What is the Selectboard up to?

It appears that the extension of the sewer into rural areas of Shelburne is back on the table again.

The Selectboard meeting now tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 7 pm (see Selectboard draft agenda on page 5 for details) will feature the Shelburne Sewer Service Area (SSA) boundary as a separate agenda item ‘for discussion.’ This promises to be a most interesting event and concerned citizens should consider attending.

I watched the Selectboard meeting on www.Vermontcam.org, from Oct. 22, and about one hour into the meeting, in the midst of reviewing the Town Plan update prepared by the Shelburne Planning Commission, I heard the following opinion: “We are constrained by our sewer district, by our zoning, and by our imagination. Those are the three things that constrain us, and it is the desire of some people who live here to constrain us. We could hire someone to do the Town Plan so that it is a growth plan!”

That very public position, by a consenting Selectboard, went unchallenged by all members but Toni Supple and is a serious cause for concern, as well as a serious threat to rural property values.

For more than 25 years, the Town Plan has been a buffer to rampant residential development to the north, a primary source of guidance to town governance officials both appointed and elected, and one of the most critical town documents associated with the preservation of Shelburne’s character as we know it. It is also a critical legal tool for all Vermont towns when developers seek to litigate and overturn zoning or other development restrictions they perceive to be too limiting or otherwise ‘unfair.’ And the most recent version, currently being reviewed by the Selectboard, appears to be materially consistent with all prior versions. If you love the character of our beautiful town of Shelburne, it’s time to pay attention again and stand up for the Town Plan that holds its character dear.

It is noteworthy that Charlotte, our fiercely rural neighbor to the south, restricts Town Plan review and approval not to their Selectboard but to “… Australian ballot at duly warned Town Meetings.” In other words, a vote by the people, not the Selectboard.

Lili Ruane, Shelburne

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