MINUTES OF THE FRANKLIN PLANNING COMMMISION

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

HOMESTEAD DINING ROOM

 

Members Present: Clark Hubbard, David Bennion, Cyrus Grennon, Rolland Rainville, Yvon Dandurand (Selectboard)

 

Members Absent: Peter Kittell, Dan Larivee

 

Guests: Jordy Fraties, Jess Alexant (Water Commission)

 

Meeting called to order at: 7:37 pm

 

Approval of Minutes: Dave made a motion to approve December 2017 minutes, seconded by Cyrus. 

 

Old Business: Clark sent a letter to John Ho and sent to NWPC and Energy Commission, stating that the PC approved his request for a solar array on his property as John meets all the guidelines regarding setbacks, etc.    

 

New Business: Judith McLaughlin resigned from the PC.  The PC is now looking for another member.  Jordy Fraties asked Clark what is involved in being a member of the Planning Commission.  Clark explained the various projects the PC has been involved in as well as public meeting rules, and quorum rules and regulations regarding discussion of PC business outside of the meeting. Clark stated that it is a volunteer position with no financial compensation.  Clark also talked about the PC responsibilities regarding subdivisions, town regulations, state regulations, and the Franklin Town Plan.  Dave added that we also have the assistance of the Regional Planning Commission when it is time to review and renew the Franklin Town Plan.  Clark stressed the importance of having younger members on the commission.  Clark told Jordy to send a letter if interest to Peter Magnant.  Jordy told the PC that he is very interested in joining the Planning Commission. 

 Clark mentioned to the PC members that a community member approached him regarding the height requirement for a wind tower.  He stated that he personally is not opposed to a tower over 100 feet if the tower is in the correct location, and does not have any negative impacts on land, neighbors or community.  The PC agreed with Clark. 

Yvon Dandurand joined the meeting at 8:00 pm. 

Jess Alexant presented the PC with a handout with information for protecting the Town of Franklin water source. Jess said that currently the Water Commission is working on adjusting the PH of the water as well as monitoring its flow.  Jess explained that he is present tonight to discuss the source protection plan and policy with regard to the Town Plan.  Jess is not recommending any changes to the water source portion of the current Town Plan. Jess showed a map he downloaded from a State of Vermont website that shows our water source which is the Webster Spring.  He also said that most private and public wells in the Town of Franklin are shown on the map. 

 

The State receives this information through a well completion report that well drillers are required to provide.  This information is not available in the town records.  At Yvon’s request, Jess will provide the information to the Town Clerk office on the State of Vermont website.

There was brief discussion about junkyards and enforcement. 

Jess went over the state regulations that must be followed regarding groundwater protection, groundwater withdrawal and permitting, hazardous waste, and municipal solid waste. Rolland added information regarding regulations for farmers.  

Jess stated that in the near future the Water Commission will be submitting to the State of Vermont an updated water source protection document.  Clark to Jess that he thought the PC was going to receive that information at this meeting.  Jess’s document does not have that exact information.   

Regulations for new water systems do not apply to older water systems such as the system in Franklin.  Jess said that it is extremely expensive and time consuming for municipalities to create a new water system.  Clark is concerned about the mention of the Hubbard Spring, which has not been used for many years and there are no pipes accessing it.  It would be extremely expensive to bring that spring up to usable standards in the event of an emergency.  Jess stated that according to the State of Vermont and Federal regulations it would take 3 years to be completed.  Jess stated that in his document the Town of Franklin needs to resolve administrative issues such as ownership, quality, and accessibility before the Hubbard Spring can be considered a secondary source. Jess does not feel the Hubbard Spring would be needed, but mentioned chlorinating and filtering should it be needed.  Jess also stated that he believes the Webster Spring will provide all the water that is needed in Franklin.  Clark mentioned to Jess that the document mentions the need for a secondary water source.  He asked that since the Hubbard Spring would not make an appropriate source, does one need to be found. Jess responded that such an issue is mentioned in his document.

 Jess would also like to recommend the Town discuss purchasing land around the Hubbard to protect it for possible (emergency) use, as well as purchasing land around the Webster Spring.  Clark stated that the purchase of 15 acres around both the Hubbard and Webster springs would be sufficient to protect them from hazardous materials.

Clark would like Jess put wording into his document regarding purchasing land to protect the water sources.  He stated that there will not be true water protection unless land is purchased to protect the water sources.  Jess will put wording in his document stressing the importance of purchasing land to create a protective buffer.

  Rolland stated that there are ownership questions regarding the Hubbard Spring.  Jess has mentioned in his document that that is one of the administrative problems that needs to be resolved.  Roland and Yvon briefly discussed ownership history to the Hubbard Spring. 

 

The PC discussed whether houses can be built on source protection land.  Jess said that according to State regulations, houses cannot be built.  He said land can be farmed, but nothing can be added to the land.

Clark said that that three homes have been built on the source area where old pipes have been laid.  Jess said that that was before the source area had been designated.

. Rolland asked if homeowners could drill their own wells.  Clark said that in town most homes are quarter acre lots with septic systems, therefore wells cannot be drilled on most town properties. 

Another point Jess brought up are the “fissures” in the bedrock  in Franklin, and the proximity of the Webster Spring to one of the fissures.  He hypothesizes that possibly the water is entering the Webster Spring from one of those fissures.  However, no geological studies have been done to show where the water is entering. 

  Jess would like the town place three monitoring wells around the Webster Spring to obtain more information about the water and the well- particularly where the water is entering.  Yvon said the monitoring wells will not tell us how to protect the well, and Clark responded by stating that once the location of entering water is known, you would know how to protect it.  Water levels during high use and drought was also discussed. Cyrus feels that monitoring of water flow use is first priority.  Jess responded that engineers will have monitoring flow design ready September or October 2019.

The PC and Selectboard needs to know from Jess exactly what the Town of Franklin needs to do for wellhead protection.  They are looking for factual information on what the PC and Selectboard need to be put into regulations.  Clark would like to incorporate the document Jess wrote in the Town Plan, but would also like an informational pamphlet for water protection.  At this time, there is not enough information for the PC to designate exactly how to protect the water source.  He suggested that after a water study, more information will be available regarding the source of the water. At that time the Town could then consider the purchase of land. 

Clark asked the PC if all approve keeping the document with the discussed additions and changes.  All members agreed.  When the document is completed, it will be put through to the Selectboard. 

 

Motion to Adjourn:  Rolland made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:30         seconded by Cyrus.   All approved. The meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm. The next regular meeting of the Franklin Planning Commission will be February 20, 2018 at the Homestead Dining Room.

 

Respectfully submitted,

January 17, 2018

Maureen Sodaro, Secretary

 

These minutes are not final until approved by the Planning Commission at the next regular meeting.