MINUTES OF FRANKLIN PLANNING COMMISSION

TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2007, AT 7:00 P.M.

FELCO ROOM - FRANKLIN HOMESTEAD

 

 

PRESENT: Richard Gadbois, Bill Mayo, David Lucey, Jamie Boudreau, Dan Larivee, Douglas Clark, John Giroux and Greg Bouchard.

 

MEMBERS OF PUBLIC PRESENT:   Brian Marchessault, Enosburg Falls;  Marsha LaRose, Enosburg Falls;  Richard and Mary Boudreau, Enosburg Falls;  Claudette Carswell,.Enosburg Falls;  Karen Quintin, North Hero; and, Chris Wagner, Enosburg Falls.

 

OTHER: Robert Irish, Franklin Zoning Administrator.

 

LAROSE SUBDIVISION:

 

     Dick called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  He advised that we will start the meeting with Item #2 on our agenda tonight - the Subdivision request of Claude and Larette LaRose.

 

 

     Claudette Carswell stated that she will be speaking on behalf of her parents, Claude and Larette LaRose in reference to a proposed three lot subdivision.  She informed that she was not aware of the number of members on the Planning Commission and only had five copies of the proposal packet which she presented to the Board.  Dick informed that each member of the Planning Commission should be provided with a set.  Dick informed her that she could leave the additional sets at the Town Clerk’s office and the Board members can go pick up their copy there.  Dick also informed Ms. Carswell that copies for the public needed to be left with the Town Clerk.  She had already left the certified green cards with her.  Ms. Carswell informed the Board that what she has is a certificate of compliance from Bob Irish, a map of the acreage, approximate size of each lot, septic design, wells, etc.  She stated the State of Vermont granted them a three-lot subdivision.  She stated there is a Vermont culvert and work sheet that is included that shows the work that has been done and work that needs to be done to the right-of-way before the State issues a permit, but feels it will give the Commission some idea of what is going on.  The driveway permit and right-of-way information is on the last page.  She stated a lot of the paperwork is “still up in the air” and has to do with paved access and they are still in discussion with the State.

 

     Dick stated that looking at the map, the third page in the packet, shows lots 1, 2, and 3.  He asked if Brian’s lot is between the road and lot #1.   He was give an affirmative answer.  They were asked whose land is behind lots one and two and were told that it is Chris Wagner’s land.

 

     Dick informed those present that the Planning Commission will not discuss this application tonight.  The Commission has just received the application and there is a lot of information for members to review.  He stated this is really about the subdivision because on a standard right-of-way, they do not hold a public hearing.  This is a subdivision under our subdivision regulations, the same as the Hubbard subdivision although there are ten less lots.  A copy will be given to each Commission member for them to read and understand.  The Commission will meet again on the third Tuesday of August.  Dick stated the Commission will meet at that time and will go through the subdivision application section by section as the ordinance we have on subdivisions calls for.  Dick strongly suggested that Ms. Carswell read the ordinance over and be prepared to answer any questions about the map, plot plan, etc.  In addition, Dick stated they would need a survey and at some point a mylar to record.  Ms. Carswell stated there is a partial survey done and that it is her understanding that the mylar would be required when everything is settled and done. 

 

     Ms. Carswell ask the Commission if there is anything else they need and Dick responded that the Commission will need whatever is required in our subdivision ordinance.  He suggested that she get a copy of the ordinance from the Town Clerk and look it over as it tells step by step what you have to do starting with site plan approval. Ms. Carswell responded that she believes she already has a copy.  Dick stated that the Planning Commission will at some point want to do a site plan inspection.

 

     Discussion was held on the papers submitted by Ms. Carswell.  She stated that it is her understanding that she already has a permit for the subdivision from the State.  It was noted that this is certainly not an Act 250 subdivision.  Road cut for the driveway/right-of-way has to be obtained from the State as it is on a State highway.  She stated that she was told by her engineer that she has a State permit for a subdivision.  After reviewing the documents in question, it was noted that the document in question is not a permit, but a guideline as to what needs to be done.  The subdivision still needs a town permit. 

 

     Brian Marchessault informed the Commission that he would not be here for the August meeting as he will be deployed to Iraq.  Dick stated that we cannot hold these folks up and suggested that Mrs. Marchessault attend.   Mr. Marchessault stated she would prefer not to have to do that.  Dick then informed Mr. Marchessault that he should put his questions/concerns, etc., in writing and send them directly to him.  Dick stated that Mr. Marchessault is also free to talk directly to the applicant about his concerns.  He assured Mr. Marchessault that his comments and concerns will be considered by this Commission as though he were actually present at the meeting. Dick gave his copy of the application to Mr. Marchessault so he would have an opportunity to read it before he leaves.  

 

     Motion was made by Jamie/David that this public hearing be adjourned until the August 2l, 2007 meeting of the Planning Commission.  Dick asked for further discussion and there was none.  All members voted in favor/public hearing on the Larose Subdivision was adjourned at 7:23 p.m.   Dick thanked everyone and all members of the public for their attendance and they exited the meeting.

 

     Hubbard Subdivision:   Notice of Appearance from the Agency of Transportation regarding criteria #5 which has to do with hydraulics.  It is assumed this has to do with water from the driveway/ditches along the highway.

 

     Correspondence: From Wastewater Management regarding Kevin and Lisa Dansereau on the Scott Road.

 

      Member Contact Information: Dick reviewed with members their contact information and the type of word processing available to them.

