Pittsford Planning Commission Meeting
February 23, 2017
Board Members Present: David Soulia, Kevin Blow, Dave Mills, Rick Conway, Mark Winslow, Chuck Charbonneau, Colleen Hobbs
Board Members Absent:
Also in Attendance: Jeff Biasuzzi – Zoning Administrator
1. Call to order
The meeting was called to order at 7:07PM by David Soulia – Chair with the understanding that the meeting was not properly warned so there will be no voting. All discussion will be recorded and ratified at the next meeting.
Rick Conway questioned the continuation of the meeting, as he does not want to compromise the integrity of the process. The agenda was posted in the town office and in two places in town, but the warning notice needs to be published in the town office and two other places in town for a special meeting.
2. Approval of Agenda
Rick Conway stated there is an agenda item to elect a Vice-Chairman and Chairman and this is action is typically done after town meeting and would be proper to proceed in that manner.
3. Approval of Minute
This item was postponed to the next meeting.
4. Public Comments
There was no discussion held.
5. Election of Chair and Vice-Chair
This item was postponed to the next meeting.
6. Continue Town Plan Updating Process
Mark Winslow reported on his research of Cooperstown, NY. The town is where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located and therefore gets a lot of tourist traffic and they have worked hard to keep the integrity of the town. Mr. Winslow reported they have designed their process to be incorporated through zoning, instead of having a town plan. They allot responsibilities through zoning and the zoning is by designated blocks. They have built their zoning to handle the town growth. Mr. Winslow noted this process does not apply to what the Pittsford Planning Commission is currently doing with the town plan.
Dave Mills reported Omya has revised that section with some minor wording changes. Mr. Mills and Mr. Winslow have revised the Agriculture section; however, it is currently in bullet form. A review of the Forestry section was also completed. Both Agriculture and Forestry sections will completed by the next meeting.
Rick Conway followed up with the Historical Society and noted they are working on that section. There has been no further discussion with this group and Mr. Soulia advised that he would reach out to the Historical Society. Mr. Conway questioned the status of the map issue. David Soulia reported the Regional Planning Commission is aware of the issue and there will be a discussion with Steve Shields. Mr. Conway also spoke with the listers regarding a land use inventory for Pittsford and they will provide information to the Planning Commission by the end of next week. Mr. Conway noted that Colleen Hobbs and he would be working on the Vision section.
Jeff Biasuzzi reported that Shawn Erickson is still working on the Public Works section and Mr. Biasuzzi will follow-up with Randy Adams concerning the Recreation section. Mr. Biasuzzi reported that there has been one additional survey received. He has taken the data that Mr. Soulia had complied and organized it into two formats that are reader-friendly and highlight the pluses and minuses of the survey. Mr. Biasuzzi asked the Planning Commission to review the document and provide input. Permission has been received to distribute the results at town meeting and on election day. Mr. Biasuzzi stated the annual report indicates the close of the survey will be March 10th. It was noted that this action should be ratified at the next Planning Commission meeting. Mr. Biasuzzi suggested the Planning Commission focus on the areas that they would like more information on and develop a short survey that could also be distributed at town meeting.
Mark Winslow questioned the status of the Energy section. David Soulia stated this section would not be included in the town plan at this time. Dave Mills reported the Regional Planning Commission presented the maps that the state had developed at the last meeting and noted they are colorful, cryptic and very confusing. It was suggested that the maps need to be redone to make them clearer as the colors blend together and the maps are very grainy. There is consideration to break down the state into quadrants. With regard to wind power, it was advised that there is very little area for this type of energy and it was questioned whether solar power could be substituted for wind power. Ed Bove had received this request from many towns and advised that the state is now considering this change. The state would like to see small homeowner-type wind sources used. Mr. Mills stated this project is a fluid, ever-changing subject. Mr. Mills noted that Mt. Holly is the number one spot for wind power and it is all national forest. With regard to the town plan, it was the consensus of the Planning Commission that an Energy section should not be included until the state has confirmed what they want. An Energy section could be added as an amendment. Mr. Conway suggested that due to the contradicting information, the Regional Planning Commission representatives should record the meetings to have substantial evidence. It was questioned what the area towns are doing. Mr. Biasuzzi reported that Wallingford is making an effort to establish substantial deference. West Rutland had passed their town plan before the substantial deference language had been proposed and he is not sure of Castleton’s opinion on this matter. Mr. Mills stated information was provided at the meeting indicating that Rutland County would require 1200 acres of solar. Mr. Biasuzzi noted the national forest in Mt. Holly may be receptive to leasing land for projects like this and they are not opposed to solar. With the political climate to raise money, he can see them leasing land for solar. Dave Mills stated it is not the desire to cut down the forests to install solar.
Mark Winslow stated the last large section to review is the Housing section. It was noted that relative to this section, Baird Morgan has placed a deposit on the Forrest property and is in contact with the Housing Trust of Rutland County. This will be something that will be discussed during the revision of the Housing section.
