The meeting was called to order at 6:30 PM by Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman.
Select Board members present: Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Thomas Hooker, Vice Chair, W. Joseph Gagnon, Jane Cornell, and David Trombley. Also present: David Soulia, David Mills, Jim McRae, Bonnie Stewart, Trish Lewis, Chuck Charbonneau, Deborah Reynolds, Rick Conway, Kevin Blow, Brian Kamuda, Alicia Mala, Elizabeth Morgan, Tharon Malay, Ernie Clerihew, Peter Wilson, Donna Wilson, Craig Pelkey, Laurie Pelkey, Kevin White, Craig Ferreira, Ted Gillen, John Haverstock and Kelly Giard – Recording Secretary.
J. Haverstock stated that the Public Hearing was being held following the Planning Commission submission of the Town Plan to the Select Board.
There were no comments from the Select Board.
Jim McRae stated that he has read the proposed plan and appreciates the work the Planning Commission put into the document. However, feels that it is a bit “loosey goosey” and there should be input from the businesses that are in Town.
Alicia Malay stated that there is “not enough strict language” with regard to Act 250 surpressing growth and economic development and does not want to see Pittsford become another Route 7 Rutland.
Trish Lewis recommended that the Select Board reject the presented draft and encourages vigorous Town workshops for setting the Town up for 2020 and beyond. Ms. Lewis stated that the young people need to have input as the young people are not remaining in Town.
T. Pelkey read the letter from the Rutland Regional Planning Commission that stated two suggestions for approving the proposed Town Plan.
Ernie Clerihew inquired about the results of the survey that was conducted. David Mills, member of the Planning Commission, stated that there were 66 surveys returned for the time period of August 2016 – January 2017. Mr. Clerihew stated that there needs to be more input and there are people that are willing to help on the project.
Barb Lalancette stated that she compared the 2 plans and needs better information in regard to the insertions and deletions between the 2 plans. Ms. Lalancette stated that her property is divided into two zoning districts and stated that the maps needed to be formatted the same within the Village District. Mr. Mills stated that there were no map changes and they were received from the Rutland Regional Planning Commission.
Tharon Malay thanked the Planning Commission. However, she stated that there were people who wanted to help with the project and requested the Select Board reject the Plan.
Dave Soulia, Chairman of the Planning Commission, stated that the language in the Plan does not allow for further development within the Village District and the State and Rutland Regional Planning Commission make the decisions on Village “packing”. Mr. Malay stated that the verbiage on this topic is confusing and hopes that this verbiage does not encourage the levelling of existing structures for the construction of strip malls.
Mr. Soulia stated that adoption of a new Town Plan is time sensitive as the current Plan was grandfathered and is due for renewal every 5 years. However, the next Plan will be due in 8 years, with more complex topics.
Rick Conway, member of the Planning Commission, explained that the current Town Plan expires on December 19 and if there are any Act 250 projects, the current Plan has “no weight”. Mr. Conway stated that the Planning Commission held a required Public Hearing on October 17, which only two residents attended; the survey was out for comments and the Town Plan went to statutory requirements (such as contacting neighboring towns via certified mail) with no response.
Mr. Conway stated that he worked with the Rutland Regional Planning Commission. The proposed Plan was discussed at the Rutland Regional Planning Commission for their input. Mr. Conway explained that the Zoning Regulations will not change until the Town Plan is in place and also explained that there will be more State- mandated regulations that will need to be included. Mr. Conway also explained that there is an amendment process available, at which the public can express their concerns.
Ms. Morgan inquired about the consequences if the current Town Plan expires. Mr. Conway explained that the Town Plan does expire but the Zoning Regulations do not expire. Mr. Soulia explained that the survey that was conducted had some questions that were intended to “fire up” the community and there was no real input on these topics. The Planning Commission welcomes any recommended amendments. Mr. McRae inquired about the specifics of the amendment process. Mr. Conway stated that a written request to the Planning Commission is required for them to review, take any action, reach a decision, hold the required public hearings, forward to the Select Board for their consideration and required hearings (similar to this process). Mr. Conway stated that there is a current amendment request for the Route 3 Commercial District, however, this cannot be handled until the proposed Town Plan is passed.
Ms. Malay also stated that it is the responsibility of the residents to be involved in the processes, however, there is a transparency issue and the Town website is not easy to navigate.
Laurie Pelkey state that the townspeople did not know about the process and that calls made to the Town Office were not returned.
Ms. Morgan stated that the language included in the Town Plan is too vague and the verbiage on Town growth needs to be cleaned up. Mr. Conway explained that the home occupation section was addressed and an attorney was used to be sure the verbiage followed the State statutes. Mr. Soulia stated that the minutes of the meetings reflect that the Town “can’t pack more into the village”. The public needs to come forward with feedback on these topics.
Bonnie Stewart inquired if the Zoning or the Planning Commission regulate the size of businesses. Mr. Soulia explained that both boards work together on this process.
Selectman Trombley expressed disappointment in the public for not attending the public hearings in October and that the Planning Commission members put a lot of time into the project and no residents appeared at the Planning Commission meetings. There were 13 items that were brought to the Select Board the last time this process was presented and the Planning Commission acted on all of them.
Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by D. Trombley to approve the proposed Town Plan with the 7 minor changes requested by the Planning Commission; the two changes recommended by the Rutland Regional Planning Commission; and with an updated to Village District Map. Motion passed unanimously 5 -0.
There was discussion concerning the posting of the meeting agendas. The agendas are posted on the website and the Municipal Office in advance of the meetings and meetings are open to the public, unless posted otherwise.
The Public Hearing adjourned at 7:15 PM
Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary
Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman
Thomas Hooker, Vice Chairman
Jane Cornell, Selectman
W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman
David Trombley, Selectman