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on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month at 7 PM

Minutes - Newfane Planning Commission, April 8, 2008, 7:00 p.m.

T. Bedell, C. Berdan, J. Feifel, G. Garbe, K. Robinson

Guests: S. Fillion, Dave Berrie, Piet van Loon, Joe Mandell, Carolyn Coleman, Laura Wallingford-Bacon, Phyllis Mandell, Bill Morse, Bruce Hesselbach, John Spicer, Chris Petrak, Guy Wachtel, Ed Druke Sr., Dan DeWalt.

1. Chairman C. Berdan called meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.

Presentation to Sue from C. Berdan on behalf of the Planning Commission.

2. S. Fillion takes the floor to review comments from April 1 public forum, as well as written comments she’d received, presented in a chart by section, with comments. The evening was given over to dealing with comments one by one until adjournment, along with public input:

Section 209: Decision made to revert to wording indicating commencement of a zoning permit should occur within one year, with completion in two years, although some further thought should be given to defining just what commencement means.

320: Expansion of 1-acre zoning district? Village districts too narrow? B. Hesselbach noted that he had been on Newfane Conservation Commission for ten years, but that he was speaking for himself in saying that Newfane Village is one of most scenic towns in New England, “part of our economic base… so we have to take care to maintain the character of the village. My humble opinion is that if village loses its scenic character Newfane will be destroyed. To protect Newfane Village we need a requirement that ridge line homes will have to be screened. The vistas need to be protected.”

Sue noted that some areas of NV were taken out of the Village District because they were getting up on the hills.

How were the Village District lines determined? Along parcel lines for the most part.

S. Fillion: “I agree with some site planning re trees. But that’s a longer term project.”

323: Outdoor wood burners could be a health issue. D. Berrie says it shouldn’t be a matter for zoning. Sue disagrees, saying it’s within the purview of zoning. E. Druke mentions his. More talk about need (or no need) for regulation on this matter.

323: Light Industry should have specific treatment to distinguished it from home business/occupation.

323: Why is Home Business a conditional use? Allows for more intensive use of the property, but as a conditional use, it’s a good way to keep a check on matters.

324: A large amount of time was spent discussing lot widths, although it became clear after a time that people were getting away from fact that it was the village district under discussion. Instead of calling it lot width, we’ll call it lot frontage as in existing town law.

324: Rear setbacks too low – proposed at 15 feet just based on--well, sort of arbitrary, closer to property lines.

334: 200’ frontage in Rural District is too large, some say. (Currently two acre.) We’ll revisit this one with some models, graphics.

335: Drive-through in RD: The RD is mostly residential – drive-through not compatible with area. Bruce mentions it would be along Route 30. Prohibition left in.

342: Why restrict uses in Resource District versus others? That’s the reason for a resource district – that the area has physical constraints, and is not one where you’d want to encourage development.

344: Lot size for resource district? Lot of discussion on this, but no clear resolve. This segued into a discussion of

412: Frontage on town trail. SF explained the background of the issue, batted back and forth by J. Mandell and D. Barrie. J. Mandell reviewed some of the aspects of the court case in the matter, suggesting the idea is to preserve land from encroachment by development. D. Barrie had a different view, suggesting that adoption of this section would render 1,500 acres on town trails undevelopable, and an encroachment on the owners’ rights.

S. Fillion noted she was no expert in the matter, but that there was money left in the grant allowing for legal review, which she recommended. She noted that the Vermont League of Cities and Towns said it would be good for towns to have a plan on the matter, but she conceded that the Planning Commission may not be in a position to properly determine that plan, and that the legal consult route would probably be the way to go.

G. Wachtel said that personally he didn’t want to see such land developed, but that the property owners had a legitimate issue and that ultimately some kind of compensation might be necessary. “The question is, How much of a sacrifice are we willing to make for this open land?”

In the interests of time, C. Berdan suggested the other sections be held until next meeting.

3. Notes read from April 1, 2007 Public Forum.

Meeting adjourned at 9:34 p.m.


Agenda for next meeting, April 22, 7:00 pm

1. To continue reviewing notes and comments from the April 1 meeting.

2. To consider any business that may come before the Planning Commission.

Tom Bedell, Secretary


--April 22, 7:00 p.m. – Regular meeting

--May 13, 7:00 p.m. – Regular meeting

Town Offices:
Route 30, P.O. Box 36, Newfane VT 05345, Tel. (802) 365-7772

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