The Town of Charlotte, VT

Road updates include Selectboard approving lower speed limit on Church Hill Road

Monday’s Selectboard meeting convened a bit late due to a site visit to Thompson’s Point. Members viewed the town-owned property by boat, with the houses along the lakeshore appearing “well maintained” said Selectboard member Louise McCarren. A second site visit to view portions of the property being leased, brush hogged and mowed is scheduled for September 9.

Wastewater ordinances now with town attorney
After a protracted discussion on the requested changes to the draft wastewater ordinances, the Selectboard recommended the updated documents be sent to the town attorney for legal review. Member Fritz Tegatz discussed the memo to the board outlining the changes, which included aligning terms with current zoning regulations definitions and adding explanatory language to the term “feasibility.” The Selectboard expects an appeal and petition of the ordinances by interested parties.

Member Carrie Spear requested the ordinances be put to a vote on Town Meeting Day instead of on the November ballot. She said the committee focus changed from “helping folks here in the village” to elderly housing and commercial business. “The whole town should have an opportunity, not part of this five or 10 people to change something so dramatically with a very limited amount of [input].”

When it came to users of the system, Selectboard Chair Matt Krasnow said, “If the ordinance goes through … we would encourage the board to ask CVFRS to apply to be on the municipal wastewater system and be a paying member… I think the ordinance would have to apply to all equally. While [CVFRS] have been grandfathered in, it is not a town building or a town asset.”

As in previous meetings, Dr. Andrea Regan of the Charlotte Health Center and Jeff Herzberger, vice president of the Charlotte Children’s Center board of directors, expressed similar sentiments supporting the ordinance and interest in the process moving forward. Herzberger asked when an application could be submitted. Krasnow responded the board would “have to approve the three benchmarks” and estimated with consecutive meetings it could take two to four weeks to approve the ordinances, followed by a 45-day appeal process.

Amendments to town plan on Nov. 5 ballot
The continuation of the Selectboard’s second public hearing for proposed amendments to the town plan was motioned and closed. Planning Commission Chair Peter Joslin recommended closing the hearing and said the commission “discussed changes the Selectboard had added, and we voted unanimously that they are still in line with intent to updates to the town plan.” He also provided a letter to the board. The board approved putting the amendment on the November 5 ballot.

Road updates
Krasnow opened bids for an engineering study of the failed portion of Monkton Road. Of the three bids received, one was disqualified for not meeting the RFP requirement of attending the mandatory site visit. Dubois-King bid $68,408 and Golder bid $108,798. The board asked Town Administrator Dean Bloch to review the information provided by the bidders and present his findings at its next meeting.

The Selectboard approved a grant of $45,800 from the Vermont Agency of Transportation for the same engineering study. The amount was based on 90 percent of the original estimate from Dubois-King. The board also adopted the Vermont State Town Road and Bridge Standards, a requirement for future state grants and Federal FEMA assistance.

Speeding and traffic studies
The Selectboard approved a recommendation from the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPO) to lower the speed limit on a section of Church Hill Road from 50 to 40 miles per hour. The recommendation arose from a recently completed CCRPO speed study requested by residents last fall. Several residents, including Matt Zucker and Peter Richardson, attended and supported the change. Zucker asked the board to also consider ways to “raise awareness of reduced speed.” The ordinance governing speed limits will be amended and presented at the next meeting.

Selectboard Vice Chair Frank Tenney said the town has requested a traffic study of the East Charlotte Village, as well as Ferry and Hinesburg Roads.

On a related note, Selectboard member Louise McCarren passed out a proposed sign to be placed at the ferry. The sign would read: “Welcome to Charlotte. Please drive safely, you will be driving through residential areas with pedestrians and bicyclists.” McCarren said this was an idea from a previous meeting on the topic and “because the [speeding] issue is so important to so many people.”

The board discussed where to locate the sign and solicited feedback from Road Commissioner Jr Lewis, who wondered whether drivers “would actually see the sign” when disembarking the ferry. Selectboard member Carrie Spear said the proposed sign “could be in six different places in town. This is not the only residential area.” She continued, “It’s not the people coming off the ferry … it’s [people] driving to the ferry.”  Krasnow offered “to do something temporary like a sandwich board.” No motion was made.

Other business
The Selectboard approved a recommendation to the Vermont Department of Health to reappoint Cali Griswold as deputy health officer for a three-year term and approved Town Treasurer Mary Mead’s recommendation that payment for completed ash tree removal work be split between FY19 and FY20 from the improve and repair fund. (The tree removal contract is continuing into the current fiscal year.) According to Krasnow, this was also “agreed on by an independent auditor.”

A Green Mountain Bicycle Club request to use South Greenbush Road for time trial on September 5 passed by a vote of 4-1 with Spear opposed.

The board heard from resident John Lavinge, who requested consideration from the town to convey 0.6 acres of land from the Town Pound in order to subdivide his 9.4 acres into two five-acre parcels. He said he wanted to give his son land to build a house. The board asked if he would consider an easement to access the landlocked Town Pound, and Joslin suggested he consider purchasing development rights from a private landowner.

During public comment, Polly Price of Common Way raised concerns about the lack of visibility by the Barber Hill Cemetery on Greenbush Road, and Harriet Tucker, vice president of the Charlotte Historical Society, asked the board about replacing a decaying fascia board on the Charlotte Memorial Museum. Last, the board approved a thank you to Moe Harvey and La Villa Restaurant for donating ice cream for the opening of the playground at the Town Beach.