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August 28, 2017 [CS]

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Mount Philo Hops Farm plans are discussed with experts and with the town for a little more than two hours. Other agenda items include Scott Hardy's request for highway access permits (HAP-17-09 & HAP-17-10) at 783 Mount Philo Road; Mary Lighthall Trust trustee Anna Nadeau's request for license agreement to install telecommunication facilities under Hills Point Road; stipulation and agreement for Docket # PVR 2016-14 with Clark W. Hinsdale, III; Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations (“CUSI”) intergovernmental agreement; and a budget review schedule.

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Draft minutes are subject to correction by the Charlotte Selectboard. Changes, if any, will be recorded in
9  the minutes of the next meeting of the Board.


11  SELECTBOARD MEMBERS: Lane Morrison, Chair; Frank W Tenney, Fritz Tegatz,
12  Carrie Spear (arrived at 7:55 p.m.). ABSENT: Matthew Krasnow.
13  ADMINSTRATION: Dean Bloch, Town Administrator.
14  OTHERS: Scott Hardy, Sky Thurber, Betsy Tegatz, Anne Nadeau, Bill Stuono,
15  Catherine Hughes, Marty Illick, Janet Morrison, Gerald Bouchard, Sue Smith, Robert
16  Mack, Eliza Bedell, Patrice DeMarco, Kathy Gallagher, Joe Gallagher, Peter Demick,
17  Linda Samter, Tom Hengelsberg, Jason Hackerman, Michael Bedell, Susanna Kahn,
18  Peter Kahn, Peter Schubart, Gil Livingston, Siobhan Smith, Patti Casey, Cary Giguere,
19  Stephen Kernan, Hans Ohanian, Susan Ohanian, Robert Smith, Taylor Harmely, Ken
20  Picard, David Lagersted, Pat Lagersted, Susan Nostmand, Vera Simon-Nobes, Chris
21  Patten, Jeff Kruger, George Schreck Mona Schreck, Jeff Martin, Hylan Patton, John
22  Smith, Bobby Young, Obediah Racker, Will Bown, Megan Browning, Jason Garvey,
23  Jorden Blucher, Erin Kunek, Hannah Aitken, Julian Post, Peter Briggs, and others.

25 (NOTE: the agenda was heard out of order, but appears as published for continuity.) 26 

27  5:00 PM Site visit—783 Mount Philo Road—for Highway Access Permit
28  application


30  5:30 PM Site visit—Mount Philo Hops Farm, East Thompson’s Point Road and
31  Route 7


34  6:46 PM Scott Hardy—Request for Highway Access Permits (HAP-17-09 &
35  HAP-17-10) at 783 Mount Philo Road for proposed subdivision
36  6:50 PM Anna Nadeau, Trustee, Mary Lighthall Trust—request for license
37  agreement to install telecommunication facilities under Hills Point Road
38  6:55 PM Stipulation and Agreement for Docket # PVR 2016-14 with Clark W.
39  Hinsdale, III
40  7:05 PM Mount Philo Hops Farm—discussion
41  8:30 PM Linda Radimer—request for “Wildlife Crossing” signs on town
42  highways
43  8:40 PM Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations (“CUSI”) Intergovernmental
44  Agreement (3 year agreement)
45  8:50 PM Budget review schedule



48  Mr. Morrison, Chair, called the meeting to order at 6:45 p.m.


51  None.


55  Scott Hardy, applicant, reviewed a new application of a prior approval, which expired.


57  MOTION by Mr. Tegatz, seconded by Mr. Tenney, to approve a request by Scott
58  Hardy for a Highway Access Permit, HAP-17-09 and HAP-17-10, located at 783 Mt
59  Philo Road for a proposed subdivision.
61  Mr. Bloch noted that the Charlotte Road Commissioner reported that the conditions
62  have not changed. There are 700’ sight distances in both directions.
63  VOTE: 3 ayes, absent (Mr. Krasnow, Ms. Spear); motion carried.


