Derry board OKs new speed limits along Middletown Road

Area along Middletown Road, about 1,000 feet north of the intersection of Crescent and Main, will have a 40 mph limit. Photo by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

At the last meeting with Board chair Jim Ameden and member Bob Forbes before they would step aside for two newly elected board members, the Londonderry Select Board on March 2 approved speed limits on Middletown Road.

After consulting online maps, the board voted to place a 40 mph sign for drivers traveling north near Anjali Farm. The 1,000 feet between this sign and Crescent Street will be posted for 30 mph as will the short section between Crescent Street and Route 100.

The first 500 feet at the north end of Middletown Road will be posted for 30 mph and the rest will be 40 mph. The current speed limit is 50 mph for the whole of the road.

Town Administrator Shane O’Keefe told The Telegraph that after finding a slight error in the ordinance, he will resubmit the ordinance to the Select Board at its next meeting. The word “southerly” had been used instead of “northerly.” Once the board approves the amended ordinance, unless there is a petition filed, the new speed limits will take effect after 60 days.

Route 11 repaving on the horizon

Also, O’Keefe said VTrans is willing to meet with town officials on a weekly basis once the Route 11 paving project gets under way. Preliminary work is set to begin in April, Board member George Mora said.

The work, according to a letter from VTrans Project Manager Matthew Bogaczyk, will consist of a single mobile paving train that will tear up the existing pavement and “mix the removed material with some new aggregate and emulsified asphalt, then pave it back on to the road.” He said he did not expect any business or driveway to be blocked for more time that it would take for the train to pass. Bogaczyk also said he anticipated that there will be alternating one way traffic throughout the length of the project. 

In other action, Ameden expressed shock at the $800 in fees required for a permit to run an electrical conduit from the generator near the garage on the Twitchell Building parking lot to the Town Garage. The land in between includes a wetlands and O’Keefe said a full 30-page permit is required.

DRB chair Esther Fishman and Road Foreman Josh Dryden. Photo courtesy GNAT-TV.

O’Keefe said that according to Arrowwood Environmental project engineer Dori Barton, her cost to apply for the permit is $85 per hour. He then estimated the total cost to obtain the permit at $2,000. After considering alternative routes, the board agreed to this, with the $2,000 split evenly between the Highway and the General funds.

O’Keefe said he has not yet received an estimate from electrician Gary Barton for the actual cost of installing the conduit and wiring.

Road Foreman Josh Dryden said the town will apply for a state grant to help pay for a new pickup truck, which will be used to transport the road crew to trainings, hold a set of tools and store road signs among other duties. As road commissioner, Jim Ameden recommended a gasoline engine as opposed to diesel. Board member Taylor Prouty agreed, saying that diesel trucks are not as reliable in the winter. Besides not running for re-election to the Select Board, Ameden is stepping away from his post as road commissioner.

The board also agreed to spend $3,000 to replace the bucket on the backhoe-loader used at the Transfer Station.

Bringing Taylor Farm events into compliance

O’Keefe said that he is offering to help Jon Wright, owner of Taylor Farm, bring the events that he holds into compliance with Londonderry Zoning Bylaws.  Among the events Wright holds are concerts and pizza nights, some which include alcohol, either bring-your-own or catered.

The Londonderry Select Board. Photo courtesy GNAT-TV

In a letter to Wright, O’Keefe said these events are “more in the line with the concept of an Accessory On-Farm Business.” Wright has not applied to the Development Review Board for a permit, O’Keefe said.

Also, the board voted to accept a amended memorandum of understanding between the town and Judy and Tom Platt to raise the former Post Ofice on Route 11 & 30 above the base flood elevation and conduct all related utility and site work. The estimated cost had risen to $133,320 from $53,961 and the Platts’ agreed to pay 25 percent of the new estimated cost. The town’s will be reimbursed by a FEMA grant for the remainder.

The board also agreed to allow O’Keefe to hire a sound engineering consultant to monitor work being done by Vermont Woodchips at 170 Winhall Station Road for compliance with DRB stipulations. The property owner will pay the cost of the consultant. O’Keefe said zoning bylaws limit the decibels at the property line to 70 dB.

The board appointed Paul Abraham to the Development Review Board. DRB co-chair Esther Fishman said Abraham had served as mayor and sat on a planning board in New Jersey. Abraham will replace Sven Fedrow, who recently resigned to accept a job in Montpelier.

The board also went into executive session to discuss a legal situation.

Once out of the executive session, Board member George Mora moved that in the state Environmental Court cases of 9-1-20 Vtec and 102-9-19 Vtec, the town will “pay 10 percent of the cost of mediation but will seek to recover all costs throughout the pursuit of penalties to insure that the town is made whole.” Previously O’Keefe asked the superior court to dismiss the case of Emanual Contos vs the Town of Londonderry and Sandra Superchi regarding a tax sale.

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