Town of Pittsford, Vermont

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Town of Pittsford Select Board Meeting
 February 21, 2007                          


Thomas “Hank” Pelkey opened the meeting at 6:31 p.m.  Select Board members present were:   Joseph Gagnon, David Markowski, and Thomas Hooker.  Allen Hitchcock was absent.   Also present were Michael Balch, Linda Drummond, and Robert Howland, Duane Enger.  T. Carrara arrived at 6:35, Mr. & Mrs. Buro arrived at 6:45, J. Michael Warfle, Elmer “Doc” Potter, Lema Carter, and Scott Rideout arrived at 6:50 and Todd Grant arrived at 6:57 PM.



The Select Board minutes of February 7, 2007 were reviewed, discussed, and approved.   



The orders of were reviewed, discussed and approved in the amount of $42,608.14.



Mike Balch reported on the following:

A copy of the management letter from the accountants Sullivan, Powers & Co. was given to each of the Board members to review.  Issues relating to the audit were addressed including the quality of the accounting during the year.  M. Balch was instructed to invite the accountants on April 4, 2007 to the Select Board meeting to review the audit.


M. Balch is working with a potential new special police officer for the Town. Paperwork has not been completed.  Fifty-six hours a week is allotted for the total police coverage.  Another part-time officer would help cover the unused hours.


M. Balch reported that he has received two insurance claims.  One is a drainage issue on Hubbardton Road where the Town replaced an old deteriorated drain with the same size pipe. The new drain has water running through it faster than the old plugged up drain.  The Town has a prescriptive right to have the same size pipe at that location as the drainage pipe had been there over 50 years.  The second claim is from a property on Sugar Hollow a fence was pushed over by the snow load from the snow plows.  The fence is located 10-12 feet onto the Town’s right of way.


M. Balch reported that the Town has expended $15, 721.24 on Clearlane on invoices approved through February 7th which is 26.20% of the $60,000 budget.


Letters have been sent out to the Town sewer property owners in the Northwest section of the village seeking input for the easements and rights of way needed to extend the Town sewer line to the rear of the Patch property on Route 7.


M. Balch reported that the Pittsford website has averaged 2,797 hits per month, with 6,566 pages viewed.


M. Balch inquired about the roof work being done at the Maclure Library.  The work was contracted three years ago, as part of the chimney, copper, and roof work.  The roofer was delayed due to the brick work not being done on schedule.  The majority of this project was funded by grants.


M. Balch has not received any comments from the Board in regards to the Pittsford Water Financial Plan implementation schedule.  He would like to review later during the Water Board.


M. Balch consulted with Paul Guiliani regarding small issuer and arbitrage.  Paul gave the following guidance:  a) if the Town issues less than $5,000,000 in any one year they are exempt from arbitrage record keeping; b) RE: arbitrage, the Town has to make three certifications to make a bond anticipation loan 1) will contract to spend 5% within 6 months, 2) will use due diligence to pursue the project and 3) the Town reasonably expects to spend the funds within 36 months (a projection from AOT would be a valid basis for that certification).




T. Carrara had a question in regards to the Maclure Library project.  H. Pelkey suggested that T. Carrara address his question to the Maclure Library Board.


The Select Board recessed as the Select Board and convened as the Water Board at 6:48 PM.

The Select Board reconvened 6:50 PM.


The Select Board recessed as the Select Board and convened as the Sewer Board 6:50 PM.

The Select Board reconvened at 6:52 PM.




Reconsideration of Forrest resolution from meeting on January 24, 2007

T. Hank Pelkey read A. Hitchcock’s proposal (in his absence) for the reconsideration of the Forrest resolution.  “The Board supports Mr. Forrest’s right to make use of and/or dispose of his property in any legal manner which meets the requirements of Pittsford’s Town Plan and Zoning Regulations.  If any aspect of the proposed transaction should not meet the Pittsford Town Plan or Zoning Regulations it will be handled in accordance with that plan and those regulations.”  Discussion followed and T. Hooker proposed that the Board table the reconsideration until A. Hitchcock was present which the Board agreed to do.