68  Anna Nadeau explained that in order to have Comcast service a cable needs to be run
69  from a pole on the other side of the road, under the roadway and onto her property.


71  Mr. Bloch said that the license agreement gives the Town the right to relocate the cable
72  location if necessary. The Road Commissioner recommends a 4’ depth between the
73  surface and cable, and 25’ off the travel portion, said Mr. Bloch.


75  MOTION by Mr. Tegatz, seconded by Mr. Tenney, to approve a request by Anna
76  Nadeau, Trustee of the Mary Lighthall Trust, for a License Agreement to install a
77  telecommunication facility under Hills Point Road at 613 Hills Point Road, subject
78  to conditions recommended by the Charlotte Road Commissioner.
80  Mr. Tenney asked if the revocable trust should be a part of the motion. Mr.
81  Morrison noted that there were two co-trustees. Ms. Nadeau said that the co-
82  trustees are herself and her mother.
83  AMENDMENT by Mr. Tegatz, seconded by Mr. Tenney, to identify the pole as Pole
84  #12, and to authorize the Charlotte Selectboard Chair to sign the License
85  Agreement on behalf of the Town of Charlotte.
86  VOTE: 3 ayes, absent (Mr. Krasnow, Ms. Spear); motion carried.


90  Betsy Tegatz, Charlotte Lister Chair, reviewed that a Current Use allocation shifts the
91  value from $520,000 to $518,400 on a different part of the property. The Selectboard


92  needs to sign the stipulation before Wednesday, August 30, 2017, when the hearing
93  officer reviews the request, said Ms. Tegatz.


95  MOTION by Mr. Tenney, seconded by Mr. Tegatz, to enter into a Stipulation and
96  Agreement for Docket #PVR 2016-14 with Clark W. Hinsdale, III, as presented.
97  VOTE: 3 ayes, absent (Mr. Krasnow, Ms. Spear); motion carried.


99  Mr. Morrison, Mr. Tenney, and Mr. Tegatz signed the Stipulation and Agreement
100  documents.


103  None.


106  Mr. Morrison reviewed the process for taking testimony regarding the Mount Philo hops
107  farm, which is a request by the farm neighbors on East Thompson’s Point Road, Palmer
108  Lane and Big Oak Lane. The Selectboard has no role in the issue. The Vermont Land
109  Trust manages the use of the land, and has issued a letter that growing hops is an
110  accepted agricultural practice. The Department of Agriculture has noted that a pesticide
111  plan is not complete at this time. The purpose of the meeting is to identify the issues and
112  concerns so that the technical persons can address those issues. There will be no
113  negotiating or designing an agricultural plan, stated Mr. Morrison.


115  Peter Schubart, East Thompson’s Point Road resident, asked the Selectboard if the hops
116  farm is in conformance with the Town Plan and if the Board will engage the Town
117  Attorney. Mr. Morrison stressed that the Selectboard will listen. No action will be taken,
118  said Mr. Morrison.


120  Julian Post, hops farm representative, reviewed his educational qualifications and hops
121  farming experiences, and narrated a power point presentation of hop farm operations in
122  Michigan and Vermont, a site map created by Waite and Heidel, general growing
123  practices, integrated pest management utilizing spraying, plant selection, plant location,
124  disease forecasting, and beneficial insects.


126  Mr. Post said that a neighbor’s have expressed a concern regarding pesticide use, which
127  is not the focus of disease/pest management. He will follow the rules of the labels, stated
128  Mr. Post.


130  Nick Cowles, Shelburne Orchard owner, said that he has a similar agricultural use as
131  Julian Post. His orchard is surrounded by neighbors, he and his family live on the orchard
132  property. His neighbors that had pesticide concerns have found them unfounded due to
133  better practices. Everyone in the industry is doing better spraying practices. In the
134  orchard he is able to time-spray for wind drift, spray when it is calm, or the middle of the
135  night to protect ourselves and neighbors. Is a non-issue with his neighbors due to our
136  integrity. He knows Julian; Julian has integrity. If there is no hops farm at that location


137  then someone else could have an agricultural use there that may not be any better, said
138  Mr. Cowles.


