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Zoom Meeting https//zoom.us/join Meeting ID: 972 2791 1757 Passcode: 352680
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
Angela Sanborn, Ann Golob, Jeffrey Chevalier, Katy Johnson- Aplin, and Mike Fitzpatrick (phone)
(In-Person) Chris Campany, Ken Estey, Julia Tadlock, Emily Houle, Dennis Wiswall, Jory Smith, Dan DeWalt, Austin Rice, – B.C.T.V and Wannetta Powling.
(Zoom) Jay Wilson Bill Gunther, Julie Beth Hinds, Thomas Lee, Tony Leonard, Lynn Forrest, Deborah Luskin, Timothy Taussig, Kate Gehring, Linda Campany, Randy.
CALL TO ORDER:
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 pm by Selectboard Chair Angela Sanborn.
ADDITIONS/AMENDMENTS TO AGENDA:
Ann Golob asked for an addition to discuss the Efficiency Vermont proposal.
Angela Sanborn turned the first part over to Ann Golob to make an introduction for tonight’s guest speakers.
Ann Golob introduced the two speakers and reminded the audience that these presentations were the first of three sets of presentations to be made to the Selectboard. The presentations are a follow-up to the recommendations from the Planning Commission’s analysis of the town survey conducted in Fall 2021. Tonight’s focus is on why and how to consider town infrastructure projects as a way to expand opportunities for more housing and more business in the town. The emphasis of these presentations is on the value of creating sewer projects.
Chris Campany, Executive Director from the Windham Regional Commission (WRC), provided a PowerPoint presentation which explained why infrastructure projects are needed for a town to achieve its visions for the future. He explained why infrastructure upgrades are necessary to allow for greater flexibility for businesses and homeowners to offer new services and create greater choices. Campany focused on how water and sewage treatment has not changed much over the decades in a town like Newfane and that without upgrades we are unable to add new homes or expand vital services. He discussed how a town can begin to understand their existing sewage conditions and quickly reviewed the basic permitting requirements involved in a sewer project.
Next, he discussed housing and the significant change in household size in the past several decades. Our large homes were built when families had several children and often multiple generations lived together. Today the typical rental household is 1-2 people. Focusing on renters he pointed out that older couples on a fixed income (range $15,000-$35,000) are able to afford an average rent of $625. A family renting a home with an income of $30,000 – $75,000 can afford to spend about $1,250 on rent. Yet we all know that rents are significantly higher than that throughout our region.
He reviewed the economics of building multifamily housing and said that given how high the costs are and the need to have at least 20 units or more to cover the expenses, builders are looking for sites where infrastructure such as sewer and water treatment are already installed so they are not required to install it themselves. Without that, builders do not find it economically viable to consider the project.
(PowerPoint information is available; see the Admin. Assistant)
President of Birchline Planning, JB Hinds, is an expert in water resource management, wastewater, storm-water utility, and program development, and has successfully overseen multiple water/sewer projects across Vermont. Wastewater disposal in Vermont is a multi-faceted and expensive problem. In documenting the variety of systems that are out there, she has often found that there are four typical challenges that you run into:
(1) grandfathered systems that do not meet new setback requirements.
(2) unpermitted installations or no system
(3) very expensive systems
(4) a multi-property system with no shared agreement
If Newfane is interested in beginning to look at what their needs are, Hinds recommends considering funding opportunities available thru ARPA, or consider the State Village Wastewater Grants, and/or long-term individual or Town sponsored loans.
To start assessing the opportunities for Newfane, Hinds recommended a four-step process consisting of:
(1) G.I.S. Mapping
- This provides a central understanding of parcels, existing permits for wells and septic, and required setbacks for state permitting
- It tells us what’s known, what’s unknown, and where there are physical or regulatory constraints
(2) Identifying Potentially Suitable Sites
- I.S. & field identification of possible septic capacity
- You absolutely never know until you work with the property
(3) Off-the-Record Property Owner Outreach
- Ensuring confidentiality to the property owner, see if you can identify the extent of interest in rectifying current problems and creating capacity for adaptation or growth.