David Soulia suggested the Planning Commission revise the town plan to allow future Planning Commissions the ability to loosen the zoning regulations; citing the inability to change Route 3 zoning due to the town plan restrictions. Mr. Soulia reiterated that consideration should be given if there are areas of zoning that there is a desire to change, it should be included in the town plan. Dave Mills stated the Vision section of the town plan should include this verbiage, as well as information in the Housing and Economic Development sections. Mr. Soulia suggested all Planning Commission members review the Housing and Economic Development sections for discussion and revision at the next meeting. Mr. Conway stated the Cemetery Association also wants to be involved in the town plan review and he will reach out to this Association.
6. Miscellaneous Commission Items
Dave Mills stated there was also discussion at the Regional Planning Commission meeting regarding Act 250 for Dollar General. It was noted that Pittsford is a “pencil town” because there is a block of houses and very few places to do any changes in the village. As far as the Dollar General location, this was a block in town where it could be placed. In considering this, they understand there are very few spots in town for development, so consideration could be given to expanding out to enable development. In revising the Town Plan, as long as it is noted in the Plan, this is something that can be done to grow the town to go either north or south on Route 7 or west on Route 3. Mr. Mills stated during the Dollar General discussion, it was noted that a traffic study had previously been completed when the post office was considering a move to this location and the results had deterred that project. Rick Conway stated he had chaired the Traffic Study Committee for the post office and the issue was access, not the amount of traffic. Mr. Mills stated with the line of site coming off Plains Road to Route 7; there is a sign that will block the view and was the only issue that the Regional Planning Commission had with the Dollar General. Rick Conway noted they are all set with the Agency of Transportation. Jeff Biasuzzi stated Dollar General did a recent traffic study and there were no issues with the traffic. Mr. Biasuzzi had suggested that with the intersection with Plains Road that a right turn lane could be added. Rick Conway noted that he had recused himself from the Zoning Board regarding this subject, as he felt it would be a conflict of interest. He wanted to see how they were going to approach to comply with the Pittsford zoning regulations. Mr. Biasuzzi noted that the developer is trying to work out some of the issues with access.
Mr. Biasuzzi noted that the results of the survey were about 2.1% of the population and is a reasonably average expectation. After review of the results, it was suggested that the Planning Commission members email Mr. Soulia or Mr. Biasuzzi with a recommendation of a short survey to distribute at the town meeting that focus on the hot points from the current survey.
Mr. Soulia noted the election of the Chair and Vice-Chair and ratification of the discussion from this meeting will be done at the next meeting.
Dave Mills advised that going forward he will be the Rutland Regional Planning Commission representative, with David Soulia as the alternate, subject to the Select Board’s approval.
Rick Conway suggested getting future warnings out the prior week to the scheduled meeting. Jeff Biasuzzi suggested the warnings be submitted the Wednesday of the prior week to allow for posting.
Rick Conway stated the recent Town of Pittsford Newsletter included information from the Zoning Administrator regarding enclosures that require permits. There has been several phone calls with regard to a storage container on Route 3 that the fireworks people want to use questioning the requirement of a permit because of the newsletter. Mr. Conway advised this item was sent to the Zoning Board and a decision had been made and there was no reference of where it had to be put. Mr. Conway also noted that he received a call from Mr. Keith questioning whether storage containers and tents need a permit. Mr. Conway stated the Zoning Board made the determination that it could be placed on Blanchard’s lot and that should close the issue. Mr. Keith will be attending the next meeting to discuss this item. Mr. Biasuzzi advised that he had received a written complaint from a neighbor and he had to follow-up on this item. Mr. Biasuzzi stated in discussing the item with Mr. Keith, he indicated there was going to be a change and Mr. Biasuzzi stated he did not make a big deal of this. Mr. Biasuzzi noted the storage container issue is statewide. Chuck Charbonneau stated there was a Planning Commission vote to exempt storage containers. Mr. Biasuzzi stated this incident happened prior to the changing of the zoning ordinance. With regard to the fireworks storage container, Mr. Biasuzzi had talked with the fireworks people and they are going to move it. The police chief was concerned with people parking on the shoulder of Route 7. The Select Board approved all of this and he noted that he is fine with it. Mr. Biasuzzi advised that he receives many calls regarding storage containers. Rick Conway stated if someone puts a storage container on their property, the Zoning Administrator’s decision is appealable to the Zoning Board. Rick Conway noted there has been precedence set and Mr. Biasuzzi has set precedence in placing this item in the newsletter. Mr. Biasuzzi noted it is good to educate people regarding the regulations for storage containers. Rick Conway stated if it is defined in regulations, it comes before the Board and that decision can ultimately be appealed to the court. Mr. Biasuzzi read the excerpt from the Pittsford Newsletter: “Any “assembly of materials” that encloses over 150 square feet in area will likely need a Town permit. This includes long-term placement of storage containers, frame-&-fabric “tents” and agricultural structures.” Mr. Biasuzzi stated this could be clarified under exceptions. Mr. Conway thought that these types of items, such as RV’s, were taken out of the zoning regulations. David Soulia stated this item could be amended in the zoning regulations once the town plan is completed and approved.
8. Schedule Date for Next Meeting
March 23, 2017 – Regular Planning Commission Meeting
The meeting was adjourned at 8:23PM.
The Pittsford Planning Commission