JULY 20, 2021 DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD (DRB) MINUTES

Agenda

  1. Informational meeting with potential applicant
  2. Organization of the DRB
  3. Adjournment

Present

Potential Applicant: Robert Rolen; assisted by Deidre Murphy

Development Review Board Members: David Cotton, Chairman; Walter Dadik; Lynn Forrest; David Lucido; Hendrik van Loon

Others: Ken Estey, Newfane Planning Commission; Ann Golob, Newfane Selectboard

MEETING WITH POTENTIAL APPLICANT

Discussion was based on a write up distributed earlier by Mr. Rolen.  He is considering purchase of a parcel in Newfane’s Resource District for development as a largely self-contained and independent community termed an “ecovillage” or “intentional community”.   There appears to be no exact match for this use in the Newfane zoning or subdivision bylaws

Chairman Cotton opened the meeting at 6:30 pm and asked everyone to introduce themselves.  He explained this would be an optional, informal, and non-binding pre-application discussion as recommended in the Newfane Subdivision Bylaw.   He then explained the formal application process that the applicant would have to follow should he decide to pursue the project In Newfane.

 

Mr. Rolen said he has visited many ecovillages and noted: “no two are alike”.  He said the Earth Dance community in the Greenfield Massachusetts area probably comes closest to his vision of

what a community should be.   Discussion followed.

Financing and financial structure – Although not strictly a zoning issue, there was discussion of finances.  Mr. Rolen said he has a number of backers and anticipates more.   Initially, he would likely be the major owner; but ownership would probably evolve to involve more members of the community.

 

Governance and organization – Mr. Rolen anticipate this would be flexible and evolve as the community develops.  A key element would be the philosophy of sociocracy which is based on decision-by-consent among small groups.

Candidates for residency – The goal is to have a diverse group that shares the same philosophy.  Financial considerations would be secondary.

Time to execute the project –   Mr. Rolen mentioned several possibilities and said specific schedules would come later.

Mr. van Loon noted Mr. Rolen’s discussion contained many terms like “looking at…maybe…

hopefully…..ideas… not clear”.  He believes any formal application should be based on a

concrete vision and description.

Mr. Rollen asked if it’s possible to have another conceptual consultation.  Mr. Dadik said DRB isn’t sure but would find out.   Mr. van Loon cautioned we must be careful not to let what’s meant to be a non-binding information session become a de facto hearing.

Mr. Cotton said it is critical that Mr. Rolen familiarize himself with the Newfane Zoning and Subdivision Bylaws as well as the Town Plan.  Mr. Rolen said he understands.

Mr. Rolen and Ms. Murphy then left the meeting.

DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD ORGANIZATION

After discussion, DRB members unanimously agreed on the following organization for the remainder of the year.

Members

Chairman; David Cotton

Vice-Chairman; Hendrik (Piet) van Loon

Secretary; Walter Dadik

Other Members; Lynn Forrest, David Lucido

Alternate Member

David Dunn

Mr. Cotton said he will work on recruiting additional Alternate Members.

The special DRB meeting was adjourned by motion seconded and unanimously passed at 8:20 p.m.

 

Walter Dadik, Secretary

Newfane Development Review Board

July 27, 2021