Fed compliance to state Covid-19 regs at issue in Derry

By Bruce Frauman
©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Emergency Management Director Kevin Beattie told the Londonderry Select Board at its June 1 meeting that he has asked the manager of the Winhall Brook Campground to ask campers to bring their own food and supplies so they can stay there once they arrive in accordance with state Covid-19 prevention directives.

Derry Board Chair George Mora seeks clarity on the town burning ordinance.

He said the U.S. Forest Service has been complying with state quarantine orders, but the Army Corps of Engineers has been more resistant. He said the regional office of the corps said that campgrounds do not need to comply with state requirements, including a two-week quarantine.

But Town Clerk and state Rep. Kelly Pajala said the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development told her that there is nothing preventing them from enforcing state directives, even with a federal agency, because public health is at stake.

In other Covid-19 news, Beattie said the Mountain Towns Emergency Operations Center is still activated, as is the state emergency center.  Beattie said the number of Covid cases in Vermont is still very low, though there is a small outbreak in Winooski that should be easily contained.

Board member and Transfer station liaison Tom Cavanagh said Fire Warden Melvin Twitchell would allow burning of wood and brush again at the station. The board agreed to allow returnable bottles and cans to be brought to the transfer station again but, after some discussion that included Solid Waste Coordinator Esther Fishman, the Take It or Leave It bin will remain closed.

Road Commissioner Taylor Prouty said an adjoining land owner to Jared Lindahl and Willoughby Britton on Under the Mountain Road has asked that most road improvements, approved by the Board in January, stop. At issue is the town right of way and disposition of lumber cut down. Prouty said he will continue negotiations with the guidance of the town attorney, which should be paid for by Lindahl and Willoughby.

Town Administrator Shane O’Keefe said he will ask State Police Lt. William French about the availability of radar signs to help calm traffic on Thompsonburg Road/Main Street, which several board members agreed do seem to be effective. Signs are also available from the Vermont of Transportation. Labeau said signs start at $3,500.  Weston has had VTrans install a temporary sign.

In spite of the lack of teachers and students at Flood Brook School during the Covid-19 crisis, the board approved a plan to place flashing speed limit signs on Route 11 near the school that operate when it is in session. O’Keefe said the state had required town approval before proceeding. The costs will be split between the school and the Agency of Transportation.

The board approved a request from the Planning Commission to hire KAS Estimating Services at a cost of $5,000 to help the commission through the bid process for needed repairs to the Old Town Hall. O’Keefe said the building reserve fund now holding $120,000 will be used to pay KAS. He said asbestos removal and septic work will also be needed for the Twitchell Building, also funded by the building reserve fund.

At the request of Board Chair George Mora, O’Keefe will look into how other towns handle trash burning ordinances. Mora said the town received a complaint that a neighbor was using their outdoor furnace to burn trash with a resulting “foul smell.”  Fishman said a state statute has specific language on how to regulate outside trash burning.

Jon Wright of Taylor Farm on Route 11 east came before the Select Board to seek support for going to the board of the West River Farmers Market for permission to allow up to 10 craft vendors to display at his agritourism farm during the hours of the WRFM. The state is currently banning craft vendors from farmers markets around the state. But the Select Board expressed interest in Wright’s idea as long as the board of the WRFM agrees.

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