Important work continues on the part of the committee charged with finding a new home for Waitsfield’s town offices and for the townspeople who want input into that new home.
The committee has narrowed its focus to Waitsfield Village, citing the result of a survey conducted at a very-well attended meeting in April. There are three potential sites in the village under consideration: the field that includes the Flemer barns, Flemer land along Route 100 where a farm stand exists on the west side of Route 100 and a site at the Wait House that would be carved out in front of and between the Waitsfield-Fayston Fire Station and the Wait House.
The task force is holding one more public hearing tonight, June 14, at 6 p.m. at the town offices to discuss its plans to narrow the focus of its search down to two of the three village sites.
The two chosen sites are the farm stand sites and the Wait House/Fire Station site. Both sites will cost approximately the same amount of money. The Wait House/Fire Station site requires driveway rerouting and parking reconfiguration as well as construction and a new septic system. The farm stand site will cost within $5,000 of the cost of the Wait House.
During this narrowing of the options, some members of the public and the task force have put forth the idea that the town should purchase both of the Flemer properties, the farm stand and the barns. And maybe the town should.
Those parcels abut the field which the Flemer family donated to the town. As a whole, those three parcels represent a significant and valuable portion of the remaining open land in the village with access to Route 100.
What happens on those parcels will matter to the future of Waitsfield and the town would be wise to exert its political will and spend its political capital to make that happen.
There has been some concern voiced that the current town select board is wary of bringing costly proposals to voters –given the cost of litigation over the town’s municipal water project. And that is important. But what is also important are leadership and foresight and seeing the value of acting now so that the town can have a say in how such crucial parcels of land are developed for the near future and for the next 100 years.