SOUTH HERO PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES September 15, 2021
Members Present: Doug Patterson (Chair); Sandy Gregg (Vice-Chair); Michele Gammal; George Harwood (via Zoom).
Member Absent: David Roy
Public Present: Tim Maxham; Ross Brown; Bob Fireovid; Lynnette Claudon, VT DEC (via Zoom); Martha Taylor-Varney (ZA).
6:00 PM – D. Patterson call the meeting to order.
Changes to the Agenda
- Patterson requested adding discussion re adding an exemption to the Regulations for accessibility structures.
There was none.
Continue Discussion of 9/1/21 VT DEC presentation on wastewater planning and assessment in South Hero
Lynnette Claudon explained that there are usually more than on project to build out over time. A ‘Community Wastewater System’ is generally for a village or larger area. It’s up to each community. It could be town-wide if there is funding available. Most funds are designated f or village centers. She encourages communities to send out surveys to gauge the interest. Because South Hero is an “unsewered village” improves chances that funding could be available. Using Highgate’s recent funding award as an example, it was recommended that South Hero request 25% more than Highgate received. Highgate’s study centered on the village core, designated village center, and a couple of neighborhoods.
Lynnette explained that the grant application process will include:
- Set up a budget with NRPC and apply for funding.
- Develop a contract with NRPC.
- Once funds are available, find an engineer to conduct the study.
Lynnette explained that, after studies are completed, most projects have not been able to follow through. Additional Federal funds are available to improve opportunities to complete projects.
Discussion included whether the study should just be for the villages, or should it be Town-wide? Ross Brown stated that conducting a wastewater study may put the Town in a better position for funds to improve the Town’s drinking water. S. Gregg will contact Greta Brunswick at NRPC to get an outline of the next steps. A wastewater committee will assist in continuing this study. Several members of the community have already expressed interest in participating.
2023 Town Plan – Municipal Planning Grant
The Selectboard agreed at their September 13, 2021 meeting to include funding in the 2023 budget for the required 2023 Town Plan Update in case a municipal planning grant is not awarded. SB Chair David Carter will be the Authorizing Official for this grant application. Greta Brunswick of NRPC has been designated the grant writer in GEARS (the State grant website). S. Gregg will start the application process by reviewing the questions and sending the PC members a sample application. Greta will put the PC’s answers into submittal form. Sandy recommended that the Commission focus on a theme and asked the members to review the Town’s 2015 Town Plan and the current Town of Berlin Plan before the next meeting. The application deadline is October 31, 2021.
Weekend in the Islands (Oct. 9-10) update
Michele Gammal told the Commission that the plans are going well. There will be 33 businesses participating. Karen McCloud is designing the map. Three signs promoting the event will be placed on Town land. IS there a link on the Town website? The Commission suggested requesting that the Selectboard include funds for a donation to the event in the next budget if the weekend is a success.
- Patterson and Bob Buermann (Town rep to NRPC) suggest that a waiver be allowed exempting the need for a building permit for accessibility structures, including ramps, elevators, etc. These structures would be exempt from setback requirements. ZA Martha Taylor Varney suggested that a permit application be submitted so the Town is aware of the structure, but that no permit fee be required (similar to that for agricultural structures – although they must meet setback requirements). This will be put on the October 6th agenda. Bob Buermann and Robin Way of CIDER will be invited to attend, if they are available.
- Gregg moved to accept the minutes from September 1, 2021; M. Gammal second. All in favor.
There are 5 Mondays in November. ZA Martha Taylor-Varney will ask the Selectboard if they want to schedule a 5th Monday meeting with the PC and DRB.
6:55PM – S. Gregg moved to adjourn; M. Gammal second. All in favor.
Martha Taylor-Varney, ZA
Signed: ________________________________________ Date: _______________________
For the Planning Commission
These minutes are unofficial until approved at the next regularly scheduled meeting. All motions were unanimous unless otherwise indicated.