Minutes of July 14, 2020
MEMBERS PRESENT: Sarah Gallagher, Marsha Hopkins, Micheline Bissell and Tim Carter from the Planning Commission. AJ Ruben, Zoning Administrator.
1. Sarah called the meeting to order at 6:45 pm. The meeting was conducted via conference call due to COVID 19.
2. Agenda Modifications: None
3. The minutes from the April 14, 2020 meeting were read. Marsha made a motion to accept, seconded by Sarah, all in favor.
4. Public Present: Tory Littlefield, TRORC
5. Correspondence: None
6. Open Issues:
• Revision of 2015 Town Plan – Sarah introduced Tory from TRORC who led the discussion regarding the revision of the town plan due in 2023. Tory explained that the grant funds available for the project will be highly competitive this year. Most funding is being redirected toward COVID 19 recovery like most of the grant funding available from the state currently. Tory stated there was other funding ($1300) in Forest Grant funds which could help with new requirements. Tory said our 2015 plan was revised so extensively that the new revisions would not be as complicated. New requirements for plan revisions include adding forest habitat protections and census data updates to mapping along with changing language from shall to must. Optional items include Enhanced Energy, and Health and Wellness chapters. Marsha asked about application deadlines. Sarah said Tory would complete the application. Tory said the Commission would need to approve the application in August through a motion; it was agreed the Commission
would meet briefly in August to do this. Tory explained if we did receive grant funds the process would be more rigorous to include a more involved public process; mailings and public forums. Tory said if the grant was not awarded, we had three years to complete and could budget the funding needed to hire TRORC. Sarah said there was $500 in our current budget for this year and we could stagger funding in 2021 and 2022 at a $2000/year ask. The Commission was in agreement with this strategy.
• Generator Grant- Sarah asked Tory if she knew when the funds were going to be released. Tory said she had not heard anything on it and would keep us posted.
• Route 100 Crosswalk– Sarah shared her correspondence with John Kelly regarding crosswalk requirements and additional signage for Route 100. Marsha said installing a crosswalk in Pittsfield would be dangerous since traffic does not slow down and we do not meet the warrants required. John Kelly, in his correspondence did suggest Pittsfield apply for a grant from the VTrans Bike and Pedestrian Program Manager in the spring to do a scoping study of the entire village area to determine if and where pedestrian facilities could be located. The Commission was in agreement that extra signage was needed along Route 100 for firetruck advance warning signs. John Kelly did state in his letter that he put in a work order for those signs. Sarah explained that school bus warning signs (SBSA) do not apply to buses leaving the green. SBSA signs are used to alert drivers to sudden stops by buses along Route 100. The Commission would have to supply John with the bus stop locations along Route 100 and they would have to conduct a
• Commission Vacancy –The Town Select Board, after receiving a resignation from Charlie Piso, appointed Micheline Bissell and Tim Carter to the Planning Commission. Welcome.
• River Corridor Plan permitting Process- Sarah shared all documentation she received regarding this permitting process with the Commission. Marsha asked if this was more of the Zoning Administration responsibility. AJ said he would be glad to get up to speed on this being the newly appointed Zoning Administrator. Micheline explained the process she used when building her house; there was no application or approval process for her site and she had to do all the research herself. Site lines changed before and after
Irene and resulted in her moving her house site several feet. She explained that her own due diligence was required to ensure they would not be in violation of any flood hazard regulations. Sarah said the town had no way of knowing who was building anything and where. As a remedy, each spring the listers drive around town to take a look themselves. Sarah thought a site plan application should be required. Tim said we would have to distinguish between a shed, a barn, a house, a garage etc. Tim suggested the application carry a fee. Marsha still thought this crossed into the Zoning Administration lane. AJ said he would look into this and get back to us since it did not look like there was a hard fast deadline in the very near future. He said any permitting process would require a big change.
7. New Business: None
8. Next Meeting: October 13, 2020 at 6:30pm with a tentative short meeting to be scheduled in early August for approval of the grant application.
9. Adjournment: Meeting adjourned at 7:45pm
The MINUTES of July 14, 2020 were duly APPROVED on September 1, 2020
By: s/Sarah Gallagher,chair