(4) Planning and Education
- Possible alternatives and next steps
- Options from elsewhere (recreation fields; individual solutions; group solutions)
Hinds estimated the cost of this initial analysis to be in the range of $40,000 and that it would take a period of 6-8 months to complete.
(PowerPoint information is available; see the Admin. Assistant)
Discussion followed including a request from Dan DeWalt to consider options such as composting toilets where the technology has come a long way from where it was even a few years ago. Hinds agreed that was an option and should be part of the considerations to be evaluated.
The Selectboard thanked the presenters for their time. The next two Selectboard meetings will include other presentations related to the Planning Commission recommendations and after those, the board will begin discussions on follow-up steps.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
- March 7, 2022, Regular Meeting
Ann Golob made a motion to approve the March 7 regular meeting minutes.
Katy Johnson- Aplin seconded the motion. – Motion passed 5/0
ROAD FOREMAN’S REPORT:
- The Newfane Village Scoping Study group is negotiating with DeBois & King, and they are scheduled to have a proposal back by April 15
- Wannetta has the Annual Financial Plan from V.T.R.A.N.S. to sign and the Road Standards that we sign each year.
- We are in the process of putting out an R.F.P. for a construction supervisor. This engineer will sign off on all aspects of the construction of the sand/salt shed.
- The condemnation process for 254 Depot Rd. is still scheduled for the April 15th site visit.
- After several mild mud seasons, we are having a bad one this year.
Mike Fitzpatrick made a motion to accept the Road Forman’s Report. Ann Golob seconded.
Motion passed 5/0
ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT’S REPORT:
- L.C.T. (Vermont League of Cities & Towns) offers (Zoom) training for new and returning Selectboard members. I have provided the list of dates and times for you in the packet tonight. After tonight’s meeting, please let me know if you would like me to register you for the training. I have registered for them myself.
- I would like to remind everyone that a School Budget vote is happening this Wednesday, the 23rd, at N.B.F.D. from 9 am -7 pm. Carol will be supervising the voting procedure, and her office will be closed.
- Williamsville Hall has provided changes to the rental agreement; this is in your packet and the minutes from their last meeting. Steve Levine has mentioned that he would be available to come to a future meeting if you wanted to discuss these changes before approving them.
- I shared the email that was received (this morning) concerning the appeal of the zoning decision, pending further testimony and response from the Environmental Court. Jay & I plan to attend the site hearing Wednesday the 23rd at 9 am to ensure the Town has representation on the Act 250 application for the Natural Burial Grounds on Sunset Lake Road; I will join the 1 pm Zoom conference meeting and report to the Board.
- I provided the Newfane Ordinances & Policies at the last Selectboard meeting for your review. I ask the Selectboard if there are no changes to be considered. Are you ready to re-adopt them at tonight’s meeting?
Ann Golob made a motion to approve the Administrative Assistant’s Report. Jeffrey Chevalier seconded.
Motion passed 5/0. Newfane Ordinances & Policies Tabled until April 4th meeting.
SCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
(The information was taken from provided material is available: see the Admin. Assistant)
Julia Tadlock presented her plans to re-open the Newfane Flea Market and is requesting that the town support the project with a grant of $15,000 to cover the start-up costs. The goal of this project is to promote economic growth in the area while hosting a fun weekly event. The re-birth of the Newfane Flea Market would provide a fun, inclusive, family-friendly event every weekend throughout the summer and fall and provide a platform for local small businesses and farmers to generate profit through the sale of goods. Additionally, the local businesses such as The Newfane Country Store, Bigfoot Coffee, Dutton Farm, The Riverbend, etc., would presumably benefit economically from increased traffic through the area on Sundays.
Tadlock explained that she was inspired to request funding from the town based on the survey conducted by the Planning Commission. Ken Estey from the Planning Commission clarified that the “phony money” used in the survey as a tool to prioritize interest in a project and did not reflect actual money. First, the Selectboard would need to determine if they could use the ARPA money in this way, and then if they would consider using the money to fund unique adventures such as re-opening the Newfane Flea Market.
