Selectboard tackles streetlight situation

By Heather McKim

The Shelburne Selectboard worked through a packed agenda at its Sept. 10 meeting, beginning with a streetlight issue. While some streetlights have been reinstalled, controversy continues as some residents are still unhappy with lighting in their area.

Peter Gibbs of Davis Park complained of the location of the recently-reinstalled streetlight in his neighborhood; the light was not placed where the Selectboard initially said it would be. Town Manager Paul Bohne explained that the location had to be altered due to sunlight requirements of the new solar light. Member Gary von Stange expressed dismay at the fact that Bohne had made this decision without consulting the Board or seeking public input. Harvey Ottinger said he “feels cheated” by the light location. Members Toni Supple and Allison Cranmer both added that Bohne should have run the relocation decision past the Board prior to installation. The issue was put on the Sept. 24 agenda.

Bohne noted that it will be extremely difficult to decide in which areas the streetlights should be reinstalled.

Members continued to consider amending the Shelburne Comprehensive Plan, addressing issues such as an official map and form-based zoning. Work on the Plan will be continued at upcoming meetings.

Next, there was a status update on the agreement between the town and LCT to lease and operate the dry dock facility at the Shelburne Shipyard. The agreement is necessary for a “public sponsorship,” which would make LCT eligible for grant funds to refurbish the dock. Bohne said that there has been no word yet from Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) regarding the project and described things as “in limbo.”

Von Stange again voiced concerns, questioning whether the town has the authority to enter into this agreement. If VEDA agrees to the project, there would no longer be an issue. Von Stange was also concerned about indemnification and ensuring LCT pays all fees; he does not want the project to cost the town anything.

Members of the Champlain Valley Union (CVU) High School “Turf Field Committee” presented a proposed project to install two turf fields at CVU. The project will cost $2.6 million, but the new fields would provide significantly better quality athletic space for student athletes as reducing pollution runoff into Lake Champlain.

David Cranmer presented members with a brief progress report regarding the Social Services Committee. He said that the committee is working to gather, analyze, and disseminate information.

A Municipal Planning Grant survey has been the subject of scrutiny at an Aug. 27 Board meeting. Referred to as “The Connector Road survey,” it is used to study the potential development, parking needs, and regulatory considerations for the area east of Falls Road and Route 7.

Town Planner Dean Pierce defended the survey and said that the study is not a questions of “Should there be a connector street?”

“The purpose of the survey is to shape land use scenarios,” Pierce said.

“This has a limited purpose,” Bohne explained.

Supple described the survey as “ill advised.” She said, “Many of the options presented in the survey would be horrible for the village.”

“I think it’s flawed from the beginning,” von Stange said.

There will be a public meeting after the information has been gathered.

After some more heated discussion, members moved on to other matters. Two sewer allocations were approved, and the 2013 Grand List was modified. Then, a request for a waiver of a late property tax payment penalty was voted down.

Members finished out the meeting by moving into executive session to discuss personnel issues.

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