Tom Kaminski, owner of the Irasville Country Store, Waitsfield, asked the Waitsfield Development Review Board to reconsider the matter of northbound access to the store from Route 100 again.
Kaminski was before the board last October with a similar request. This week, Kaminski and his engineer Roger Dickinson, asked the board to reconsider the request, siting as causal factors for allowing it, the fact that the town’s sidewalk changed the pre-existing southbound deceleration lane and further noting that people are consistently attempting to turn left into the store from the northbound lane.
They argued that changing the current southbound-only access to a perpendicular north/south entry would reduce the distance between the two sidewalk curbs and improve the safety of the intersection.
Board members pushed back, citing 41 years of history with the town originally refusing to permit any access from Route 100, instead requiring all access from the store to be from the Slow Road. Kaminski later went to court and won the right to have the limited southbound entrance with a deceleration lane.
“The proposal is to square it up rather than have that angled entrance. That reduces the amount of pavement and allows both left and right turns,” Dickinson said.
DRB chair John Donaldson noted that the DRB doesn’t make the regulations, but reads and applies them.
“The challenging aspect of your situation is that this has been before this board or predecessor boards multiple times and every time the board has said no. You have access now, not because the town agreed, but because the court overruled,” Donaldson said.
“We’re hamstrung by our regulations. This is not a case of first impressions. If you look at the record, there were court decisions and other traffic studies that said it’s a bad idea to have Route 100 access and especially left-hand turns,” he continued.
Dickinson said VTrans had issued a modification in support of the newly-reconfigured access and said that the proposed change would improve safety for pedestrians by making access from the north and the south at a right angle.
Board members Jim Tabor and Rudy Polwin noted that if the new design made for a safer intersection it could be considered. Polwin said that if the decision were based solely on safety, the Route 100 curb cut should be eliminated.
“That would conform to the idea that all businesses are accessed off the Slow Road. But I see no willingness to give up that access. The fact that this exists and it’s currently poor – if someone want to spend money to make it safer, it could make something that’s not great, better.
The board deliberated after the hearing and a decision will be issued in the coming weeks.