140  Linda Samter, 95 Big Oak Lane, said that she represents her and neighbors concerns as a
141  group. She supports farming. Ms. Samter reviewed her Natural Resources educational
142  qualifications from Cornell and UVM, and professional career experiences, and narrated
143  a power point presentation outlining concerns and issues related to pesticide, fungicide
144  uses, goals of the Town Plan, character of the neighborhood as mixed agricultural and
145  residential, impacts to ground and surface water, conservation easements and natural
146  resources, a site map of the hops farm, residential areas and abutting land uses, air blast
147  spraying and spraying heights, and pesticide/herbicide drifting.


149  Erin Kunek, Big Oak Lane, reviewed her health care career qualifications, and read a
150  written statement related to the impacts of pesticide use, health studies, and a correlation
151  with pesticide exposure and human health into the record. A minimum 250’ setback
152  buffer is requested versus the required 50’ setback, said Ms. Kunek.


154  There was lengthy discussion regarding the inadequacies of the current 50’ setback
155  requirements; studies supporting a minimum of a 250’ setback; EPA and federal laws;
156  pesticide label laws related to spray drift into sensitive areas; a suggestion to plant trees
157  higher than the hops poles in 2-3 row densities to mineralize spray drift; concerns for
158  ground water and well water pollution from pesticides/herbicides; and questions on how
159  the hops farm will supply the large amount of water needs in an area where there are low
160  water well yields.


162  Ms. Samter stated that the neighbors will want well interference testing done by the hops
163  farm. There are concerns of contamination running into Thorpe Brook and into the Lake,
164  said Ms. Samter.


166  Mr. Post said that in response there are not many hops farms in New England, and
167  suggested to look at apple orchards in Vermont for spraying and pesticide data. He has
168  talked with Eric Bayard, CPS, who works with orchards and hops farms in the state. For
169  example, Shelburne Orchards, Sunrise Orchards, Hackett Orchard, or Chapin Orchards.
170  People have lived in close proximity to those orchards for many years, said Mr. Post.


172  Cary Giguere, Vermont State Pesticide Regulatory Program representative, and Patti
173  Casey, Vermont State Ground Water Protection Coordinator, explained that a well base
174  line study will happen, regarding buffers, 250’ is not a standard buffer for an orchard, or
175  corn field. NOFA requires a 50’ buffer for row crop related to nutrient management.
176  There are a few drift cases investigated per year, said Mr. Giguere.


178  Mr. Morrison said that a pesticide plan has not been done yet, and asked if the state
179  requires one. Mr. Giguere replied that it is an individual farm management decision. State
180  statutes govern state permits for activities, such as golf courses. They are required to
181  submit a vegetative plan. The Department of Agriculture does not require a pesticide
182  management plan; it is a nutrient plan, clarified Mr. Giguere.



184  Heather Darby, UVM Extension Professor and Agronomy Specialist, explained that
185  farmers have to be licensed and must go through proper training for educational credits
186  for pesticide/fungicide management. It is administrated by the state with follow up
187  enforcement. No one can just spray. Julian did the training and passed the training. A
188  plan may not be required, said Ms. Darby.


190  In response to a 250’ setback buffer request, Mr. Giguere said that the state has local field
191  staff and he does enforce labels. A certified product must be used. He will get some
192  information relative to toxicities for the neighbors, said Mr. Giguere.


194  Ms. Kunek said that chronic toxicity is not posted on labels, said Ms. Kunek. Mr. Giguere
195  replied that there is a lot of interpretation of labels. Is it up to the state to decide what is a
196  sensitive area, such as a school, or wells, said Mr. Giguere.


