Town of Halifax, Vermont
July 8, 2008
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:03 PM. Board members in attendance were Chair Christina Moore, Frank Maltese, Craig Stone, Norman Fajans, Paul Placentino, and Howard Alboum. William Pusey arrived at 7:15, after the Minutes were approved. Board Member Allan Dacey was absent. Others in attendance were Margo Avakian, and Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Review of Mail and Communications
Mail received since the last meeting was circulated and reviewed by the members.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Stone noted that there was a typographical omission on page three, which will be corrected [the letter k was missing from the work ask].
Mr. Maltese moved to accept the Minutes of the June 10, 2008 meeting as corrected.
Mr. Stone seconded the motion, which carried 7-0.
Rules of Procedures and Ethics Policy Review
Mrs. Moore advised that the work of the past nine months is reflected in the document she was now distributing and was basically in the final form. After a brief perusal, the Board felt they should review the document at home and defer any vote on acceptance until the next meeting.
They quickly reviewed to make sure there were no immediate questions.
Mrs. Moore advised that she was proud of the work the Board had done and felt that this was a significant accomplishment.
Mr. Alboum agreed and complimented Mrs. Moore on her work and noted that this document would play a major role in decisions regarding procedures and ethics questions for the Commission. He further advised he wished that the Selectboard would adopt a similar ethics policy to address issues they might have.
Mr. Maltese questioned the number of days for an appeal. He noted that he had written in 15 days on this document and wanted to know if it should be there. There was a short discussion of the 15 day period, which is effective after a zoning permit is issued.
The next meeting will be August 12th at which time they will have a final discussion of the document and vote on approving it for the Planning Commission use.
Planning Commission Vacancy
Mr. Fajans asked if the Selectboard had filled the vacancy yet.
The secretary advised that the appointment was deferred to the next meeting, as no one had expressed an interest. The notice has been posted for several weeks with no response.
Mr. Fajans asked if anyone had notified Mr. McNeice of the vacancy, as he probably has not seen the posted notices. No one on the Commission has advised him of the opening, but he will be contacted by the secretary to give him the opportunity to respond if he is interested.
Mrs. Moore advised that even though the office computer had crashed, she has an electronic copy of the document. They need to start working on the re-write, as the current one expires in June 2009.
She asked if they wanted to approach the re-write in the same way they did the Rules of Procedure, or if they had other ideas on how to approach it.
Mr. Fajans suggested that they readopt the current plan and then start on re-writing it after that, as they have less than a year before it expires.
Mrs. Moore suggested that they should start on it now, and go at whatever pace they need to. If in February or March they see that they are nowhere near finished, then they apply to readopt the current plan, and continue on the re-write. At least they will have finished some of it and be nearer completion.
Regarding the way to approach this re-write Mr. Maltese advised he would prefer the page by page review and discussion just like they did for the procedures document.
Mrs. Moore advised that this would mean that members would need to review in advance and come prepared to discuss whatever pages they will be reviewing.
Mrs. Moore advised that starting on the first Tuesday in September she will be attending school and will not be available for Tuesday meetings. She advised that she was prepared to resign. She asked for input from the members.
After a short discussion of alternate meeting nights it was decided to vote on a change tonight so that it would give advance notice to the public that a change was planned.
Mr. Maltese moved to change the Planning Commission meeting night to the second Wednesday of the month beginning in September.
Mr. Pusey seconded the motion which carried 8-0.
A notice of the new schedule will be posted.
Mrs. Moore asked if the members would like to start on the Town Plan review now, as they were all there anyway.
Mr. Maltese advised he had a question regarding subdivisions. He requested a copy of the law regarding subdivisions, “exactly how it is written”. He advised he wants to know if it says any subdivision or division, and he wants to know if it says two or more parcels.
A brief discussion followed regarding interpretation of the wording of the law. The problem seems to be between the words division versus subdivision.
The pertinent portions of the law will be found and included with the draft minutes of this meeting when mailed to the members.
Returning to the matter of how to proceed with the Town Plan re-write, Mr. Alboum advised there are some areas that need extensive review and consideration, such as economic development, and possibly a commercial district. These and possibly other areas need more extensive consideration.
Mrs. Moore advised that at the August meeting they would review and vote on the procedures manual, and then consider the Town Plan. She requested that each member bring his copy of the Town Plan to the next meeting.
They began reviewing the goals listed in the Town Plan. Discussion of affordable housing, local agricultural business, alternative energy resources, and telecommunications facilities were included.
Mrs. Moore added two goals: 16 – encourage locally grown food; and 17 – encourage local alternative energy development. As they proceed they can revisit these goals and expand upon them.
The meeting adjourned at 8:10 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk