TOWN OF RUTLAND
PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
FEBRUARY 5, 2009
The meeting opened at 7:00 P.M.
Commission members present: Howard Burgess, Anthony Flory, Richard Hoenes, Richard Lloyd, William Matteson, Jerry Stearns, Tom Turner and Charles Vajda.
Review of the 1/15/2009 Minutes
The minutes from the January 15th mixer were reviewed and one change was made to Jamie Stewart’s title as Executive Director of REDC. Mr. Stearns motioned to accept the minutes with this change and Mr. Lloyd seconded the motion. All were in approval.
Review of the 1/22/2009 Minutes
The minutes from the 1/22/2009 meeting were discussed. Mr. Stewart’s title had to be changed and a few typos and minor changes were added. Mr. Lloyd motioned to accept these minutes with the changes and Mr. Hoenes seconded the motion. All were in approval.
The Rutland Town Plan
Ms. Tara Kelly from the Rutland Regional Planning Commission was present to review several sections of the proposed Town Plan. She had mailed out copies of sections completed to the Commission members prior to this meeting.
Mr. Turner motioned to accept the Transportation section and Mr. Hoenes seconded the motion. All were in approval.
Some minor changes were discussed including dating the population size as of 2007, changing the census date to 2000 and eliminating a paragraph made obsolete by Table 3. There were also a couple of typos. Mr. Turner suggested adding that the Town appraisal will be completed in 2009.
Mr. Hoenes motioned to accept the Community Profile section with these changes and Mr. Lloyd seconded the motion. The motions were then withdrawn when Mr. Turner said that he preferred to see the revised copy before voting on its acceptance.
It was suggested that in the section that mentions the Gables and the Meadows, that the Maples Senior Community be mentioned as being in the City but near Rutland Town. It was also suggested that someone check to see if The Maples offers subsidized units.
Another item mentioned was that the Federal government was offering $15,000 loans to some first time home owners at no interest.
Ms. Kelly thought the report should acknowledge the decline of housing prices starting in the 2008-2009 time-frame.
It was decided that the definition of affordable housing be included along with the income needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment. This would include dual income affordable housing.
Mr. Matteson said he would like the latest figures on wages.
Mr. Turner said that he didn’t think the chart on income vs. the cost of housing was correct citing gross vs. after tax wages. Ms. Kelley is to bring in the source documents for this section. She will also check into whether HUD includes the utilities in the cost of housing.
Mr. Turner suggested adding positive statements from the old plan if they still hold true.
It was suggested that the Child Care section be separated from the Housing section.
Commission members thought it would be a good idea to include the after school programs and recreational activities.
Ms. Kelly said she would forward to the Commission members corrections to these sections as well as the Economic section. Mr. Matteson said that he would like to have Jamie Stewart from REDC back to discuss the Economic section further. Ms. Kelly said she would attend the next meeting on February 19th.
Mr. Turner had previously handed out to the Commission eight changes that came out of the Select Board hearing on zoning. He motioned that these changes be endorsed by the Commission. Mr. Hoenes seconded the motion. All were in approval.
Closed Deliberative Sessions and Deemed Approval
Mr. Turner reminded the Commission that they can hold closed deliberative sessions before determining action to permit a subdivision.
He also reminded the Commission that, under Section 185-20 of the Town Code, if the Planning Commission fails to reach a subdivision decision within forty-five days after the public hearing, then such failure shall be deemed approval of it. However, based on the Vermont supreme Court decision in the 1998 Newton Enterprises case, there are circumstances by which a failure to reach a concurrence of the majority will nevertheless result in a decision having been made by the Planning Commission and deemed approval cannot occur. Such situations can be complex, so more detail can be provided if needed by the Commission at some future time. Mr. Turner stated that the information had been provided by The Vermont League of Cities and Towns at their educational sessions which some members of our Commission have attended in prior years.
There was a lengthy discussion on the Hubbard subdivision. Mr. Turner passed out a synopsis of the Environmental Court decision that voided the permit given to the Hubbards for a subdivision back in 2006. (see attached) He said that a full copy of the document was available and Mr. Matteson asked Mr. Zingale to provide copies to all the Commission members.
Mr. Zingale said that the Hubbards would like to schedule a site visit. Mr. Matteson said that it would be appropriate to have a plot plan available to the members before that visit. Mr. Zingale said that that the Hubbards had provided a sketch plan at the last meeting they attended. Mr. Matteson said that the sketch plan was inadequate and the Hubbard’s lawyer had said it was a work in progress.
Mr. Hoenes and Mr. Turner said that they have usually had a plot plan to go by when doing a site visit. Mr. Zingale said that the Hubbards would like to avoid having to do two maps, one for the Commission to review at the site visit and another if changes needed to be made. Mr. Zingale said that he felt these applicants were being discriminated against and Mr. Matteson said that this wasn’t so since the Hubbards had received a subdivision permit in 2006 but the Environmental Court ruled it void.
Mr. Zingale said he wanted it stated for the record that at least two other applicants had their subdivisions or lot line adjustments approved without a final plot plan available. He cited the permits for Mr. Denardo and Mr. Fish. Mr. Turner said that if there were any improper procedures followed in the past, the Commission should try to avoid making them again, especially in light of the fact that the Hubbard subdivision approved by the Commission had been thrown out by the Court.
Mr. Stearns asked if it wouldn’t be acceptable to have the Hubbards provide a map prior to the site visit.
A motion was made by Mr. Flory to have a site visit on March 5, 2009 at 10:00 A.M. Mr. Lloyd seconded the motion. The motion failed by a 3-4 vote, without Mr. Matteson having to cast a vote.
Mr. Lloyd said that he felt the Commission had been inconsistent in the past and said he felt this was now a dead issue. He motioned to end the meeting. Mr. Vajda seconded the motion. All were in approval.
The meeting ended at 9:05 P.M.
William Matteson, Chairman Date