Planning Commission Meeting Minutes 3.26.20



Minutes of Meeting – Thursday March 26, 2020

Members Present–Chairman John Williams, Chis Heins, Garret Siegel, Michael Murno, and Bill Henry (Land Use Administrator)

Format: Video Conferencing

Others Present:  John Broker-Campbell, Frank Parent, Matt Bykowski

Lon McClintock, ESQ. 185 North Street Bennington, Vt. 05201  (Representing Dorothy Danforth)

Martin & Valerie Oakland, 2241 Rte.313 W, Arlibgton, Vt.  And

Simon, & Rebecca Merser, 2167 Rte. 313 W, Arlington, Vt. 05250

  1. The meeting was called to order at 7:03 pm by John Williams.
  • John Williams made a motion to approve and accept the meeting minutes of February 27 as revised, second by Chris Heins. The minutes were approved and accepted as revised.
  • The hearing to review a proposed site plan at 49 Limerick Lane was removed from the agenda by the owners.
  • The meeting focused on the second agenda item regarding a proposed site plan by the owners of 1456 River Road in the Rural District. The plan involves the placement of fill in the Flood Hazard Area and a Conditional Letter of Map Request based on the fill, which is to be submitted to DHS – FEMA. DHS – FEMA requires that the Town acknowledge that the proposed project is designed to meet all Flood Plain Management Requirements and that the applicant has documented “Endangered Species Act” Compliance.

To that end, Frank Parent presented the project.  The current house at the project site has been demolished and a new house will be built set back from the road, this would require fill to be placed in the Flood Plain away from the Floodway. The proposed project would place fill at the proposed house location to elevate it above the Flood Plain.  To do so requires a CLOMR-F application to FEMA for their approval to remove a portion of the property from the flood plain and a Community Acknowledgement Form signed by the Land Use Administrator (Bill Henry). This would be the first step in the agency review process. Upon FEMA approval, a Conditional Use Permit to place the fill  on the site to remove a portion of the property from the flood plain would then be requested from the Town.

Changes to flood elevation as a result of the fill placement were then discussed. In 2015 the flood maps were revised and after an industry wide accepted hydraulic analysis using the Base Flood Scenario (100 Year Storm).   Frank Parent reported calculations that showed the Base Flood Elevation remains the same under the proposed fill conditions. There was no significant change to water level. Other than the Base Flood Scenario, no other scenarios were conducted, because that is the FEMA standard. 

There were questions about abutting properties and whether they would be affected as a result of the fill, particularly the property across the river and northwest of the project site. Frank stated that although there was no cross section data input at that location, the property appears to sit higher than the project property and is not anticipated to be affected. Frank did; however, agree to input the cross section data for the property in question and run the program again to see if the fill has any affect.

At this point John Broker-Campbell stated that his role on this project is to provide technical assistance and if there were additional questions from the public, he would be glad to respond to them. John can be reached by telephone at (802) 490-6196

There was a general objection from Lon McClintock to holding this Planning Commission Meeting against the Governor’s order. Bill Henry stated that he understood that municipal meetings were exempt from the Governor’s order at the time of this meeting and that accommodations had been offered to allow video conferencing.

  • Chris Heins stated that according to the By Law it is the responsibility of Planning Commission to review the site plan as it relates to fill placement in the Flood Hazard Area. Heins asked if an application had been filed. Bill Henry responded that none had been filed and he was seeking our opinions regarding the signature of the FEMA form. Heins stated, as it appears that a hydraulic analysis has been accurately performed with the result that the fill causes no adverse effects to the Base Flood Elevation or the abutting properties, I have no objection to Bill Henry signing the letter of acknowledgement as the first step in this review process. Finding that no legal voting was needed, Heins excused himself from the meeting. Garret asked whether we would be locked in to approving the site plan and recommending permit approval by submitting the letter. Frank stated that the letter just allows FEMA to review the plan; we can still recommend non-approval if we so chose.  The APC agreed to support Bill to sign the letter.

Land Use Administrator’s Monthly Report


Other activities:


Meeting adjourned at 8:02 pm.

Respectfully Submitted by: Michael Murno

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