Town of Pittsford, Vermont

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Town of Pittsford
Select Board Minutes



Thomas “Hank” Pelkey opened the meeting at 6:30 P.M.  The Board members present were: Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Dave Markowski, Allen Hitchcock (6:45), Larry Pomainville and Joseph Gagnon.  Also present were Michael Balch, Roy Newton, Mike Solari, Jim Morale, Richard Conway, Stanley Markowski, Dorothy Terwilliger, Bob Harnish, E.J. Bishop, Jean Harvie, John Eugair, Nancy Gaudreau and Paula Bizon Recording Secretary.



The Board minutes of 8/18/04 were reviewed, discussed and approved. 



The orders of 9/1/04 were reviewed, discussed and approved.   The Board discussed the delayed order from attorneys Schwiebert, Kenlan & Facey.  The Board discussed the need to have the bill on a monthly basis from now on.  M. Balch reported that VTrans confirmed that the invoice for the Gorham Bridge had been in error.  The invoice has been voided and VTrans apologized. 



-M. Balch informed the Board that the Highway Department would return to winter hours starting the week of Sept 6th.

-M. Balch informed the Board that the Planning Commission required member numbers have been researched.  The Board can reduce the number of members required for the Board. The requested civil enforcement language to be added to the ordinance was furnished to Mike Solari. 

-M. Balch informed the Board that he has prepared and distributed the requested cost of labor spread sheet. 

-M. Balch informed the Board that he drafted the formal notice letter to the Union regarding negotiations and sent the draft by certified mail.



R. Newton addressed the Board on the repairs done on Oxbow Rd.  R. Newton asked if there were any additional costs to the repair after the recent storm that is receiving FEMA funds or is the Town handling the expense.   M. Balch stated that the Town will not receive any FEMA money but it is eligible for State funding.  The Town has requested State funding of approximately $30,000. 


The Board recessed and went onto Sewer Board at 8:25 P.M. and reconvened at 8:27 P.M.



Listers’ Draft Work Plan

The Board reviewed the draft work plan presented by the Listers.  M. Balch stated that the work plan reflects the current workload with the current State requirements. The numbers have been researched and the draft appears accurate upon M. Balch’s review. 

 The Board asked for a clarification on the budget that has been submitted to the Town.  The Lister’s stated that with the new State requirements there is a necessity to increase the Lister’s budget by $18,000 this year.  The Board asked for a comparison of budgets from other comparable Towns.  J. Eugair stated that a survey was put on the Internet requesting other Town’s input on their budgets to use for comparison.  The results are not official. The Town of Pittsford falls somewhere in the middle of other Towns budget based on this year’s actual budget numbers.  The Board discussed the questions that were asked in the survey and the accuracy of comparison between Towns.  J. Eugair noted that the Town had been putting in reappraisal funds up until 1993.  However, the Town  continued to receive reappraisal funds from the State.  It was noted that since 1993 the workload has increased.   The Listers currently have funding available for reappraisals.  The Board noted that the work plan has a Town reappraisal as a large expense.  The Board asked if all of those funds are in the current budget.  M. Balch stated that there is more than enough funding in the reappraisal account to fund the reappraisal and related Listers expense.  M. Balch stated that the workload should drive the budget.  R. Newton asked if he could assume that the work plan presented is the result of State mandates and the dollars did not follow the State mandates.  M. Balch stated somewhat.  The Town is no longer putting funding aside just for reappraisal.  The Board asked how many hours the Listers put in each week.  The Listers stated that it depends on workload and an average number of hours are listed on the work plan.  The Board asked if the new computer system would allow some of this work to be reduced, thereby, reducing the Listers budget.  J. Harvie stated that the new system would allow for a reduced workload eventually.  R. Newton asked with the Listers new State mandate would the new computer system be compatible.   M. Balch stated yes.  A. Hitchcock moved and L. Pomainville seconded a motion to increase the Lister 04/05 budget by $18,000 but to not overspend the allocation of the total budget.  Unanimously approved.


Error and Omissions

The Board reviewed the three omissions from the grand list.  D.Markowski moved and J. Gagnon seconded a motion to approve the adjusted grand list, which is $2,695,470.51 up $5,209.51 from $2,690,261. Unanimously approved.


The Listers departed at 7:11 P.M.



