Town of Buxton Planning Board
November 22, 2010
Recorded by Hilda Lynch
Board Members Present: Scott Havu, David Savage, Sr.; Jeremiah Ross, III; Harry Kavouksorian, James Logan, Caroline Segalla, and David Anderson
Board Members Absent: None
Others Present: Henry Huntley, Cheryl Huntley, Heather Rumery, Penny Booker, Brent Havu, Cliff Thomas
Chairman Harry Kavouksorian called the November 22, 2010, meeting of the Buxton Planning Board together at 7:07 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Robert Rogers of Aerial Survey & Photo, Inc., of Norridgwock, Maine, is giving a presentation on Municipal Mapping.
Harry stated that it was in the Town’s best interests to have a presentation by someone other than SMRPC.
Robert showed a USGS map of the area where he is. There is a 1968 electronic map which was digitized in the 1990s. Now, they have aerial photos - digital ortho photos. They use the image of a base map for subdivisions, roads, etc. They became widely available in the late 90s - a whole generation of change in 10 years. They do aerial photographs. What one can see on Google Earth at the click of a button has now dropped off the demand for their services. He talked about the Town of Buxton, 1953 map, by the J.W.Sewall Co. Robert’s company is up in Norridgewock. They do some municipal aerial photography and use the ortho photos to fix the town’s tax maps.
Harry asked about the accuracy between the two. The digital products are plus or minus 40 ft. and the ortho maps are plus or minus 6 ft. The 1 ft. pixel we have for Buxton is pretty nice, Robert says.
The 1953 map has been maintained. What they would do in a digitization project is to take the original Mylar film. They’d put things together in a CAD format and put it together like a big puzzle. He illustrated the Spruce Grove subdivision. It is a 9-lot subdivision from around 2003; they’d take the plan from the surveyors and convert it to a CAD file. It becomes one of the building blocks for the partial data set. He zoomed in to look at the amount of feet at various points. They would use any subdivision plans and any DOT plans. Then, they would clean them up with physical features on the ground.
Jim asks Robert if he is aware of a re-do of our shoreland zoning maps. He is considerate of this and wants the Board to move towards this. Jim thinks he’s presenting a little more and different mapping than the Board is looking for. Jim says all deliberations until now have focused on the shoreland zone. He wants to be clear that they are supposed to be talking about a re-do of the shoreland zoning maps. Scott says that they’ve talked about digitizing their maps, also. Board members agreed, but perhaps not right now.
Robert clarified what he is prepared to do. Jere wanted to know if he could give them a rough idea of the cost to digitize the tax maps. Robert says it would be about $39,000 - $10 a parcel. Jim asked David what the cost was for SMRPC. He said that the mapping they’ve had done was at a cost of about $9,000. They did the zoning maps and the texts for the ordinance. Robert said his company would not address the ordinance. Jere thinks they would do the digitizing over a period of years; they might do $10 - $15,000 a year until caught up. Harry said they’d need to go to the Selectmen to do this.
Jere asked what they did when they have an encroachment on adjoining lots. How can they reconcile this. Robert says that it’s part of their business to do this. They like to have a survey if there is one. They start with that and the surrounding deeds. They often have to go back to see where the missing land is. Sometimes, they can’t figure out what is going on.
Caroline says that suppose the Town does hire them to do this work. Would they update this work or would they have to create some kind of agreement. Typically, they do annual maintenance for towns they do mapping for, Robert says. Annually, to update this, it would range from $1500 - $2500 per year. Caroline asked if this info could be put on the web. They don’t provide web services, but they can provide PDF maps that the Town can post. They like to build the base carefully to begin with.
Jere asked if a town is relying on paper maps now, should they be requiring GIS from surveyors now. Some town’s are requiring a CAD drawing, which would save money in the long run. For small projects, it’s almost easier for Aerial Photo to do this.
Caroline stated that GIS would mean licensing which would be an additional cost, and staff would have to be trained to do this. There would be a per seat license fee. The GIS software market is big enough now that there is competition. Under the license, you can put it on two machines; but someone will have to get training. It is windows based, and it is not that hard. It is a time commitment.