198  Patrice DeMarco, Palmer Lane resident, stated that a label says ‘don’t apply chemicals
199  within 250’ downwind.” The hops farm would be in violation of that label since there are
200  homes within 60’ of the boundary, said Ms. DeMarco. Ms. Samter read an EPA list of
201  sensitive area standards related to pesticide drift. Mr. Giguere explained that the states are
202  working with the EPA to create better spray drift language. The Spray Drift chair, Dave
203  Scott, is in Burlington today. In Vermont those concerns are valid. Current Vermont law
204  also allows a farmer to grow crops and use pesticides as he sees fit, said Mr. Giguere.


206  Peter Kahn, Palmer Lane resident, said that spray drift will exceed the 50’ buffer and drift
207  onto his land. What are the penalties, asked Mr. Kahn. Mr. Giguere said that he will send
208  a penalty matrix to the Selectboard. There is a $1,000 per count label violation
209  assessment for private individuals. Counts add up quickly. On average a private
210  individual penalty runs $3,000-7,000, and a commercial violation averages $10,000-
211  15,000. It is similar to a driver’s license penalty for repeat offenders; there are points
212  against an applicator’s license and they can lose their license, said Mr. Giguere.


214  Mr. Kahn said that he abuts the hops farm and he walks down his driveway every day. He
215  has a well and pond on his property. What happens if he finds pesticides, asked Mr.
216  Kahn. Mr. Giguere replied that Matt will investigate the first call. A driveway is not a
217  sensitive site. A pond is, said Mr. Giguere.


219  Mr. Cowles explained that a farmer is on his tractor and can tell when the wind shifts by
220  watching the wind tell-tales on the tractor. His home is on the orchard property, he has
221  children and his wife has horses. He can control the sprays and not get any drift into the
222  pastures, said Mr. Cowles.


224  Derrick Chase asked if the state will provide test kits. His house is 60’ from the hops
225  farm. Mr. Giguere replied that there are no testing kits. The state does place drift cards
226  out and Matt has offered to do that. The drift cards are moisture and oil sensitive.
227  Depending on the nature of a complaint an investigator can be on-site within minutes to
228  hours to investigate. For a general complaint he could be there that day, or if it can wait it


229  does. Hop fungicides are different from what an apple orchard uses. The cards are good
230  for finding corn herbicides. The state will gather data for a water base line for surface and
231  ground water before any applications and will continue after applications. Drift cards
232  indicate a ‘yes/no’, said Mr. Giguere.


234  Mr. Giguere said that he has legislative authority to investigate complaints. There are
235  land regulations and permitting to site a house, and a commercial operation goes through
236  ACT 250 permitting. Agriculture is exempt from ACT 250. Technology changes and
237  there are different methods to control drift. Air blast sprayers are falling out of favor.
238  Vegetative buffers do wonders and are better than fences, said Mr. Giguere.


240  Mr. Post said that he could place vegetative buffers in appropriate places. Susanna Kahn
241  said that vegetative buffers would need to be 18’ high. Could Mr. Post put in 18’ high
242  buffers, asked Ms. Kahn. Mr. Post replied yes; if the vegetation grows that high. He can’t
243  afford to buy 18’ high trees, said Mr. Post.


245  Jim LeBerge, dairy farmer, suggested using a boom sprayer. The photographs display by
246  Mr. Post show a huge drift with a side sprayer, pointed out Mr. LeBerge.


248  In response to a question regarding special precautions to take and what pesticides should
249  not be used around bees, Mr. Giguere said that insecticides would have the biggest
250  impact. He was not hearing that insecticides would be used on the hops. There are 76
251  active ingredients that are toxic to bees. He would research fungicides and if those would
252  affect bees, said Mr. Giguere.


254  Ms. Darby said that hops are not a plant that bees visit. Bees may pass through a hop yard
255  at any given time of day. The issues are drift. Not many insecticides are used on hops,
256  and not spraying insecticides is a better practice. Beneficial organisms are used in
257  growing hops. There was a study done that placed bee hives in an almond orchard in full
258  bloom. Multiple insecticide sprays were used and the findings showed that there would
259  be minimal impact to the bees, said Ms. Darby.