The Board recessed from 6:57 until 7:00 PM.


Reconvene Dog Hearing of January 9, 2007


Thomas “Hank” Pelkey reconvened the dog hearing of January 9, 2007.  R. Todd & Mary Grant are the complainants and the dog owners are Vincent and Carol Buro.  The Board in deliberative session on January 9, 2007 decided to conduct an investigation of their own which they asked the Pittsford Police Department to conduct.  This hearing is limited to the investigation and related items to the investigation. A reminder to all the parties that were sworn in at the January 9, 2007 hearing are still under oath.  M. Balch handed out copies of the Pittsford Police Department’s Animal Complaint Investigation Report to the Board members, the Grants, and the Buros.  Constable J. Michael Warfle reported that under the direction of M. Balch the Police Department started an investigation into the Grants’ complaint of the Buros’ dogs barking.  The police and animal control officers were asked to observe the Buros’ dogs at odd hours of the day to see if they could hear any barking, howling, or any noises from the dogs.  Both Constable Warfle and Officer Scott Rideout spent hours at both late night and early hours of the morning and have not heard the dogs barking or howling.  They have both videotaped the dogs’ kennel.  Constable Warfle went to the Grace Land office which is across Route 7 from the Buros’ property and the staff in the office stated that the dogs bark occasionally during the day but they are no nuisance to them.  The staff was more concerned that the Buros’ husky is left out all the time and Constable Warfle explained that a husky thrives on cold weather.  Constable Warfle also interviewed Mrs. Carter and her daughter who live on the hill behind the Buros’ property.  They reported that they do bark around 10:00PM when the Buros come home from work.  Mrs. Carter also stated that when she walks during the summer past the dogs in the kennel they never make a sound.  On January 10, 2007 there was a traffic accident at the intersection at Route 7 and Route 3 near the Buros home. The Fire Department, the Sheriff’s Department, Regional Ambulance, the State Police Department, and the Pittsford Police Department were all there responding to the accident and subsequent fleeing suspects near the Buros’ property for at least three hours.  During this incident, the dogs never made a sound.  Even with sirens and the commotion from the incident, the dogs never made a sound or acknowledged that anything was going on.  Animal Control Officer Doc Potter has been there several times.  Constable Warfle and Officer Rideout have videotaped the dogs and there has been no barking or howling on any of the audio.  There are both video and audio recordings taken near the Buros’ property and there is no barking or howling on the tapes.

R. Todd Grant stated that during the last month, they have not heard a lot of barking.

Mrs. Buro stated that the dogs bark to respond to them when they come home at night or if they have visitors.   The husky thrives on the cold weather.

M. Balch made a clarification about the affidavit delivered by the Grants at the January 9, 2007 dog hearing.  Anyone who gives evidence must be made available to be questioned by the other party.   The Board can not consider the affidavit as evidence because the Buros can not cross exam.

The video and audio tapes will be held for three years.

Constable Warfle stated that the Police Department and Animal Control Officer has spent approximately 100 hours since June 7th.  They have been down to the property to roughly 65 and 85 times.  M. Balch reported that between cruiser time, labor, FICA, and other expenses approximately $1500 has been spent on Buro/Grant case.

With no further questions and all the testimony has been given, the Board will recess the dog hearing and will go into Deliberative Session later in the meeting.  H. Pelkey recessed the dog hearing at 7:11 PM. 

Constable Warfle, Officers Rideout and Carter, Doc Potter, and Mr. & Mrs. Buros departed at 7:11PM.




Consider report of Proposed Local Wind Power Project

Rob Howland from Pittsford and Duane Enger from Bennington introduced themselves and Noble Environmental Power.  Noble is in the business of developing large scale commercial wind power projects.  Noble is investigating in Rutland and Bennington counties for potential sites of the turbines and to bring about commercial development of the projects.  Noble is a relatively new company which is staffed by people with decades of electric power and electric  plant experience.

