Select board (SB) meetings are recorded by LPC-TV and are available at their website and on Comcast Television. Written minutes are available at the town’s website. Among items discussed/voted on at Monday night’s meeting were:
1. Cavendish Flood Hazard Area Regulations: After a lengthy and page-by-page discussion of the proposed Flood Hazard Regulations (FHR), Selectmen Mike Ripley said that even though he understands why a third of his property is in the flood plain, he doesn’t want people telling him what to do with it. Further, he believes that the adoption of FHR, will cause property values in the flood plain area to decrease, thereby increasing taxes. Therefore he was not in favor of voting for FHR. George Timko thought the regulations were too stringent and did not seem to favor the proposed regs.
If the Town issues a building variance in a flood hazard area, chances are insurance costs would significantly increase for those in these areas.
According to Etienne Ting, the Chairman of the Cavendish Planning Commission, the state wants new FHR to protect towns from the type of flooding experienced following Irene. The Flood Management Division determined that rivers need a wider corridor in which to meander over time. The new flood hazard area regulations discourage new development and rebuilding after flood events in these corridors. All activities within the river corridors and stream setback areas would be limited, including adding fill, new construction, and stream bank stabilization to prevent erosion damage to existing structures.
Towns that do not choose to adopt the FHR will be penalized. In the event of another flood disaster, available funding would be reduced by 5%. In terms of Irene, that would have resulted in a net loss of $210,000 in state funding, which the town would have to pay for through taxes. It’s important to note that careful planning by the town manager, Rich Svec, and his staff repaired the town with FEMA and State funds resulting in the town accruing no debt.
Following Irene, FEMA was very clear that if flood plain property owners rebuilt in the same spot, they would not provide any funding if the property is again damaged by floods.
The SB will continue the discussion at the October meeting, which be held Oct 17. To read more on the Flood Hazard Regulations, check out SB Minutes 5/23/16. For a copy of the proposed regulations, call the town office 802-226-7292
2. Telecommunications: The Telecommunications Communication Committee (TCC) has been meeting with Comcast to discuss the feasibility of their expanding services in under served parts of town and is putting together data to help highlight areas for expansion.
In Oct 2015, TDS meet with the TCC and explained that they would be installing with in the next 30 days a 10G “ring” for those being served from the Proctorsville Central Office (PCO)-Main Street in Proctorsville (about 350 customers). This is a Calix E7 fiber system, similar to the one being used in NH, where 1G service is now available to homes.
TDS’ 10G network is the “backbone network” that connects TDS markets to each other, to data centers, and to the Internet. The infrastructure was installed in order to facilitate fiber to the home down the road, as well as to increase current connectivity to those being served by the PCO.
Over the last year, date after date has been given when the system would be operational and each time there has been a glitch. According to the TDS representative for VT, the latest problem has been faulty Calix cards. In a phone conversation with them on 9/12/16, they said the appropriate cards have been received and will be installed by Sept. 23. TDS in Wisconsin will need to prepare “cut sheets” which will be used to connect the junction boxes to the system (estimated 15 business days.) These will then be shipped to Vermont where it will take another two weeks for installation. In short, the anticipated date for significantly improved Internet service from TDS is November.
There will be five junction boxes: Perkinsville, Proctorsville, Cavendish Pointe Hotel, Twenty Mile Stream, and Tarbell Hill. Those within 18,000 feet (3.4 miles) of the junction will have 25 Mbps service, those further should have 5 Mbps. Those farthest from the areas should still see improved service due to improvements in the “back haul.”
If things significantly improve for TDS customers, the one remaining area that is either un served or under served will be those on Fair Point, the Northeast corner of town (Knapp Pond).
The Committee is working with all current and potential customers in order to see that high speed Internet is available throughout the town.
3. Event Liquor License/Issues with Glimmerstone: At the August SB meeting there was considerable discussion with the owner of Glimmerstone, Mary Jane Abbate, about the noise coming from events, including fireworks, at the Mansion late into the night. Three suggestions were given to her: put up some type of fencing; send a letter to neighbors letting them know of upcoming events; and closing the door of the barn. Abbate’s response was basically “I’d rather pay the fine than impact my business.”
There was considerable concern about the discharging of fireworks. After the August SB meeting, Abbate held another event where fireworks were discharged, ignoring Cavendish Fire Chief Shane Turco’s written letter denying her a permit for multiple reasons, most importantly the current drought.
Bruce McEnaney, Asst. Town Manager, provided information from the Vermont Division of Fire Safety, which states “..it shall be unlawful for any person, firm corporation to ..use, possess or explode any fireworks unless the person has been issued a permit to display fireworks....Applications for permits shall be made to the chief of the fire department, or in municipalities with no fire department, the select board, in writing, at least 15 days in advance of the date of the display.”
On 9/12, Abbate submitted four more applications for events where liquor would be served. The SB unanimously voted to deny all of the permits not only because two of the applications didn’t make sense (no date on one and another had an event date of Sept.7) but more importantly, she was perceived as unwilling to cooperate with the town or her neighbors. The board did say that if she would like to further discuss this, they would meet with her on Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 6:30 pm. Note: This meeting has been scheduled and will take place at the Town Office.
4. Municipal Wastewater System Rates: There was an error on the calculations for the base Waste Water System Rate. The new rate will be a dollar less $86.46 quarterly versus $87.46.
5. Recruitment of New Town Manager: This activity is being done with the Vermont City of Leagues and Towns (VCLT). To date 15 applications have been received but the VCLT staff doesn’t think that these are strong applicants and the search should be widened. The new filing date has been extended to Sept. 26. The advertisement for the position is available on-line.
6. Proposed Policy on Objects Placed in the Town Right-of-way: This pertains to mail boxes and other items on the side of the road. The SB discussed various aspects of the draft and will take the matter up at the Oct meeting.
7. Noise Ordinance: A first draft of a proposed noise ordinance, based on a model from VCLT, was given to the SB for their review. It will be discussed at the next meeting.
8. Town Projects
• Cavendish Gulf Rd: Work is proceeding according to plan with the road closed from 7 am to 7 pm.
• Transfer Station: The news fees are in effect and all cars are being checked for transfer station stickers. This cuts down on illegal dumping and makes things easier for the attendants. For the next six weeks, those who show up without a sticker are given a warning. After that they will be denied entry. If you need a sticker, stop by the town office-they’re open until 6 pm on Wednesday night-or you can arrange to receive one by mail by calling 226-7292. The cost is $5 per sticker.
• Real Estate: The town has two properties that they are selling for back taxes. The property on Heald Rd is almost at the end of its “warning period,” where anyone with a legal claim to the property needs to come forward. The SB voted to approve the “warning” process for a second property, a condo on Depot Street. Once it has been determined that there is no legal claim, the town will then sell the properties.
8. October SB Meeting: Due to Columbus Day, the monthly meeting, will take place on the third Monday Oct. 17.