By Chea Waters Evans
The Selectboard tackled topics from picnic tables to open-space tax refunds and everything in between on Monday night.
The beach is a hot spot this summer—even before it opened last weekend there were crowds every day. The meeting kicked off with Charlotter Eli Lesser-Goldsmith requesting that the Selectboard open the playground. “I think as a culture we need to enter more of a phase of personal responsibility; if people don’t want to go to playgrounds because they’re afraid, they should stay away from the playground. If other people want to play…party on,” he said.
Later in the meeting, Recreation Director Nicole Conley and Recreation Committee Chair Bill Fraser-Harris concurred that it would be feasible to do so, and the Selectboard approved 5-0 that as long as the town lawyer confirmed that the town wasn’t liable should the playgrounds, picnic tables and docks be opened up, Recreation would go ahead and do so. Selectboard member Louise McCarren gave a “shout out” to Conley and Fraser-Harris for all of their hard work and diligence with keeping the beach coronavirus precaution compatible.
The Energy Committee and the Selectboard decided to go back to basics in the search for a viable net metering arrangement for the Town of Charlotte. (Net metering is a system where money is made from having an excess in funds from solar energy apparatuses.) After they decided in a February meeting to ditch a previous plan, the board issued another RFP and decided on Monday to not consider any of the bids that came in from that.
Energy Committee Chair Rebecca Foster proposed, and the Selectboard agreed, that a fresh start is needed to resolve the issue, and that a “patchwork” approach to the problem might be a better solution. She suggested that a more slow and deliberate approach, moving in smaller steps, might help the issue develop more organically, and that there would be less of a chance for a major money loss or contract issue should things not go as planned.
Deirdre Holmes from the Energy Committee did the legwork and research for solar array possibilities and talked with the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, which agreed to grant 12 hours of free consultation. They will look over maps that lay out possible solar sites in town and assess which might be the best option for the first square of the patchwork. The issue will be revisited at the July 17 meeting.
The Selectboard approved a Thompson’s Point lease for a new homeowner, approved issuing an RFP for site work at the library, and decided to make an offer for the position of town planner to Larry Lewack, who is currently the planning and zoning administrator in Bolton, Vermont.
Sarah Reeves, director of the Chittenden Solid Waste District, presented the FY21 budget, which had been altered somewhat in the last few months due to financial concerns as the result of the COVID-19-caused economic crisis. The budget was approved 5-0.
The Selectboard also opted to resume in-person meetings at Town Hall, but in-person attendees will attend by invite only. The meetings will all remain broadcast on
Zoom for local participants.
An electronic vehicle charger will be installed by Cummings Electric in the Town Hall parking lot. It will be paid for with a $16,000 grant from the state that comes as a result of Volkswagen’s reimbursement plan to states for falsifying environmental impact data on their cars. The library and town will split the cost of the remaining $2,000 or so.
KR Properties requested that the Selectboard refund permitting fees that were paid in the course of designating land for open space. Eddie Krasnow, the owner, said he did not realize it was an option to apply for a waiver or refund until he had already paid the fees. Selectboard member Frank Tenney said he understands the issue from Krasnow’s point of view, but he is “trying to figure out how this is supposed to play out…What are the repercussions of this and how can we make it clear in the future? What kind of liability will we have going backward and forward?” Tenney and McCarren will discuss the issue further and a vote will take place at the next meeting.