A Waitsfield infrastructure summit to discuss three pending projects has been postponed until the select board has more answers about legal issues, timing and funding.
The select board has scheduled the infrastructure summit for May 3 but, after a two-hour executive session during this week's regular meeting on April 12, voted to postpone the summit.
The executive session was scheduled to discuss legal issues. One of the
three pending projects is the town's municipal water project. That
project would provide municipal water from a well on Reed Road to a
service area that runs from Tremblay Road through Irasville. The Act 250
permit for that project has been appealed by adjoining landowner
OUT FOR BID
Final engineering on the project was almost complete and the project almost ready to go out for bid when it was appealed in February. Installation of the underground pipes for the water project will require digging up the sides of Route 100 so that project was to have been timed to work with the two other projects, a municipal sidewalk project and the Vermont Agency of Transportation's repaving of Route 100 from Waitsfield to Warren.
Because the water project is delayed due to the appeal, the board has considered whether it makes sense to delay either the sidewalk or repaving project, or go forward with those projects with the understanding that the water project will require, at a minimum, digging up the sidewalk if the sidewalk is built this year and the water project is constructed afterwards.
"We've received a lot of information and worked with VTrans officials and our legal team to understand the ramifications of the various decisions," explained Town Administrator Valerie Capels.
She said that the town learned from VTrans that it will be possible for the state to repave Route 100 from Route 17 south to Warren and hold off on the Irasville and Waitsfield Village sections until the water project is constructed.
Originally the board proposed the infrastructure summit to hear public input on the various options of sidewalk now or later, repave now or later, etc. At this week's meeting, board members reiterated a desire to hear that public input but noted that until the board has more firm information on legal and technical issues, a summit would be premature.
Steve Shea, chair of the town planning commission, was at this week's meeting to discuss proposed zoning changes and told the board that he sees great value in such a summit.
"I think it's really important to have a summit and I think a public forum is a really good idea. I understand the board wanting to have enough information to make good decisions and I think there are a lot of townspeople who don't know enough about the background of what's going on. I think they need to know that to be supportive of the select board and the town when it does make a decision. I'd urge you to have that summit as soon as you can," Shea said.
Select board chair Kate Williams said that the board remains committed to the summit but wants to hold it when the board has enough information so that a summit could be productive. Shea said that such a summit would also help the planning commission as it works on revising the Town Plan.