Pittsford Planning Commission Meeting
September 26, 2019
Board Members Present: Kevin Blow, Mark Winslow, Ted Gillen, David Soulia, Rick Conway
Also in Attendance: Jeff Biasuzzi – Zoning Administrator, Andrew Spooner, Mary Spooner
1. Call to order
The meeting was called to order at 7:06PM by Mark Winslow – Acting Chair.
2. Approval of Agenda
A motion was made by Kevin Blow and seconded by Rick Conway to approve the agenda as amended. The motion passed unanimously.
Following Item #5, add Approval of Official Zoning Maps
3. Approval of Minute
. July 25, 2019
A motion was made by Ted Gillen and seconded by Kevin Blow to approve the minutes of the July 25, 2019 Planning Commission meeting. The motion passed with one abstention – Rick Conway.
4. Public Comments
There was no discussion held.
5. Election of Officers
Mark Winslow stated it was the intent to have the full Board present for the election of officers. It was the consensus of the Board to postpone the election of officers until the October meeting. At the next meeting, if there is not a full Board, the election will take place and absent members can vote via telephone during the meeting.
6. Approval of Pittsford Zoning Maps
The official Zoning maps were on display during the Planning Commission meeting. It was noted there are no discrepancies. Jeff Biasuzzi noted the maps have a signature block and the Board Chair’s signature is required after approval.
A motion was made by Rick Conway and seconded by Kevin Blow to approve the final zoning maps. The motion passed unanimously.
7. Work on Pittsford Energy Plan
Mark Winslow noted that the Select Board had provided their direction to the Planning Commission relative to the development of an Energy Plan. Mr. Winslow suggested the development of an outline to include information on solar plan sitings and screening for commercial projects. Rick Conway noted concern that this needs to be done in accordance with State statutes. Jeff Biasuzzi advised that residential projects are up to 50 kilowatts. There are two types of commercial projects with one being 50 to 150 kilowatts and those projects that are over 150 kilowatts. There are also community solar
projects that would be 15 to 50 kilowatts. Mr. Winslow advised this will be a stand-alone document and not part of the Town Plan and will be a commonsense energy plan for Pittsford. The Plan will not be submitted to the RRPC for the State’s approval process. It was noted the PUC has the final say on any project, but it is thought that they may take a plan into consideration when reviewing a project if there is one in place. Mr. Biasuzzi noted there is an industry accepted scale for solar projects.
Ted Gillen stated the Select Board had requested the Planning Commission develop a solar siting plan to protect the community from large scale projects. In the Plan could be information on commercial and industrial solar sitings that would include screening and locations. Another suggestion was to provide information on cost-saving measures available regarding energy efficiency and encouraging people to take advantage of the programs. Jeff Biasuzzi advised there is a grant opportunity for residents that is offered through December for energy projects. Rick Conway noted that when attending the Vermont Planning Seminar, people were under the impression that an Energy Plan was mandatory, however, that is not the case. The Planning Commission’s sub-committee had provided a document that the Planning Commission could obtain information for the Energy Plan. Mr. Gillen reviewed the Sudbury Energy Plan and highlighted some of the information that could be helpful. Mr. Gillen noted there could be a section on educational tools for the community and another section on reducing energy. There were three major sectors outlined in the Sudbury Plan: transportation, heating & cooling and electricity. Mr. Gillen suggested obtaining educational tools to provide information to the residents on how to conserve energy and direct them to the various local organizations for such items as free energy audits and other simple techniques to conserve energy. Mr. Gillen noted there are incentives and grants available to residents. Mr. Conway stated there is concern about radon in the state and when tightening up houses, it is important to test for radon. The Department of Health has free radon tests available that provide a reliable reading with the test taking 90 days. Jeff Biasuzzi advised radon has a lot to do with ledge and gravel soil and noted the State has a map of radioactive sites. It was suggested that this type of information be included in the Plan. Mr. Biasuzzi noted the long-term test is most accurate when done in the winter when a house is buttoned up. Mr. Winslow summarized Education and Efficiency could be categories for the Plan. Andrew Spooner advised that Efficiency Vermont currently is offering heat pump grants and the pumps can be self-installed. It would require hiring someone to fill the unit. It was noted the sub-committee also suggested wind, hydro and biomass be considered as options for renewable energy as well. Mr. Gillen suggested there could be maps developed to provide where the different options could potentially be a good resource. Mr. Winslow noted it is important for homeowners to have information on these options, as well as information on who to contact for the programs available.
Mr. Winslow advised additions to the Plan could be made in the future but noted it important to get the basic plan initiated. Mr. Winslow requested a volunteer to develop the outline for discussion at the next meeting, with the final plan to be completed at the December meeting. Ted Gillen volunteered to put the outline together and offered to meet with any Committee members who would like to discuss the outline. David Soulia suggested breaking out the sections for Committee members to work on the details prior to the next meeting. Mr. Soulia volunteered to do an Efficiency section. Kevin Blow volunteered to work on a Solar section, to include screening and aesthetics for the projects. Ted Gillen volunteered to do a section on Tools and Education. Rick Conway will do a section on Wind, Biomass and Hydro recommendations. Mr. Gillen suggested there could be a Transportation section that could include suggestions such as use of The Bus. Jeff Biasuzzi noted the State is encouraging the use of EVs for transportation. It was noted that lithium batteries can freeze. Mr. Winslow noted that in cities, it is easier to conserve with transportation. Mr. Winslow advised that New York has moved to a competitive environment for utilities and residents are able to purchase from more than one electric provider. Mr. Winslow volunteered to investigate this subject for the Plan, noting there is a monopoly system currently in Vermont and there needs to be other opportunities. All Committee members will work on the different sections for review at the November meeting.
7. Other New Business
Jeff Biasuzzi reported there are some new planning grant opportunities. There are also two upcoming training opportunities with one sponsored by the VLCT on October 23rd. October 16th is the deadline for early registration and Mr. Biasuzzi advised the Town will pay the registration fee for Planning Commission members. There will be a Vermont Municipal Government Day in Montpelier that offers a variety of speakers on different subjects. They also offer satellite programs, with one scheduled in Rutland on Halloween. Mr. Biasuzzi will email the Committee members information on the trainings. Mr. Biasuzzi also noted VLCT will host a Computer Security Awareness webinar on October 14th that the members can attend.
Kevin Blow reported he had a discussion with Dave Mills concerning the River Corridor. It was noted that when doing the maps, this subject came up and the minimum requirements for this subject were completed at that time. Jeff Biasuzzi stated it is the intent to allow rivers to meander and in towns that have a lot of rivers, they are already working on the River Corridor requirement. Mr. Biasuzzi stated Pittsford does not have a lot of river frontage where people would be developing. Mr. Conway stated it is condemnation, but it is not being followed. Mr. Biasuzzi noted that he has questioned if there has been an analysis of cost to benefit versus the cost of loss property tax revenue but was advised it would be difficult to determine. Mr. Biasuzzi stated when renewing the Town Plan, River Corridor information will be a required item.
8. Schedule Date/Agenda for Next Meeting
October 24, 2019 @ 7PM – Regular Planning Commission Meeting
A motion was made by David Soulia and seconded by Kevin Blow to adjourn the meeting at 8:20PM. The motion passed unanimously.
The Pittsford Planning Commission