By Chea Waters Evans, News Editor
Per Road Commissioner Jr Lewis’s request, Selectboard Chair Matt Krasnow is working up a draft to put an item on the town meeting Australian ballot to make an advisory motion that Lewis is allowed to use straight salt on the roads during the winter. At the moment, that decision is up to Lewis’ discretion, but he wants to make sure he has a mandate from Charlotters to do so.
Recreation Director Nicole Conley is in the process of forming a committee to start the long process of planning and developing a community center in town. The center would have meeting rooms, athletic facilities and other multi-use areas. Selectboard members agreed that Conley is moving forward with an organized and thoughtful approach and expressed their appreciation for her initiative.
The potential committee consists of all five Selectboard members, Assistant Town Clerk Sy Koerner, Recreation commissioners Julianne Phelps, Richard Ahrens and Christy Gallese. Maura Wygmans, Matt Krasnow, Lee Dore and Jim Carpenter all volunteered as interested community members with expertise in everything from architecture to pickleball. Matthew Burke from the Energy Committee, Town Planner Larry Lewack, and all members of the Planning Commission (PC) all said they would lend a hand to the project when needed. Committee members will split up into separate smaller groups like fundraising, design and community outreach.
The Selectboard and Planning Commission are not in support of a submitted petition to alter the Land Use Regulations to change the allowed locations of parking spots at commercial buildings. Peter Joslin, PC chair, said that the commission is not in favor of repealing the current regulations. He noted that he agreed with Selectboard member Carrie Spear when she said that this proposed regulation came about from one particular business and decision. The owners of the Charlotte Crossings building on Route 7 have had issues with their parking spots in the past and initiated this petition. Should the Selectboard decide not to pursue the matter further, the petitioners will have another opportunity in the future to present it to a town vote.
Because of the coronavirus, Town Meeting could be a little different in 2021; instead of one day of meetings, it might be up to three informational Zoom meetings. Instead of voting with a voice vote, which is the usual process, voting will be done by Australian ballot just for this coming year. The Selectboard is going to consult with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns to make sure they’re following the laws correctly and preparing the correct warnings in a timely manner.
Vermont Community Access Media (VCAM), which currently broadcasts and shares the Zoom meetings for the Selectboard, will add back in its service from pre-COVID days, when they would mix the audio and have a more professional-looking recording with better sound quality. Meetings will still take place on Zoom but will be easier to see and hear for home observers. To make the equipment safe for Selectboard members, VCAM will remove the foam microphone covers and sanitize all equipment before and after it’s used in Town Hall.
Recreation Commission Chair Bill Fraser-Harris requested a vinyl liner for the town skating rink on Hinesburg Road near the school; he said with more people pursuing outdoor activities lately because of the coronavirus, the liner would extend the skating season and keep the ice colder for longer. Krasnow said he did some research into vinyl and its impact on the environment, including the carbon footprint from transportation, the effects of vinyl leaching into the ground, and the cost and impact of eventually disposing of such a liner.
Krasnow suggested filling the skating area in with limestone from Shelburne instead of a vinyl liner; he thinks the light color will provide similar light-reflecting effects on the ice to slow melting and will prevent water from absorbing into the ground when the rink is flooded in fall or melting in spring. Fraser-Harris said he is on board with this idea and will work with Krasnow to figure out the logistics; skating season is about a month away.
The board once again also discussed in executive session, for over an hour, the role of the zoning administrator in relation to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.