Derry moves to correct ‘violations;’ addresses setbacks on Route 100 solar array

Town Administrator Stephanie Thompson and board chair Paul Gordon. All photos by Bruce Frauman

By Bruce Frauman
©2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Building safety issues were brought to the Londonderry Select Board’s attention at its March 15 meeting, when board chair Paul Gordon read aloud a resignation letter from Road Foreman Duane Hart.

But calling them “violations” – as Hart did — may be too strong a statement, said board member Jim Ameden, during the board’s Monday, March 20 meeting.

Ameden told The Telegraph that the worst safety issue listed by PACIF, the insurance division of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, is the lack of an alarm at the town’s garage.

Ameden said he has already contacted an alarm contractor for an estimate. The other issues are, among others, more typically the lack of signage to identify the location of safety glasses. Ameden said, “I’m working on (the issues) and I hope it will be pretty easy to fix.”

Also on Monday, the board approved an updated road foreman job description. Board member George Mora asked that the duties be listed in the order of primary responsibilities. That change was to be made Tuesday morning by board chair Paul Gordon and Town Administrator Stephanie Thompson and the job description was to be posted.

Solar array planned for Route 100

Mike Norris speaks about the proposed solar array on the Yrsha property on Route 100.

Mike Norris of Norris Brothers Solar Development proposed a 500 KW solar array to be installed on Jeff and Lisa Yrsha’s property just south of the transfer station on Route 100.

Planning Commission member Dick Dale cautioned that the Town Plan places a high priority on aesthetics. Lisa Yrsha said the array would be set 150 feet back from Route 100 and aesthetics was a big factor in its placement. Gordon asked that the plan be brought before the Planning Commission and the Development Review Board before asking the Select Board for approval. It is unclear if the Select Board has any authority in such a case.

In other action, cash transactions at the Transfer Station could soon be a thing of the past if recycling coordinator Esther Fishman’s proposal to use stickers is adopted by the Londonderry Select Board and the boards of the the four other towns comprising the Londonderry Solid Waste District. This would eliminate the need for cash at the station and allow Steve Twitchell more time to help customers. The stickers would be sold at town offices and one or more stores. One issue to be addressed as this proposal is developed is how to ensure that visitors can easily obtain stickers.

Transfer Station supervisor Keith Barton asked permission to cut a hole in the Lawrence Daley Building so cans and bottles can stay covered while residents place recyclables in bins in the building through the hole. The building had been used to store textiles.

Recycling coordinator Eileen Fishman

Gordon said he wants to make sure there is room for textiles should they find another partner to take them The town had partnered with Goodwill Industries, which had taken had taken textiles – totaling 12 tons a quarter according to Fishman – but has since stopped. Barton said a trailer could be used for textiles. Barton, Fishman and board member and transfer station liaison Tom Cavanaugh will get together to discuss how best to handle textile collection.

Fishman told the Board that annual expenses for the Transfer Station exceed $400,000 and revenue is a little over $200,000 per year. State regulations are meant to encourage recycling but the “price for recyclables is down lately.”

Fishman received approval to apply for a grant from PACIF that would be used for a double-walled tank to hold gasoline for the backhoe, a fire rated cabinet for gas cans, and installation of angle iron to help prevent cars and trucks from falling into the below grade construction and demolition bins. The grant requires a 50 percent match.

Maryann Morris, executive director of the Collaborative, offered examples that the town could use to draft an employee smoking policy. The goal would be to have a smoke free town by a certain date.

New board members from left, Jim Ameden, George Mora and Tom Cavanaugh.

Gordon said the tenant at the Frog’s Leap Inn expressed willingness to move out, and legally has up to 90 days to do so, according to Cavanaugh. Gordon also said a buyer may be ready to make a cash offer. More research is needed to know if an auction or sealed bid would still be necessary if the offer is made.

Gordon recommended that the concrete walls be raised from 6 feet to 8 feet in the planned salt and sand shed to allow for a 20-foot opening that would allow easier truck access. A request for proposal for an engineer was approved by the board. Gordon also said that former Select Board member Bill Wiley has agreed to act as the general contractor on the project.

Thompson said that documents have been received to formalize the transfer of the Genser property from FEMA to the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief. These documents have been forwarded to the town attorney for review.

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