New Derry zoning admin resigns; driveway access given on legal trail

By Bruce Frauman
© 2016 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Citing “health concerns and previous employment commitments” new Zoning Administrator Heather Makovec sent a letter of resignation to the Londonderry Select Board a few days before its Aug. 15 meeting.

Laura Sibilia 1

Laura Sibilia wants to see the size and quality of the area workforce increased. Photos by Bruce Frauman

The board passed Paul Gordon’s motion to accept Makeovec’s resignation effective after the DRB meeting Aug. 17 to and re-hire Sharon Crossman as interim zoning administrator. Makeovec was hired as zoning administrator in early June 6.  Crossman served in the interim from April 18 until Makeovec’s hire.

While Gordon said he will contact Makovec for an exit interview, Planning Commission member Dick Dale asked that Gordon give him any information from the interview to improve the hiring process.

Development Review Board co-chair Esther Fishman told the Telegraph she was “disappointed that the job did not work out for her. Perhaps she did not have enough time to work into the job and did not receive enough guidance.”

Four representatives of Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies discussed a number of initiatives they are undertaking. Laura Sibilia, director of Economic and Workforce Development, said “some of the biggest goals we have in the SeVEDS are to increase the size and quality of the workforce . . .and also to increase the number of good paying jobs that we have.”

R.T. Brown, project manager for Windham County Economic Development Program, said he would love to do an “Idea Jam,” or “mini pitch event” for entrepreneurs in Londonderry to “share an idea for a business.”

Workforce and Education Specialist Alex Beck introduced the Mountain & Hospitality Services Roundtable Initiative for guest services and managerial training. “There are certification and training programs to get your entry level tourism or hospitality worker and help provide them the skills to become a manager,” said Beck. This is applicable to the ski industry as well as retail and restaurants.

Road access permits and other highway business

An access permit was granted to John Geisler for a proposed driveway on Under the Mountain Road — on what is actually a legal trail, according to the state map. Road Foreman Duane Hart also told the board that “it’s beyond the Class 3 portion of the road. . . this may be precedent setting. I don’t know that the town of Londonderry has ever approved an access on a legal trail before.”

Prouty said the town does not have to maintain a trail “but on a Class 4 road there are certain things we have to maintain such as drainage and culverts.” The board ultimately agreed with Hart when he said, “if its a legal public right of way, perhaps we should just do access permits on all of them. … there are quite a few houses out there on that road … at some point they could come to the town and say ‘we want you to take this road over’.”

Board member Will Reed brought up a town policy on driveway access off town roads, which was adopted in October of 2013.  It states, “To the extent possible, the first 20 feet should pitch away from the town road a minimum of 1/2” per foot.” Gordon proposed to abide by this even though the policy only specifies Class 2, 3 and 4 roads. It may be amended at the next board meeting to include trails.

Prouty signed the agreement between the town and Better Back Roads to accept a grant for work on Goodaleville Road. Hart told the board it was for “under drain and stone lining the ditch on the narrow part of the road.”

Planning Commission member Dick Dale, standing, and Road Foreman Duane Hart discuss.

Planning Commission member Dick Dale, standing, and Road Foreman Duane Hart look at town road maps.

Board member Wayne Blanchard moved to put out a Request for Proposals for tree canopy removal on the approximately 22 miles of paved town highways. The work would be done in the spring of 2017.  Hart said he showed a plan for the cutting to four  contractors but “the guys have been all over the place with numbers.” He added, “I think we just have to bid it and see where we end up and go from there.” The board agreed with Blanchard’s motion.

The Highway Department continues to cobble together equipment. Hart said  installed a motor from the shop in the ailing mower and, after running it for several hours “everything seems to be working.” He added that it’s “harder and harder to find parts for the mowing unit, they don’t even make it anymore.”

Reed asked if he could “baby the sickle bar through this year?” Hart said he has been trying to do that but he may rent a flail mower for the fields “saving the cutter bar for the road side stuff.” Reed asked if the town could “rent something to do the road mowing.”

Hart said he that he doesn’t believe every town has to own every piece of equipment, and suggested sharing some items with another town, which the town might consider.

Board members Bill Wiley and Prouty will meet with Green Mountain Power about the cost of running power to the site of the proposed salt and sand shed. Other members are looking at existing structures to gather information on which design makes the most sense. Gordon has also talked with two solar companies and the town energy coordinator about an alternative to running power from the road. Gordon also said Blair Enman of Enman Engineering in Rutland has received the signed agreement for permit engineering work and is “getting going.”

The board agreed to start interviewing the four applicants for the open road crew position. Prouty, Blanchard and Reed were to  meet with Hart on Aug. 23 to start the process.

In other action

Gordon said that the town’s website, which has been having accessibility problems, now “is accessible to anybody. We still have problems making changes to that.” Still, he said that the town owed We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Rep. Oliver Olsen, who in the last week has spent countless hours transferring data files onto his own personal and company servers to analyze difficulties and problems.

Hart All Season Maintenance was the only bidder for septage field haying. The vote to accept the $1,700 bid was unanimous.

The board addressed the question of who is supposed to clean the select board meeting room after it went for a six week stretch when Gordon called its condition “deplorable.” Town Clerk Kelly Pajala and the other staff clean and remove trash and recycling as needed. “But there’s not a set schedule when we do any of it. We fit it in when we fit it in,” she said.

Prouty concluded that “our next step would be to budget something for next year.”

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