Development Review Board (DRB) discussion

J. Carroll addressed the Board with members of the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.  J. Carroll presented information on developing a DRB and the process involved.  A good resource is the VLCT for specific questions as needed.  A basic review was presented to the Boards.  The Selectboard duties will remain the same as the appointers of the DRB.  J. Carroll presented the duties of the current Boards.  There are three major benefits to developing a DRB.  1. A DRB would streamline the duties of the two Boards, Planning Commission and ZBA.  All of the judicial functions of the two Boards would be combined into the DRB and would hear all appeals, simplifying the process.   The Zoning Administrator would remain the same with a DRB.  However, all the permits would go to the DRB for a decision.  The Planning Commission would strictly focus on the reviewing and updating of the Town Plan and Zoning Ordinance.  The ZBA members would be eliminated.  The ZBA could be appointed to the DRB or not.  2. A DRB, with an adoption of the Municipal Procedural Act, would furnish its decision and evidence with any appeal that went on to the Environmental Court.  That would limit the EC to reverse the DRB decision only if it is based on a procedural fault.  This would allow the Town’s decision to hold up stronger. 3.  A DRB would also allow limited ACT 250 criteria review by the Town. (The Town would have to have sub division regulations in place.) J. Carroll noted that a DRB focuses on simplifying the permit process so the Planning Commission can focus on the Town Plan.  A DRB must have at least a five member Board and it increases the duties of those Board members.  B. Morgan stated that a DRB would place a burden on local officials.  Also with a DRB you are requiring lay people to understand the laws.  J. Carroll stated that with a DRB it is important to adopt the Municipal Procedural Act.  The obligations that have been mentioned are already occurring right now.  M. Balch stated that with an intelligent and honest Board, along with the procedures, that the chances of getting overturned on the substance of decision are slim. J. Carroll supported M. Balch’s statement.  B. Morgan stated that instead of waiting to bring forward the experts until the EC then these persons would need to be presented to the DRB.  M. Balch stated that currently the quasi-judicial procedures are happening on the two Boards.  By combining the Boards the members will have a better opportunity to learn the procedures.  R. Conway asked if there would ever be a conflict of interest on the Boards.  J. Carroll stated that there is a possibility but there are procedures to follow.  The costs associated with a DRB were discussed.  J. Carroll advocated that the VLTC should be referred to start off on a DRB.  J. Carroll stated that the current ZBA and Planning Commission regulations would be annotated as the DRB regulations and would not change.  The Board asked if a DRB would make the permitting process a shorter process.  J. Carroll stated that it was the initial function of the developers of DRB’s to reduce the time constraints.  However, not all permit process will go smoothly.  S. Markowski asked if there has been a previous problem with how the Board is operating to warrant this discussion tonight.  M. Balch stated that the loss of members on the Planning Commission prompted the discussion.  The Board discussed if with the adoption of a DRB whether or not the member numbers would be difficult to meet.  R. Conway stated that if a DRB is to be considered that it would be beneficial to speak with the complete ZBA and the ramifications of a DRB.  The Selectboard stated that they would like to have the input of both Boards prior to any decisions being made.


J. Carroll departed at 8:20 P.M.  The PC and ZBA departed at 8:14 P.M.



In accordance with 1VSA 312(b) where premature general public knowledge would clearly place the Municipality or person involved at a substantial disadvantage, the Board unanimously agreed to go into executive session to discuss litigation at 8:15 P.M. 


Michael Balch and Jim Carroll were invited to stay.  All others were excused.  The Board came out of executive session at 8:20 P.M. 


Community Center

D. Terwilliger addressed the Board in reference to the Rutland County Project.  D. Terwilliger requested E.J. Bishop to be present tonight to discuss the Rutland County Project.  D. Terwilliger stated that the program is a great benefit to the community and the children in the community.  D. Terwilliger is interested in having Pittsford involved in this project.  The Board received a packet of information on the Rutland County project.  E.J. Bishop presented the Rutland community center project to the Board.  The project details were explained to the Board.  One of the objectives of the project is to have neighboring communities’ work together to establish these projects.  E.J. Bishop stated that seven other communities have already shown an interest in this project.  The project has begun and is within the finalization stages.  E.J. Bishop stated that additional municipal partners are needed.  E. J. Bishop is requesting Pittsford participation in the project.  The only requirement that E.J. Bishop is requesting is a commitment of three residents that would participate in the project development. One of the residential members needs to be from the Planning Commission.  Eventually the Town would need to vote on participation in the project.  The Selectboard would appoint the governing body of the project and each Town would have one vote.  The cost of the project would be determined by per capital basis of each Town.  The Board asked D. Terwilliger if she had a list of residents that are interested in participation of this project.  D. Terwilliger stated not at this time.  E. J. Bishop stated that one of the members should be a Selectboard member to enable the Board to be informed on an ongoing basis.  The Board asked about the coordination with Brandon’s project.  D. Terwilliger stated that she would be speaking with the Brandon group about the Rutland project.  E. J. Bishop stated that he has spoken with the Brandon group and there are concerns with the depth and expense of developing a center on their own.  E.J. Bishop stated that there would need to be other amenities, besides a pool, to make the center economically solvent.  E. J. Bishop stated the possible supplemental abilities to the existing town recreational program.  E. J. Bishop stated that the Board would need to review the information and state whether or not there is an interest in this project and a willingness to go to the community for a vote when all the details are worked out.  D. Terwilliger requested the Board to consider the project.  E.J. Bishop stated that this is a municipal project that will allow affordable family memberships and make the facility available to all residents.  The projected costs were not available, however it is projected to be several million.  The annual budget to run the program is approximately between 2 to 4 million. The Board stated that at this point a Town wide interest would need to be determined before moving further.   D. Terwilliger departed at 9:15 P.M. 


Town Delegate VLTC Annual Meeting

D. Markowski moved and L. Pomainville seconded a motion to appoint Helen McKinlay to represent the Town at the VLCT on Sept 30, 2004 from 2-4 p.m.  Unanimously approved. 


Planning Commission

A. Hitchcock moved and L. Pomainville seconded a motion to change the member size of the Planning Commission from 5 members to 3 members.  Unanimously approved.


Road Access Permit

The Board discussed the road access permit on Sugar Hollow Road.  The owner has put in a home on a temporary road access.  The Town has spent a lot of money in maintaining the road.  The Board needs to determine whether or not the Town should make the owner accountable for the property and the road.  The Board directed M. Balch to research the permits for the road access and building permits and report back to the Board.  The records of expense on maintaining the road also need to be kept for future reference. 



In accordance with 1VSA 312(b) where premature general public knowledge would clearly place the Municipality or person involved at a substantial disadvantage, the Board unanimously agreed to go into executive session to discuss Personnel and contracts at 9:42 P.M.  Michael Balch was invited to stay.  All others were excused.  The Board came out of executive session at 10:02 P.M. 


Without any further business, the Board adjourned at 10:04 P.M.


 Respectfully submitted:


Thomas “Hank” Pelkey, Chair

Larry Pomainville, Vice-Chair 

Dave Markowski, Selectman 

W. Joseph Gagnon, Selectman

Allan Hitchcock, Selectman

Paula Bizon, Recording Secretary 



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