OFFICE OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION
Town of Halifax, Vermont
PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING MINUTES
April 10, 2018
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. Planning Commission members Turner Lewis, Bill Pusey, Kaitlin Stone, Alice Aldrich, and Jason Ashcroft were present, as were John Bennett (WRC), Stephan Chait, and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and Additions to Agenda
As a first order of business, Chair Turner Lewis introduced new Board member Jason Ashcroft. Lewis advised that Ashcroft has volunteered to fill the seat left open by Patty Dow, who has chosen not to serve another term due to her heavy schedule.
John Bennett distributed reference materials relating to the Commission’s upcoming review of land use policies.
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Alice Aldrich made a motion to approve the 3/15/18 regular meeting minutes as written. Lewis seconded the motion, which passed, 3-0-2, with Bill Pusey and Kaitlin Stone (who were absent) abstaining.
Town Plan Update—John Bennett
Lewis presented information he had gleaned from researching the history of the “Great Road” (Old County Road), and the Board discussed how best to clarify a paragraph in the Town Plan history section discussing early roads. Gabriel is still searching for specifics on the Town’s drill field. Kaitlin Stone will be researching information on local helicopter emergency landing zones to add to the health and emergency section of the Plan.
The Commission next turned to a review of the land use section of the plan, discussing policies, recommendations, and district classifications. Some small editorial updates were made. Bennett shared maps and printed material regarding Act 171 (protection of forest blocks and habitat connectors) details and requirements. Habitat blocks and connectors are being considered in relation to those in adjacent towns, and Stephan Chait, referring to an earlier Forest Stewardship project, said our regional forest block has been called one of the best in the state, highlighting its importance. In addition to handing out printed maps, Bennett gave guidance on the use of maps available online. Chait questioned the wording of land use policy #6 in the Plan, which encourages protection of agriculture, forest, and mineral resource lands from development and fragmentation. Chait said he understood agriculture and forest, but mineral resources usually go hand-in-hand with extraction, which can cause fragmentation. Bennett said that item probably tied to State goal #10, which speaks to providing for wise and efficient use of natural resources (see Town Plan page 62). For example, he said, a Town could not access valuable gravel if homes were built on top of the site. The Town Plan Natural Resources map will be updated to include river protection corridors. Halifax already has geomorphic assessments for the North River, Green River, and Branch Brook.
Finally, the Board reviewed the required elements of a flood resilience section which will be added to the updated Plan, and discussed various possible formats for presenting the information.
Hearing of Visitors
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
Planning Commission Interim Secretary