might do so in August even though he has been told that they have no jurisdiction over his situation.

Planning Grant 

            The members discussed the need to develop concise and specific subdivision regulations for the town.  They agreed that if a planning grant was available this year it would help with the technical and research aspects of the project.  Grants need to be applied for online, by the “legislative body” (Selectboard) and should be available soon.

Windham Regional Commission is available to assist in applying if we choose to utilize their assistance.


            The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Phyllis H. Evanuk