Dorset Select Board reviews hazard plans

DORSET - A multitude of issues were aired out at the Dorset Select Board meeting Tuesday night, ranging from proposed changes to the town plan, a public hearing about a vicious dog and an emergency mitigation plan.

Jim Henderson of the Bennington County Regional Committee came to the meeting to see if the select board was interested in creating a hazardous mitigation plan for the town.

"The hazard mitigation plan basically would outline what potential hazards are that face the town of Dorset, it would include an assessment of those hazards, a statement of hazard mitigation goals and a list of mitigation actions," he said. "There are a number of reasons for the town to pursue this; first and foremost planning to avoid loss of life and injury to natural and man-made disasters ... loss of property."

Currently, when a disaster is declared, the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA as it is commonly referred to pays for 75 percent of the rebuilding costs and the state and town provide another 12.5 percent, Henderson said. Under a new state law, if a town takes certain actions, like putting a hazardous mitigation plan into place, they could pay less. If certain actions are not taken, he said, the town could actually pay more than the 12.5 percent portion currently.

"There are certain things that the state has said the town takes these measures, we will give a greater percentage," he said. "One is participation in a national flood insurance program, one is adopting 2013 bridge and road standards, which you've done."

If the town has a local emergency operations plan - which Dorset does, as well as these other criteria, they will still only owe the 12.5 percent, instead of the state paying less.

After some discussion, the board decided to move forward with the study with the option to opt out at any time, should it be in the town's favor. The BCRC will work with the select board to create the plan.

The vicious dog hearing opened and the board heard from both the dog owner and the victim. Annemarie Hornby was bit by a dog when she returned home from a recreational run. Her concern is that the dog may bite a child, especially since she was bit right where her children get on the bus every day. She asked that the dog be put down. The owner, [ADD NAME] said the dog has nipped at people before and has been trying to find a place to get rid of the dog, for the safety of his own two daughters.

After deliberation, the board voted unanimously to have the dog put down.

Along with the hearing about the viscous dog and hazard mitigation plan, Rob Gaiotti, town manager, discussed some of the work the planning commission is doing on the town plan. In a previous meeting, Gaiotti said the board was informed that an economic development portion is now a state requirement for the town plan.

"What we had talked about at the last meeting was to have a Dorset economic development study done as soon as possible," he said.

The cost of a Dorset alone study would be approximately $7,000. However, there could also be a joint effort study with Manchester and the Village of Manchester, Gaoitti. That study would cost approximately $35,000 and would be much more detailed.

"There would be a cost share with other municipalities," Gaiotti said. "The Dorset share would be about $2,500."

Changes need to be made, Gaiotti said, to the town plan that reflect the current Dorset economy. For example, he said the town plan currently has real estate as a small portion of the economy. However, it is actually a large portion.

"We would start to garner more information about the market," he said.

Chris Brooks, the chairman of the select board, wanted to know if the larger study would be finished in time to implement language into the town plan. Brooks said he would want to have the town plan amended to have the information in this study added to the town plan. Gaiotti said the would not be finished in time to add it to the town plan this time around. The board voted to move forward with the larger study in conjunction with Manchester and the Village of Manchester.

In other news, a no parking sign will be added to Snow Road to keep the road clear and passable.


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