Selectboard announces loss of DRB chair

By Heather McKim

The June 25 meeting of the Shelburne Selectboard began on a sad note. Town manager Paul Bohne informed those assembled for the meeting of the passing of the Development and Review Board (DRB) chairman, 52-year-old David Conard.

“He was doing a phenomenal job as chair of the DRB,” Bohne said, noting that Conard’s passing was a real loss for the town.

The Board then moved on to a packed agenda.

Gail Albert, Shelburne Vineyard’s Director of Marketing and Events, approached the Board about a zoning administrator informing the vineyard about its signs not being in compliance.

Albert asked the Selectboard to have the Planning Commission revisit the “rather restrictive” zoning regulations. These regulations require things such as signs not being changed at all during a permit period and what Albert characterized as the “ecologically unsound” practice of permanent signs without removable lettering. Board members agreed to send the matter to the Planning Commission.

They then engaged in extensive discussion of the proposed amendments to the Policy to Determine the Location of Street Lights.

Member Toni Supple expressed concern about one element of the proposed policy stating, “I really have an issue with the first criterium—consistency of service.”

“I think it’s been the sense of the Board that we’ll put lights back in if they were there before and are wanted,” member Al Gobeille said and proceeded to question if arbitrary was really bad.

“Yes, arbitrary is bad,” member Gary von Stange responded. To this Gobeille argued that residents really don’t want uniformity.

“It was our streetlight policy that caused the problem,” Gobeille said.

“It was the application of the policy that caused the problem,” von Stange contended.

“We need to enable the Town Manager to work with neighborhoods to address their lighting needs,” Chair Tim Pudvar stated.

Bohne noted that he would rather focus on the immediate issue of the streetlights and come back to looking at policy later.

After further discussion, the matter was tabled.

The Board voted to approve the installation of a solar powered street light at the corner of School Street and Stokes Avenue. This pilot project, which carries a $3,500 price tag, will serve in the stead of a $10,000 planned light in that area.

The Board reconsidered adopting the Residential Anti-displacement and Relocation Policy. Adoption of this policy is required in order to obtain federal funds through the Vermont Community Development Program.

After a presentation and some discussion, the Board approved adoption of the policy.

Members approved the execution of the necessary documents with the Municipal Bond Bank for a $345,000 loan to finance the Falls/Marsett Roads waterline project.

The Selectboard appointed Sara Blum to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Paths Committee for an unexpired term ending in 2014. After Blum’s appointment, it was noted that there is still another open position with the committee.

The issue of the Falls Road streetscape plan was discussed. This plan would affect the area from Church Street to Shelburne Road.

The plan looks at crosswalks, lighting, types of trees, extending sidewalks, and other improvements. However, residents and Board members expressed some concerns about the plan and its alternative.

Steve Mayfield of Shelburne Country Store expressed concern that taking away parking would “kill the village.”

While the plan was not a decision item at the meeting, it did spark plans for an upcoming agenda item. Von Stange said that he wants to put downtown parking on the agenda for a future meeting.

The Board accepted an approximately two-acre parcel of land located on the west side of Route 7 abutting the LaPlatte River. It also chose to change the Grand List abstract by changing the value of a parcel of land from $0 to $65,000, designated up to $38,000 from the Undesignated Fund Balance of the Wastewater Department to be spent on manhole rehabilitation, approved a $21,200 Municipal Note with the National Bank of Middlebury at a 0.95% interest rate, and set the interest rate for the late repayment of property taxes.

The meeting ended with members going into an executive session regarding potential litigation. Pudvar and von Stange recused themselves from the discussion.

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