Derry board delays traffic ordinance, taps planning consultant

By Bruce Frauman
©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Londonderry Select Board on Monday, March 18 once again postponed its vote on the proposed Traffic and Parking Ordinance. Board chair Jim Ameden questioned whether a list of all stop signs was required in the ordinance and whether any new stop signs would require a vote by the board, public posting, and a 60-day waiting period.

Town Administrator Shane O’Keefe said he will consult with town attorney Bob Fisher.

Ameden, who is also the road commissioner,  said he has noticed more trucks doing damage to dirt roads during this mud season. He said Londonderry has never posted its roads to prevent truck access and instead has relied on one-on-one conversations with each trucker. Ameden said the town may need to consider posting roads in the future.

Planning initiatives move forward

Planning Commission Chair Sharon Crossman explains why the panel is recommending the high bidder, Brandy Sexton. Photos courtesy of GNAT-TV

The board voted to accept a proposal from Brandy Saxton of PlaceSense to consult with the Planning Commission on the rewrite of the town’s zoning bylaw.

Ameden asked why Saxton was chosen among the four proposals even though she submitted the highest bid. Commission chair Sharon Crossman said that Saxton has the most relevant experience in zoning bylaws from a regional to a neighborhood level. She added that Saxton has been the consultant for 12 communities in the past 10 years including Manchester and Chester.

Crossman said Saxton takes pride in tailoring her services to each town including a broad engagement with the community. Commission member Larry Gubb said she also included maps in her proposal. Crossman said Saxton “always gets the job done” and does not charge extra beyond her bid price, in this case $24,000.

Planning Commission member Larry Gubb says that a water/wastewater engineer will be at the April 1 meeting to talk about the town’s plans.

Other proposals came from Robert Nied Assocates, Lee Nellis, and the Windham Regional Commission. It could not be determined at publication time if Robert Nied Associates is connected with Londonderry’s former town administrator. A search of business registrations at the Vermont Secretary of State’s office found no registration for that name.

Gubb said that water and wastewater engineer Lynnette Whitney Claudon will be on the board agenda on April 1 to discuss a detailed wastewater assessment and feasibility study that is expected to cost $25,000. Ideally, Gubb said questions would best be brought to Claudon before the meeting so she could prepare answers. Gubb said Claudon would help the board move from planning to an engineering study to construction.

Board member Taylor Prouty tells the board about the progress of the Lowell Lake Working Group

Board member Taylor Prouty said he attended a meeting of the Lowell Lake Working Group. Prouty said the goal is to become an effective grassroots organization with a mission to strive for the optimal “preservation, recreation and management” of Lowell Lake. The Select Board may be asked for a letter of support at some time. The next meeting of the group is Thursday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m. at Neighborhood Connections, at 5700 Rt. 100.

The Board voted to keep Jim Ameden as chair, though he said he was willing to give up the position if anyone else wanted it. George Mora was retained as vice-chair. Meetings will continue to be held on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the Town office building on Old School Street in South Londonderry.

In other business

The Select Board made the following appointments:

  • James Ameden – Road Commissioner
  • Kevin Beattie – Emergency Management director
  • George Mora and Dennis Pinkernell – Windham Regional Commission representatives
  • Irwin Kuperberg – Health Officer
  • Roger Fox – Deputy Health Officer
  • Kevin Beattie – Tree Warden
  • Kelly Pajala – 911 Coordinator
  • Pat Salo – Animal Control Officer

The position of Fire Warden was passed over so that Ameden could have a discussion with current Fire Warden James Twitchell as well as others interested in the position.

Treasurer Tina Labeau said dog registration is due by April 1.

The Board approved the request of George Legace of Ruckup of Keene, N.H., to hold a coin drop on Route 11 on Saturday, May 18 with a rain date of May 19. Ruckup provides advocacy, peer counseling and outreach to veterans, according to a flyer.

The board voted to accept a proposal of $2,400 per year from Pete Smith of TechVT of Bondville for managing the town’s computer systems. $4,000 was also approved to upgrade the town’s hardware and software, which was included in the proposal.

Town Administrator Shane O’Keefe said an invitation to bid on the Town Office Planning Project has been sent out. A site visit is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 and a final recommendation to the board is expected by Monday, April 15.

O’Keefe said he will be attending an incident command workshop on April 16.

Labeau said spending on the budget is about where it should be, although highway spending is higher than budgeted due to repairs and salt and sand expenses. Ameden said the department used to do more repairs on their own and that he will look at more maintenance to be done this summer.

Labeau also said the town bid on a small piece of land near the Rescue Squad building at a tax sale and in a year will likely own the property.

The board adopted O’Keefe’s proposal to set 3-year terms for the Planning Commission along with staggered appointments.

Finally, a request from the Little School for a donation of Transfer Station tickets was declined.

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