Town of Halifax, Vermont



May 13, 2008


Call to Order


            The meeting was called to order at 7:01 PM.  Board members in attendance were Chair Christina Moore, Craig Stone, Allan Dacey, Frank Maltese, Paul Placentino, William Pusey, Norman Fajans, and Howard Alboum.  Board Member Paul Blais was absent.  Others in attendance were Merrill Mundell, Mr. and Mrs. Francis Brown, Rick Mirucki, Jeff Glaser, Margo Avakian, and Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.


Reorganization of the Board


            Mrs. Moore advised that the first order of business was to appoint a Chair and Vice Chair for the year.  She opened the floor to nominations for Chair.


            Mr. Maltese moved to nominate Christina Moore as Chair of the Planning Commission.

            Mr. Dacey seconded the motion.


            Mr. Maltese moved to close nominations.

            Mr. Placentino seconded the motion.

The motion to close nominations carried 7-0-1, with Mrs. Moore abstaining.


The motion to approve Christina Moore as Chair carried 6-1-1, with Mr. Alboum opposed and Mrs. Moore abstaining.

            Mr. Alboum advised that he had been opposed the last time and was opposed this time.  He advised that his objection had nothing to do with her qualifications , but that he felt she had not lived in the town long enough to know enough about the town to be the chair of the Planning Commission.  “A very important part of being the chair of this group is knowing the sense and pulse of the town.”

            Mr. Maltese advised that he felt that “a good chair should know the Board, and let the Board run it and if someone is a good organizer and can do that, fine.”

            Mrs. Moore advised that her sole ambition for the year is to finish the policies and procedures document that they have been working on.  She further advised that she has been accepted at two paramedic schools and the one she expects to go to runs Tuesdays and Thursdays for a full 12 month cycle.  She expects to resign in August, so the Board will be electing a new Chair in September.  She would like to continue as Chair until then so that they can finalize the policies and procedures that the Boards will follow.


            Mr. Dacey moved to nominate Howard Alboum as Vice Chair of the Planning Commission.

            Mr. Placentino seconded the motion.

            Mr. Alboum advised he would accept the appointment until Mrs. Moore resigns and the Board will be open to nominations again.


            Mr. Maltese moved to close nominations.

            Mr. Fajans seconded the motion.


Mrs. Moore called for a vote on closing nominations.

The motion carried 7-0-1, with Mrs. Moore abstaining.


Mrs. Moore called for a vote on the nomination of Howard Alboum as Vice Chair.

The motion carried, 7-0-1, with Mr. Alboum abstaining.




Merrill Mundell and Mr.  & Mrs. Francis Brown


            Mrs. Moore advised that Merrill Mundell had requested to review a proposed project informally, so that he would be aware of any problems the Planning Commission might have prior to submitting a formal application.


            Mr. Mundell distributed several copies of a plan showing a proposed subdivision which would require approval of two rights of way before the subdivision could be approved.  He advised that one right of way would actually be an extension of an existing driveway, and the other would be a new access from the road.  The proposal is for four lots, two front lots each with a right of way to a back lot.  He further advised that each of the proposed front lots has sufficient frontage exclusive of the 50-foot right of way.

            Mr. Mundell advised that the Browns would like to subdivide the lot to enable their children to have a buildable lot in Halifax.  Each of the proposed lots will meet the zoning requirements.  He advised that the Planning Commission is the first to see the proposal.  It has not been sent to the state for septic approval yet, but he is confident that the plans meet the state requirements also.  

            After informal review and discussion, the Commission advised that a formal request should be submitted for their approval.  Mr. Mundell advised that he would do so.

            A short discussion of the approval process for this proposal followed.  Mr. Alboum inquired about resident input and it was noted by Mr. Dacey that as long as it meets the zoning regulations, there is no need.  Mr. Fajans noted that if it is in compliance, the Zoning Administrator approves the subdivision.

            Mr. Dacey suggested that Mr. Mundell forward a copy of the plan to the Zoning Administrator so that he would be aware of it.


            Mr. Maltese moved to close discussion on the rights-of-way project until a formal request has been submitted.

            Mr. Dacey seconded the motion, which carried 8-0.




Rick Mirucki was in attendance in response to the Planning Commission request for candidates for Acting Zoning Administrator.  He advised he would like to know what is entailed in this position, and would be interested in talking with the Zoning Administrator about it.


            Mr. Maltese moved to recommend to the Selectboard that Rick Mirucki be appointed as Acting Zoning Administrator, and that a letter be sent advising same.

            Mr. Placentino seconded the motion, which carried 8-0.



Approval of Minutes


            In reviewing the minutes Mrs. Moore acknowledged Mr. Glaser, and advised that they have figured out the difference between the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustment duties.  She advised that, “one: there is a book of zoning regulations.”  “In short, the Zoning Board works with the compliance of the zoning laws itself.  So if there’s something that requires variances, or an application of these laws, then it goes through the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The process of planning, the town plan, the documents that go into this, modifications to the zoning laws, the applications for zoning laws, those come out of the Planning Commission.  And the historical confusion has been that pretty much it’s been the same board with the same chair.  So when we organized a short while ago, a year ago, and we had separate chairs and slightly separate make-ups of the boards we sort of lost the understanding, the historical understanding of what the subtle differences between the two boards are.”  

Mrs. Moore noted that the minutes should be modified to insert Mr. Glaser’s name where it said (unidentified).


Mr. Dacey moved to accept the minutes of the April 8, 2008 meeting as corrected.

            Mr. Placentino seconded the motion.

The motion carried 8-0.


Other Business


            Mrs. Moore passed around some of the mail that has been received.  There were state permits, review sheets, and supplemental information regarding Honora Winery and other projects.  


            Mr. Maltese advised that he would like to see the Planning Commission get going on the Town Plan, as the current one is due to expire in 2009.  

            If the Commission is going to consider changes to the Plan, it will take more than the time remaining on the current one.  One option would be to re-adopt the existing plan while they continue to re-write and make changes.  This would give them the necessary time to do a thorough job and develop a comprehensive plan.


            Mr. Fajans advised that with one member leaving in August, and another member who is busy with other boards and committees, he would like to suggest that they consider people to fill in.  He advised that right now Brian McNeice is on the ZBA; wouldn’t it be nice, if Paul Blais resigns, to recommend Brian to fill the slot?

            Mrs. Moore advised that she had another suggestion.  If the Board voted to change the meeting day to one when she did not have classes, she could remain on the Board and assist on the Town Plan.


            Mrs. Moore advised that she would do up a draft of the Policies & Procedures incorporating the changes made so far.  Copies will be available for the Commissioners at the Town Offices.  The document will be scheduled for final revisions at the next Planning Commission meeting.  Once that is completed and approved, they can go on to the Town Plan.



The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 PM.


Respectfully submitted,

Phyllis H. Evanuk