Public Hearing Minutes Monday, August 21st, 2023
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https//zoom. Us/join            Meeting ID:  972 2791 1757 Passcode:  352680

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:   Angela Sanborn, Katy Johnson-Aplin, Jeffrey Chevalier, and Ann Golob (Zoom) Absent: Mike Fitzpatrick

OTHERS PRESENT:  James Bressor(Planning Commission), Jane Douglas (Planning Commission), Kate Gehring (Planning Commission), Melanie Keiser, Gary Keiser, Bill Morse, Susan Dedell, Paul Dedell, Bruce Lounsbury, Pablo Medina, Chris Triebert, Austin Rice (BCTV), and Wannetta Powling (Administrative Assistant)

  Alyssa Sabetto (Windham Regional Commission), Jay Wilson (Road Foreman), David Cotton, and Ronald Beckett,

  The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Selectboard Chair Angela Sanborn.

Powling confirmed the meeting had been properly warned.


Alyssa Sabetto reviewed the critical highlights of the River Corridor and Floodplain Bylaw changes as well as reviewed what types of structures and development are and are not permitted.

The current Town Plan has a 50’ setback from small streams and river corridors, as defined by the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) . This bylaw change will regulate fluvial erosion, inundation, flooding, and the resulting damage. A lot of the flooding seen in Vermont is related to erosion along the banks and impacting structures, roads, and bridges in those damaged areas.

Why are we considering this update?
ANR is encouraging Towns to raise their standards for what can be built in flood hazards in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public and to avoid and minimize the loss of life and property, the disruption of commerce, the impairment of the tax base, and the extraordinary public expenditures and demands on public services that result from flooding-related inundation and erosion. Those Towns that implement these by-law changes will see the amount of reimbursement funds that the Town is eligible to receive from FEMA increase from 12.5% to 17.5%.

The most current Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and the accompanying Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are issued by the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and National Flood Insurance Program, as provided by the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) pursuant to 10 V.S.A. Chapter 32 § 753, which are hereby adopted by reference and declared to be part of these regulations.

What is the impact on existing structures in these areas?

·   There is no impact on current structures; nothing that is already in place must be removed.

What types of development are not permitted under any circumstances?

  • New Structures, including new manufactured homes
  • Storage or junk yards
  • New fill, except in certain circumstances
  • Accessory structures in the floodway, built for human occupation or larger than 500 sq. ft
  • Critical Facilities
  • RV parking, unlicensed or not drivable

What types of development may be permitted?

  •   If you want to improve an existing structure that decreases the current distance to the waterway.
  •   If you are in the special flood hazard area of the floodway, you can apply for a conditional review.
  • If you are in a river corridor, you are prohibited.
  • If you want to add open fencing and elevated signing or at-grade parking for existing buildings-
  • If you are in the special flood hazard area, you are permitted.
  • If you are in a river corridor, this is conditional use.

What is the process to request permission?

  •   Applications for development in a flood hazard area go to the Zoning Administrator. The data that must be provided depends on the property’s location and what is proposed. The bylaw provides the permit application guidelines.
  •  The Zoning Administrator can administratively approve some things.
  • If a conditional use review is needed, that will be heard by the Development Review Board.
  • The Zoning Administrator will submit a copy of the application to ANR for a 30-day comment opportunity.

What are the overarching criteria used to evaluate any development request?

  • All development shall be:
  •  Reasonably safe from flooding and fluvial erosion risk
  •  Designed, operated, maintained, modified, and adequately anchored to prevent structure flotation, collapse, release, or lateral movement.
  •  Constructed with materials resistant to flood damage
  • Constructed with electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning equipment, and other service facilities designed and located to prevent water from entering or accumulating within the components during conditions of flooding.
  • Adequately drained to reduce exposure to flood hazards
  • Located to minimize conflict with changes in channel location over time and the need to intervene with such changes

Currently, there is a statewide redrawing of the FEMA floodplain maps. Going forward to maintain one’s status within the National Flood Insurance program, all towns will be required to adopt these by-law changes. By doing it now, it is ensuring that we will be in compliance when the maps are updated.

Discussion: Ensued

Next Steps
The Selectboard set September 18th for the scheduled vote for adoption of the By-law change.

Any additional questions can be sent to the Newfane Selectboard to the attention of the Administrative Assistant.

Johnson-Aplin made a motion to adjourn. The Hearing was adjourned at 6:40 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,
Wannetta Powling, Administrative Assistant