Dog Park and Library Building Project

Selectboard meeting May 23

The Selectboard’s May 23 meeting featured a presentation by UVM economics professor Seguino on her “Driving While Black and Brown” study (which will be highlighted in next week’s paper), the Village Dog Park, the wastewater budget, and a discussion about the Library Building Project.

The Development Review Board’s CBC (Commissions, Boards and Committees) report was presented at the meeting. Chair Mary Kehoe said that “the jury is still out” as to whether the adoption of on-the-record review is a cost savings; in one of the two cases in which it was used, there was not an appeal, and she believes that there was a savings. Kehoe’s concern with OTR is that it is “a tall order for a volunteer board.”

The Village Dog Park was back on the agenda with a presentation from wetlands consultant Dori Barton. Based on her observations, she believes that Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) District Wetland Ecologist Tina Heath was correct in her assertions. Barton believes that the dog park is located on either wetlands or buffer area to which wetlands regulations apply.

Despite the finding, the Dog Park Committee is still holding out hope that there won’t have to be a relocation. Chair Kay Boyce pointed to the fact that for lands under Class II wetlands regulations, there are some outdoor recreational activities allowed without a permit.

However, Barton pointed out that the dog park had gone beyond what is allowable without a permit on Class II wetlands. If only a fence would have been constructed, the project would likely have been fine. However, there had been the addition of fill, a shed, waterline, and other alterations made.

“Once you start needing to clear and fill… your exemption falls away,” Barton said.

Von Stange noted that the DEC had originally indicated that there was not a need for a permit to proceed with the park. The question is whether the scope of the project has since exceeded what is permissible on the land.

Relocation is difficult, because the Town would have to find a suitable spot on land that it currently owns—which comes with its own set of difficulties.

Boyce said the committee could remove things from the park. She would like the park to remain at the current location; there may be nowhere else for the park to go.

A liquor license was approved for the driving range at the Kwini Club.

The Fiscal Year 2018 Wastewater Budget of just over $1.9 million was presented by Finance Director Peter Frankenburg, and the Board unanimously voted to approve it. The budget will increase by $46,300 or 2.5%, which means that the average user will see a slight increase to their bills.

An update was made regarding the Shelburne-South Burlington intermunicipal stormwater contract. Board members voted to approve a merger of the Regional Stormwater Education Program and the Chittenden County Stream Team.

The Board is leaning towards putting the Library Building to a bond vote. There is a split between members as to whether a bond would be on the ballot in November or go before voters at Town Meeting in March.

The Library Building Project includes not only a new library building, but renovations with a $6.5 million price tag.

One Response to "Dog Park and Library Building Project"

  1. Ted Cohen   May 28, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Amazing that the alleged gold standard of land stewards – the people of Shelburne, Vermont – go through such contortions to pretend that the “dog park” is not violating the very rules those supposed guardians purport to uphold.

    Someone – the identity of whom that person is – OK’d the expansion of the “park” onto wetlands.

    Yet neither the newspaper, so-called, nor any town official, has yet asked any real questions about just who is at the bottom of this scandal.

    Dog Chairman Kay Boyce pretends that all is well and that the “park” is clearly not in violation.

    And a selectman is quoted above as saying that “The question is whether the scope of the project has since exceeded what is permissible on the land.”

    Actually, the question – as presaged earlier in this posting – is just exactly who gave the go-ahead for this “park” to expand beyond its legal limits.

    And folks, if we’re going to drill down on this fiasco, let’s call this “park” just what it is – a plot of beautiful land adjacent to precious wetlands that is being used as a public toilet by dog owners living in this town. That’s what “dog parks” are – just so we’re not pretending they are anything other than that.

    Oh, sure, they are places to run your dogs. Well, if you need to depend on your fellow neighbors to run your dog on precious public land – and not clean up after it – then you are falling quite short of the definition of “good citizen.”

    So, you say you clean up after your pets? Again, let’s stop kidding ourselves. This is precious public land.

    And soon it will be a full-fledged sewage pit with all the attendant groundwater pollution – if it is not already.


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