Meeting open at 7:00 PM


Commissioners Present:


Charles Vajda, Raymond Leonard, Howard Burgess and William Matteson


Mr. Matteson read the minutes of 2-16-12. Mr. Leonard made a motion to approve the minutes of February 16, 2012 with changes. Mr. Vajda made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.


Mr. Matteson said the Commission would review the 3-15-12 minutes at the next meeting. Town Administrator Joseph Zingale Jr., cited the fact that the 3-15-12 minutes contain the public comments the commission received at the Zoning public hearing and that by finalizing the draft tonight the commission would be doing so without considering the comments. Mr. Matteson said Ms. Susan Schreibman, Acting Director of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission, kept notes, which the commission will now review.


Ms. Schreibman said she heard a lot about grandfathered uses. She cited section 102 (d) and read “the ordinance does not affect the use of land or buildings in existence at the time of its adoption except through change of status of non conforming uses as stipulated herein”.


Ms. Schreibman said the term “Grandfathered” is not a politically correct term. She said the word “Grandfathered” is no longer used in state statue. She said it was originally used to keep African Americans from voting. Ms. Schreibman suggested the Commission stop using the word “Grandfathered”.


Ms. Schreibman suggested a new Article # 9 be inserted ahead of Section 901. She said this section talks about non-conforming structures and uses. Ms. Schreibman said the Commission could add a phrase stating, “existing uses at the time of this ordinance’s adoption are permitted with the following exceptions”.


Mr. Matteson questioned how the term “Grandfathering” kept blacks from voting. Mr. Zingale said many southern states would only allow men to vote if their grandfather served in the Confederate Army. He said that excluded African Americans.


The Commission decided to include the change recommend by Ms. Schreibman. Ms. Schreibman also recommended that Section 1307 also be changed. She said the section has to do with variances.

Ms. Schreibman said under 1307 (b) contains the five conditions one must meet to receive a variance. She said the word “may” should be changed to “shall” since State statue says if all criteria are met a variance “shall” be granted.


Ms. Schreibman also recommended changing section 1309. She said a waiver is very similar to a variance except it allows the Town more flexibility.  Ms. Schreibman said waivers should be allowed for handicapped ramps and fire safety conditions to be built with in a set back.


Ms. Schreibman submitted language to add to the proposed zoning regulations regarding the granting of such waivers. Ms. Schreibman read the proposed language. She said this would allow for flexibility with the zoning ordinance. She said the proposed changed allows absolute flexibility when the request is for disability or a fire safety request.


Mr. Matteson told Ms. Schreibman that state zoning law states you have to let someone build an access ramp. Ms. Schreibman said the state statue does not say you have to do so. She recommended the Commission include her proposed change.


Ms. Schreibman said with her proposed language the Zoning Administrator could grant a permit even though the ramp would go into the setback. She said the permit could not be appealed to the DRB. She emphasized that the waiver allows flexibility in the ordinance.


Ms. Schreibman said if the Zoning Administrator were to adhere strictly to the ordinance the DRB would be inundated with appeal requests.


Mr. Vajda inquired if an individual would apply for either a variance or a waiver. Ms. Schreibman said a variance has to meet all five conditions and that is very rare to receive variance. She said about 90% of the time the individual should not have been issued a variance. The Commissioners agreed the change recommended by Ms. Schreibman.



The Commissioners and Ms. Schreibman discussed the public notification process and the items the Town must include in the notification. She informed the Commissioners that she had prepared a report, which would be sent to the State of Vermont and adjacent town along with the notification of the zoning public hearing.


Ms. Schreibman recommended that the Commission move forward with adoption and not make any other changes to the proposed regulations.


Mr. Zingale cited the fact the Commissioners told the public they would consider their comments. Mr. Zingale cited the fact the Commissioners had not yet reviewed the comments and are now proposing to go to a public hearing.


Mr. Matteson cited the fact the Select Board will hold at least one (possibly two) public hearings and that the issues raised at the Commission’s public hearing could be brought up for consideration. 


Mr. Zingale requested the Commissioners push the meeting date back one week to ensure all the required notifications are received.  Ms. Schreibman said the Select Board only has to hold one public hearing.


Ms. Schreibman discussed the notice wording and what it must contain. The Commission discussed the matter and decided to warn the Commission’s Public Hearing for April 19, 2012 at 7:00 P.M.


Mr. Hathaway questioned the Commissioners regarding a definition for the word “dilapidated”. He said one person might consider something dilapidated and another person might not.


Mr. Zingale informed the Commissioners that the Hubbard Trust is proposing a subdivision(s) and he explained what he knew regarding the proposed subdivision.


The Commission instructed Mr. Zingale to invite the Hubbard’s to the next meeting to explain their plans.


Mr. Leonard moved to close the meeting. Mr. Vajda made a second to the motion. The motion passed unanimously.