Likely buyer comes forward for Frog’s Leap Inn; animal issues addressed

By Bruce Frauman
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Board chair Paul Gordon announced at the Monday, July 3 Londonderry Select Board meeting that there is a purchase offer for the Frog’s Leap Inn.  The town ended up owning the former Hart property after a tax sale last year and no one bid on it at a June 23 auction. Gordon said the sale is subject to attorney review but a “substantial deposit” has been made and he is hoping for a closing in a couple of weeks.

One condition of the sale is that the property be “free and clear of inhabitants,” according to Gordon. A man who the Harts engaged to do care-taking still lives there but he has been served papers to leave the property. Board member George Mora asked if  there are contingency plans if he fails to comply.

Champion Fire Company member Kevin Beattie, foreground, and Chief Jeff Duda, right, ask permission to use the Genser building for training before demolition. Photos by Bruce Frauman

Town Administrator Stephanie Thompson said she still has not heard from the contractors when they will begin removing asbestos from the Genser property, formerly the Outlet Barn, damaged by Tropical Storm Irene. The town owns the property through a buy-out and asbestos removal was expected to occur in mid-July.

Champion Fire Company member Kevin Beattie and chief Jeff Duda got permission from the board to use the building for fire training. Duda said they will fill the building with a non-toxic smoke and firefighters will practice demolition and search and rescue operations using their self-contained breathing units. The training will take place after the asbestos has been removed and before the building is demolished.

Responding to a letter from Cynthia Gubb asking the town to buy a radar speed limit sign that shows a vehicle’s speed along with programmable messages, Gordon said that there is no money in this year’s budget and that the town would have to meet a lot of Agency of Transportation conditions to a sign on a state highway. Mora suggested that such a sign be mobile, noting excessive speed complaints on other roads.

A speed cart, borrowed from the Vermont State Police, has been set up on Route 11 west of downtown.

Clearing up animal control issues, shooting on Prouty property

Animal Control Officer Patrick Salo appeared before the board to help sort out some confusion as to who responds to animal complaint calls. Two weeks ago, a dog bit a goat at a residence on Under the Mountain Road. First Constable Roger Sheehan said at the last board meeting that he was unable to do anything about the complaint. Sheehan was expected to come the board meeting, but could not attend.

Pat Salo explains the limits of his authority as Animal Control Officer.

Salo said he did talk with the owners of the two animals and confirmed that the dog did bite the goat, both of which were “running around loose” on the same property. Salo said he did “what I was supposed to do” which was to check to see if the dog had its rabies shot, which it had, and to inform the board of the complaint. Unfortunately, the goat died of its injuries.

Gordon said that when a dog is on private property and “the owner of the property has given permission to be there, it has stepped out of our area of concern. The Vermont State Police have sent us a statement that clarifies, ‘We only deal with criminal complaints which deals with cruelty to animals.’ ” Gordon asked people to find the Constables’ phone numbers on the town website and still call with complaints.

The board approved sending thank you letters to the Champion Fire Company and David Chaves Excavating. Champion was thanked for receiving the Assistance to Firefighters grant and being open to the public on Green Up Day and Trunk or Treat evenings. David Chaves Excavating was thanked “for providing much needed help on road repairs.”

Board member Bob Forbes was “concerned about one going to a commercial enterprise as opposed to a private non-profit enterprise.” Forbes said Chaves provided “paid services” and he would prefer the language to reflect Mora’s comment that they “dropped everything” to provide the prompt service. Beattie pointed out that Chaves was at Haven Hill Road at 6 a.m. on a Sunday. Gordon noted Chaves’  “many donations of time and equipment over the years.”

Tina Labeau said a flyer written by Esther Fishman describing changes in the payment system for solid waste disposal will be included in the town’s tax bills. Punch cards will replace cash at the transfer station.

Gordon said that at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 27, there will be a site visit for a replacement of a culvert on Route 11 on the town side of Flood Brook School. The meeting will continue at the Twitchell Building after the site visit. Gordon said VTrans does not expect the work to be done until 2018 or 2019.

Londonderry’s letter to participate in a Municipal Road Grant-in-Aid Program was approved. The town will receive $10,800 and contribute 20 percent or $2,160 in cash or in-kind. The work will not need to be completed until June 2018. The grant is to help with the expense of road work to reduce erosion run off and comply with Act 64 – the clean water law.

The board will look into complaints of target shooting on the Route 100 Prouty property, which is owned by the town. Mora said she had been approached by two neighbors about the situation. Gordon said posting some rules for that property is something to consider.  Forbes’ first reaction was that “it was not acceptable because people could be using the property for other purposes such as  fishing, swimming and picnicking.” He also expressed concern for a “kid walking on the other side” and said shooting could be prohibited on public property. Mora said “there could be potential liability issues for the town.”

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