Meeting Minutes : Planning Commission

October 23, 2014
Board Members Present: Kathryn Brown, Trish Lewis, Don Nickless

Also in Attendance: Ken Niemczyk – Zoning Administrator, Christine Neroni, Samantha Blow, Kevin Blow, Burt Woolf, Robert Kersten


1.  Call to order

The meeting was called to order at 7:00PM by Don Nickless – Chair.


2. Public Hearings

a. Old Business

There was no old business to discuss.


b. New Business

1.     Application for subdivision submitted by Jonathan and Christine Neroni, property owners, for property located at 2011 Sangamon Road, Parcel ID #1224. The applicants propose to subdivide 57 acres into Lot 1 with +/- 10 acres and Lot 2 with +/- 42 acres.

Don Nickless stated there had been wastewater and potable water applications noted in the handout this evening. Ms. Neroni stated the engineers have visited and the applications should be processed within five days. It was noted the subdivision application would be approved based on the approval of the wastewater and potable water applications. The Neroni’s are the owners of 57 acres and 5.75 acres are on the south side of the road that will be retitled and is not part of the subdivision application. The application relates to the 52 acres on the north side and the intent is to subdivide the northern parcel into 10 acres and 42 acres. The reason for the subdivision is that Mr. Neroni has been transferred with his job and the relocation company does not allow for that much acreage. All structures noted on the maps are existing structures. It was questioned whether the triangular area would cause an issue in the future. Ken Niemczyk stated it would not cause an issue with easements as the frontage is 200 feet and it is part of the bigger piece. It was questioned how the borders were determined. Ms. Neroni stated they figured that 10 acres would be a comfortable size and the house would sell quicker. Regarding the narrow strip, Mr. Niemczyk asked if the Neroni’s considered bringing the lot line over to the Booth property line to get rid of the panhandle. Ms. Neroni stated this is something they could consider doing. Don Nickless stated this is not something that is mandated, but it is a recommendation. The owners have offered the property to the Booths for purchase if the buyer of the house is not interested in purchasing the land. Ms. Neroni stated the power lines run through the strip in question and there could likely not be an easement. Mr. Niemczyk did not see any problems with the application.

A motion was made by Don Nickless and seconded by Trish Lewis to approve the subdivision application of Jonathan and Christine Neroni with the condition that the water and sewer permits are received and a copy is supplied to the Zoning Office. The motion passed unanimously.

The Planning Commission suggested the triangle piece be shifted over and the boundary line changed to avoid issues for future landowners. It was questioned whether the property owner could make the boundary line change without the need for another Planning Commission hearing. Mr. Niemczyk advised the property owner would need to record a plat and since there is language in these minutes that discuss this issue, the owners could submit a copy of the change and there would be no further need for a hearing. The Zoning Administrator would provide the changes to the Planning Commission. It was noted the boundary line could be drawn to the Booth boundary line to the east. Mr. Niemczyk stated usually GMP will allow passage under their lines; they do not allow for building within the easements, but they do not usually object to a driveway.


3. Public Comment

Kevin Blow asked what has been done on the draft for the Zoning Ordinances. Mr. Nickless reported the draft is still being worked on and it is hoped by the next meeting the revisions will be complete. The Planning Commission took the public comments into account and agreed on some changes based on what was heard. At the next regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting, the Board will discuss the draft and take public comment. If no other changes are made, the Board will vote to submit the draft to the Select Board. The Select Board will then hold two hearings and will decide to send the draft back to the Planning Commission for changes, approve it, or not approve the proposed regulations. The draft will be available at the town office and a notice will be on the town website advising people that it is available. Mr. Niemczyk noted it will be able to be sent electronically to people who wish to view it in that format. The next regular Planning Commission meeting was tentatively scheduled for December 4th.

Mr. Blow questioned whether there was any information about the home occupation issue. The Zoning Administrator talked with the VLCT attorney and he was advised that the Select Board has the authority to single out certain uses that they do not want as a home occupation and that is the reason the Zoning Ordinance language prohibits vehicular service. If Mr. Blow feels strongly that this should be changed, he would have to go before the Select Board to request this change. Mr. Blow noted originally the Planning Commission had indicated it models according to state regulations. Mr. Niemczyk noted at the state level, it indicates the town has the authority to make a decision relative to how a use might impact the character of any area and other impacts. Mr. Niemczyk assumes that a Select Board determined that vehicular service was not appropriate for a residential area and is the reason a special clause was placed under home occupation. It would be necessary to approach the Select Board about removing the restriction on vehicular. The section on home occupation is a requirement of the state, but the subsection could be requested to be removed. Mr. Blow wants to be sure that his children could do this type of work on their property in the future, if they so desire.

Mr. Blow asked the status of the Wildlife Corridor. Mr. Nickless reported the Planning Commission researched what information the state provides on this subject and there was general language placed in the ordinance that references the state information, but there are no maps outlining what a corridor would be. It was noted the reference was placed in the ordinance to add protection to the town in influencing the Public Service Board (PSB) with regard to requests for projects such as the wind towers that were considered along the ridgeline. This would provide backup in the event of another wind tower project, but it does not place any restrictions in the Zoning Ordinance. It was noted the PSB has authority over all utilities and is the sole authoritative body. The Select Board can present the town’s point of view, but the town has no authority over a project. If there is not something specifically in the town’s plan, the PSB will not consider that topic based on proposed projects.

Mr. Blow requested clarification on why the zoning regulations are being changed. It was noted there were no changes to the verbiage when the Zoning Ordinance was approved in 2013, other than to change it from interim to permanent zoning regulations, as state law indicates that an interim ordinance can be only for a certain time. From that version, there was a list of 32 recommendations developed by the Planning Commission based on federal and state regulations and public comments. The proposed changes are based on background work done by the individual Commission members that were ultimately fine-tuned by the full Board.


4. Administrative Matters

a. Approval of Minutes

A motion was made by Kathryn Brown and seconded by Trish Lewis to approve the Planning Commission minutes of September 18, 2014 with corrections submitted. The motion passed unanimously.

A motion as made by Kathryn Brown and seconded by Don Nickless to approve the Planning Commission minutes of August 28, 2014 with corrections submitted. The motion passed unanimously.

A motion was made by Kathryn Brown and seconded by Trish Lewis to approve the Planning Commission minutes of April 17, 2014 as presented. The motion passed unanimously.


5.  Other Businesses

There was no other business discussed.


6. Next Regular Meeting

Thursday, December 4th @ 7:00PM


7. Adjournment

A motion was made by Don Nickless and seconded by Trish Lewis to adjourn the Pittsford Planning Commission meeting at 8:25PM. The motion passed unanimously.


Respectfully submitted,

Charlene Bryant
Recording Secretary


Approved by,




The Pittsford Planning Commission