Discussion with the Historic Preservation and Design Review Commission, a presentation for a sidewalk along Rte. 7 and the appointment of new members to the town’s Commissions, Boards and Committees were among more than a dozen items addressed at the July 14 meeting of the Shelburne Selectboard.
During Selectboard member comments, Toni Supple brought up the issue of affordable housing. Recent articles in Shelburne News and the Burlington Free Press had prompted her to ask Town Manager Joe Colangelo about affordable housing stock in Shelburne.
The Town Plan says approximately 10 percent of new housing stock should be affordable, which means that it does not exceed 30 percent of the household income of those earning 80 to 120 percent of the county median.
With the addition of Harrington Village, Shelburne has exceeded that 10 percent. Supple, owner/managing editor of the real estate sales magazine Picket Fence Preview, called for a moratorium on large affordable housing projects in the town.
“Affordable housing is great in theory,” Supple said, but added it is expensive for a town. This sentiment was echoed by Chair Gary von Stange.
The issue of affordable housing will be on the agenda at a future meeting.
Von Stange commented on the issue of property assessments in the town. He said that he has heard about houses that are believed to be over-assessed.
While there is not a plan at the moment to do another assessment, Von Stange warned that such an assessment could have a significant impact.
In the HPDRC CBC report to the Board, Chair Fritz Horton described the work his group has been doing during the past year and the work they intend to do going forward. Member Dorothea Penar spoke of threatened buildings within the town. “A historic building that is dilapidated is seen as disposable,” she said.
A presentation of three alternatives for the Rte. 7 sidewalk project from the Town Offices to Shelburne Museum was made. The options were: no build, a curbed sidewalk or an uncurbed sidewalk.
Supple and John Kerr both voiced support for the less expensive uncurbed sidewalk. Kerr due to the environmental impact, and Supple due to the cost.
Construction for the project is not expected to begin until spring of 2018.
A grant application by the Bike and Pedestrian Paths Committee was considered and approved. The group was seeking grant money so that a sidewalk along Falls Road to Thompson Road may be constructed to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, especially for the school students who travel the route.
A grant for $48,821 was accepted from Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation, although Colangelo cautioned that the project may not go forward.
After an executive session, during which members discussed union negotiations, potential litigation and a real estate option, a motion was approved to direct the Town’s Attorney to enter an appearance and participate on the town’s behalf in the matter of an appeal of the Collete APC Properties/Development Review Board decision.