The commissioners and abutters to the property reviewed plot plans prepared and submitted for the required state water/wastewater permit, which has been granted. No problems or objections were raised, and the board held its deliberative session at the close of the evening.
The original application for this division was made several years ago. At that time, it was rejected, and the fee returned, for lack of the state permits. It was not made clear to the owners that they would have to reapply for the town permit after meeting state requirements. The pending sale clarified that situation. Board secretary Phyllis Evanuk promised to get the written findings of the hearing to the owners and prospective buyers as soon as practical.
Lack of clarity in the town’s zoning regulations and procedures is one of the reasons the commission is seeking a planning grant to aid in rewriting parts of the regulations. Brian McNeice told his fellow board members that the application was completed with help from Maggie and Nick Bartenhagen, Halifax’s representatives to the Windham Regional Commission, and John Bennet, of the WRC.
Bennet, McNeice said, does not think the town has a strong chance of receiving the grant, despite the efforts made to correct deficiencies that have doomed the town’s last two applications. There is only $45,000 available for Windham County, a substantial reduction from previous years, and a number of towns are applying. If a third consecutive application is rejected, Evanuk suggested that the commission “write a strongly worded letter” to the state pointing out how hard it is for small, rural towns to meet expensive state requirements without funding. Evanuk said that one possible fix would be “to create two pots (of grant money),” one for larger towns and one reserved for small towns.
In other business, the board tabled the chore of electing a new chair. New member Margaret Stoltzman cited her lack of experience, and the other members present were reluctant to take on the post. Out of sheer neighborliness, they refrained from electing Sirean LaFlamme in her absence. LaFlamme already serves as chair of the zoning board of adjustment.