Selectboard discusses Harbor Place, trees, and solar array

By Heather McKim
The upcoming nuptials of Town Manager Joe Colangelo to his fiancee, Heather Clayton, on Aug. 30 was a lighthearted focus for part of the Aug. 26 meeting of the Shelburne Selectboard. Members of the Board as well as town residents jokingly offered up advice to the couple during an agenda item listed as a discussion of “Tips and Advice for a Successful Marriage.”
A number of more serious matters of business were also on Tuesday evening’s agenda. Board members heard from the Tree Advisory Committee, considered their response to a proposed solar array in town, received updates on form-based code and handled a number of other issues.
Colangelo updated the Board on a meeting between representatives of Shelburne, including Chair Gary von Stange, and several representatives of Champlain Housing Trust concerning Harbor Place. The meeting provided an opportunity to check-in and discuss ways of improving matters.
The meeting came after Shelburne police caught two people with 118 bags of heroin in the parking lot of Harbor Place.
The focus for improving matters at Harbor Place include three areas: screening, security and costs. The first issue, screening, involves better assessment of those coming into Harbor Place and keeping out those who have repeatedly caused problems at the location. Better security on the premises is also a concern. Finally, there is concern over the financial costs that Harbor Place poses to the town of Shelburne, which come in the form of increased costs for police and other emergency services.
Gail Henderson-King and two other members of the Tree Advisory Committee were present for a discussion and review with the Board of the committee, which was just founded about a year ago.
The committee is concerned with the planting and maintenance of trees within public space. During its year in existence, the group has, amongst other things, made recommendations that were approved to update tree policy, had unhealthy ash trees removed, and other trees planted.
Henderson-King said that she would like to “get the word out more to Shelburne residents” about the existence of the group. She also would like to boost awareness of the importance of trees in the environment.
Another solar array may be coming to town. The Lodges at Shelburne Bay has proposed a 150kW solar array at Vermont Teddy Bear Company.
The one-acre array would be surrounded by a fence and arboreal privacy screening. However, the view from one neighborhood would still be impacted, because a number of houses overlook the area. This could negatively impact assessed values of those properties and result in potentially tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue to the town.
With these concerns in mind, the Board voted to draft a letter and seek to intervene with the Public Service Board (PSB). The goal is not to stop the array but, rather, to “get a seat at the table” before the PSB.
Board members also voted to approve a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Sewer Service Area Study. Colangelo said that he is uncertain how many proposals to expect, because it is unclear just how many companies would be in the sort of business to do this kind of project.
The Board also:
Received an update from the Planning Commission on Form Based Code.
Approved Grey Rock Road as a new street name in the Raevin Meadows residential project.
Approved a one-year capital equipment note in the amount of $54,000 for a highway truck purchased in 2012.
Heard an update on the Pierson Library Building Steering Committee.
The meeting wrapped up after about two hours. The next meeting will be on Sept. 9.