Approved PB meeting 3/22/12
Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm. Members present were Bill S, Bill L, Phil K, Todd H, Tom B, and Barry S. Jeff Hogue from ZBA was also present.
Minutes from the January meeting were reviewed. Bill L moved to accept the minutes, seconded by Todd and approved by all.
The main purpose of our meeting was to present items to place on the agenda for future meetings and to review the progress of approving the Verizon cell tower. The following items were presented as needs to review and discuss at the next meeting:
1) The issue of hydrofracking as it relates to our town. It has been determined by higher courts that townships have a say in whether or not a company may use this procedure. We agreed to do some research into this area to see if it is an issue that needs to be considered by the PB or TB. The farm bureau has been in favor of this process. Is it an issue that we need to address?
2) Review code in regard to kennel regulations. This was raised as a result of a situation in the town of Gorham. The PB dealt with this thoroughly as the code was being prepared, but it might be wise to review it to make sure all areas are properly covered. One question raised was what distinguishes a puppy mill from a genuine breeder.
3) The issue of inspection of cell towers – who has jurisdiction? Currently the county does not have authority to inspect. Bill S thinks this may be an issue of interpretation – they cannot inspect the technical communication equipment on the tower, but what about the foundation and tower itself? The PB will attempt to find out who is supposed to inspect these towers and if the town has any liability in this area.
4) At the end of our meeting Bill S mentioned he wanted us to review setbacks for cell towers to see if we need to revise the code.
We then went on to receive an update on the discussion between members of TB, PB, ZBA and Verizon lawyers at the March TB meeting. Todd H reported the events to the PB and gave a brief review of a separate meeting with Jeff Hogue, myself, and Verizon lawyers. The outcome was an extension of the shot clock for resolution to May 5, 2012 (made by the TB). The ZBA will meet to review the situation and decide whether or not to hear the issue. A public hearing will follow with a decision to grant a setback variance or not. If the ZBA decides not to hear the issue or they decide not to grant a variance, the issue will go to court with Verizon. At this point we do not believe that will happen. However, it may be necessary to extend the shot clock one more time since there have been scheduling problems between Verizon and the ZBA. Target dates for meetings are April 10 and 24.
Jeff Hogue made some suggestions for the PB to review based on two issues his board has had to address. 1) People trying to define or redefine what the code says about structures. Some are trying to take advantage of the code and it may need to be expanded in its definition of “structures.” 2) Landscaping restrictions and infringements – example given of a pillar of rocks 14-20 feet tall equipped with electricity to run a pump for a waterfall and the setting of a permanent pad to store a boat on. Although such structures may be covered under the current code we might want to draft more specific definitions for “structure” and “accessory structure” to aid interpretation and decision making for ZBA cases. This will also help residents not to stretch the code.
It was also suggested that the ZBA and PB meet semiannually to touch base and discuss issues such as those raised above. It would also be wise for the ZBA to make the PB aware of actions they make and for the PB to send their minutes to the ZBA members. All parties believe there needs to be better communication and a closer relationship between the two boards.
A motion was made to adjourn at 8:10 pm by Todd and seconded by Phil. The next meeting will be May 24.
Barry Somerville, secretary