The Moretown Select Board discussed whether to allocate American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to broadband internet this week. Moretown will receive $497,711 in ARPA funds. The select board was once again joined by Chuck Burt of CV Fiber to consider partnering with the Communications Union District organization, which serves 21 central Vermont communities, to implement fiber optic internet service in Moretown. Burt reported that Worcester, for example, is dedicating some ARPA funds to broadband. “There’s a lot of money out there right now for broadband infrastructure,” he said.
The Vermont League of Cities and Towns has advised that towns not commit their ARPA funds just yet and wait until more information from the feds comes out. “There’s money for broadband internet, we just need to find the best way to get it,” select board chair Tom Martin said. He wants to hear from other towns that are using their funds this way and see how they’re doing it.
Burt said, if CV Fiber is able to acquire the necessary construction materials, the company could begin construction this winter and have high-speed internet service in Moretown as early as next summer. The select board will continue the conversation with CV Fiber as more guidance becomes available from the federal government, and the board is able to discuss implementation with other nearby towns.
Moretown zoning administrator David Specht spoke to the select board about creating a policy about developing on Class 4 roads and town trails. He said development is happening in areas where historically, it hasn’t taken place.
“This could be a thorny issue in the future if someone puts developments on Class 4 roads,” he said.
He noted that many of these roads are narrow and don’t allow for two vehicles to pass, which can be a problem when emergency vehicles need to use them. He said some towns have zoning requirements that say there need to be regular pull-offs on such roads to allow for vehicles to pass.
“I’m suggesting you consider what your Class 4 road policies and zoning are,” he said.
According to Specht, this might involve a Class 4 policy or zoning regulations. “Whatever the board comes up with, it’s got to be done carefully with thought as for the impact on any future development,” Specht said. The board asked him to report back with recommendations. He said it will be at least a month before he’s able to do that. “I think this is a good thing to look at,” select board chair Tom Martin said.