261  Mona Schreck, North Ferrisburgh farmer, said that she grows hops and bees do not land
262  on hops. Local gardeners have roses and flowers and use sprays to control bugs. She has
263  never seen any bugs on hops, which taste disgusting to bugs. Drift is controlled and will
264  not affect bees, stated Ms. Schreck. Ms. Darby said that Mona made a good point.
265  Regarding fungicides there is a lot done before applying fungicides. It is a risk to the
266  farmer and family, and costs a lot of money. The first thing is to invest in disease free
267  root stock if a farmer wants to be successful. A farmer wants to keep downy mildew out
268  of a hop farm by purchasing a variety of resistant hops. If a disease does encroach then
269  spray is used minimally. Older hops plants lose significant yield and then the farmer
270  would pull them out, explained Ms. Darby.


272  Mr. Giguere thanked the assemblage for the invitation to attend and offered to continue in
273  a civil open dialog. He will offer to go over relative toxicities with the property
274  owner/farm manager and neighbors, said Mr. Giguere.



276  Mr. Briggs reviewed concerns and issues as stated. He did care about safety on the farm
277  and in the neighborhood. They will hold themselves to a higher standard, and comply
278  with the letter and spirit of the law. He puts his trust in Julian, and thanked Heather for
279  her support of the hops farm. He will be transparent, although he can’t answer all the
280  complicated questions and concerns. Next spring is the earliest to have hops in the
281  ground and there is the winter to plan. It may be true he is a New York businessman. His
282  family had been farmers for generations. Today, 90 percent of farmers go out of business.
283  This is creating jobs, said Mr. Briggs.


285  Ms. Samter reviewed that she heard that there will be good planning over the winter, and
286  that distances are safe. She has also heard that 20-30 poles would put in this fall, and
287  planting will take place next spring. Will you hold off on setting the poles, asked Ms.
288  Samter. Mr. Briggs replied setting in the poles has not been decided yet. It is our risk at
289  what point we will do each step, said Mr. Briggs.


291  Megan Browning, organic vegetable farmer, said that Governor Scott is concerned
292  regarding a declining population in Vermont. Julian is a young farmer. The average age
293  for a farmer is 55 year old and Vermont needs young farmers or we will lose farms in the
294  nation, stated Ms. Browning.


296  Jorden Blucher said he was not against farming. It is about our families, health and not
297  getting sick because a farm went in across the road, stated Mr. Blucher.


299  Mr. Chase said he has lived in Charlotte most of his life. He has a low yield well. When
300  his well runs dry will Charlotte help get him potable water. When his well get
301  contaminated will the Town adjust his taxes, or buy his property, asked Mr. Chase.


303  Greg Heidel, Waite and Heidel, said he has lived in North Ferrisburgh 40 years and
304  believes that hydrogeology impacts on well quality will be low. A well is drilled in
305  bedrock, is encased, and in Charlotte there is a 100’ thick protective clay layer. Surface
306  water and pesticides will not filter down through the clay layer. Regarding quantity of
307  water, he is not sure the farm would draw from the two irrigation ponds in a normal
308  precipitation period. If irrigation well is drilled to support the two ponds his firm would
309  do testing of neighboring wells first. It is an evaluation to be determined. Water quality is
310  safe due to the clay layers; a water balance study is being done. There is an 85-acre
311  catchment area south of the pond and a 20-acre catchment area west of the pond, surface
312  water sheds to ponds and the ponds will be full by spring. Each pond will hold 600,000
313  gallons of water. The estimate yield of the ponds in normal precipitation months was
314  done using daily data from the Burlington weather station, and precipitation averages
315  over 30 years, 1981-2010, was used to provide supplement water for dry years, explained
316  Mr. Heidel.


318  Mr. Briggs said the ponds were sized on estimates by Julian. Updated view of water
319  availability and water usage is variable. He doesn’t have all the inputs. It appears that the
320  farm will have water available in normal years and in an abnormal year will have the


321  ability to enlarge the ponds for a bigger buffer, said Mr. Briggs. Mr. Post said that the
322  hops will not die if they get less water than we want. The hops yields may be affected.
323  The farm will not compromise people’s wells, stated Mr. Post.