Jim says that one of his issues with the existing tax map is the scale. He would keep the 1” equals 100, and he would keep the rest 200. There would be 50-60 maps. He would like to know what they could do to just upgrade the shoreland zoning and the cost. They are mainly concerned with the shoreland zoning.
Robert asked about Bonny Eagle pond, the river, etc. The critical thing is the upland edge of the resource as the basis of the building setback or what the zone is. The Council of Government provides okay maps for the town’s dues in some communities. Typically, it is from the data that the State has, plus or minus 40 to 80 ft. in terms of the riverbank. With the latest generation of technology, they’re able to improve upon the upland edge on what can be downloaded from the State. They shoot for the middle of the crowns of the trees. If they’re just concerned about shoreland zoning, they’re going to want to digitize the streams, water bodies and wetlands.
Caroline wanted to remind people that these are tools they use to see what’s on the earth, but they aren’t 100 percent accurate. Backup is needed for this information. Jim says they’re using something that would be more accurate. Harry says that, in the end, they’ll still need to have someone come out and survey your land. Jim says that some landowners who have concerns about some misrepresentation on a map might get some redress.
Jere asked about the difference between the digitization and what J.T. did. It would be 40 to 80 ft. Jim believes it is a valid tool. David A says that we have to use the maps the State requires.
Robert indicated a nonforested wetland that has moderate to high value - it was zoned resource protection. He illustrated the upland zoned edge. They don’t try to substitute what they do for going out there with surveyors or people on the ground. He would first make sure the stream is where it should be. He showed what the US Fish & Wildlife came up with - plus or minus 30 ft. accuracy. Jere asked if it was still a subjective interpretation, and Robert agreed it was.
David A asked about the blue line - or the channel of water. It appears to be quite a ways off. Do they change it if it’s already on a map. Can they do it legally?
Jim asked about the Town of Fayette. Did the DEP sign off on it. Robert says they did.
David wanted to know if he could move the blue line to the true channel, which would influence the other lines. Robert says the other lines would move independently. Jim says this is an accuracy they don’t have now - two lines that represent both sides of a water body. If the stream is more than 10 ft. wide, they’ll do both sides, Robert says. Jim says he’s leaning pretty strongly towards this generation of mapping.
Jim asked what they could do for re-mapping the shoreland zoning and the cost of it. J.T. made it clear that it was downloading and playing with published source maps. Robert clarifies for Caroline’s question about the other coordinate systems that are available in the public data, and whether that creates some of the errors. He says he doesn’t think it does. Jere clarified the crosses that people see in the roads at intersections. After an aerial flight, those are big enough to be visible and they can be registered.
In order to rectify an image, you have to have work on the terrain level, Robert says.
Jere asked about a rough estimate on what it would take to do shoreland zoning for the Town. Robert says that this is part of a larger project were the Town to convert the tax maps; that would give half of the zoning data. The base price was $8 a parcel, $2,000 on top of it for data. He showed some Standish data that has been done. With a partial map conversion, the zoning is going to be $2,000. All of the water has to be digitized. It would be $5,000. They look at them one by one to determine whether the government data is okay and revise if they need to. What is his experience with DEP when they do that, Jere asked. Jere asked how they are approaching their revisions. Robert revised the upland edge on what he saw. If he could improve on it, he would. It was the open water where the big differences were. He was trying to think of any places where he found something markedly different from the State. He gave an illustration of the kinds of things he saw. They
weren’t major, but little things.
Jere asked Robert where he sees the future going. Robert says he’s not sure. He sees more imagery being done more often. There might be a new generation of imagery every 5-10 years - an update demand. Ortho photos were unbelievable for mappers, now it is routine. Robert says there are a number of data warehouses where all of this imagery is available. What is not available are the tax maps, it is probably better to go back to some of the source documents.
To have done all of the parcels (a base map layer), all the shoreland would already have been done.
David S mentioned Bonny Eagle Lake (a lake being anything over 200 acres), and how would you define the upland edge. The lots don’t end at the water’s edge. They’re measured 100 ft. from the road. The shoreland zone begins at the upland edge - whatever is on record or whatever the deed says.
Cliff Thomas asked about J.T. saying that Mike Morse told him he could only use one particular map. Harry says that there were two: National Wildlife Inventory and the States’ I F & W maps. Robert says that the shoreland zone and waterfowl bird habitat info is pretty decent. J.T. made it clear that he didn’t make any adjustments. Jim says that Robert is able to interpret the aerial maps. What is the advantage of hiring these folks over DEP doing it. The Board doesn’t believe DEP will do it. The appeal process will always go back to the property owner. Harry says that rather than raise the money to do this, why not have DEP provide them.
Jim has not been able to speak with Mike Morse, but Harry says he was told unequivocally that the DEP wasn’t going to provide any maps. Cliff quoted from material that went before the legislature.
Scott asked Robert if there is anything else. Robert has dealt with some people from DEP. He knows Stephanie relies on I F & W maps. He finds that they’re quite reasonable and are happy the town has hired someone to do the work.
Jere mentioned the maps and ordinance changes that went before town meeting and didn’t pass. Is DEP going to provide a map if they impose the State mandated ordinance? Harry reminded people of the 300’ Shoreland zone rather than the 250’. Jim responded to Cliff that in lieu of doing nothing, if the Board is prepared to do a nonbinding question, whether they like it or not, they would have to change their ordinance and their maps. There is justification to go for more accuracy. He’s speaking for accuracy in some day digitizing their tax maps. Robert provided some materials for the Board to read. The Board thanked Robert for his presentation. Scott thanked him on behalf of the Town.
Approval of Minutes:
October 18, 2010 Workshop
November 8, 2010 - Motioned by Jim, seconded by David S, to approve the minutes as written. Four in favor; Harry, Caroline and David A abstained.
Approval of Bills:
Timber harvesting memo - Caroline would like to have Fred’s comments on this, either in person or by memo.
Letter to Bob Libby from USM - Jim says this basically converts files into a GIS format. Caroline would like to contact them to get more information and get back to the Board. David A asked about what kind of maintenance there would be. Jim is concerned about sustainable urban regions on the second page. Scott thinks what they’re talking about is that they can basically do the same thing Robert was just showing us. Caroline says that it is collecting data from us and putting it into this database. The Town would still not have that access. Jere asked about the training for someone if the tax maps were going to be digitized. Scott explained attribute data being in an excel file. Jere asked David A whether he had information on
details of a lot, and David A says he doesn’t. Jere says he thinks it’s something they should explore. David A thinks they should coordinate with what the Selectmen are doing. Caroline says that from the Planning Board , they’d like to have this in this time frame--give some guidance to the Selectmen. Caroline shared something from another person who would not be as expensive. They’d have to go out to bid anyway.
Caroline has some things on optional shoreland zoning that are being developed.
Caroline is providing Steve Walker - two possible dates - will touch on critical natural resources - she’ll let people know when the meeting is set to take place. It will probably be the 2nd or 3rd Thurs. in Jan.
David S mentioned the nonbinding question. Harry asked Caroline if she wanted to take a stab at writing this. Jim says they’d need to identify the highlights for the Town. Do the townspeople favor a change to 250’? What if they do that, and people say they don’t want to change it. Then, 30 people come to town meeting. Jim would like to have a wider poll of the people of Buxton. Have the Selectmen agreed? It hasn’t been discussed with them yet. Caroline will draft a memo for Harry to look over and present to the Selectmen. Jere mentioned the options that had been discussed at the last meeting. One is if taxpayers decide to go to minimum standards, then the Board needs to spend $10,000 for new maps. Caroline
asked Harry how DEP would feel if the Town tries to digitize and make changes. Jere would like some clarification from DEP on their map issue. Harry’s conversation goes back two months. They would not make a map that has 300’; it would be 250’, which would be inaccurate for the Town. Jim is going to continue to try to get hold of Mike Morse.
Harry thinks they should go back and do ordinance changes in December. Caroline asked if anyone needed any of the ordinance revisions. They’re the same. Jere thinks they might draft the proposed question.
Caroline would like something from Planning Board - issues they see in Planning for the ordinances and how they can be incorporated into the Comp Plan.
Motioned by Caroline, seconded by Scott, to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 p.m. All in favor.
Approval Date: __________
Harry Kavouksorian, Chairman Signature Date