Draft village wastewater ordinances unveiled at special Selectboard meeting

The West Charlotte Village Wastewater Committee presented two draft wastewater ordinances to the Selectboard and members of the public during Monday’s special meeting solely devoted to the topic. The meeting was “intended as a work session and an opportunity for public input and comments,” said Selectboard Chair Matt Krasnow.
During the two-hour meeting, the Selectboard, the wastewater committee, and several members of the public interested in connecting to the village wastewater system discussed the proposed application and review process. In addition to the draft sewer allocation and sewer use ordinances, the committee submitted an allocation ordinance schematic, a connection and usage fee computation and a comparison of connection and usage rates.
Wastewater committee chair Dave Marshall primarily led the discussion, supported by Selectboard member Fritz Tegatz and Planning Commission Chair Peter Joslin who also members of the committee. Marshall explained that the three-part application process for connecting to the system would include a feasibility authorization, a sewer allocation authorization, and a connection authorization. Applications and forms for each step in the process would be reviewed first by the zoning administrator and then brought before the Selectboard for a vote. Krasnow summed it up as, “Three meetings. Three votes. Three stages of work that would go into an applicant connecting to the existing municipal system.”
Selectboard member Louise McCarren opened her remarks by thanking the committee for their time and effort, joking, “Who knew this was such as sexy idea?” McCarren provided feedback specifically around the term feasibility, noting that the definition was absent in the list of terms in the allocation ordinance. “I wouldn’t be pushing this, but it’s really a central issue here,” she said.
Selectboard members agreed that clarifying language regarding the terms feasibility and feasibility analysis should be added to the sewer allocation ordinance. Selectboard Vice Chair Frank Tenney offered several rounds of feedback at different points during the meeting. He cited a few inconsistencies and asked the committee to review the proposed terms to ensure they coincide with definitions in the town zoning regulations. “I want to make sure those terms are consistent,” he said. Tenney also requested the proposed community sewer service area map be reviewed against zoning bylaws.
The ordinance also includes a new provision under the first step in the application process: a reconsideration of an applicant who has no feasible on-site wastewater disposal or the option is maximized. Joslin explained, “We added a paragraph under feasibility, so if an applicant gets a negative determination, they can make their case to the Planning Commission and subsequently the Selectboard.”
He cited the recent wastewater estimate the Charlotte Health Center received as part of their research for a new location as part of the reasoning for including the provision. “We came full circle on this. These are two businesses that we all agree are what we want in town. The Children’s Center wants to expand and they can’t; the health center wants to be here and in their case, it’s cost prohibitive.”
While other topics including satellite wastewater locations and home occupations in the rural district were discussed, the meeting wrapped up with a scheduled “work plan for the month” according to Krasnow. The topic would again be on the August 12 and 26 Selectboard agendas, and the West Charlotte Village Wastewater Committee is scheduled to meet on August 19 to incorporate the proposed changes from this and next Monday’s Selectboard meeting.