Regular Meeting of Monday November 13, 2023 at 7:00 PM
At South Hero Town Hall and via Zoom
Board Members Present: David Carter/Chairman, Skip Brown/Board Secretary, Anne Zolotas and Chuck Hulse
Board Members Not Present: Ross Brown/Vice Chairman
Other Staff Present: Sue Arguin, Town Administrator and Kim Julow, Treasurer. Also see sign in sheet of in person and Zoom attendees. *Attendance SB 2023-11-13-2023
1. Called to Order:
– The meeting was called to order by Chairman Carter at 7:00 pm.
2. Public Hearings:
A. Public Hearing to name a private road at 129 Ferry Road as proposed by Dean and Kathy Henry,
“Coles Court”. There were no comments about the name from the public in attendance. Ross Brown made a motion to approve the name “Coles Court”. The motion was seconded, all in attendance so voted and the motion carried.
B. Public Hearing to name a private road at 129 Ferry Road as proposed by Dean and Kathy Henry,
“Lindsey’s Lane”. There were no comments about the name from the public in attendance. Ross Brown made a motion to approve the name “Lindsey’s Lane”. The motion was seconded, all in attendance so voted and the motion carried.
3. Adjustment to Agenda:
-Change the order of the meeting to allow Stephen Hilfiker from VHB to go move to New Business to discuss the landfill testing.
-Chuck Hulse made a motion to approve the minutes of October 23, 2023. The motion was seconded. Skip Brown did not vote since he was not in attendance at that meeting. The others in attendance so voted and the motion carried.
5. Public input:
6. New Business:
A. Terry Robinson and Cathie Merrihew were in attendance to present the budget request of $6500.00 for the South Hero Bicentennial Museum. See attached: *Museum Budget 2024-2025
B. Neil Hazen and Sam Robinson were in attendance to present the budget request of $15,000.00 for the South Hero Cemetery Commission. See attached: * Cemetery Budget 2024-2025 Note that all budget requests will be included with the Town Report and will be included in the budget(s) to be voted on Town Meeting day.
-There was also a discussion about home burials. It is not prohibited by the State, but certain parameters as per Statute are to be followed. South Hero does not have a separate ordinance about such burials. See the informational website: healthvermont.gov/systems/end-of-life-decisions/private-property-burials
C. Stephen Hilfiker from VHB was present via Zoom to discuss the testing of the former landfill and private wells for PFAS. The State requires, at a minimum, that 2 drinking wells continue to be sampled that are above the Preventative Action Level (PAL) of 2 parts/trillion but are below the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 20 parts/trillion along with continued testing of the landfill test wells. The consensus of the Board is to continue with the required testing and to explore doing more testing of additional wells. More info will follow at a future meeting.
7. Town Administrator and ZA Reports:
A. See the written reports filed with these minutes (Below on the website or in Town Hall).
8. Old and Ongoing Business:
A. There was a discussion about State Act 47: Housing Opportunities Made for Everyone, aka the HOME Act and the consequences for development regulations. It appears that this recent Act 47 allows the Selectboard to make changes to development regulations after Planning Commission (PC) and Selectboard public hearings. The next PC public hearing will be November 29 and the Selectboard public hearing will be December 13.
B. There was an ongoing general budget discussion
9. Announcements and Communications:
A. Northwest Fiberworx sent a 2023 annual report.
10. Other Business:
A. Chuck Hulse made a motion to approve and sign the orders 24-10 and to pay the bills associated with the orders. The motion was seconded, all in attendance so voted and the motion carried.
B. Town Clerk/Treasurer updates: budget discussion
C. Recreation Commission (RC) update: none at this meeting.
D. Road Department update: Concrete for the salt shed footings and walls have been poured. If the weather allows, then the floor may be poured this fall.
E. Old South Hero Meeting House (OSHMH) project: A fundraising letter has gone out
F. ARPA fund updates: none
G. Wastewater (WW) update: no updates as there have been no test pits dug yet.
H. Town Hall Feasibility study committee: Read the minutes from that committee for more info. At the September 25 meeting, the consensus of the Board was to offer the South Hero Benefit Shop d/b/a Granny’s Attic approximately 30’ x 80’ of land at the east side of the Town garage property in order to erect a building. David Carter met with a group of the Granny’s and has not heard back with their opinion of the idea. More info will follow as it becomes available.
-Chuck Hulse made a motion to adjourn at 8:50 pm. The motion was seconded, all in attendance so voted and the motion carried.
Respectfully submitted, Approved by,
Graham Brown, Secretary David Carter, Chairman
November 13, 2023 ZA’s report to the SB
1. The public hearing to name 2 new private roads is on the agenda for the Nov. 13 SB
meeting. The roads are part of a 9-lot subdivision approved by the DRB in March of
2022. Applicants were Dean and Kathy Henry. Because RT 314 is a State Road, VTrans
reviewed and approved the road access locations. The proposed road names are
Lindsey’s Lane and Cole’s Court. There are no other roads in South Hero with similar
names. There are already several ‘L’ and ‘C’ road codes in South Hero. I am proposing
the road code for Lindsey’s Lane to be ‘LS’, and the proposed road code for Cole’s Court
to be ‘CR’. Once the road names are approved, I can notify VT E911 and assign
addresses to the individual lots.
