Town of Halifax, Vermont
December 12, 2017


The hearing opened at 7:04 p.m. Zoning Board of Adjustment members Bill Pusey, Kaitlin Stone, Patty Dow, and Alice Aldrich were present, with Vice Chairman Bill Pusey presiding in Chairman Turner Lewis’ absence. Jerry Fairbanks was also present, and Appellant Gary Rand joined the meeting by speaker phone shortly after opening.

Gary and Andrea Rand, property owners at 1377 Branch Road, are requesting a zoning regulation variance that would allow them to construct a garage with a 13-foot reduction in the front setback. Board members discussed some of the specifics. Patty Dow explained the building would have a second floor devoted to woodworking, and a second driveway would provide access on that level. Rand’s plan is to cut into the hillside, leaving the road slope side intact. Alice Aldrich said the proposed building would not encroach on the town right of way; it would decrease the 35-foot setback from the property line. He might have to do some blasting, said Kaitlin Stone; the site is situated on ledge.

Jerry Fairbanks, an abutting neighbor on the opposite side of Branch Road, said he has no problem with the proposal, but did want to discuss potential blasting, which could be a problem for wells and foundations. Aldrich mentioned the Rand well is right next to the building site. Rand told Pusey he had applied to the Town for an alternate driveway permit and had been approved. I am hoping to avoid blasting, he continued; when we dug a test pit we found shale-type, crumbly rock, though there is harder ledge closer to the house. There will be very little excavating at the top where the secondary driveway will be located; we should be staying above the ledge. Rand said he did not have an engineer design the building or driveway. Kevin Vonderhorst & Sons will be the contractor for the driveway, the excavation, and the structure. Aldrich asked if the garage could go any closer to the house, and Rand replied that was a possibility, but he wouldn’t know definitely until excavation was underway. Rand told Fairbanks the contractor believes he can excavate to the necessary depth without blasting.

After further discussion, which focused primarily on blasting, Patty Dow made a motion to approve the Gary Rand property variance, with a condition to the variance which will read “should blasting become necessary a licensed explosive contractor will be required with liability insurance covering any unforeseen damages to abutting neighbors, and abutting neighbors will be properly notified of date and time of blasting. The Town of Halifax shall be notified as well.” Alice Aldrich seconded the motion, which passed, 4-0.

Aldrich made a motion to adjourn the hearing. Stone seconded the motion, which passed, 4-0.

The hearing was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Robbin Gabriel
Interim ZBA Secretary