Noble is in the business of primarily wind power and other renewable projects.  Noble has three projects near Plattsburgh, New York in the final stages of the permitting process.   Noble has projects across the country.  They are in a preliminary investigation of the ridge west of Pittsford south, West Rutland, Castleton, and Hubbardton known as Grandpa’s Knob which has a lot of potential for wind turbines.   Duane Enger discussed the Nobles’  ideas of the 2007 economics of wind power, the global benefits, local job opportunities, and the community benefit with the wind investment of $120 million in the region. Noble’s approach is a holistic approach as they do the development, the permitting, the construction, the operation, and they own the project for the life of the project.  By introducing themselves to the Town Board, developing a relationship, being a transparent company by keeping the Board informed as things develop, having a dialogue to share information, and to make sure the project is a good fit for the community.   Wind parks require three components: 1.  Wind resource (It is very windy on Grandpa’s Knob ridgeline); 2.  The ability to transmit the electricity (There is a substation very close); 3. An accepting and willing community(That is Rob and Duane’s job to provide the community with information and to make sure that there is a two way conversation and to present the opportunity they would like to explore with the community).

Discussion was held in regards to the early stages of discussion with the land owners.  Also environmental studies are being done.  There would be approximately 25 to 35 turbines on Grandpa’s Knob ridge.  Further discussion was held in regards to the acceptance of  wind power in Vermont.  The project will go through the Public Service Board permit process.  The Board expressed their appreciation to Rob and Duane for sharing information about Noble’s investigating into Grandpa’s Knob Ridge wind power project and invited them to return anytime with updates.

R. Howland, D. Enger, and T. Grant departed at 7:45 PM.




Consider VLCT Draft of Conflict of Interest


M. Balch stated that the structure of the VLCT Draft of Conflict of Interest is not absolute.

A diverse group of townspeople can make a decision whether there is a conflict of interest.  This addresses small town conflicts of interest.  H. Pelkey stated that the draft lays out what a conflict of interest is, it lays out a process, and it lays out a peer review.  H. Pelkey stated he feels it would fit the Town’s need and he would like to see the Board adopt it.  It will need to go through the ordinance process   The Board instructed M. Balch to draft it, put in the proper dates, and notice it in five places.  M. Balch will have it done for Board review for March 21, 2007.

T. Carrara asked how this draft compares to other towns.  The Town is empowered by the State to appoint this draft and it is not mandated by the State to adopt a conflict of interest ordinance.  This will give a clear definition and a process for conflict of interest for the Town.  This will be a good guideline for everyone to follow.


The Select Board recessed as the Select Board and convened as the Liquor Board at 7:49 PM.

The Select Board reconvened at 7:52 PM.


It was the consensus of the Board to go into Deliberative Session at 7:52PM.  M. Balch and L. Drummond were asked to stay.



In accordance with 1VSA 312(b)(5)(e) nothing in this section or in section 313 of this title shall be construed as extending to the to the judicial branch of the government of Vermont or of any part of the same or to the public service board; nor shall it extend to the deliberations of any public body in connection with a quasi-judicial proceeding, the Board unanimously agreed to go into Deliberative Session at 7:52 PM.  The Board came out of Deliberative Session at 8:05 PM.


After review and consideration of the Town of Pittsford Animal Control Ordinance, the complaint, the Animal Control Officer’s reports, and all of the testimony submitted the Select Board concluded the following “Finding of Fact”:  While the Buros’ dogs do bark and may howl on occasion, the evidence submitted does not support the allegation that the dogs bark and howl frequently and for long periods and are therefore nuisance animals as defined in §5 (b) of the Town of Pittsford’s Animal Ordinance.  Based on the above finding the Board took no action.

M. Balch was instructed to draft a report and send letters to Mr & Mrs. Grant and Mr. & Mrs. Buro.


Without any further business, the meeting was adjourned at  8:05PM.


Respectfully submitted:                      

Linda Drummond, Recording Clerk

Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chair

Allen Hitchcock, Vice-Chair -  ABSENT

W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman

David Markowski, Selectman

Thomas Hooker, Selectman


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