Pittsford Planning Commission Meeting
September 24, 2020
Board members in attendance; public participation via conference call.
Board Members Present: Kevin Blow, Mark Winslow, Rick Conway, Mark Pape, Derek Blow
Others Present: Jeff Biasuzzi
1. Call to order
The meeting was called to order at 7:04PM by Mark Winslow – Chair.
2. Approval of Agenda
A motion was made by Kevin Blow and seconded by Derek Blow to approve the agenda, as amended. The motion passed with one abstention – Rick Conway.
Add Item following Energy Plan Final – Presentation on Vermont Transportation IR0925 – Conway Request for Hearing
3. Approval of Minute
. August 27, 2020 Meeting
A motion was made by Rick Conway and seconded by Kevin Blow to approve the minutes of the August 27, 2020 Planning Commission meeting, as amended. The motion passed unanimously.
Under Item 10 – With regard to the river corridor, this item is not being added at this point to the Town Plan and a clarification that Mr. Biasuzzi, not Mr. Blow noted the following statement: Ms. Bourque runs a very organized meeting and needs to satisfy FEMA.
4. Public Comments
There was no discussion held.
5. RRPC Update
Mark Winslow reported Selectman Mills attended the meeting, but no updates have been received and there have been no minutes available from the meeting. Mr. Winslow will contact Mr. Mills to obtain minutes from the previous meetings to update the Planning Commission at the next meeting. Mr. Winslow received a notice from the RRPC about community wi-fi hot spots that they are working on and inquired if Pittsford requires more hotspots. They are looking for communities’ needs for hot spots or signal extenders. Jeff Biasuzzi stated this is likely a statewide request by the legislature regarding public internet access support options. Mr. Winslow will ask Mr. Mills about this subject and will forward the information to the Commission members.
6. Energy Plan – Final
Mark Winslow attended the Select Board meeting and presented the Energy Plan that was developed by the Planning Commission. The Select Board thanked the Planning Commission for the work they had done. Mr. Winslow also received a note from Mr. Haverstock reporting the Select Board voted and accepted the proposed Energy Plan. Mr. Winslow will check with Mr. Haverstock concerning what the Select Board plans to do with the Energy Plan. Rick Conway noted it is a good starting point for this subject.
7. Presentation on Vermont Transportation IR0925 – Conway Request for Hearing
Rick Conway noted the Planning Commission has party status on this item, but he will recuse himself from any actions they may take. Mr. Conway received an Act 250 notice that the bridge near the Mobil station is up for replacement. It was being reviewed as a minor application for Act 250. The Mobil station got moved from a Segment 1 to a Segment 2 project and it was decided to go with a separate project for the bridge. There are several things that will be legally contested. The Planning Commission has automatic party status as to how it conforms or does not conform. Mr. Conway provided historic photos of the area and provided an explanation of photos (See Attachment Part 1 and Part 2). It was noted that the green space is part of the historic district and the railing of the new bridge will have to be compatible with the historic district. An accompanying map in the attachment indicated the historic status of the bridge. Mr. Conway provided additional information on the historic nature of the bridge. The State held a hearing in 2015 requesting comments on what was wanted for the bridge and a project location was provided in the questions and comments section. The plan is to replace the entire structure and widen the structure to match the existing road. The proposed bridge rails are 47.5 feet which are wider, and the sidewalk will be wider. Bike lanes are illustrated; however, Mr. Conway does not see where they are noted on the new plan received. Mr. Conway is not opposed to replacing the bridge, but it should be in accordance with the historic nature. Mr. Conway stated some of the new bridges that have recently been done in other towns are extremely nice. He noted his property is the first one coming into the village and this will be in the village designation. Mr. Conway provided the new plans that show a totally different traffic flow and the green will not be there. They have also indicated the new plan will place guardrails along the Mobil station up Route 3, which will restrict the access of any larger vehicles and campers. The access is restricted further up the Route 7 side as well. The plan has a two-lane road at the north end of the bridge where the traffic can go straight up the hill all the way to Mountain View Drive with a speed limit of 35mph. Mr. Conway was under the impression there was going to be a turn lane for Oxbow Road. Mr. Conway stated they were trying to obtain a right of way before going through Act 250. Mr. Pape asked what Act 250 would affect and it was noted it relates to aesthetics, impacts to property, traffic congestion, environmental considerations, wildlife and run off. Mr. Conway noted the State has specific design standards and have been asked to go back and take a look at this. They have not set a date for the Act 250 hearing, but it could come at any time.
