Shires project granted sewer access

BENNINGTON — Elected officials here have approved an agreement that would allow a proposed housing project in Shaftsbury to tie into the municipal sewer service.

Select Board members unanimously approved on Monday a memorandum of agreement between the town of Bennington and Shires Housing for its planned Lake Paran Village project. That 22-unit project is planned for Paran Road in Shaftsbury, just north of the North Bennington line.

Under the agreement, Shires Housing will pay to extend the sewer service from where it ends at the village line. The new private service line will be constructed outside of the highway right-of-way. Shires also agrees to pay for maintenance.

"The fees will be assessed based on estimated flows at the beginning of the fiscal year," Town Manager Stuart Hurd wrote in a memorandum to Select Board members. "At the end of the fiscal year, the town will know the total flow volume and actual cost and the amount paid will be trued up."

The agreement could be advantageous to the town, according to Hurd. The town stands to receive some $8,000 each year in revenue generated by sewer fees, he said. "It will be metered flow, and depending on use, higher or lower than this amount," he wrote.

Shires Housing, a nonprofit affordable housing management and development company, owns and manages some 350 units in Manchester, Arlington, and Shaftsbury, with most being in Bennington. The proposed development in Shaftsbury will be a mix of one, two and three bedroom units.

According to preliminary plans, the project on 6.5 acres includes 2.47 acres of developed area, 1.75 acres of conservation area, as well as a 2.38 acre subdivided lot. The 22 units would be across four buildings.

"Improvements for this project will be located on private land with the exception of the initial tie-in and will be controlled solely by a single, non-resident owner," Jason Dolmetsch with MSK Engineering wrote in a letter to Hurd dated Jan. 23.

Under the agreement, Shires agrees to install a sewer shut-off to the project site. The town will have the right to terminate the project's sewer access in the event payment isn't received within 90 days of a final notice.

Hurd said the agreement is a model that could be used in the future, in the event Shaftsbury officials ever seek to connect residents there with Bennington's municipal sewer.

Dolmetsch attended Monday's meeting with Shires Executive Director Stephanie Lane. Dolmetsch said there have not been in-depth talks about tying in additional residents in Shaftsbury to Bennington's sewer.

Ed Damon can be reached at, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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