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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Economic Development Commission Draft Minutes of 6/28

Meeting Type: Regular Meeting
Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Town Manager’s Office Conference Room
Address: 43 Bombardier Road | Milton, VT 05468
Contact: (802) 893-1186 or jhemmerick@town.milton.vt.us
Website: www.miltonvt.org

1. Call to Order & Welcome                      
The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.

2. Attendance
Members Present: Don Turner Jr., Tony Micklus, Jaime Parent, Lou Mossey, Bob Lombard, Michael Neary, Rich DeSouza, and Michael Joseph.
Members Absent:  Ann Bradshaw.
Staff Present: Jacob Hemmerick, Kym Duchesneau.
Public Present: None.

3. Public Forum

4. Agenda Review

5. Staff Update
Hemmerick, Duchesneau, and Turner provided an overview of municipal activities.

As a follow-up to discussion about a development review application in progress (referenced below), the Chair entertained a motion of support for Milton Farms LLC to be sent to the DRB at Lombard’s prompting.  Lombard expressed concerns about the DRB’s handling of this matter and possible conflicts of interest.  Hemmerick cautioned that the EDC does not automatic party status in the hearing.  Parent asked if this would become an EDC practice for all businesses.  Lombard moved, second by Joseph to issue a statement of support from the EDC to the DRB.  Unanimously approved.  Hemmerick will draft a letter for the Chair’s signature.

Milton Farms LLC, Owner/Applicant, requests Site Plan and Conditional Use approval for a proposed Banquet Hall to be located at 124 Duffy Road.  The proposal is to construct a new barn for both agricultural and banquet hall use.  The facility would be served by on-site water and wastewater and accessed via Duffy Road.  The property is described as SPAN 11021, Tax Map 8, Parcel 23, contains  approximately 550.33 acres, and is located in the Agricultural/Rural Residential (R5) and Forestry/Conservation/Scenic Ridgeline (FC) Zoning Districts and the East Milton Planning Area. 

Mossey inquired about the status of the McCormick property and the proposed intersection recently approved by the Vermont Economic Progress Council in Milton’s Town Core Tax Increment Financing Plan.  Turner outlined recent meetings between management and the McCormicks; he is trying to negotiate a cost share for the intersection that the Board would be willing to put to a bond vote, and the voters would support.  He noted that the McCormick’s also have the Town in Superior Court litigation for a denied Zoning Permit for a residential development restricted by Interim Zoning.  So, there are many moving pieces.  The property is a strategic link in a long-envisioned east-west connector road between Racine and Park/Bombardier Roads.   Development of the intersection could also allow Bill Sawyer to complete the final phase of Southerberry, adding 38 more units, adding tax revenue, impact fees, water/sewer fees, and subscribers to the water/sewer enterprises.   

Turner noted that the Unified Development Regulations go into effect tomorrow, and invites all members to bring specific ideas and attend the Board’s noticed hearing on July 17, 2017.

Turner added that he recently attended a meeting of GBIC in his role as the Secretary for the Catamount Stormwater association, where he discovered that some of the members of the association also own in Colchester’s Brentwood Park to the south of Milton’s southern boundary and its sewer and water service areas approved by Act250.  He polled the Commission, asking if they think there are opportunities for the Town to collaborate with Colchester to extend the sewer service south of Milton, since we are in need of system subscribers to support the struggling enterprise.  Commissioners expressed concern that this could weaken the Town’s competitive position, but noted that it comes down to the numbers.  Would like to see a win-win.  This spurred broader conversation about industrial development in general.

Turner ended by talking about sidewalk initiatives on Brandy Lane and at US Route 7 at the intersection of US Route 7, Middle and Railroad.  Turner discovered a way to do the Brandy lane sidewalk at a fraction of the costs associated with a grant in a quicker timeline.  He noted that VTrans has approved a temporary sidewalk improvement along US7 in front of Parent’s business, but they’re working out paving details. 

6. Business

A.     Brainstorming Session

B.      Business Appreciation Breakfast Debrief
Hemmerick highlighted the high points of the breakfast and prompted follow-up on Joseph’s suggestion for a quarterly forum.  Joseph said that continuity of engagement is critical.  The group favored early morning formats, limited to 1 hour.  The purpose would be to share information, highlight businesses and partner with the Milton Business Association.  The group suggested having them at various businesses in Town and DeSouza offered to be the first to host sometime in September.  Hemmerick will prepare a schedule in line with the EDC’s regular meeting schedule.  DeSouza also noted that one of the big challenges in attracting skilled workers, highlighting some of their recent efforts; Mossey suggested a job fair.  The group briefly discussed their dismay about the School system being in the headlines again.

C.     Comprehensive Plan 2018-2026
Hemmerick briefly introduced the process to update the Plan, providing each member with the adopted Plan’s Economic Development Chapter for review and consideration prior to their next meeting.  He also included a piece developed by the Planning Commission one year ago about the economic role of downtowns, as part of their outreach.

D.    Budget Priorities
In the interest of time, Turner said that he would like to involve the Boards and Commission in the Budget process in a more consistent way than in years past.  Staff will be looping back with the Capital Improvement Plan soon.

7. Minutes
A. May 24, 2017
B. June 7, 2017
Mossey moved to approve the minutes above as presented.  Second by DeSouza.  DeSouza noted the importance of giving people a reason to come to Town and the salience of well-run tournament programming for economic development.  Unanimously approved.

8. Adjournment
The Commission adjourned by unanimous consent around 5:30 p.m.

Minutes approved by the Commission this ___________ day of _____________, 2017.

Don Turner Jr., Chair                                                                                                                   /jmh

Draft filed with the Town Clerk this ___________ day of _____________, 2017.

Filed with the Town Clerk this ___________ day of _____________, 2017.