Town of Halifax, Vermont
November 8, 2011
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:07 PM. Members in attendance were Howard Alboum, Sirean LaFlamme, Brian McNeice, Cara Cheyette, and William Pusey (arrived after approval of minutes). Norman Fajans and Bradley Rafus were absent. Others in attendance were Margo Avakian and Secretary Phyllis Evanuk.
Approval of Minutes
Cara Cheyette suggested a more positive clarification in the third sentence of the section on flood hazard to read “Flood insurance is a prerequisite for homeowners to be able to obtain federally-backed mortgages from lenders”.
Mrs. LaFlamme moved to approve the minutes of the October 11, 2011 meeting as amended.
Ms. Cheyette seconded the motion which carried 4-0.
No new projects have been submitted that require Planning Commission review.
Ms. Evanuk advised she had spoken with Ron Gouin regarding requirements to enable him to “possibly” make an apartment above the Post Office. She advised him that he should check with the state regarding regulations for public buildings and that he should wait until he has a clear plan of what he wants to do before he asks the Planning Commission to review it.
Regarding the status of the Municipal Planning Grant, it has been submitted and hopefully a decision will be made sometime in December.
Schedule Site Visit
A site visit to review the location and configuration of four new ten-acre lots and the extension of an existing driveway to access the proposed parcels was scheduled for Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 3:30 PM at the property of Halifax Falls LLC on Route 112.
Town Report from Planning and Zoning Boards
The Board members reviewed and adjusted the format of the report and then approved it for submission to the Auditors to the town report.
Review of Proposed Flood Hazard Area Regulations
The Board reviewed and discussed the proposed regulations and the possible impacts to the town. It was noted that the designated flood area on the FEMA maps is the only official area of concern that would require flood insurance when seeking a federally-backed mortgage. Concerns with the perceived ambiguity of the various statements regarding septic systems, and water supply systems, and in some places these are called sanitary sewer systems, on-site septic systems, or sanitary waste disposal systems.
Ms. Cheyette suggested that they change the wording in this section to make it more easily understood. Questions were raised regarding the oversight on septic systems.
Some corrections in the document were made to correct section numbers, and change terms from administrative officer to zoning administrator. Ms. Cheyette also felt that in each place that a state statute is cited it should spell out the chapter, and section rather than the shortened way that is commonly used (24 VSA 4444(b) should be stated as Title 24 Chapter 117, §4444(b)) so that people would know where to find it.
It was noted that even at the public hearing they have the ability to make changes before sending it on to the Selectboard, so they have time to consider those items under waste disposal systems, septic systems, etc. and possibly develop a clearer definition.
The Board reviewed the Town Plan in relation to how its goals are furthered by the adoption of Flood Hazard Area regulations. Their conclusions were used in their report to be sent to the statutory parties along with their approved draft.
At the close of the public hearing on November 29, 2011, the Commissioners will review all suggestions and make final adjustments to the regulations and prepare their report to the Selectboard.
The draft as currently written, with the changes mentioned at this meeting, will be sent to Ned Swanberg at Vermont DEC and to Dinah Reed at WRC for their review and comments.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 PM.
Phyllis H. Evanuk