Planning Commission Meeting Minutes
August 24, 2006, 7:00 PM
Planning Commission Members present: Al Vitagliano, Kathy Brown, Don Nickless, Sally Eugair, Thor Konwin, Aric Farrar.
Others present: Aria Brissette, Baird Morgan, John Eugair, Bob Harnish, Bob Sird.
D. Nickless opened the meeting at 7:00 p.m.
Site Plan Review – Shawn Good, representing VT Division of Fish and Wildlife. RE: Permit # 05-80.
The VT DFW is asking to amend the condition placed on permit #05-80 that an animal resistant trash receptacle be installed. They would like to change the condition to state that “if a trash receptacle is installed it needs to be animal resistant”. The initial permit was a request to subdivide a 1 acre parcel from property owned by Shirley Kingsley along Otter Creek in order to use it for canoe and fishing access. A small parking area and sign are to be installed.
The Planning Commission unanimously approved the request for an amendment and Shawn Good departed at 7:10.
The PC invited several members of community organizations and committees to give their input on the Town Plan. Don Nickless and other members presented questions and received answers.
John Eugair, representing the Listers:
“Can the listers put together information on the development that’s taken place in the last 10 years?” John said it would be difficult because all of that information is on paper and it would be very time consuming. However, the Rutland Community Trust may have that information.
“Is there a need for low cost housing?” I don’t really know the answer to that. Apartment costs seem reasonable in Pittsford”. Rutland Community Trust addresses affordable housing so they should be contacted for that information.
“Could you provide an analysis of tax data?” Yes. That information is computerized. There will be adjustments in the Route 7 corridor, which appears to have been over-valued. Adjustments will be done this year. Sale prices are coming in lower than the current appraisals.
“What’s the median value?” (Kathy Brown) We can get that.
“What do Listers do?” (A. Vitagliano) We go out and evaluate property according to guidelines. Sales analysis is done and compared to cost analysis to see if adjustments need to be made.
“Are we still considered a gold town?” (Sally Eugair) Not for several years. There is going to be a rolling re-appraisal. The community will be divided into 3 segments and those will be re-evaluated every few years so the values will change every few years (or might not).
Baird Morgan, representing the Trails Committee and Pittsford Preservation Corp.:
“Are you happy with the town’s trail system?” People who use it are the best people to ask. The Recreation Area trails are used functionally. Split Rock & Chafee Falls trails are the most popular for general recreation. Cadwell trails are the least used in the summer time due to bugs but used extensively for snow shoeing, x-country skiing. Snow mobiles use some trails. The trails are used mostly by non-Pittsford residents. RAPAC advertises trails. Brochures are disseminated throughout Rutland County.
“Should we encourage more people to use them?” For exercise reasons, yes.
“Any town support?” $600/year.
“Does DPW mow?” No. Volunteers mow (Bob and Baird).
“What support would you like from the Town?” We don’t really need more. There are more people on the committee than work to do. However, we need to think about sustainability and recruiting young people. There are 11-12 miles of trails. We’re open to more trail possibilities but the more trails the more people we need to take care of them. We’re managing what we have now well and don’t currently need more help frm the Town. We are running out of brochures. There is grant money for that and grant money is what has helped us publish 2 rounds of brochures and buy a brush hog in the past. Pittsford has one of the most extensive town trail systems in the county. We have a trail license that’s being used as a template for other towns interested in trail systems.
Bob Sird, representing the Water Board:
Bob gave an overview of the Town’s water supply system. 5 springs in the N. Chittenden Area. The Town recently bought the land around the springs from Dave Parker. It’s great water. The state forces us to chlorinate it and b/c of this the 11 families in Chittenden who were getting it pre-treatment for years had to be shut down. We have 2 old honeycomb reservoirs made of stone and brick that give us extra capacity. The system was first laid in 1889/90 (hand dug) and then expanded in 1932.
“Should the Town consider extending it?” First priority is to lay a lot of new pipe to replace undersize pipe. The State is after the Town to do this and we’ll have to do it in conjunction with the Route 7 upgrade. A considerable bond issue will have to be taken out. We need a permit from the state to operate and if they require things and we don’t do it they can impose fines on us.