 

     Violation Tickets:    Doug Clark reported to members on behalf of David Lucey and himself.  He stated they obtained information on violation tickets and the first step that must be taken is that the town must pass an ordinance allowing for the ticketing of zoning violators.  This takes between 45 and 90 days to pass and must be approved by the Selectboard.  He stated that Northwest Regional Planning has verbiage available for such an ordinance.  Dick stated he will be attending a seminar on enforcement and will speak to them about the wording of such an ordinance.  It was noted that the tickets can be obtained through the State and they have to be kept in a secure location.  They recommend the Town Clerk’s Office.

 

     Enforcement: It was pointed out that all letters being sent out on behalf of the town now have to be approved by two members of the Selectboard.  Jamie noted that all correspondence will be sent to all Selectboard members to keep them “in the loop”, but final approval will be by two Selectboard members, Peter and Lynn.  Dick asked Bob about a possible violation that had been reported and Bob responded that he had checked it out and there was no violation.  Discussion was held on reporting the results of an investigation and Bob was asked to get back to the complainant once a complaint has been investigated.

 

     Signage: Dick stated that for the first time, he has noticed a permit sign up on the Hammond/Dewing Road.  Bob advised that there are several signs around now.  Dick questioned the location of the sign and Bob responded that according to VT 117 signs must be placed at the nearest public right-of-way.  Dick asked that Bob get back to him with the exact citation.  Bob noted that it is part of the recent changes that were made last year.  Discussion was also held on a camp that is being built and whether or not the ZBA required that old out buildings be torn down. 

 

     Zoning: Discussion was held on zoning and the need for the administrative body of the town to support it.  It was noted that the Zoning Administrator is the point guy here on enforcement if what the Planning Commission is doing is to have any meaning.   Doug Clark stated that in his view it is all a big mistake, it is not consumer friendly.  We are Franklin, Vermont, not Burlington, Vermont.  There are too many rules and regulations telling him what he can and cannot do with his own land.  He feels there is too much State and municipality interference.  He stated if he wants to sell an acre of his land, then he should be able to do so without all the rules and regulations making it nearly impossible.  John responded that if we don’t have the rules and regulations out there, some day we will be Burlington, Vermont.  John noted that very few of the people out there violate the zoning.  The majority of the Commission expressed the feeling that Franklin will experience growth and we have the opportunity to ensure that the growth is responsible and planned to protect the rights and interests of everyone.  People are concerned about growth and how it will effect their lives as evidenced tonight by the turnout of landowners bordering this proposed three lot subdivision.  People have the right to a certain quality of life and neighbors should not be able to build on top of a neighbor’s line, etc.  There should be a “happy medium”.  Bill noted that is what the planning process is all about - so that everybody can work together to maintain quality.  Discussion was held on subdivisions and it was noted that at a recent training session at BFA, it was pointed out that “smart growth” as opposed to the “cookie cutter concept” can take place while still maintaining the integrity of wood lots and open lands.

 

     Ethics: Dick stated that Doug wanted to discuss ethics tonight and opened the floor to Doug.  Doug asked if everyone had read the bylaws and stated that in his opinion it is a conflict of interest for a member to be on both the Planning Commission and the Selectboard.  He pointed out that Selectboard members are non-voting members of the Planning Commission already so a person sitting on both Boards would be a non-voting member of the Planning Commission.   Dick and other members of the Commission do not agree with that interpretation.   Jamie noted that he personally spoke with the Secretary of State who has informed him there is no conflict and no reason why a person cannot sit on both the Selectboard and Planning Commission.  In fact, there are several towns in the State where this is happening.  It was noted that it is up to the individual members of any Board/Commission to recuse themselves if any conflict of interest or appearance of a conflict of interest comes up.  It was noted that Jamie will remain on the Planning Commission and will continue to be a voting member.  Dick noted that in the Larose subdivision, he will act as moderator, but will not vote as apparently he is an abutting landowner.  It was noted that Dan Larivee is also an abutting landowner although he was not notified of the subdivision.  Dick suggested that he contact Claudette Carswell and make her aware of the fact that he now owns abutting land.

 

     Town Plan: Discussion was held on the Town Plan.  It was noted that we have been without a Town Plan for many months.  The revised Town Plan was approved by the Planning Commission recently and will now go to the Selectboard.  Discussion was held on the fact that the Town Plan recently adopted by the Planning Commission encourages seasonal housing becoming year round.  It was noted that was done to encourage upgrades of septic systems around Lake Carmi to protect the quality of the lake.  Discussion was held on the new State septic ordinance and it was noted that should Franklin not get a septic delegation, the whole matter will be a mute issue because seasonal housing automatically becomes year round by State statute.  Should Franklin get a septic delegation, then they will most likely continue septic upgrade as part of the seasonal to year round process.  Discussion was held on the letter sent from Northwest Regional Planning to the State opposing the automatic conversion of lakeside seasonal dwellings to year round dwellings because of the adverse effect it can/will have on water/lake quality.  Dick had forwarded a copy of that letter to all Commission members. 

 

Minutes of June Meeting:    Motion by Doug/David to approve the minutes.  Dick asked if all members had read them and if there was any discussion or changes.  There was none.  All members voted in favor/motion passed.  Minutes approved as presented.

 

     Erosion: Greg noted that we have been concerned about the lake and erosion and the Town Highway Department has been doing ditching without any erosion control being used.  He questioned who should be contacted regarding that matter.  He was told that Wayne Fiske is the Highway Superintendent and should be contacted. 

 

     Dick asked if members had any further matters to be discussed and there was nothing else.  Motion made by David/Doug to adjourn.  All members voted in favor/meeting adjourned at 8:29 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

July19, 2007                                                                                                                            Barbara M. Varin

Note: These minutes are not final until approved by the Planning Commission at their next regular meeting.  Note: These minutes were approved by the Planning Commission at their August 21, 2007 meeting.

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