Town of Halifax, Vermont
August 9, 2011

Call to Order

            The meeting was called to order at 7:11 PM.  Members in attendance were Howard Alboum, D. Chris Estep, William Pusey, Norman Fajans, Brian McNeice, and Bradley Rafus.  Sirean LaFlamme was absent. Others in attendance were Margo Avakian and Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.

Approval of Minutes

            Mr. Estep moved to approve the minutes of the July 12, 2011 meeting as written.
            Mr. Fajans seconded the motion which carried 6-0.

             Mr. Alboum advised that he had just received a letter of resignation from Mr. Estep and he asked him to explain the circumstances to the other members.

            Mr. Estep advised that he wished he did not have to resign and had tried to work it out so that he could continue.  He explained that due to the fact that his sons and grandchildren are in Chicago, and there is a need for him to be there for extended periods of time.  He had hoped he would be able to arrange it so he could fly back to participate in the Planning Commission and ZBA meeting however it won’t be possible.  He advised that when he is able to return to Halifax he hopes that he will be able to rejoin the Commission if there is an opening and if the Selectboard is willing to reappoint him.  He stated that it has been an honor to serve on this commission and he appreciated the opportunity.

            Members of the Commission all expressed their regrets and wished him well.           

1.                   Hearing of Visitors:

Mr. Alboum advised that he had expected William Bell from Collins Road to attend this meeting to discuss the drainage issues from Cara Cheyette’s development and improvements to Hall Road.  The members discussed the drainage and Mr. Rafus advised that she had changed her plans and the road improvements and the necessary utilities will be brought in from Michael Drummey’s property and not from the Collins Road end.   The members agreed that there was nothing they could do about eliminating drainage onto the Bell property.  Mr. Rafus suggested that for future subdivision and development projects they should be sure that issues of drainage and utility installations should be included in the review to be sure they are addressed before final approvals are given.  It was agreed that these issues do need to be addressed in advance of the project being approved.  While they do not have jurisdiction over the placement of power poles, having the information available for the abutters at the time of the public hearing could save a lot of problems after the fact.

2.                  LaFogg Appeal Update:

The status of the Environmental Court proceedings was discussed.  The parties are in the process of submitting materials necessary prior to any actual court hearing.  It was noted that it is quite unlikely that any of the commissioners would be asked to appear in court.  For anyone interested in this appeal the folder with all paperwork (in reverse chronological order – newest on top) will be available from the Town Clerk for review during the normal office hours.

3.                  Halifax Falls LLC 4-lot subdivision application

Mr. Alboum advised he had heard a complaint regarding the unsafe condition of making a left hand turn out of the property from the existing road. Mr. Rafus advised that he had asked for clarification from the state regarding whether the town has jurisdiction or the state as far as approval of the access.  The commissioners discussed the additional items they need prior to scheduling a formal hearing on this proposal.  Items included state permits, road standards, and clarification of the reasoning for the location of the lots and waste disposal systems (there are concerns with the isolation shields extending onto abutting properties and the sharing of systems).  They all agreed that a site visit was necessary in order to clearly see the property and the proposed configuration of lots, wells, and wastewater systems.  The site visit should include the Selectboard so that all parties are on the same page.

It was mentioned that there are two houses on the remainder land already. One house Mr. DeForest has lived in for more than twenty years. A second dwelling has been a rental.  This is another good reason for a site visit, to clarify what actually exists at the site. After some more general discussion it was agreed to request a site visit with them and advise them of the permits that need to be in place prior to any decision on the town level.

Mr. Rafus advised he also wants to check into whether or not they would have to comply with the new bridge standards that went into effect in July of this year.

Ms. Evanuk will send a letter to Ms. Rizio stating the things they require (including a site visit) before considering setting a public hearing.

4.                  Planning Grant

Ms. Evanuk advised that the applications are available now and she will speak with John LaFlamme about the application.

Mr. Alboum advised he would now recess the public portion of the meeting to enter into deliberative session to discuss zoning enforcement.

The Commission entered deliberative session at 8:53 PM and reentered open session at 9:27 PM.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:27 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Phyllis H. Evanuk