Pittsford Planning Commission Meeting
March 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, Alicia Malay, Elysa Smigielski, Beverly Peterson
1. Call to order
The meeting was called to order at 7:03PM by Dave Mills – Vice-Chair.
2. Approval of Agenda
A motion was made by Mark Winslow and seconded by Kevin Blow to approve the agenda as presented. The motion passed unanimously.
3. Approval of Minute
. January 26, 2017
A motion was made by Kevin Blow and seconded by Colleen Hobbs to approve the minutes of January 26, 2017 meeting. The motion passed with two abstentions – Mark Winslow and Rick Conway.
4. Public Comments
There was no discussion held.
5. Rutland Regional Planning Commission Presentation
Elysa Smigielski stated the planners at the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC) are going around to the local planning commissions, particularly when towns are updating Town Plans to determine if any training or presentations are needed from the RRPC. Various members at the RRPC have been assisting the Pittsford Planning Commission with the update. David Soulia stated he has not been able to connect with Steve Schilds at the RRPC regarding the maps that require tweaking. Rick Conway reported he has been in touch with Steve Schilds regarding the land use inventory and Mr. Schilds confirmed the zoning districts are the same and are taken from the same database. He stated the flood plain map is also needed. Mr. Soulia stated the map in the zoning regulations is the one that was approved, but an enlarged map is needed. Mr. Conway stated Attorney Kuepfer advised that the Planning Commission is good to go with the zoning map and suggested the Planning Commission advise the Select Board as a courtesy.
Elysa Smigielski provided recommendations for the Flood Resiliency Chapter. If there is storm history included, it was suggested to make it town specific, rather than regional-wide information. For the hazard mitigation plans, it was suggested to include town-specific projects and action items, such as Gorham Bridge updates or repairs, as the State likes to see actionable items for flood resiliency as well as the entire plan. Ms. Smigielski stated the Hubbardton Town Plan is the most updated plan that the RRPC has worked with and suggested using this as an example. Ms. Smigielski stated the Town Plan could have goals, but suggested focusing on quality, not quantity.
Dave Mills provided a report of the recent RRPC meeting. There was an Act 250 hearing for Clark’s Tire and Service and there was no regional impact as far as RRPC is concerned. Mr. Mills advised that since 1998, Efficiency VT has a law that zoning administrators have to pass out permitting information on the VT Residential Building codes and the form that goes with them. Jeff Biasuzzi stated builders are liable to complete the form after a certain time after completion of a project and ramification is up to 7 years of legal liability after the project. Mr. Biasuzzi stated they mandate the Zoning Administrator offers the information, but they do not provide the booklet. Mr. Mills stated he has requested copies of the booklet be provided to the Zoning Administrator. Mr. Mills stated in the Energy Committee at this point in time, commercial wind is off table for Rutland County, but they want homeowner wind. The new maps on energy resources were provided to the RRPC from the State of Vermont. The map provided outlines biomass and solar. Next month, Mr. Mills will receive a map that will be specific to Pittsford and will distribute to the PC members. Mr. Mills stated for Rutland County to generate 174 to 225 megawatts of power per day it would require 1500 acres of land. The Town of Pittsford uses 31.1 gigawatts of power per year that would equate to 85 megawatts per day. The Regional Planning Commission is figuring 8 acres of solar per megawatt, which would require 682 acres of solar for the Town of Pittsford. The data is based on the total load for the Town of Pittsford. The latest State recommendation is that when the RRPC does its regional plan, they set aside 60 acres per megawatt, which would equate to 5,112 acres or 20% of the Town in Pittsford. Mr. Mills stated this is a lot of land and he wanted to make sure the people of Pittsford are aware of this proposal. Elysa Smigielski stated the figures tend to change every month. Rick Conway stated this is based on new solar and one major thing is that most of the older systems are being shipped to third world countries as they do contain many hazardous materials and there is not a disposable plan. They are not fully sustainable because they can’t be converted to the new solar and Mr. Conway asked what is in place for recycling the panes. Ms. Smigielski stated that is out of the RRPC’s control and knowledge. Mr. Mills stated there is a company in AZ that is refurbishing older panels. Ms. Smigielski asked if the Planning Commission needs assistance with the Energy section. David Soulia stated Ed Bove was going to email a punch list for the Town Plan. Ms. Smigielski requested a current draft of the Town Plan to review. She noted the RRPC reports back to the State and it would be good to be able to provide them information by June 30th. Ms. Smigielski also volunteered to assist in helping to get the Plan through.
