Selectboard discusses nature trails and CCTA routes

Selectboard meeting June 12, 2012

by Margo Callaghan

Memorial overlook and nature trail at LaPlatte

After over a year of planning, the Selectboard was charged with granting final approval of plans to construct the LaPlatte Nature Park Trail and Overlook. Besides trail enhancements, the plans call for an overlook area of Shelburne Falls, spearheaded by Tucker Holland as a memorial to his son who passed away in infancy. The main issue with the building of the project was its impact on the property of Tim Loucks at 1141 Falls Road, and the required easements. The property is located just west of the Falls Road bridge on the north side of the road. Loucks’ concern was over the lack of access to the rear of his property and the project’s impact on his driveway, given the scope of parking and a turnaround area necessary. Paul Bohne announced that having been in discussions with Loucks, “a point has been reached where all parties are in agreement with the language of the proposed easements.” This includes an agreement by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board which holds conservation easements on part of the property, and therefore must be included in the approval process.

“We are at a point now where we are looking to the Selectboard to give authority to the Town Manager and town attorney to move forward to approve plans to construct the LaPlatte Nature Park Trail and Overlook,” Bohne summarized. The Board voted unanimously in their approval of the project.

Shelburne foots bill for Wake Robin transportation

Discussions were intense following CCTA representatives addressing the board. Of concern was that body’s decision to offer premium services to the Wake Robin community under the umbrella of federally mandated SSTA stipulations. The Selectboard was not informed that the CCTA offered service above and beyond what was required by the federal program.

“The Town of Shelburne should be outraged that residents are subsidizing one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest groups [residents of Wake Robin] to provide their private transportation services,” stated Board member Gary von Stange, following presentations by CCTA representatives. It was during the board’s budget hearings earlier this year when an approximate 60K increase in the Town’s assessed bill for services provided through the CCTA was discussed. Much of that increase was the costs resulting in offering the federally mandated transportation to residents within .75 miles of existing CCTA routes.

When asked the status of talks with Wake Robin, CCTA representative Liz Curry stated that Wake Robin management wanted to “collect data” on residents usage of the SSTA before going further with discussing ways to address that usage.

Von Stange also questioned CCTA’s statistics on overall ridership upon which their fee assessments are based.  Citing the times he personally has rode the bus into Burlington, von Stange stated, “I find your ridership numbers to be highly inflated, and those number are used to determine assessments of costs to Shelburne. If the numbers are false, Shelburne is contributing too much.” CCTA responded saying that the assessment of fees are based on the hours of service offered, and not ridership, to which von Stange responded, “But hours of service are predicated upon how many riders are using the bus at set times!” Stating that Shelburne must budget 120K for fixed route CCTA assessments, he suggested that ridership numbers should be assessed by an independent party.

Other business

The Board acknowledged receipt of proposed changes to zoning bylaws for the Planning Commission, and set a public hearing date of July 10 for their review.

Shelburne Police Officer Josh Flores and Sgt. Allan Fortin were recognized for their service last month in quelling a potentially dangerous domestic incident in Charlotte, where a gun was involved. The individual was brought under control without use of weapons. The officers both received a Certificate of Merit from the Selectboard.

The Board approved the loan application documents to finance the construction of the Harbor Road sidewalk and the continuation of the Webster Road Path

The Board voted to appoint Kathleen Boyce to the Shelburne Village Dog Park Committee

Assistant Town Treasurer Susan Moraska was authorized as a signer on Town accounts.



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