Saturday, May 21, 2016


ADVISORY COUNCIL’S LAST MEETING ON MONDAY, MAY 23 AT 6 PM IN SCHOOL CAFETERIA Where are we in updating the Town Plan? On January 31, 2016, the Town of Mount Holly signed a contract with the Rutland Regional Planning Council (RRPC) for the RRPC to “assist the Town in updating the municipal plan”. Mount Holly’s Select Board and Planning Commission formed a four person volunteer committee – known as the Advisory Council, or Advisory Committee, or the Advisory Planning Council - to work with the RRPC. The contract lists the tasks (Scope of Work) to be performed by the RRPC. Each of these tasks should result in a product which, under Vermont’s Open Meeting Law, should be available to citizens. I maintain that the Advisory Council/Committee, as a committee of the Mount Holly Planning Commission (MHPC), is subject to the Open Meeting Law (a conclusion supported by the office of the Vermont Secretary of State - especially as the Advisory Council was formed to assist the MHPC perform its statutory duties). I have organized the process of updating our Current Town Plan (CTP) according to the tasks to be performed by RRPC, as listed in the contract between the Town and the RRPC: Contract Task # 1 4 hours Completion date: probably February 2016. Description of Task: RRPC to “assist the Advisory Planning Council in establishing the objectives of the Town Plan”. Product: Objectives of the Town Plan. Notes: Such a list would throw a light on the position of each member of the Advisory Council and how that might color their summaries of meetings. Contract Task # 2 10 hours Completion date: May 23, 2016 Description of Task: RRPC to “Facilitate Public Meetings” Product: Individual Meeting Reports Each member of the Advisory Council wrote a summary or report of each meeting and submitted it to the Select Board, the MHPC, and to RRPC. Notes: The subjects of the seven public meetings: Organization of meetings; emergency services; community organizations and education; business and economic development; transportation and recreation; housing and natural resources; and on May 23 the last meeting will be on land use and then public input and questions. Contract Task # 3 6 hours Completion date: ? Description of Task: RRPC to make a “Summary of Meetings” Product: Summary of Meetings Compilation of Individual Meeting Reports Notes: Presumably this summary of the meetings includes the Individual Meeting Reports (and as stated by Mr. Crawford, a Compilation of Individual Meeting Reports sent to RRPC from either the Select Board or MHPC) and the observations and notes of each meeting taken by Mr. Bove of the RRPC. Contract Task # 4 5 hours Completion date: ? Description of Task: RRPC to “Incorporate edits into Draft Town Plan and assist with the adoption process”. Product: Draft Town Plan Edits Agendas and Minutes of MHPC specifying the sections of the CTP to be discussed, public input and the resulting edits. Notes: This part of the process is a bit more difficult to follow as the terms ”edits” and “Draft Town Plan” appear without any definition. Based on information from Mr. Ted Crawford at the Advisory Council meetings and in his article in the Flash, it appears that the process is as follows: the MHPC will, at its regular monthly meetings, use the Summary of Meetings from the RRPC to make recommendations for edits or changes to the Current Town Plan. RRPC will take the edits and incorporate them into the Current Town Plan to produce a Draft Town Plan. Presumably, the Draft Town Plan then goes to a public hearing, and after any changes made at the public hearing, goes to Select Board for adoption Under the terms of the contract the Town agreed to pay the RRPC the second 50% of the total fee of $1,875 “on acceptance of the draft Plan by the Town”. (Does this occur before or after the adoption of the new Town Plan by the Select Board?) Annette Lynch

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