Ann Golob agreed to contact VLCT experts to clarify if this is a legitimate use of ARPA funds and would try to have the information available for the next meetings on April 4. She also commented that more information was needed to clarify if this was a project that the town should invest in. Tadlock presented a budget for how she would spend the $15,000 from the town but did not submit a business plan or a budget for the entire project including the anticipated income and expenses for the first year and following years.
Julia Tadlock agreed to come to the April 4th meeting.
Lynn Forrest asked for contact information, and this was provided email@example.com
Mike Fitzpatrick favored the idea to support the small business; this is an event that served multi-purposes including volunteers helping with parking to raise money for Grace Cottage and the NewBrook Fire Department.
UNSCHEDULED MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC: Dennis Wiswall, Mike McAssey, Jory Smith, Emily Houle, Timothy Taussig, and Bill Gunter.
Several residents of Wiswall Hill Road discussed their concerns regarding the deterioration of road conditions over the past three years and in particular, this year. Dennis Wiswall acknowledged that the increase in the number of full-time residents and increased traffic especially for delivery of packages during the pandemic made conditions worse. Residents are requesting that the issue be addressed and options reviewed to improve the situation. Dennis shared a report from 2005 that addressed various options on how to maintain dirt roads, especially during mud season.
Timothy Taussig made a suggestion that if the trees were cut down, it would allow more sun to penetrate and help dry out the roads, although he acknowledged that drainage would still be an issue.
Ken Estey pointed out that trees use hundreds of gallons of water and that one of the best ways to draw the water out of the road is by having trees there. He cautioned against removing trees too quickly.
Mike McAssey requested a root cause analysis be conducted to help us understand what has caused the “washout of the roads and severe mud up,” more so now than in the last 40 years that he has lived there.
Chair Angela Sanborn acknowledged the concerns expressed and had taken a ride up Wiswall Hill Rd and South Wardsboro Rd earlier in the day with Road Forman Jay Wilson. The Selectboard will continue to have discussions and work to see what steps can be taken to improve the situation.
Jay Wilson stated that VTrans Engineer Marc Pickering acknowledged some of the ideas were good in the report that Mr. Wiswall provided, but you first needed to raise the road level to allow for proper drainage. Regarding tree cutting, he pointed out that resistance has been met in the past when this was proposed.
Mike Fitzpatrick agreed to go with Jay and look at making recommendations for areas of road concern. We have recommended having a tree cutter come in and remove trees in certain areas.
Jay Wilson also pointed out that there has been an issue getting quality material to fill the roads and that hopefully, with owning our own pit we will be able to manage better the coarseness of the crushed gravel so that they are not washed away, causing the severity of mud.
Emily Houle brought up that having a new driver in the family with inexperience dealing with the mud conditions has caused her to park at the bottom of the hill. The road conditions would also make getting emergency vehicles to specific locations impossible. She reiterated the request to find a solution now. Most of the four-wheel-drive vehicles are still having difficulty getting thru the 10-12″ of mud.
Ann Golob – Municipalities are offered an opportunity for an Energy Efficiency study. It would give us a way to start a conversation and get more information, to see if this would be something that might benefit us.
Ann is agreeable to contact for more information.
Ken Estey– Planning Commission (P.C.) had looked into this effort; P.C. had tabled this for more pressing issues but has plans to revisit and revise the Town Plan to include Energy Efficiency. Ken gladly accepted the responsibility and will gather information to share with the Selectboard at a future meeting.
Jon Nordmeyer and neighbors request permission to clear access for a section of Cushing Flats Road for a 3′ wide multi-use trail.
Permission was granted to allow this area to be cleared.
(Following this discussion-attending remotely, Mike Fitzpatrick withdrew and left the meeting at 8:17 pm.)
- Payroll Warrant No #11558 Amount $ 6,775.56
- Payroll Warrant No #11559 Amount $ 6,393.89
- Account Payable No # 2220 Amount $ 55,091.54
- Account Payable No # 2220A Amount $ 35,481.41
Ann Golob made a motion to approve Pay Orders. Jeffrey Chevalier seconded.
Motion passed 4/0
Ann Golob made a motion to adjourn. Meeting adjourned at 8:35 pm
Wannetta Powling, Administrative Assistant