After positive vote on garage location, Shaftsbury board moves forward


SHAFTSBURY >> After the voters approved both the location of a future garage near the transfer station on North Road, and the purchase of an adjacent property, earlier this month, Select Board Chairman Tim Scoggins said the board was ready to begin the planning of a new garage in earnest.

"Now we know the answer," he said, "We can build it there, and assuming this property purchase goes through we'll have two sites we can evaluate. Our next job is to evaluate whether we want to place the garage where we talked about placing it before, or if we want to place it up closer to North Road once we get those two houses moved out of the way, which we should be able to do this year."

Board member Art Whitman said he was surprised by the number of no votes on the garage location (it passed 633-425, with 111 blank, or 54 percent to 36 percent), and was concerned that a garage proposal might be voted down. "We've got to get out and sell this thing," he said, "I'm willing to bet that if you put it up for a vote, you'd have a hard time passing it."

"I think a lot of it is that people have got the misimpression that there's stuff (contaminants) running out of the ground up there, and there's not," said board member Ken Harrington,

"There's no reason we can't put a garage there," said Scoggins, "The water problems there, as we've said for a couple of months now, are not prohibitive. We have some wells that occasionally exceed Vermont's very strict standards, as I'm sure the water in my well that I drink out of does occasionally, but they all meet federal drinking water standards. We can get to the point where we have to make the decision if we are comfortable with the crew drinking that water or not, but it's not going to be a hardship to bring in bottled water for the crew to drink. As we've said before, it's industrial land that we own and can make good use of."

After holding off on the vote last month because Scoggins was absent, the board re-organized following Town Meeting. Scoggins was re-elected unanimously as chairman, and Mitch Race was re-elected unanimously as vice-chairman. The board also made several annual appointments, including Traci Mulligan as animal control officer, Ken Harrington as liaison to the regional planning commission, Jerry Mattison as emergency coordinator, Ben Hulett as energy coordinator, Jackie Myers as health officer, Mulligan as deputy health officer, Jim White as tree warden, and Myers as town service officer.

After no one received enough votes to become Town Agent, Scoggins contacted the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, and was told that many towns leave that position vacant, a suggestion the board was comfortable with. The board also re-appointed Michael Biddy, Michael Day and Jay Palmer to the Development Review Board, and Brie Della Rocca, Mike Foley and David Mance to the Planning Commission. Race reminded the public that there is still one full-time position and one alternate spot available on the DRB.

The Shaftsbury Select Board meets the first and third Monday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at Cole Hall on Buck Hill Road in Shaftsbury. Full recordings of the meetings are available on Catamount Access Television, and on the station's YouTube page.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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