Energy concerns bring pause to library addition process

Staff Reporter

The Charlotte Energy Committee came before the Charlotte Selectboard Monday to request a delay in the search for a company to build the new addition to the library.

John Quinney, a member of the energy committee, said that the committee just learned on Saturday that the selectboard was planning on issuing a request for proposals (RFP) to firms to design and build the addition. Quinney said the committee would like to delay gathering proposals until the project can be designed to be more energy efficient and use more renewable energy.

The addition to the Charlotte Library was approved on Town Meeting Day with a majority of citizens voting in favor of applying for a $700,000 bond that would finance half of the cost of the library. The other $700,000 is to come from fundraising by the Friends of the Library, who say they’ve already raised $400,000.

At least three members of the energy committee were in the audience to urge the selectboard to postpone the RFP until they can come up with a comprehensive energy plan for the addition.

Quinney said the committee worked on a proposal for energy efficiency and renewable energy measures they would like to see in the RFP until late Monday afternoon and requested a delay.

“This process just feels awfully rushed to us,” Quinney said. “We would much prefer if there could be somehow be some more time devoted to the RFP and any changes.”

Keeping library addition bond on schedule

Selectboard member Louise McCarren asked how long the process of seeking bids could be delayed and still meet deadlines for applying for the bond. Town Administrator Dean Bloch said that they could apply in May but that by early June, the bond bank would want a commitment for the amount of the bond the town is applying for.

He said that time schedule is tight, but they could probably add a week to the process, which would require scheduling a special meeting next week to finalize the RFP.

Chair Matthew Krasnow explained that bonds are only issued in the spring and the winter, so if they are not ready in June, the next time the town could apply is December. However, the architecture firm the library has been working with on preliminary drawings has said that pushing the project back to December will increase construction costs.

Co-chair of the energy committee Rebecca Foster said that she’d heard from Shelburne Town Manager Lee Krohn about the energy planning for the new library being built there and that he had said that “super-high energy efficiency” was a priority and the construction includes multi-layer insulation, high efficiency heat pumps, solar panels on the roof and a net metering power purchase agreement with an off-site solar array.

Krasnow said that energy efficiency and renewable energy measures have been included in the architectural renderings for the library addition “from the start.” The renderings include solar panels and a heat pump.

Selectboard member Fritz Tegatz said that all current energy recommendations had been followed in the planning for the library addition, but that it was an addition and not a new building. Where it is feasible, he said, they have included energy recommendations in the library addition plans, like replacing the heating system for the entire building with a heat pump system.

Building addition, not overhaul

“It was my opinion that it wasn’t an overhaul of the existing building and a new addition,” Tegatz said. He said what they were doing was “putting an addition on the library that was energy efficient and doing what we could to make the rest of the building energy efficient.”

He offered as an example that they weren’t planning on replacing the roof for the whole building, which he knows was constructed without a vapor barrier. He cited the costs of installing insulation in walls that probably don’t have any.

Quinney said that there had been some misunderstanding and that they had taken some of their proposals out of an earlier version that Tegatz had received. For example, they removed recommendations for air sealing and insulation for the entire building.

“We realized that this is focused on the library addition,” he said.

The selectboard decided to postpone a decision on issuing the RFP until Monday, April 15, at 7 p.m. after McCarren, Tegatz, head librarian Margaret Woodruff and the energy committee have had time to work on energy efficiency amendments to the plan for the library addition.

Other business

The selectboard also postponed a decision on which contractor to choose for removing ash trees in the effort to prevent the spread of emerald ash borers in Charlotte. The board requested that Bloch put together a chart containing all of the bids that had been opened Monday night side by side.

Some of the trees where the preemptive removal is scheduled have been marked and some of the companies made bids for removing all of the ash trees instead of just the marked ones. The delay will give all of the companies to make a bid for removing all of the ash trees on Lake Road from Thompson’s Point Road to Ferry Road.

The selectboard reappointed Rich Ahrens to the Recreation Commission; reappointed Laurie Thompson, Margaret Russell and Stephany Hasse to the Trails Committee; appointed Tom Maffitt, Miles Waite and Rick Pete to the Thompson’s Point Wastewater Advisory Committee; reappointed Frank Tenney and appointed Lane Morrison and Andrew Swayze to the Zoning Board of Adjustment; and appointed Sue Smith to the Charlotte Park & Wildlife Refuge Oversight Committee.

The board went into executive session to discuss the four candidates for two seats on the planning commission. After coming out of executive session, the selectboard approved reappointing Charlie Pughe and Shawn Coyle, but planned to check with the planning commission to see if they would be interested in increasing the number of seats from seven to nine or if they would be interested in having two alternate members to the planning commission.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Hans Ohanian made an “urgent request” that the selectboard pass an ordinance that every bicycle be required to have a mirror on the handlebar in Charlotte.

McCarren wondered if this was enforceable.

And Assistant Town Clerk Christina Booher, who was in the audience, asked if this would apply to all of the bike races in Charlotte.

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