6. Election of Chair and Vice-Chair
A motion was made by Chuck Charbonneau and seconded by Kevin Blow to appoint David Soulia as the Chair and Dave Mills as the Vice-Chair of the Pittsford Planning Commission. The motion passed unanimously.
7. Misc. Commission Items
Chuck Charbonneau asked if the State is going to mandate or recommend that the Town Plan’s include an energy section. Dave Mills brought this subject up at the RRPC meeting and suggested the maps not come out until the public is advised of this program. It was noted this is going to be a voluntary plan; however, Peg Florey had indicated they talked about eminent domain. He stated 5 to 6 acres seem to be what it takes to make 1 megawatt per hour. There is no discussion of funding, but they want the RRPC to lay it out for the region. The gist of what the State wants to happen is once the actual town map is received, they want the local planning commissions to go to the individuals. Rick Conway stated the map is not legible and this is lost time in working on the Town Plan. Dave Soulia stated if one looks at the history of the legislation, there was eminent domain in the language. Mr. Conway stated the eminent domain proceedings are very complicated and he would like to see specifics brought to the meeting, as this is open loose language.
8. Continue Town Plan Updating Process
David Soulia stated the Planning Commission would be postponing the Energy section. Mark Winslow Stated the Housing Vision and Goals first paragraph should be rewritten on Page 56. Mr. Winslow stated it is important to rewrite this section, as there are limited spots in the village due to sewer capacity unless there is a contained or well system put in. Rick Conway stated in questioning John Haverstock about the status of sewer capacity, he was advised there is going to be a hearing in August and it looks like the Town could double the capacity from the current 250 users. Mr. Conway would like to establish a dialog with the Town to determine what is actually available. Mr. Conway volunteered to discuss this item with the Select Board. It was noted the Housing Visions and Goals should be spelled out correctly. Mr. Winslow stated the first section of the Basic Housing information is good. The last line of the paragraph should be clarified and checked for validity. Mr. Winslow suggested also rewriting paragraph one under Basic Housing. The first sentence of the next section is accurate and highlights taxation. The next three paragraphs would apply to Mr. Soulia’s email regarding the census and it was suggested to work off the census data and rewrite it properly and confirm the last line is still true. The information on the household units requires a rewrite and there needs to be discussion on the housing for senior citizens. Mr. Winslow also suggested commenting on the older houses in Pittsford. Rick Conway researched the Green Historic District, and recovered documents that discusses it in the 1989 Plan. The VT Preservation Historic website indicates that in 1981 there were 33 properties entered into the Historic Preservation Register that needs to be noted in the Town Plan. Many of these houses, including the Forrest property cannot make material changes to the fronts of the houses. Peg Armitage advised that the Green District had been filed in Washington, DC. Mr. Conway advised the State wants to preserve the rural character of the village and there could potentially be grants available. Mr. Winslow stated this has to be done by individual property owners, but the grants do require the State placing a lien on the property for a certain number of years. Mr. Winslow stated under households, the three paragraphs need to be updated and more data will need to be researched. On page 58, Final Note of Interest, it was encouraged to strike the paragraph. Under Affordable Housing, the last two paragraphs and the graph on page 59 need to be updated. Mr. Winslow suggested the assessment of acres and what is being done should be its own paragraph and should be noted in the land use pattern as well as the housing section. The paragraph after the graph on Elderly Housing in town needs to be updated and the last sentence is inaccurate, as there is a lot of subsidized housing and many people in town get funding from the Section 8 Federal Program. Beverly Peterson volunteered to request information from the Housing Trust on the Section 8 information. On Regional Housing Challenges, Mr. Winslow suggested striking this section as it is repetitive. In the Housing Challenges in Pittsford, water and sewer capacity need to be updated and