Meeting Minutes : Planning Commission Minutes – 7/25/19 – Draft

Pittsford Planning Commission Meeting
July 25, 2019

Board Members Present: Kevin Blow, Mark Winslow, Ted Gillen, Tom Markowski

Also in Attendance: Jeff Biasuzzi – Zoning Administrator

1. Call to order

The meeting was called to order at 7:01PM by Mark Winslow – Acting Chair.

2. Approval of Agenda

A motion was made by Kevin Blow and seconded by Ted Gillen to approve the agenda. The motion passed unanimously.

3. Approval of Minute

May 23, 2019

A motion was made by Kevin Blow and seconded by Ted Gillen to approve the minutes of the May 23, 2019 Planning Commission meeting. The motion passed with one abstention – Tom Markowski.

4. Public Comments

There was no discussion held.

5. Zoning Administrator Updates

Jeff Biasuzzi stated the summer edition of the Pittsford newsletter needed submission by July 15th and Mr. Biasuzzi provided a piece on the Planning Commission and Zoning updates. Mr. Biasuzzi also provided a summary of the VLCT Spring Planning and Zoning Forum that included a review of the 2019 legislative action. Mr. Biasuzzi noted the Act 250 legislation was postponed to the next session. The proposal includes more jurisdiction for Act 250 to include agriculture, public utilities and forestry. Mark Winslow advised Act 250 had held a “Listening Tour” that was to assist with streamlining the Act 250 process, however, they have added to the process instead. This will be a major issue due to the addition of agriculture and forestry. Mr. Biasuzzi noted the Forum was well attended and also included sessions on municipal planning grants and a presentation on how the E-Court is structured. Mr. Biasuzzi noted in addition to the Act 250 legislation, the $15/hour Minimum Wage bill and the Recreational Marijuana bill were also postponed to the next session. Mr. Biasuzzi provided the Committee a notice from the Town of Brandon concerning the hearings to be held for their proposed Energy Plan. Mr. Biasuzzi noted Brandon has put together a plan that will work for Brandon and was approved by their Planning Commission and submitted to their Select Board for approval. Mr. Winslow noted the Planning Commission had received the notice from Brandon.

6. Review Select Board Guidance on Energy Plan

Mark Winslow reported that Rick Conway and he presented the Planning Commissions’ views regarding the development of an enhanced energy plan to the Select Board at their June 19th meeting. There was a thorough discussion held on what needs to be done to create an enhanced energy plan for the Town Plan. The Select Board does not wish to re-open the recently approved Town Plan to have an energy plan added and perhaps an energy plan could be included when it is opened again for an update. The Board charged the Planning Commission with the development of a basic outline of an energy plan that would fit for Pittsford but would not need to be to the level the State requires. Mr. Winslow stated the Planning Commission needs to summarize some of the items that have already been put together with the input from the sub-committee, plus some items to promote energy efficiency programs. Mr. Winslow suggested taking the information gathered over the last three months and discuss at a subsequent meeting how the Planning Commission will proceed with the information. Once developed, the document will be presented to the Select Board for their review. Tom Markowski asked if this is a proactive effort to have when the town plan is eventually reopened. Mr. Winslow advised that the Select Board is interested in viewing a solar siting plan initially. Mr. Winslow stated Representative Shaw had advised that the State wanted some rules on solar and wanted towns to have input to the PUC, however, the VNR Board required the towns also develop an energy plan. Mr. Winslow stated the Planning Commission needs to put together an energy plan that is appropriate for the Town of Pittsford. Jeff Biasuzzi advised the Planning Commission has received information relative to Brandon’s proposed energy plan and noted Brandon’s plan could be viewed on their Town’s website. Ted Gillen expressed concern that adequate screening is addressed for solar sites and questioned if a solar siting plan is developed whether it has any bearing over the projects. Mr. Winslow noted that without the enhanced energy plan, it would not have an impact, however, even with an enhanced energy plan in the Town Plan, the PUC has the ultimate decision over all projects. Jeff Biasuzzi noted the issue with a landscape plan for solar projects is that they are approved by the PUC, however, the PUC does not enforce the plan and defers the plans to the Natural Resource Department for action. The Town must depend on the PUC’s actions on the projects that they approve. Mr. Biasuzzi noted Pittsford has done better than most towns with projects where the Town receives credit for some of the kilowatt hours produced. Mr. Biasuzzi stated even with substantial defference; it has not been tested yet as there has never been a project where the enhanced energy plan has been influential. Mr. Winslow stated the enhanced energy plan would give substantial defference, however, it could be declined by the PUC. Mr. Biasuzzi advised that solar projects are recently obtaining approvals in low risk flood plains, however, wetlands are still off limits. Mr. Biasuzzi also noted solar panels are currently exempt from stormwater regulations.

Mr. Winslow read the following letter he received from John Haverstock:

“At Wednesday night’s Select Board meeting, the consensus of the Board was to request that the Town Planning Commission continue it work to generate a Town Energy Plan for eventual review by the Select Board, with the expectation that such plan would not be submitted to either the Rutland Regional Planning Commission or the State for their approval.

The thinking of the Board appeared to be that it would be a good thing for the Town to have an energy plan, but that the Town does not wish to re-open the recently adopted Town Plan to amend it just to obtain RRPC or State approval. Perhaps such a local energy plan could eventually find its way into the Town Plan when the Town Plan is reviewed for update in about 7 years.

You may, of course, review the Board’s discussion on PEG-TV or you can await the minutes from the meeting, if you should wish to know more about how the discussion played out.

Bottom Line: The Select Board greatly appreciates all the hard work the Planning Commission has devoted to this topic thus far and the Board shares your view that it makes no sense to try to fully satisfy burdensome State or RRPC requirements for an Energy Plan.”

Mark Winslow noted the Planning Commission will not be creating an enhanced energy plan but will develop an energy guidance document that will provide suggestions for proposed solar projects and would likely be the basis for an energy plan in the future. Mr. Winslow suggested at the next Planning Commission meeting, an energy document outline will be developed, as it is important to put in suggestions of what the Town would like to see. Jeff Biasuzzi suggested taking what is already approved in the Town Plan as a starting point. Mr. Winslow requested the Planning Commission members look at the outline that the RRPC provided and review the comments from the subcommittee prior to the next meeting.

7. Other New Business

Mark Winslow thanked Jeff Biasuzzi for providing the Planning Commission members a copy of the current Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Biasuzzi noted this is the official version that is being used and is on the Town’s website. The approved map is in the town office, but the Town needs to obtain the official map from the RRPC.

Ted Gillen asked if the Zoning Administrator had seen a list from the State of properties that are going to be subject to a three-acre rule regarding stormwater. Mr. Gillen stated properties that have three acres of impervious surface are going to be subject to a rule for stormwater runoff. Mr. Biasuzzi suggested some of information on the legislations are outlined in the Vermont Woodlands’ document and noted this is one of the phases of the new Act 250 legislation. Mr. Biasuzzi noted the three-acre rule will affect mainly businesses.

8. Schedule Date/Agenda for Next Meeting

September 26, 2019 – Regular Planning Commission Meeting

A motion was made by Ted Gillen and seconded by Kevin Blow to schedule the next Planning Commission meeting for September 26, 2019 and cancel the August meeting. The motion passed unanimously.

Mark Winslow advised if something should arise that requires action by the Planning Commission, a special meeting could be scheduled.

9. Adjournment

A motion was made by Kevin Blow and seconded by Tom Markowski to adjourn the meeting at 7:48PM. The motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Charlene Bryant
Recording Secretary

Approved by,

The Pittsford Planning Commission