Charlotte prepares bond vote questions

By SCOOTER MACMILLAN

The Charlotte Selectboard unanimously passed resolutions approving the bond votes for $275,000 for an ambulance and $700,000 for an addition to the Charlotte Library on Monday, Jan. 28.

During the public comment section of the Selectboard meeting, chair Lane Morrison said that former board member (2007-14) Winslow Ladue had passed away.

Morrison said that Ladue been a “dedicated” board member and that his knowledge of roads and bridges had been asset to the board.

The board interviewed and appointed Julian Kulski for appointment to the Charlotte Park and Wildlife Refuge Oversight Committee.

Kulski said that he would like to serve in the position because he just retired and he loves the park and spending time there.

“The only particular interest I have in that is handicapped access,” he said. “I know it’s written into the plan, but it doesn’t really exist.”

Other than advocating for that access, Kulski said he’d be “pulling up buckthorn and honeysuckle and hopefully planting.”

The board approved a motion to approve a Certificate of Highway Mileage, which Town Administrator Dean Bloch said was just a required document for the Vermont Agency of Transportation, asserting that no roads had been added in the town during the past year.

Bloch said that state sent a letter asking what the right-of-way was at the railroad crossing on Thompson Point Road where a crossing gate is planned.

The board unanimously approved formally establishing that the width of the right-of -way is “three rods” or total of 49.5 feet, which Bloch said is the standard right-of-way. A rod, measuring 16.5 feet, is an old surveyors’ term referring to an actual metal rod that was used for measuring until electronic tools like surveyor lasers were developed.

Tom Joslin, acting chair of the Planning Commission, and Emily Nosse-Leirer, a senior planner for the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, shared the energy section of the Town Plan, which they are revising to bring Charlotte into compliance with Act 174.

Joslin said that the state gives municipalities that comply “substantial deference when siting alternative energy systems. It is voluntary but simply put it gives us a greater weight in terms of anybody who wants to site alternative energy systems in town.”

Nosse-Leirer said that to be in compliance, a town’s plan must include strategies for the municipality to meet Vermont’s goal of 90 percent renewable energy generation by 2050.

Because Vermont’s 2050 goal is “extremely ambitious,” she said, the proposed plan sets extremely ambitious separate energy-use goals, such as citizens switching 89 percent of their light-duty vehicles to electric vehicles. She thinks that probably less than 1 percent are electric vehicles now.

Another goal is for 33 percent of businesses and 60 percent of homes to use heat pumps.

It also includes a goal of using 47 percent less energy use per capita by 2050. Nosse-Leirer said that they don’t expect to achieve that goal because of behavior changes are necessary, but because the plan assumes new technologies that people “will switch to are much more efficient.”

In addition, the proposed plan includes energy generation goals, she said. There are just over 5,000 megawatt hours being generated in Charlotte as of July 2017, almost all coming from solar panels.

“What we set as targets on the regional level is that Charlotte would generate an additional 7,548 on the low end megawatt hours up to 16,031 hours,” Nosse-Leirer said.

She shared a graphic illustrating that to achieve the solar generation goal, a very small section of land would be needed.

“It would be less than .001 percent if those acres had solar generation,” said Morrison.

Selectboard member Fritz Tegatz commented that the plan appears tp geared “mostly for solar panels and maybe a little wind.”

Joslin said is the case now, but “it could be something else in 10, maybe 15 years.”

Nosse-Leirer said that the Charlotte plan is very much based on solar but “it does vary from municipality to municipality.”

Tegatz asked if Act 174 fixed net metering rates and Nosse-Leirer said that it did not.

The Selectboard’s first public hearing on the proposed energy use and regeneration amendment to town plan is Feb 25 at 6:10 p.m. The next public hearing is tentatively scheduled for March 25, then it will be voted on at a date to be determined by the board.

Victoria Zulkoski, chair of the Cemetery Commission, asked to get bids to fix fencing at the cemetery on Greenbush Road.

Robert Mack objected to spending this money because he believes it’s a waste of money to replace the chain link fence that he said has been there for 50 years.

Zulkoski argued for a black metal fence with pickets that she said is similar to cemetery fences at other Vermont cemeteries.

“It has guarantees made to take the abuse, maybe not like chain link, but it’s appropriate for the space that it’s protecting,” she said.

The Selectboard unanimously approved a motion requesting bids for replacing the fence on the west side of the cemetery along the roadway.


Charlotte candidates file to run on Town Meeting ballot

Five candidates are vying to fill two seats on the Charlotte Selectboard after petitions to get on the Town Meeting Day ballot were filed earlier this week.

Town Clerk Mary Mead said three candidates are seeking the open three-year seat on the board that Chair Lane Morrison has held. Morrison is not seeking re-election.

Voters will choose among Dr. James M. Faulkner, Louise McCarren and Ed Stone to fill that seat.

Incumbent Selectboard member Frank W. Tenney is seeking another two-year term. Nancy Richardson is his challenger.

Candidates turned in petitions for a handful of other elected offices that will be decided in the March 5 election. None of these are contested; all but Robert Mack Jr. are incumbents:

  • Victoria Zulkoski for a three-year term on the Cemetery Commission
  • Robert Mack Jr. for a two-year term on the Cemetery Commission
  • Mary Mead for a one-year term as Delinquent Tax Collector
  • Jonathan Silverman for a one-year term as a Library Trustee
  • Bruno Murphy for a three-year term as Lister
  • Hugh Lewis Jr. for a one-year term as Road Commissioner
  • Charlie Russell for a one-year term as Town Moderator

Mead said that no petitions were filed for auditor for three years, or for one-year terms for town agent or town grand juror. Voters can write in candidates to fill those seats on Town Meeting Day. Mead said it takes 30 write-in votes to win as a write-in candidate.

If the vacant offices are not filled by write-ins, the Selectboard will appoint individuals to those positions.


Editor’s note: The Jan. 31 post of this article contained questionable information regarding Green Mountain Power’s net metering policy. That information has been deleted.

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