information will be requested from the Select Board. It was suggested that information in this section be expanded upon. Mr. Conway suggested information on Arch Street also be included in the Plan. Mr. Winslow noted that a paragraph on aging housing is relevant but suggested there should be information included on new housing and if the Town is unable to expand village opportunities, it needs to be open to new housing in other parts of the town. Mr. Winslow stated the first and last sentence in the paragraph on Transportation makes sense, however, the remainder of the paragraph is more of an opinion, but additional information could be added. Under the section Pittsford Actions in Housing, Mr. Winslow suggested the section be reevaluated as a lot of it talks about things that may not apply today. There needs to be a plan for new housing outside the village, as well as in the village. Jeff Biasuzzi suggested this is a section that updating housing also assists in energy conservation, which is part of the State’s energy program and there could be funding options referenced. Mr. Winslow stated Page 61 regarding Economic Development would require some rewrites. There are some lines that need to come out to fit today, but most of the section is written well. Pittsford does not serve as an economic hub, but it was thought that Pittsford needs to be. David Soulia stated in reading through previous and current Town Plans, they share similar concepts concerning controlled growth and maintaining the rural aspect. He stated from an economic consideration it is flat lined and in comparing the two, the overriding theme was to restrict growth. Mark Winslow and David Soulia volunteered to rewrite this section. It is thought that the goals and action steps should be done as a group. Mr. Winslow stated the last section has a few good paragraphs and a couple that need to be stricken. It was noted that wildlife corridors was struck from the zoning and should be struck from the Town Plan. On page 65, Mr. Winslow suggested eliminating the first three paragraphs and thought that new housing opportunities could be rewritten. The last two paragraphs of the section were also struck, as it was not thought they are necessary. Colleen Hobbs stated Rick Conway and she worked on the overall Vision section. During the process, Ms. Hobbs reviewed other plans and questioned if the Planning Commission would like to solicit more information from the public. She stated the 1989 plan has common sense type of goals and thought that the plan was very friendly and open to economic development. Ms. Hobbs stated if the Planning Commission is interested in aggressively going after peoples’ opinions that will take time. Mark Winslow noted that additional information would be obtained from the public hearings that will be required as it is important to get opinions of the townspeople. Rick Conway advised that he has written a draft vision. Mr. Conway noted that in reading other Town Plans, he proposed to change the beginning to a Vision Statement.
Mr. Conway read the following:
“The Town Plan is a document with several pages of detailed information projecting goals and objectives. The central concept is simply:
To preserve the historical character of Pittsford by encouraging residential and commercial growth within existing village centers while promoting continued uses of surrounding lands for agriculture, forestry, recreation and other permitted uses designated within Pittsford’s Zoning Regulations.
The above Statement is the theme of this plan.”
The Planning Commission was in agreement with the vision Statement. Rick Conway stated the Planning Commission needs to stay focused on the update of the Town Plan. In the statute, Mr. Conway stated it indicates that if something is not compatible, it can be specified that it is not compatible in Pittsford. Mr. Conway suggested setting a deadline for the completion of the rewrite. Mark Winslow stated there was a deadline set early in the process and suggested reviewing the timeline for the Town Plan at the next meeting and recommit to the process and map out what is left to do.
Jeff Biasuzzi stated Shawn Erickson has done his part on the Transportation plan and has specific goals for the Highway Department. Randy Adams has drafted the Recreation section. These will be ready for review at the next meeting.
9. Schedule Date for Next Meeting
April 13, 2017 – Special Planning Commission Meeting
A motion was made by Mark Winslow and seconded by Dave Mills to adjourn the meeting at 9:02PM. The motion passed unanimously.
The Pittsford Planning Commission