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Zoning Board of Appeals -- Meeting Minutes -- July 5, 2012

A duly posted meeting of the Shelburne Zoning Board of Appeals was held in the Memorial Hall meeting room on July 5, 2012.

Present: Chair: Joseph Palmeri, John Taylor, Ted Merrill, Lowell LaPorte, William Sweeney, alternate
Elizabeth Kidder, Administrative Assistant
Absent: Catherine Smith, Alternate
Audience: Judy Truesdell
Press: none

I. MEETING CALLED TO ORDER: 7:30 pm

II. Approval of past minutes:
May 10, 2012
Motion to approve the minutes was made by Bill Sweeney and seconded by Ted Merrill
Vote: 4 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstention by Joe Palmeri who was absent from that meeting.

May 24, 2012
Motion to approve the minutes was made by Bill Sweeney and seconded by Ted Merrill
Vote: 4 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstention by Joe Palmeri.

June 27, 2012
Lowell Laporte asked for a clarification of a statement by John Taylor on page 5 of the minutes: "Taylor commented that at the first hearing they were told they were too soft." John clarified his statement and the minutes were corrected to read: " Taylor commented that at the first wind power hearing the ZBA was told they were too flexible in their application requirements."
Motion to approve the minutes as corrected was made by Lowell Laporte as corrected and seconded by John Taylor
Vote: 5 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions.

III. Mail: Joe noted that we received a copy of a letter from Judith Truesdell to the Planning Board. There is a piece of email from the New Arts Collaborative requesting the ZBA respond to a survey monkey request in regards to the Mohawk Scenic Byway. This email will be forwarded to all members of the ZBA so they can respond if they want. John Taylor said he would like to respond.

A copy of a letter from the Attorney General's office stating their review of the latest zoning bylaws will be reviewed by Sept. 4, 2012.
Joe Palmeri noted that Judy Truesdell had sent a letter offering to serve on the ZBA. Joe noted that the Selectboard did not act on the appointment and had asked Joe to find out if Judy could serve in an unbiased way on sensitive issues such as wind energy. Points raised in the following discussion included:

  • The ability of a board member of recuse themselves if there is a conflict of interest
  • The role of a board member is to make decisions on what you feel is the best for the town which is not always cut and dried.
  • The chair has the responsibility to raise the issue of conflict of interest with any board member if projects come before the board which may lead to an appearance of a conflict of interest under the MA Conflict of Interest Laws and ask them to contact the State Ethics Commission for a determination of applicability.
  • At the present time there are no applications before the ZBA and we never know when a project will come before the Board that will result in a member needing to recuse themselves.
  • The current open position would be a one year appointment and would have to be reappointed by the Selectboard.

Following this discussion, Judy indicated that she was interested in the one year appointment. Joe said that he would send a letter to the Selectboard supporting Judy Truesdell's appointment to the one year term.

IV. Old Business:
a. Continue review of ZBA Rules and Regulations, and b. Review ZBA Application form and procedures.

Liz Kidder handed out copies of the Town Of Deerfield zoning application to use as an initial model for new ideas on procedures to follow. It was decided to review the Deerfield draft and identify what the Board liked and didn't like about their bylaws. Taking this information Liz Kidder would prepare a draft for the Board to work with at a future meeting. Basic issues included:

  • Ensuring that the application is in compliance with the basic requirements of the Board's rules and regulations and the Zoning bylaw before it is submitted to the Town Clerk for the "clock" to start.
  • Trying to find the balance between ensuring all the requirements of the law are met as regards to timelines and notifications to other boards and keeping the process manageable for both the board and the applicant.
  • Ensuring that the town clerk has the information she needs in order to accept the application
  • The need to develop a very clear checklist for both the applicant and the Town Clerk.
  • When the applicant submits an application to the Town Clerk and has followed all the preliminary steps, the ZBA will still have the right to evaluate the information submitted and possibly ask for additional information. The acceptance by the Town Clerk will be a procedural acceptance, not a subjective evaluation and approval of the information submitted.

Liz Kidder will take the comments and put together an initial working draft for the Board to review at their next meeting.

At 9:15pm, Bill Sweeney left the meeting.

c. Prepare for joint meeting with the Planning Board-to discuss possible recommendations regarding the Town Zoning Bylaws.

Joe Palmeri reported that he had gone through the files and records on the computer to pull up all past notes regarding issues to be raised with the Planning Board for possible tweaks or revisions to the Shelburne Zoning Bylaws. These notes included:

  • an October 7, 2011 memo to the Planning Board from the ZBA about the confusion surrounding the wording of Section 6 of the bylaws regarding the need for review and comment by the Planning Board, Conservation Commission and the Board of Health
  • a newspaper article about the notification of other boards issue that occurred during the Wind Farm project hearing
  • old notes from April 2006 which were determined to have already been addressed and therefore obsolete
  • a letter from the Attorney General's office dated 10/07/2010 with suggestions for corrections following their review of our bylaws submitted that year.
  • An undated memo to the file by the ZBA following the recent wind power hearings which includes discussions on possible procedural changes
  • An email from Jim Hawkins dated 9-15-2010 regarding 3 items he would like to see Shelburne address in their zoning bylaws.
    These materials will be included in our discussion at next month's meeting in preparation for a September joint meeting with the Planning Board.

V. New Business: none presented.

VI. Other Business: none presented.

VII. Public Comments: none presented

VIII. Schedule next meeting: August 2, 2012

IX. Adjournment
Motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Lowell Laporte and seconded by Ted Merrill.
Vote: 4 in favor, 0 opposed, 0 abstentions.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:35pm

Respectfully submitted by,

Liz Kidder
Administrative Assistant