Working with laptops and an overhead screen, the board made numerous small editing changes to correct errors such as outdated names for the local high schools or to ensure consistent terminology.
Four members of the public attended the hearing. In addition to planning commission secretary Phyllis Evanuk and town health officer Sue Kelly, two seasonal residents were present. Both expressed interest in making their residence in Halifax permanent. One, Pete Silverberg, had questions about the planning process and how it fits with zoning. Silverberg’s expressed concerns were largely general, but he took specific note of the plan’s earth and mineral extraction policy, which encourages responsible use of the town’s mineral resources. Silverberg wondered whether such a use should be permitted in an area zoned for conservation.
Board chair Edee Edwards pointed out that it is in the town’s best interest to encourage use of local resources, and that the plan’s language makes clear the intent to require responsible conditions on such businesses in order to prevent degradation of environmental and municipal assets. Edwards also noted that zoning regulations are the way to exempt a particular area from such a townwide policy.
Halifax, Edwards told Silverberg, has already applied for a grant to assist in updating its zoning. The planning commission, Edwards said, welcomes and indeed solicits public input to that process. But, she clarified, adopting the plan must come first.
Voters will get the opportunity to do so in March.