By Kellyn Doerr, Community News Service

The Charlotte Selectboard voted to approve a Wastewater Allocation application by the Charlotte Family Health Center — a step toward allowing the center to tap into the town’s wastewater management system.

Charlotte Family Health Center submitted this design possibility for a new facility on Ferry Road; though there is street parking in this design, the health center will not pursue that portion of the project.Sketch plan courtesy Chris Huston from ReArch

Charlotte Family Health Center submitted this design possibility for a new facility on Ferry Road; though there is street parking in this design, the health center will not pursue that portion of the project. Sketch plan courtesy Chris Huston from ReArch.

This application is the first that the Selectboard is looking at for the health center to move property into the center of town. This is also the first application after a decision to allow private organizations to use town wastewater capacities.

Paul Reiss, the senior partner with Evergreen Family Health and the health center’s attorney, Michael Russell, joined the Feb. 8 meeting to help explain the application.

The board approved the ordinance to allocate a portion of capacity in the town system to private property owners and created an application process for the approval process. This is the first step in the process, evaluating property to see if there is capacity, and if there isn’t then the Selectboard can allow an applicant to connect with the town system.

The health center signed a purchase and sales agreement on March 7, 2020 and has been attempting to work on permits to go through with this construction ever since. Conceptual designs have been finished with private architects, said Reiss. There have been multiple extensions and the completion date has been pushed back to April of 2021.

The total allocation being requested is 556 gallons a day; they are currently served by a system that needs 490 gallons.

“The ordinance is quite clear and the science is also quite clear that a two-acre parcel contains insufficient capacity for us to dispose of the 556 gallons a day we propose to use,” said Russell. “We’re not creating any new parcels here, we’re just moving a property line.”

After this approval, attorneys will conduct a legal review of this process.

The board also discussed town policy for interaction with private landowners.

They came to agreement that they do not have any policy in place for this type of interaction. Selectboard member Louise McCarren mentioned that they could try to draw inspiration from other towns that already have these policies written up.

Audience member Robin Reid then made a suggestion to make these policies on a per-case basis. Selectperson James Faulkner commented that he had communicated with private landowners and wanted more guidelines for these interactions.

“It would be nice to have some kind of parameters that I should stay within,” Faulkner said.

Chair Matt Krasnow had concerns that there would be lack of communication between representatives without such a policy, as they don’t know when other representatives of the town are meeting with private landowners.

After five minutes of deliberation, it was decided that creating this type of policy is necessary and the board will pick up this subject again in March and attempt to develop policies in 2021.