Derry Select Board floats proposed salt shed to DRB

By Bruce Frauman
© 2016 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Three members of the Londonderry Select Board sat before the town’s Development Review Board on Wednesday, July 20 to present their proposal to build a salt and sand shed on the Prouty Land adjacent to Route 100, about half way between the two town centers.

Derry DRB Meets with SB 1

Select Board members, from left,  Bill Wiley, Steve Prouty and Paul Gordon present sand and salt shed plan. DRB members Terry Hill and Esther Fishman listen. photos by Bruce Frauman

There are still many details to be worked out, so this was a preliminary meeting and there was no formal application for the DRB to consider. The site is in the R1 (Rural Residential) zoning district and “Public Facility/Service” is a conditional use that requires DRB approval. The public facility designation is defined as   maintained by a municipal, state or federal government, a public utility or other semi-public institution. The facility is not usually open or accessible to the public and can include solid waste management facilities and ambulance and fire stations among others.

Select Board chair Steve Prouty explained that because of the mild winter, the Vermont Department of Transportation has a surplus of sand and salt to store. As a result, the rolling one-­year contract for the town of Londonderry to store sand and salt at the DOT facility on Derrywoods Road will be terminated in July 2017. The sand has already been moved to the town garage. Sand can be stored outdoors, though that is not the preference. Salt must be stored under cover, so the town is “under the gun for time” to have a facility ready by next July, according to Prouty.

Select Board member Paul Gordon told the DRB that the Select Board is leaning toward a 42-foot by 80-foot building to hold both salt and sand. Gordon said a vinyl polyethelyne arched roof structure, a shape commonly referred to as a Quonset hut, is one of the most economically viable buildings, though he added that the Select Board has not “decided on any particular structure.”

An engineering plan drawn by Enman Engineering (now Enman­ Kesserling Consulting Engineers) about 15 years ago showing a salt shed on the southern part of the Prouty land and set into a small hill was shown as the best place for the salt shed, as determined by the Select Board in previous meetings.

Derry DRB Meets with SB 2

DBR members, clockwise from left, Hill, Fishman, Zoning Administrator Heather Makovec, Dwight Johnson, Denis Pinkernell and John Lancaster comment.

Newly minted DRB member Dwight Johnson asked if the salt shed would interfere with other possible uses of this property. Gordon said the placement would not. Select Board member Bill Wiley, who was on the Select Board at the time of the original proposal, said the original intent was to keep it as far south as possible. Prouty said the property was purchased for municipal services such as a salt shed, and not recreation as was once envisioned.

Other possible uses for the land that have been suggested in the past, said Prouty, are a new town hall, a fire station, a Post Office — an idea rejected by the U.S. Postal Service — an in-ground sewer system for Flood Brook School and a waste-water treatment. All this is still possible on the northern portion of the approximately 30 acre property, added Gordon.

DRB member Denis Pinkernell said the state is the place to start for approval of the building site. “I’d prefer not to approve it contingent on state approval.” Pinkernell added that if the state approved the building with mandated conditions that the DRB might have problems with, it would put the Review Board in an awkward position.

Prouty responded that if three of the DRB members “would oppose it, we’d like to know that now. But it doesn’t seem that way.”


2002 site plan for a salt and sand shed created by Enman Engineering a stepping off point for discussions.

DRB chair Esther Fishman agreed with Pinkernell that the first step is to go to the state, most notably the Agency of Natural Resources because the site is close to the West River, and after ANR, come back  to the DRB for local approval. Prouty noted that the state shed is about 100 feet from the river and other towns’ salt sheds are even closer to rivers and streams. “We are a lot farther than that.”

Fishman commented that the Select Board will need money for an engineer. Gordon said, “We will have to find the money,” since there isn’t time to wait for voter approval of funding til March 2017 at Town Meeting. By that time the Select Board hopes to be ready with a full approved, permitted proposal.

Town Zoning Administrator Heather Makovec suggested that it may be “possible to use the existing plan to go to the state.” Prouty will ask Enman Engineering for help, since that company is familiar with the project.

Fisherman ended by asking the Select Board, “do you think you know where you are going?”

Prouty responded “a lot more that we did.” Pinkernell said, “Just keep us in the loop.”

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