“Is there a need to assess the condition of the lines going to the spring?” No. They’re iron and the pipes are flowing better now than then b/c the calcium in the water causes a smooth layer inside the pipes.
“Is there a need for an engineering study? We can’t get money for a design but we could apply for money for a study of the overall condition.” Not needed.
There is a need for money to address future state requirements and design work needed to meet those requirements. There is an undersized reservoir in Florence (according to the state). If we could connect the new Pittsford Reservoir to the Florence Reservoir so we could get the water there quickly it would alleviate the need for a new Florence reservoir.
Hydrants get flushed once a year, sometimes twice. Water in Florence is chlorinated continuously, like Pittsford. Our springs don’t drop during drought although production does drop during February for whatever reason. VT DEC can give us production info. The meters at the spring heads are broken. We don’t know exactly what we’re producing but b/c we produce so much more than we use it’s not a concern.
“Are there any upgrades that should be considered?” Yes, water meters. At one point it was all metered but over the years some have stopped working and not been replaced.
Spring tiles are concrete. Roofs are treated with tar every year.
“What’s holding the project up?” Funding, setting up a program where someone can get in and replace these meters. Meters are around $200 plus installation. Rate system is $72 every 6 months for 2,000 cubic feet. To do a massive replacement of meters we just don’t have the funds.
“Is there grant $ for these things?” VT DEC has $ for this. W. Rutland replaced their meters and lines with grant $.
The 3-man water board has resigned so it’s now gone back to the Select Board. There has to be a separate 3-man board and the Select Board appoints them. They could appoint 3 of themselves.
Bob Harnish, representing the Library:
“What’s the long range plan?” One was completed this year. Maintenance of the building is an issue. Exterior issues are being addressed now (chimney, roof, storm windows). Parking is limited. Currently there is an agreement with the Hilltop Tavern.
All projects have been done with private and state money as well as money from the Preservation Trust. Haven’t called on the town for capitol improvements yet but have asked the Town to increase the general funding in the past. It’s up to $45,000 now. They can also tap into the endowment. They raise $12-$15k with their annual fundraising letter.. They should keep in touch with Select Board and coordinate funding for capitol improvements in the future if needed.
They want to maintain book collection and technology. Children’s room named after Dr. Bob and Kathy Hession. They contribute funds to maintain that area.
“What adult programs are there?” Reading and book discussion programs. Lecturers and speakers.
They have an endowment towards children’s programming from Bonnie’s brother in law that’s $35-$40k.
The Town Plan discussion was open for comments at this point.
●We need to get more buy in from the people in town.
●It would be our benefit to endorse a DRB so the PC can dedicate it’s time to planning.
●Try to encourage setting aside common land for general recreation with future development.
●Would love to see the center of the village interconnected. It would be tough.
●Sidewalks should be encouraged.
●One of the goals is to go after a village center. One idea is to take the old hospital (Forest Farm) and turn it into affordable housing, maybe some commercial businesses, and an open space area towards Otter Creek. Bob Forest is willing to sell. There are a # of organizations that are very enthusiastic.
●Low cost transportation should be addressed so people can get into Rutland, etc.
●The best area for a Village Center expansion would be the RecArea – make it a year round facility.
●Pittsford is a bedroom community and he doesn’t see that changing. Visible commercial property doesn’t really exist in Pittsford. The Plan should address residential expansion.
●There has been no investment in infrastructure in this town in the last 30 years. Water and sewer systems should be expanded.
●Industrial zoning and mapping should be looked at.
D. Nickless pointed out that growth isn’t always good and doesn’t necessarily bring money. Rather than focus on growth, maybe the PC should focus on enhancing the quality of life.
●Something should be done to address the large number of derelict houses, trailers, and cars.
Would any of you be willing to be on a sub-committee? Yes (Bob Harnish, Baird Morgan and John Euagir). No (Bob Sird).
Need to come up with an opinion about the DRB. Select Board is going to decide at their next meeting whether or not to pursue a DRB.
Meeting scheduled for September 5th at 7 p.m. to come up with a work plan. There will be 1 site plan review for James Temple.
With no further business the meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.
Planning Commission Members: