Emily Morton joins HAAC

Emily Morton

Despite recent quorum issues, committee now at full capacity

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Three candidates for a single opening on the Williston Historic and Architectural Advisory Committee laid their cards on the table before the town Selectboard on Sept. 24.

In the end, it was lifetime Williston resident Emily Morton who had the wainning hand over health care professional Karen Fragnoli-Munn and former town librarian Rickie Emerson.

“The thing I was most impressed with is Emily came to us tonight with a very strong background, and that’s to me a hard trump card to beat,” said Selectboard Deputy Chairman Jeff Fehrs.

Morton, 23, graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 2011 with a degree in historic preservation. As she explained to the Selectboard, her community work as an undergraduate closely mirrored the duties of the HAAC, which makes recommendations to the Development Review Board for proposed construction or architectural alterations in the Williston Historic Village.

Morton joins a committee that has been plagued by attendance problems in recent months. On Aug. 20, just two of six active members attended a meeting at which the HAAC was asked to provide a recommendation on a municipal solar energy proposal.

Williston Senior Planner Matt Boulanger told the Observer

that he has addressed the recent quorum issues with committee members, although he said he did not receive notice from any members wishing to step down.

“We have some members who are more frequent attendees; we have some members who more often have had scheduling conflicts with meetings,” Boulanger said. “It’s something we’re working on addressing with those members, in light of having a number of applicants looking to come on.”

Boulanger noted that while the HAAC is an advisory body and doesn’t technically need a quorum for members to make recommendations to the Selectboard, a formal committee vote is needed when submitting a certificate of appropriateness to the DRB for proposed development in the village’s Historic Preservation District.

“It’s a board that serves an important role in the development review process in town, both in terms of the historic district, and design review in the growth center and other commercial parts of town,” Boulanger said. “The DRB really looks for that input.”