Select Board mulls highway access ordinance

Wednesday December 5, 2012


Staff Writer

SHAFTSBURY -- A draft of a proposed highway access ordinance was discussed by the Select Board Monday that would streamline and unify rules around driveways that connect to paved town-owned roads having asphalt "skirts."

Board Chairman Lon McClintock said there is an existing law requiring the skirts, but it has not been applied evenly over the years and efforts to iron out the issue have been ongoing for the past two years, with the Planning Commission and Development Review Board having talked the issue over. McClintock explained the board feels it has the duty of drafting an ordinance that will address the process.

McClintock said his draft mainly focuses on the procedure for getting an access permit. He said under his proposition, when an entity seeks to build something that requires a driveway access to a town-owned paved road, it will apply for a zoning permit from the zoning administrator as usual, but will also fill out an application for an access permit that will go before the town road foreman. The foreman will write a preliminary permit, then once the access point has been built the foreman will check to make sure it was build in accordance with the permit before issuing final approval.

The access permit will be tied to the zoning permit and will accompany it to the DRB should a variance or non-conforming use be requested. McClintock said the Road Foreman is typically in the best position to review issues surrounding highway needs and water runoff from roads, while the zoning administrator and DRB members typically are more experienced with buildings.

Board members were given draft copies of the ordinance and decided they would look it over and discuss it at the next meeting. McClintock said the goal of the ordinance is not to require people currently without the skirts to get them, but it’s a possibility they may have to.

Garage design bids opened

In other business the board opened four bids from engineering firms on the design of a new town highway garage. The bids were given mainly in two parts, one being for the amount of design work needed to put a bond before voters in March, the other being the total design cost. McClintock said the board has the option of selecting one firm to get the garage to a bond vote, and having another do the complete design. McClintock said the part of the bid needed to go for a bond was 20 percent of each proposal’s overall cost.

Keefe and Wessner bid a total of $89,000. Centerline Architects bid $124,800. MSK Engineering -- which has been contracted for the site plan --bid $87,100, and Cross Consulting Engineers bid $98,000.

The board did not vote on any of the bids as each proposal was highly detailed and members wished to review them and ask questions.

The board finalized a finding it made at its last meeting declaring two dogs owned by Christine Hunt, of Paran Acres, to be vicious. The board moved to have the Town Animal Control Officer Traci Mulligan impound the dogs if they were found on other resident’s properties within the next six months. At the meeting on Nov. 19 a number of people complained about Hunt’s dogs as well as a dog belonging to another person, chasing and attacking cats as well as being in other people’s yards.

Board Member Karen Mellinger said Monday that the day after that meeting, Mulligan impounded one of Hunt’s dogs. Hunt reclaimed it as per town ordinance and was levied fines. Both animals are now licensed, Mellinger said.


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