325  Mr. Demick, organic farmer abutting the hops farm, asked who designed the pond next to
326  his property. Mr. Post replied the firm who dug the ponds. Mr. Demick said that there is a
327  100’ long spillway onto his property. Keep the water off his property. Now you dug a
328  ditch that the pond will spill over into and pesticide contamination will flow into Thorpe
329  Brook and then the Lake, said Mr. Demick. Mr. Post said that the spillway water
330  overflow will do down hill to the ditch and go into the Town ditch. The farm has not
331  added any water into the system. The ditch next to your property is better than before,
332  said Mr. Post.


334  Mr. Demick said that copper fungicides will kill every living thing. Mr. Post said that he
335  is not planning on fungicides in the pond.


337  Gil Livingston, Vermont Land Trust, said that there has been a misinterpretation of the
338  conservation easement, and read a state of purpose regarding a conservation easements
339  into the record and that primarily, the Land Trust supports productive agricultural uses.
340  Secondly, the purpose is to protect scenic vistas. There is a regulatory provision
341  regarding construction of farm improvements, or the potential of division of the farm into
342  units; not farm practices. Regarding the hoop house, any structural improvement requires
343  some form of approval. The conservation easement is co-held by two agencies: the
344  Department of Agriculture and the Vermont Housing Board. The primary stewardship
345  sits with the Vermont Land Trust, said Mr. Livingston.

347 Mr. Morrison thanked all the participants for coming. 348 

351  A request by Linda Radimer will be rescheduled for the next Selectboard agenda.


355  Mr. Bloch reviewed that the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations amount is a pro-
356  rated cost split between towns based on population. Last year the cost to Charlotte was
357  approved for $5,700, and the cost this year is $7,000. The Town budgets for one year.
358  The agreement binds the Town to a payment for three years, which is reviewed by the
359  Selectboard each year, said Mr. Bloch.


361  Mr. Tegatz said he was not in favor of an open ended amount. Section 6, 4th paragraph of
362  the agreement did not include a payment schedule, pointed out Mr. Tegatz.

364 No action was taken.


367  Mr. Bloch reviewed a proposed FY19 budget review schedule starting with the
368  September 11th Selectboard meeting. Mr. Morrison spoke in favor of the FY19 budget
369  review schedule as drafted.


371  Mr. Tegatz said that CVFRS budget review is scheduled for September 25th and a
372  quarterly financial report could be presented at that time as well.

374 Mr. Morrison asked staff to reconfirm the date and time with CVFRS. 375 

377  Mr. Tegatz reported that a new CVFRS Board has been elected.


379  Mr. Morrison reviewed a schedule of upcoming meeting as follows:
380  August 29th at 2:30 p.m. – employee annual performance reviews
381  August 30th at 7:00 p.m. – at the Library, proposed library addition discussion
382  August 31st, at 1:15 p.m.- employee annual performance reviews
383  September 11th, 7:00 p.m. – regular meeting

385 Ms. Spear said that she will not be present for the August 31st review. 386 

387  MINUTES: August 14, 2017
388  MOTION by Mr. Tegatz, seconded by Mr. Tenney, to approve the Charlotte
389  Selectboard minutes of August 14, 2017, as written with additions/corrections:
390  Globally correct the word “hops”
391  Page 2, line 80 – change to read “...did not issue a notice of violation.”
392  VOTE: 3 ayes, absent (Mr. Krasnow, Ms. Spear); motion carried.


395  The Selectboard members reviewed and signed warrants to pay bills.


398  MOTION by Mr. Tegatz, seconded by Mr. Tenney, to adjourn the meeting.
399  VOTE: 4 ayes 1 absent (Mr. Krasnow); motion carried.

401 The meeting was adjourned at 9:23 p.m. 

403 Minutes respectfully submitted, Kathlyn L. Furr, Recording Secretary. 404

Episode Number: 
Original Airdate: 
Monday, August 28, 2017

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