Selectboard talks telecommunication towers, solar array, dog parks, and stormwater

By Heather McKim
The Shelburne Selectboard focused on getting a “seat at the table” when it comes to the unregulated proliferation of telecommunication towers and facilities at its Sept. 23 meeting. The Board members sought to gain that seat through proposed amendments to the town’s comprehensive plan.
The meeting provided the stage for the second public hearing for the proposed amendments. After a brief discussion, the meeting was closed and a vote in favor of adoption was made.
A public hearing to adopt the fiscal year 2016 Capital Improvement Plan was warned. That hearing will be at the Oct. 14 Selectboard meeting.
The solar array that is planned to be placed on the property of Vermont Teddy Bear Company was again on the agenda. Residents in the affected area had been disappointed by the screening offer made by Encore, Inc., which consisted of 10 five-foot tall evergreens.
The project is expected to negatively impact house values in the Ridgefield Road neighborhood, affecting both resell values and tax revenue for the town.
While the view of the solar array will not be wholly blocked, there is a desire to lessen the impact.
“The goal here is not to block the entire view… We’re trying to soften. That’s the key,” Chair Gary von Stange said of the screening.
It was decided that Encore would come back with another plan. The Home Owners’ Association will give input. Then, Town Manager Joe Colangelo, Selectboard member Allison Cranmer and von Stange will decide, based on the discussion at the Sept. 23 Board meeting, whether to withdraw the motion submitted to the Public Service Board.
Sara Blum, Chair of the Dog Park Committee, gave an update on what has been happening with the park during the past year.
Several improvements have been made, including the addition of running water and a shed. However, dead or dying trees in the park are still a concern.
“[It is] more of a safety issue than a park issue,” Blum said. She and the committee would like for the town to help in assessment and cost for the trees, an issue that she intends to come back with in December at budget time.
Colangelo is planning to reorganize staff to better address stormwater needs in the town. He said that the restructuring should take about a month to complete.
The Board considered and approved a grant application for stormwater improvements along the South Burlington line. The intended project, a manmade gravel wetland, would help to decrease phosphorous runoff into Lake Champlain and remove other pollutants.
In other matters, the Board:
• Approved four DUI grants in the form of $20,400, $12,000, $6,000 and $6,000.
• Approved an easement for a bench on Webster Road along the bike path. The bench honors the volunteers who made the bike path possible.
•Adopted a procedure for the Town Manager’s six-month evaluation. Cranmer chose the form out of several from Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT). Members are looking for feedback from town employees and Shelburne residents as part of this process. Residents may email comments to Board members; the deadline is Oct. 3.
The next regular meeting of the Selectboard will be held Oct. 14.