2. I’ve had an inquiry from a resident about home burials. There are no laws that prohibit
home burial in VT, but the State suggests checking local zoning rules for restrictions.
There are none in our zoning bylaws and I am certainly not advocating for any.
However, some Towns have policies that, for example, include the Health Officer
certifying a burial location to make sure it is not near any wells, requiring a burial permit
and a map to show locations of home burial plots, recording these in the Town’s land
records (which seems like a good idea to me), etc. Naomi told me that there has been a
lot of discussion about home burials and green burials on the VT Town Clerk list serve
recently, and she printed out some of the information that had been shared by Clerks
throughout VT. I will have copies of those for you for the Nov. 13 meeting. There are
State regulations but, as far as I can tell, no additional Town policies on this. May I ask
that the Board review the information and that this be put on the agenda for the
November 27 SB meeting, where Naomi and I will have a proposed policy prepared for
the Board’s review? I would prefer not to delay too much on this since the inquiry may
be time sensitive.
3. Each office here in the Town Office has an air purifier – the Clerks office has a large one
for that larger space, and the Zoning/Treasurer/Listers/Town Admin offices each have
smaller units appropriate for the size of the spaces. These were installed in July because
of mold issues in the basement and subsequent air quality tests. The filters in the units
are supposed to last one year before replacement. The filter in the unit in the zoning
office became full on Tuesday, Nov. 7. When removed from the unit, a visual inspection
showed that it was full. Since the treasurer was out that week, we temporarily placed
her unit in the zoning office while waiting for new filters that had to be ordered. On
Wednesday morning (Nov. 8) that unit displayed a red light indicating its filter was now
full. There is a grate in the wall in the corner of the zoning office (behind a cabinet) that
allows ventilation to the area in the building’s front closet from which the stairs to the
cellar descend. I can’t determine if this is connected to the filters’ failure, but all the
other filters and air purifiers in the Town Office appear to be working fine. I am
temporarily working in the Board room until new filters are delivered. Can the grate in
the zoning office be covered? What other remedies can be considered to prevent
possible exposure to contaminants that may still be coming up from the cellar?
4. I was contacted last week by Krystal Sewell of the State wetlands program. When
Martin Rd. was widened for additional parking in the area of the bike path/fishing
access, the work impacted a wetland area. Krystal said that the Town will need an
after-the-fact wetlands permit. This will include having the wetland area delineated by
a wetland specialist. I contacted Fitzgerald Environmental in Colchester on the
recommendation of Matt Bartle. They are close by and are familiar with the Islands. I
spoke with a wetland ecologist there to learn more about the process. Fitzgerald is
going to put together a proposal that I can present to the SB at their Nov. 27 meeting.
The proposal will include the delineation field work, mapping for review by the State,
and permit application preparation, if needed. Krystal has asked that I contact her by
Dec. 7 to confirm that the Town is on the schedule of an environmental firm for wetland
delineation once the growing season begins in the spring. Unfortunately, since the work
was done by the Town without required State permits, the cost of remediation is
avoidable. I will have the numbers for you at the 11/27 meeting.
5. I will be out of the office the week of November 13. I can attend the Nov 13 SB meeting
by Zoom if you feel it is necessary.
The Planning Commission’s public hearing for required changes to the Development
Regulations mandated by the HOME Act, technical changes correcting typos and grammatical
errors, and clarifications related to stormwater will be held at a Planning Commission special
meeting on November 29 at 6PM at the Town Office. The warning for this meeting appeared in
the November 8 issue of the Islander. The warning for the SB’s Dec. 13 public hearing will be in
the Nov 22 issue of the Islander. It has been confirmed with NRPC that the Planning
Commission has interpreted correctly that the process spelled out in the HOME Act for
approval of zoning bylaws in Rural Towns must be adoption by the Selectboard rather than by
Development Review Board
-There are no hearings scheduled for the DRB for the month of November. The next meeting
and hearing will be December 13. There will only be one meeting in December because of the
-The 3-year terms of 3 members of the DRB will expire on Dec. 31 st . I will put a notice in the
South Hero Town News in the Islander asking for anyone interested in serving on the Board to
send me a letter of interest before the SB meeting on Dec. 13. Two current members have
already asked to be re-appointed. I am waiting to hear from the 3 rd . The SB will need to make
appointments at their Dec 13 meeting.
Martha Taylor-Varney, ZA
SOUTH HERO TOWN ADMINISTRATOR REPORT FOR 11/13/2023
1. Aflac came in to speak with the highway department and the office staff about their products
and services and will be coming back tomorrow to sign interested people up. They wanted to
let the selectboard know that they too are qualified if you want. There are some pamphlets of
information that are here if you are interested.
2. Benton Mitchell from the State of Vermont will be coming tomorrow afternoon to teach the
Listers how to handle Current Use and Homesteads. Since a few of us are relatively new with all
the procedures and methods in which to be a lister and what is expected from us, his guidance
will be much appreciated.
3. The MERP Grant Application (Municipal Energy Resilience Program) is on their second round of
applicants so Marlena Valenta from NRPC said we should be hearing soon if we have been
4. Will be working with George Harwood on the Regional Project Prioritization Form for the
Wastewater Committee. Hoping to meet this Wednesday. This list is used by funders to assign
bonus points to grant applications and is due by December 1 st .