Mr. Conway provided a presentation on the sections in the Town Plan that was adopted in February 2018 that would relate to this project. Page 5 – preserve historic character; the green has been there for 150 years. Page 10 – physical characteristics – Furnace Brook was a source of power in the past and is a historic area. Pittsford Mills is also historic. The Mobil station is in the village designation area and the State did not acknowledge it. Jeff Biasuzzi stated Senate Bill 237 is being considered this week with a provision if a business is in a village designation district, Act 250 will not be used, and it will be left to the municipality. Mr. Biasuzzi will forward information on this legislation to the Committee members. The VLCT has an information committee and writes a weekly report on where bills are, and Mr. Biasuzzi will also send the members a copy of this document. This legislation is designed to give municipalities more control over village designation areas. Page 10 – Pittsford as a town should encourage business and Mr. Conway wants to believe it is an oversight as the Mobil station has been in his family for over 60 years. Page 13 – most of Pittsford’s commercial, service and community facilities are located in the village which is specified in the Plan. Page 14 – the Town of Pittsford maintains the green located at the Mills bridge. Mr. Conway noted his family had conveyed land and a temporary easement along Route 7 to the State. He has tried to be a good neighbor, but they want to bring the road closer to the pumps and he will not convey another parcel of land, as it will reduce the effective use of his property. The green is a natural resource that the Town Plan endorses as worthy of retention in its natural state. Page 15 – land use vision and goals – the plan is to maintain natural features of Vermont, water resources and historic sites. Page 16 – the Town Plan indicates to reduce sprawl and the Town will encourage commercial development in the designated village center. The historic designation has also been maintained in the village center. Page 22 – on transportation vision and goals the Town will focus on planning efforts for safe, convenient, economic transportation and service within the village district. Page 24 – trucks and bridges – truck traffic is a significant issue, generated by through-traffic along Route 7 and the Omya plant in Florence. Mr. Conway noted the VTrans plans do not indicate any plans for such things as bike paths and it is not known why there is a change in the plans. It is not known if Segment 1 south of the Mobil station has a bike path. Mr. Biasuzzi stated unless they have changed the plans, there were no bike lanes up the hill. In reading the plan it mentions sidewalks and bike paths. This would be a pedestrian area and the Mobil station serves many people. Page 26 – the Town Plan notes the 6 segments with the final segment to be Segment 2 – Pittsford from Plains Road to the Mobil station and the bridge would have been in that segment originally. This work was to begin no sooner than 2028 as of the Town Plan dated February 7, 2018. Mr. Conway reiterated he is not opposed to a bridge replacement and suggested going for the best that can be done. Mr. Conway thanked the Committee for hearing his presentation and would appreciate if the Planning Commission could provide a response and some comments and possibility attend the Act 250 hearing, if available. Mark Winslow suggested putting this item on the agenda for the next meeting. Kevin Blow stated the Planning Commission has party status and felt they should back Mr. Conway. Mr. Winslow stated it is important the members review the information provided as it goes to the heart of the Town Plan with regard to the integrity of the village. The historic green has been part of the village for many decades and has now been removed as part of the plan. Mark Pape noted it appears the current plan will increase the speed and cause a safety hazard. Mr. Conway also noted concern with making the turn off Route 3 and advised their station is the only one in town with diesel. With the new plan, there will be an issue for campers entering the station. Mr. Conway stated it is not his intention to stop the replacement of the bridge, but he does not want to change the traffic flow. Mr. Winslow thanked Mr. Conway for his presentation.
8. Village Future Discussion
The above discussion related to this topic.
9. Other New Business
Jeff Biasuzzi advised there was a report on the 45-day notice for the 500-megawatt solar farm that involves Dave Mills’ property. Brandon just passed an enhanced energy plan with substantial defference and this is the first time the Town can use substantial defference, however, Brandon is in support of the project. Mr. Biasuzzi also advised Dollar General is considering a store in Brandon. Mr. Biasuzzi reported the Pittsford Village Farm came to an agreement with the community events and is in line with the expansion of business in the village as it relates to the Town Plan.
10. Schedule Date/Agenda for Next Meeting
October 22, 2020 @ 7PM – Regular Planning Commission Meeting
A motion was made by Kevin Blow and seconded by Derek Blow to adjourn the meeting at 8:12PM. The motion passed unanimously.
The Pittsford Planning Commission