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