Pownal selectmen review bike route proposal


POWNAL -- The Pownal selectmen met with Bruce Lierman of Western New England Greenway during its regular meeting on Thursday night to hear the organization's proposal for extending its touring bike route through Pownal.

Regarding the proposal, the selectboard received a letter from a Hidden Valley Road resident expressing her approval and belief that bicycle tourers could bring more tourist traffic to the town.

The Greenway is a proposed multi-segment, multi-state touring bike route that would link New York City and Montreal, mostly following along US Route 7. The organization would provide the town with road signs to mark Route 7, Barbers Pond Road, Maple Grove Road and South Stream Road to signal bicyclists of the route.

Although it would take a year before finalizing the route, Lierman met with the board to see what the board would like in drafting a resolution. The resolution seeks the town to express approval for the Greenway to come along Pownal roads.

Selectman Ron Bisson expressed his frustration with bicyclists who already make their way through Pownal, riding side by side, sometimes obstructing motorist traffic.

"Currently we have this kind of use of our roads throughout town," responded selectboard chair Nelson Brownell. "All we are doing here is designating this Greenway What we are talking about as a problem isn't just a problem with what we are talking about, it's a problem everywhere."

The members of the board ultimately decided that they would like to add a line to the drafted resolution that bicyclists would have to follow state statutes mandating they ride single file when motorists need to pass.

They added that they would like to seek additional signage to warn drivers of bicyclists and speak with the constable about more strictly enforcing the state statutes on road cyclists.


The selectboard's mail revealed state educational and homestead tax increases, the Bennington County Regional Commission's preliminary plans for the Materials Management Plan and regional planning meeting dates

Non-residential education tax for the 2014-15 fiscal year, as handed down from Montpelier, will be raise just under six cents to 1.4442 percent, an increase of 0.0595 percent. The homestead tax rate will be raised a little over six cents to 1.3371 percent, an increase of 0.0628 percent.

It is so far unclear what the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' Universal Recycling Law, Materials Management Plan and Act 148, will mean for Pownal. The law aims to reduce waste disposal rates by 25 percent and mandate that all food waste be composted by 2020, banning all recyclable materials from landfills by 2015.

The BCRC is in the process of developing its plan in oversight of 12 Bennington County municipalities. As it moves forward with developing a plan to meet state requirements with an $18,000 municipal planning grant, Pownal has agreed to follow the mandates.

The Pownal selectmen's July 17 meeting has been cancelled so that the board may attend the following meetings if they are able to.

The firm charged with developing the plan for Pownal's new town office, LineSync Architects, is holding a town hall committee meeting at its office in Wilmington. The meeting will take place at 14 Castle Hill Road on Monday, July 14 at 10 a.m. to discuss building and material costs so the firm may further develop the design.

The Pownal planning commission also invited the selectboard to attend its meeting on Tuesday, July 15, at 7 p.m. to discuss the preliminary plans for the new town plan, which will give the board local insight before seeing the Bennington County regional plan.

Also, the BCRC will meet on Thursday, July 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the Pownal Elementary School to discuss the changing conditions on the state healthcare landscape, as well as discuss the regional plan.

All public notices of town selectboard or committee meetings will continue to be kept in the unlocked breezeway of the Pownal town offices to be viewed any time, as per Open Meetings Law.

Contact Tom Momberg at tmomberg@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg


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