Selectboard considers multiple issues during regular meeting

By Heather McKim

The Shelburne Selectboard’s Feb. 10 meeting started early so members could go into executive session to consider possible litigation.

Once the public portion of the meeting got underway, members faced a number of agenda items, including a public hearing for proposed amendments to zoning regulations and a discussion with State Representatives Joan Lenes and Kate Webb.

A potential change in 9-1-1 dispatch could impact the town. During his report, Town Manager Joe Colangelo discussed the state’s plan to consolidate their centers, decreasing the number from four to two.

If this passes, Shelburne’s dispatch center may see increased call volume. The town currently receives $90,000 annually in revenue for being a Public Safety Answering Center.

A project at Wake Robin is prompting the consideration of returning higher building heights for residential buildings. This change in zoning regulations would take maximum heights back up to 48 feet from the current 35.

The change would be limited to planned unit developments (PUDs) that are “fire protected structures.” These buildings would have to be designed to allow access to three sides of the building. Also, windows must be accessible by ladders.

The Planning Commission believes that the proposal would be responsive to the needs of the community, however it was met with some concerns. Colangelo said that he wanted to be certain that the water tank at Wake Robin can supply enough water prior to a zoning change. As it currently stands, if the tank were out of commission for any reason, there would not be adequate water available for fire suppression on site.

Because of ongoing concerns regarding the water tank at Wake Robin, Shelburne’s Water Commission Chair Pete Gadue emphasized that he opposes a change in zoning regulations that would expedite Phase 3 until the issue of the water tank has been addressed.

Patrick McKee, Wake Robin CEO, urged the board not to delay zoning, and said he is “very willing to engage in conversation with the town” about solving the issue.

Member Al Gobeille voiced concerns about linking the water tank problem and the zoning change proposal, saying that “tying these two issue [together] is confusing.”

Chair Gary von Stange said that the board now had information from the Water Commission that the Planning Commission had not possessed. He doesn’t want to delay, but wants to solve the issue in an “expeditious manner.”

Member Colleen Parker noted that, while not the best opportunity to address the water tank issue, “It i pportunity.” This sentiment was echoed by member Toni Supple.

The board voted to continue the hearing to March 24.

Representatives Lenes and Webb were on hand to give an overview of what is going on in Montpelier. One of the major issues currently facing state government is water quality and how to pay for it; another is education.

Currently, there is a bill (H.58) that would give the Public Safety Board (PSB) even more power over municipalities. The bill, if passed, would mandate Dig Safe. This would cost towns money, as water and wastewater employees would have to be on call.

Given the impact that H.58 would have on the town, the board voted to endorse a letter to the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development voicing opposition.

Also decided at the meeting:

  • Shelburne’s application for Certified Local Government funding for updating the 20-year-old Design Review Guidelines was approved.
  • An amount of $2,914.69 was approved to be transferred from the 250th Celebration Fund to the Veterans Memorial Fund.
  • An agreement between the State of Vermont, Vermont Railways, and the Town regarding extension of Pine Haven Shores Road was approved; this helps to alleviate an egress issue that has posed a problem for property owners in that area for many years.

During Executive Session, it was decided that Colangelo would go before the Development Review Board to represent town interests regarding a matter concerning Shelburnewood Mobile Home Park.

The next meeting of the Selectboard will be Feb. 24.