Derry to seek funds for electric speed sign as state OKs reducing mph near Flood Brook

Flood Brook Principal Neil McIntyre discusses lowering the speed limit around the school. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Flood Brook School Principal Neal McIntyre, who had met with the Traffic Committee of the state Agency of Transportation, told the Londonderry Select Board on Monday Sept. 9 that the state will agree to lower the speed limit on Route 11 near the school to 40 mph as long as someone pays for half the cost of a flashing speed limit sign when the school speed limit is in effect.

After an extensive discussion on various payment options, it was agreed that McIntyre would lead an effort to seek to split the cost among the four towns of Londonderry, Peru, Weston and Landgrove as well as the Taconic and Green School District.  The split among the towns may be based on population — as is the cost of the Transfer Station and was the school’s generator. The exact cost of the sign will have to be confirmed.

On July 1, the Select Board had sent a letter to the state Traffic Committee requesting the speed limit change because of the confluence of large truck traffic, school buses and parents drop-off and pickup.

Board takes no action on Lowell Lake

The board took no action on a request by the Londonderry Conservation Committee that it take a stand on the state’s plans for Lowell Lake. Board chair Jim Ameden said the state has not submitted a final plan so assumptions about what will be in the plan are just speculative.

Town Clerk Kelly Pajala explains the research she did into past Australian ballots.

Board member George Mora agreed after Town Clerk Kelly Pajala confirmed that there will be a public comment period after the state’s plan is submitted. Forbes said that he thought it was not appropriate for the board to take a vote based on board member’s personal opinions.  Pajala addressed the question of the public voting on a town position and said that as far as her research could tell, the town has never taken a vote to use an Australian ballot for public questions, so the only valid votes are in a town meeting. Any vote taken by the town would be considered a straw poll vote.

Board Chair Jim Ameden said that as of Aug. 19, Josh Dryden took over as the Road Foreman, and “is doing really well.” After Dryden talked about some needed truck repairs, the discussion turned to the new roadside mower. Ameden said there is a concern that after paying in full for the new mower, it can only be returned with a 25 percent restocking fee. Treasurer Tina Labeau told The Telegraph that the cost is about $15,000 and attaches to the same piece of equipment used to dig and clear ditches. Only one function can be done at a time. Dryden said “I like to check things out,” so has seen Peru’s new mower and will work with the installer to better understand how it attaches and detaches from Londonderry’s new JCB wheeled excavator. The board and Dryden agreed to take delivery and make it work as best as the road crew can.

Zoning Administrator Shane O’Keefe said the Londonderry Development Review Board has denied the appeal of a notice of a zoning violation, “thus upholding the violation notice.” Vermont Woodchip Real Estate Holdings at 3007 Winhall Hollow Road was found by O’Keefe to have evidence of gravel crushing and storage of portable toilets and septic pumping equipment. The only approved use O’Keefe found was as a woodchip processing facility. The board voted to authorize town attorney Fisher & Fisher to appear at the Environmental Court hearing on the town’s behalf.

Continued work on Twitchell Building; Platt project continues

Board member Bob Forbes discusses work on the Twitchell Building.

After some hesitation, board member Bob Forbes read a motion written by O’Keefe as town administrator to  accept the proposal for “programming, design development and cost estimation” from Cole Co. Inc. to  renovate the Twitchell Building and put the basement back into full use.

Company owner Chris Cole has done much of the design work already and, according to O’Keefe, will also assist with bidding and budget management. O’Keefe said since it has been four years since the previous work was done, Cole will spend some time assessing the current condition of the building. Forbes’ hesitation was that he did not want the board to be locked into the $21,250 cost, but relented once he realized the costs were estimates.  The board agreed to accept Cole’s proposal.

No bids were received for the Platt project, which would raise up the former Post Office on Route 11 as part of a mitigation project to spare the building from flood waters. The property is owned by Londonderry business owners and Weston residents Tom and Judy Platt.

Ameden agreed with Tom Platt that Mike Connor is likely the only contractor interested in the project. Platt said that Connor does not want to be the general contractor. O’Keefe said he will resubmit the bid request with bids due Oct. 7 with a project completion date in March 2020.

Post Office property owner Tom Platt discusses work to save the property.

Tree Warden Kevin Beattie said the white birch trees on the lot of the Twitchell Building are looking “peaked.” He said Wise Oak may have done some fertilizer work a few years ago, but Labeau said they never received a bill. Beattie said that “these are Clyde Prouty’s trees” so he feels in honor of him, it is best not to lose the trees. Beattie will talk with Matt Mosher of Wise Oak about the trees getting the care that they need.

The town received a letter from the Office of the Windham County State’s Attorney saying that Travis Despain agreed to pay restitution for burglaries he committed including a total of $246 from the town of Londonderry. The letter seeks a restitution request from the town, and the board approved.

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