Hinesburg Development Review Board continues hearing on old police station

Hinesburg Town Administrator Trevor Lashua and Director of Planning and Zoning Alex Weinhagen outlined plans for the site of the former Hinesburg police station during the March 1 Hinesburg Development Review Board meeting. The hour-long presentation showcased plat review and Planned Unit Development application for a subdivision of the site. The property sits on the west side of Vermont 116 and on the south side of Farmall Drive.

Hinesburg company Energy Futures Group purchased the building, and Chris Neme, a principal of the firm, said it would be used for office space and a public park. The business is currently located on Mechanicsville Road. The project initially appeared before the board last fall.

The presentation gave a broad overview of the project, including parking, infrastructure, an access road, storm water control and landscaping. Getting down to the nitty-gritty of the plan, Lashua mentioned the completion of the project sidewalk. Lashua and Weinhagen shied away from addressing specific public planning options, but said public comment will be welcome further on in the planning process.

Neme said the company is planning to move into the new space in early September. An access road serving the area, which eventually is set to become one-way, will be paved when Hinesburg undertakes its paving projects in the fall.

The business plans to have eight designated parking spaces. Additionally, on-street, public parking is mentioned in project plans. There were some questions by the board about the distance between the public, on-street spots and the complex. At that point, Hinesburg Selectboard member Tom Ayer described it as a “walk around the corner to the building. I think it would be a nice walk.”

The board was concerned about handicap parking at the business. It is likely that one spot would be dedicated for that usage, and some board members wondered if there is a set distance between the site and access to the business. Weinhagen said his reading of Hinesburg’s zoning regulations leads him to believe a set distance exists. He added that the state may mandate a fixed number of feet from the designated handicap space to access to a building.

Board member Sarah Murphy addressed traffic concerns, and inquired if town officials have spoken with Hinesburg Community Police about pedestrian traffic crossing near the station’s sally port. In all likelihood, increased traffic near the site would occur early in the morning when people arrived for work, and again around 5pm, when people depart from the office. Lashua noted that police cars are already frequently seen parked outside of the police station, parked in a manner that’s “ready to respond” to a call for services.

Responding to board questioning, Lashua responded that he and Hinesburg Community Police Chief Frank Koss had talked about the project earlier, but haven’t recently gone over plans.

The conversation then turned to storm water control. Weinhagen noted that Otter Creek Engineering said the town has the capacity to handle run-off if it occurs. Board member Greg Waples mentioned pooling of an elbow at Farmall Drive. Weinhagen interjected that the site was plugged, saying a contractor didn’t take the plug out.

Also discussed was the project’s outdoor lighting plan, including LED lights that illuminate handicap access along the path into the building. Other meeting topics included waivers for the PUD and implementing a gravel parking lot for the business.

Conditional use issues and other parts of the application will be discussed during the board’s March 15 meeting.