Selectboard revisits issues; debates street lights

by Heather McKim

The Sept. 25 meeting of the town Selectboard revisited several issues that had been discussed at previous meetings and introduced new ones.

While approving the previous meeting’s minutes, members made a correction regarding the assessed value of the Yankee Doodle Motel. It had been decided that the Grand List would be reduced by $19,300 by adjusting the assessed value of the property from $450,900 to $430,900. However, after a review of the math, members realized the correct initial amount was actually $450,200.

Town Manager Paul Bohne gave an update on the Harbor Road/Falls Road/Route 7 roadwork. He said that the work should be completed shortly and, when finished, there would be four crosswalks.

Town Planner Dean Pierce gave a presentation of the proposed amendments to the Zoning Bylaws and Subdivision Regulations. “The changes would come into play in a limited geographic area… and in limited circumstances,” Pierce said.

The zoning amendments would serve as an interim prior to the possible adoption of a form-based code—an issue explored in depth at the prior meeting. The proposed amendments would affect projects proposed for the Mixed Use District. An additional step of having the project reviewed by the Historic Preservation and Design Review Commission (HPDRC) would be put into place, and the testimony of the HPDRC would be presented to the Development Review Board (DRB) during their review of the project.

The town’s Subdivision Regulations were adopted in 1985. No amendments have been made to them since. The Selectboard decided to call a public meeting, set for Oct. 23, regarding the proposed amendments.

The Board also considered authorizing the Town Manager to execute an application for a $15,000 Municipal Planning Grant to analyze current and future land uses in concert with a new grid street (the Loop Road). The grant had been mentioned at the previous meeting. However, at that time, it had been mentioned in connection with Form Based Code (FBC).

“The criteria they’re looking for this year is more supporting infrastructure,” Bohne said in explanation of why the focus of the grant application had been shifted from FBC to the Loop Road.

The grant money would be used to amend and expand the scoping study that Stantec is currently conducting to include a traffic study that would include the impact of the Loop Road.

“We’ve distilled this into three parts,” Pierce said. Those parts would include an assessment of the market for a loop road, a look at potential regulatory/planning issues and an update of a parking analysis originally completed in 2000.

Selectboard member Gary von Stange objected to the process by which the focus of the grant application had been shifted. He expressed concern that the public did not have proper notice regarding the change.

It was decided that the Board would authorize the Town Manager to execute the grant application. Von Stange was the sole dissenting vote.

The most hotly debated issue of the evening was that of street lights. A presentation regarding the cost and a proposal for the installation of street lights requiring new poles and serviced by underground electrical wiring drew numerous comments.

Initial estimates by Bohne had been that costs would be $2,000 per light. However, the actual price ranges from $3,750 to $9,271. That would mean that if all the Davis Park lights, the Ridgefield lights, and the remaining pole mounted modifications were completed, the total would be around $34,500, which would be $9,500 over budget.

In view of this, Bohne suggested two possible alternatives. The first would be that all but the Stokes at School light would be done at a cost of $25,640. The second would be to do all but Ridgefield and the Fletcher corner. This latter option was struck down by Board members due to the fact that the Ridgefield light is a mandatory one.

After a period of numerous comments from citizens, it was ultimately decided by the Selectboard that all of the lights but Stokes at School—the most costly of the lights—would be done.

The Board also approved an agreement between the town and Shelburne Bay Senior Living to settle a violation of the zoning bylaws. The situation had arisen out of an issue over construction without permits. The settlement means that The Lodges at Shelburne will pay a $4,000 fine, and the town will write a letter stating that The Lodges is in compliance.

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