Planning Commission                       January 23, 2007             



PC MEMBERS PRESENT: G. Heyer, M. Hunziker, A. Lemieux, P. Hudson, R. Wimble

Public Present:  Skip Taylor, Zoning Administrator; Catherine Dimitruk, Greta Brunswick


7:30 PM Greg Heyer called the meeting to order.  He welcomed Catherine Dimitruk and Greta Brunswick from Northwest Regional Planning.  They were invited to help the Planning Commission determine the best way to increase non-residential growth in town. G. Brunswick brought her lap-top and was able to project maps of Fairfax for the Board to see current and projected growth for Fairfax.  The Regional Review Committee will meet with the Selectboard, probably in March.  This Review Committee reviews all Act 250 projects for conformity to the Regional Plan.  They have noticed Fairfax has several large projects outside the Growth Center.  There are constraints for growth in the Growth Center: sewer, water, and available land. M. Hunziker asked about regional goals.  This will be covered at the full committee meeting in March.


C. Dimitruk asked about the motivation to increase non-residential growth.  A. Lemieux thought the main motivation would be to service the residents of the Town.  G. Heyer did not want to change the Bylaws without careful thought.  M. Hunziker talked about feeling pressure to add more allowed uses in various zones, but they wanted it done in a controlled manner, and did not want to be shortsighted.  S. Taylor mentioned that some small business owners were interested doing business in Fairfax, but their proposals were not allowed in the districts they were interested in.  He mentioned that sewer and water issues are a problem in the Growth Center. C. Dimitruk stated that according to State Statute, municipalities can not regulate places of worship and public facilities.  G. Brunswick talked more on commercial uses in rural areas.  Discussion centered on - lodging establishments, appropriate retail uses, rural retail and traffic concerns. Greta talked about the potential build-up in the growth center.  All present agreed that changing district boundaries at this time was not an option.


Both C. Dimitruk and G. Brunswick were asked what they thought Fairfax needed.  A few of the identified needs are:

a)  More full time staff for the town to focus on town growth b) Fix the infrastructure in the growth center, specifically sewer and water, c) Have new developments connect roads to existing roads in town, and d) Preserve open land corridors.  M. Hunziker asked how the tax base can cover expenses for the town with very little commercial or industrial revenues.  Discussion then centered on income versus expenses, and how towns can be revenue neutral, revenue negative, or revenue positive.  A study could be done to determine this factor for the town.  They recommended contacting T. Smith regarding economic opportunities; he is from the Franklin County Industrial Corporation.  G. Brunswick will e-mail S. Taylor with ideas on thoughtful considerations for increasing non-residential growth in town, to be included in the new version of the Bylaws.  These will include sample definitions for rural retail and for Bed & Breakfasts/Boarding Houses. Northwest Regional Planning will be offering training session in the early spring.


Discussion centered on the Selectboard’s decision to turn down the Community Visit Program offered by the Vt. Council on Rural Development. All members of the Planning Commission and both C. Dimitruk and G. Brunswick expressed their disappointment of this decision.  This study would have been a great opportunity for the Planning Commission to obtain

additional input and information to work on the up-coming Town Plan.


9:15 PM C. Dimitruk and G. Brunswick left. Two Memos from S. Taylor were reviewed concerning changes to the Bylaws.  These changes will be added.  M. Hunziker made a motion to approve the minutes from January 2, 2007.

P. Hudson second. All in favor.  M. Hunziker made a motion to adjourn.  A. Lemieux second.  All in favor.


Next meeting will be a workshop on January 30, 2007.


Respectfully Submitted,

Cathy Raymond, Planning and Zoning Assistant



Approved_____________________________________ Date______________, 2006