The meeting was called to order at 6:47 PM by Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman.
Select Board members present: Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Thomas Hooker, Vice Chair, Jane Cornell, W. Joseph Gagnon, and David Trombley.
Also present: Ted Gillen, Craig Ferreira, Rick Conway, Atty. Gary Kupferer, Kevin Blow, Chuck Charbonneau, Barb Lalancette, Elizabeth Morgan, Deb Reynolds, “Rishi” Kirsten Connelly, Alicia Malay, Mark Winslow, Tammy Hitchcock, Peggy Rawlings, Ernie Clerihew, Dave Soulia, John Haverstock, 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.
T. Pelkey explained that there would be two more Public Hearings prior to Select Board action.
Motion by T. Pelkey and seconded by D. Trombley to rescind the motion from the last Public Hearing to accept the map and language presented by the Rutland Regional Planning Commission. Motion passed unanimously 5 – 0.
Atty. Kupferer explained that the Planning Commission will be scheduling additional meetings in keeping with statutory requirements. Atty. Kupferer also explained that there are State statute changes that take effect on January 1, 2018 which set forth new items which must be included in a Town Plan. The next Public Hearing held by the Select Board is the last time that any changes can be made by the Select Board as the last hearing is the final hearing.
Ms. Rawlings stated that she was confused about the changes and timeline. Atty. Kupferer explained that the public can recommend changes between now and at the next Select Board public hearing but, after that, changes will not be allowed.
Ms. Morgan inquired when the Planning Commission held meetings. Mr. Soulia, Chairman of the Planning Commission, stated that the next meeting will be held on December 28 and the public is invited to attend to propose recommended changes.
Mr. Clerihew inquired why there would be no changes allowed at the final hearing. Atty Kupferer explained that the changes can be recommended now or at the next Public Hearing, however, not at the final hearing as that hearing will be for the Select Board adoption. Ms. Morgan inquired the timeframe for all of this to occur. Atty. Kupferer stated that there needs to be 15 days between hearings.
Mr. Clerihew asked for clarification on the proposed plan, page 4 with regard to Economic Development. The section states that there has been no new business structure added to town in 30 years. Mr. Soulia stated that there have been very few additions to the tax rolls. Mr. Blow, Planning Commission member, stated that the verbiage was “virtually”, which is not specific. Mr. Winslow, a Planning Commission member, stated that this was just a statement as businesses have gone into existing structures and not built new structures.
Mr. Soulia stated that the Planning Commission sets personal opinions aside and invites the public to meetings.
Ms. Lalancette inquired about the Village Center boundaries as a real estate appraiser stated that her property was in the “village”. J. Haverstock explained that there is a Designated Village Center, which is a State designation. Mr. Soulia explained the changes to the maps. Mr. Conway, a Planning Commission member, stated that the Table of Uses in the Zoning Ordinance defines the “village” and permitted uses and conditional uses that are not permitted. Anyone with questions is invited to discuss their concerns with the Zoning Officer, Jeff Biasuzzi.
Mr. Clerihew inquired about page 12 in the proposed plan with regard to Act 250 and Pittsford helping to encourage development and stated that this portion feels like an opinion and does not belong. Mr. Clerihew inquired if the Rutland Regional Planning Commission approves of this statement. Mr. Soulia stated that this was approved. Ms. Morgan stated that she felt that this statement was editorial and does not belong. Ms. Morgan also stated that she was grateful for the extra time and the solicitation of comments and issues.
Ms. Malay asked for clarification from the Planning Commission meeting of December 19 with regard to the Village Center growth where the removal of 3 houses to construct businesses was discussed. Mr. Charbonneau, a Planning Commission member, stated that kids leave the area after millions of dollars are spent on education. Input is sought on ways to keep them here and that construction does not need to be in the center of town. Neshobe is currently has a sustainable school-age population while Lothrop does not. Mr. Conway stated that he recently attended an OVUU meeting and there is declining enrollment. Mr. Conway stated that the Planning Commission members do not want everything in the center. There was a business that wanted to have a garage on Route 3 and were denied an Act 250 permit. There is not a net gain of businesses that open in existing structures. The town needs to work with everyone that comes into town. There are vacant buildings and declining school enrollment issues that need to be addressed.
Ms. Connelly expressed a concern with the wording of the “Medium Density” section and would like this section reviewed and defined in the Plan.
Ms. Morgan inquired where the future meetings would be posted. J. Haverstock stated that the posting would be in the newspaper, website and around town.
The Public Hearing adjourned at 7:28 PM
Kelly Giard, Recording Secretary
Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chairman
Thomas Hooker, Vice Chairman
Jane Cornell, Selectman
W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman
David Trombley, Selectman