Select Board

Brandon Select Board Meeting    

August 27, 2012

NOTE:  These are unapproved minutes, subject to amendment and/or approval at the subsequent board meeting.


In Attendance: Devon Fuller, Richard Baker, Mitch Pearl, Dave Atherton, Ethan Swift


Also in Attendance:  Allan Leavitt, Charles Rivers, Bernie Carr, Robert Black, Joe Acinapura, Linda Stewart, Jeff Stewart, Maria Ammatuna w/Isabella Wilbur, Dick Kirby, Norm Milot, Ginette Milot, Wayne Rausenberger, Kathy Rausenberger, Steve Beck, Jim Leary, Anna Scheck, Judy Bunde, Terry Kline, Gary Meffe, Nancy Meffe, Janet Mondlak, Buzz Racine, Robert Read, Kevin Thornton, Carol Fjeld, Lois Fjeld-Torrey, Doris Farnsworth, Francis Farnsworth, Ann Bransfield, Phyllis Reed, Bette Moffett, Helyn Anderson, George Reilly, Andrew Cliver


1.  Call to order


The meeting was called to order at 7:00PM by Devon Fuller, Chair.

a) Agenda AdoptionMotion by Richard Baker/Ethan Swift to adopt the agenda as presented. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero. 


2.  Consent Agenda


a) Approval of Minutes – August 13, 2012 – Select Board


Motion by Mitch Pearl/Richard Baker to approve the minutes of the August 13, 2012 Select Board Meeting. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.


b) Errors and Omissions


Motion by Richard Baker/Mitch Pearl to approve the errors and omissions as submitted. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.


3.  Fiscal


a) Warrant – June 30, 2012 – $20,914.89

Motion by Mitch Pearl/Richard Baker to approve the warrants of June 30, 2012 in the amount of $20,914.89. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.


Anna Scheck noted this was an invoice received late and it had been held as it was unsure whether the contract would be approved.


b) Warrant – August 27, 2012 – $60,430.96


Motion by Mitch Pearl/Ethan Swift to approve the warrants of August 27, 2012 in the amount of $60,430.96. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.


Richard Baker noted there is a $75.00 warrant to insure an expensive item that is located at the Neshobe School.


c) Consider P.O. 51570 to Ladue Masonry LLC for Repair to Retaining Wall – $ 7,100.00


Motion by Richard Baker/Ethan Swift to approve P. O. 51570 to Ladue Masonry LLC for repair to the retaining wall at 4 Conant Square in the amount of $7,100.00. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.


4. Scheduled Reports from Committees and Officials


.  Planning Commission


Anne Bransfield reported the Planning Commission has been very busy. Some of their main achievements were the Flood Erosion Hazard By-law and the Sign Ordinance. Jeff Guevin is a new member of the local Planning Commission and is Brandon’s representative to the Regional Planning Commission.  He has also been appointed as the alternate to the Regional Transportation Advisory Council. Phyllis Aitchison has resigned as a member of the Planning Commission. The Committee members have been to numerous VLCT trainings on land use and other topics, and have been doing work with the Natural Resources Council.  Work was also done on an interim Flood By-law to facilitate after Irene. The Committee has written a letter in support of Tina Wiles as the Zoning Administrator. The Committee is also considering overlay districts in the Land Use Ordinance.  Ms. Bransfield has met with Ed Bove from the Regional Planning Commission and Paul Dreyer, an expert on form base codes, in working on a Municipal Planning grant for professional assistance with the development of form base codes.  Ms. Bransfield questioned if the town would have the $3,500.00 match for the municipal grant. Devon Fuller stated this item will have to be deferred until Mr. Arlund returns.  The Planning Commission is currently working on the Zoning Ordinance and has worked out a schedule that would bring this to a conclusion around February. Richard Baker asked if the vacancy on the Commission will be advertised and it was noted that the vacancy has been advertised on the town web site. Mitch Pearl encouraged anyone interested in applying for the position to send a letter of interest to the town manager.  Ethan Swift asked Ms. Bransfield to clarify what form base codes are.  Ms. Bransfield advised this is a process that will include the entire community.  There will be a public outreach initiative done, with meetings scheduled to obtain people’s input in thinking about town assets.  The meetings will be held during the fall and the Commission will then work on community mapping during November and December. Ms. Bransfield noted this is community building and is an important initiative in the state. Richard Baker questioned how many communities are following form base planning and Ms. Bransfield reported there are about one-half dozen towns that are working on it.  Ms. Bransfield advised the grant application deadline is September 28th and the Commission would like to have an answer soon relative to matching funds to enable them to include the information in the application to assist in getting more money. Devon Fuller thanked Ms. Bransfield and all the members of the Planning Commission for all of the hard work they do.


5.  Town Manager’s Report

There was no report provided as the Town Manager is currently out of town.


6. Public Works Report


Devon Fuller spoke to Brian Sanderson and noted the public works activities were business as usual. Mr. Sanderson has been installing the new reflective-coated signs. Wayne Rausenberger questioned if Mr. Sanderson had advised the Select Board of the issue that took place at his house and it was noted he has not.  Mr. Rausenberger stated a couple of weeks ago someone drove over his mailbox and lawn and ended up in the woods.  Mr. Rausenberger’s solution to this continual problem is to place boulders along his driveway; however, one of the boulders would be in the town’s right of way. Mr. Rausenberger would like to request approval for this to be done, as these occurrences need to stop before someone drives into his house. Mitch Pearl stated the Select Board would make this decision based upon Mr. Sanderson’s recommendation.  Devon Fuller will request Mr. Arlund speak with Mr. Sanderson regarding this item.


7.  Town Infrastructure


Wayne Rausenberger requested the following letter be included in the minutes of the Select Board meeting relative to the Segment 6 Project:

To the Brandon Select Board and Brandon Citizens:


Last Wednesday morning members of the Design Committee of the Downtown Brandon Alliance (the “Design Committee”) professionally and thoughtfully presented alternative ideas for the design of Segment Six at a special Select Board meeting. The Segment Six project managers and engineers attended this informational Board meeting, as did about forty Brandon residents. It is unfortunate that the meeting was not held before a much larger audience, as we expect that many in our community would be greatly surprised (and equally dismayed) to learn of some significant impacts that Segment Six, as presently designed, will have on our town. The most prominent impact of the present design is that it will displace Central Park as the town’s heart and focal meeting point by converting it, in large part, into a puffed-up median strip.


Under the present design the useable area of the town green in Central Park will be severely diminished. Though the park itself will be physically larger, the usable square footage will be far less. To put the change in perspective, the useable area of the green today is 17,200 square feet, but is only 13,900 square feet in the present design. Moreover, the configuration of the park will become long and narrow, and thereby will diminish the park’s usefulness as a public gathering spot.


The reduction in useable area of the green will affect town activities that, in meaningful ways, define our community. For instance, the green no longer will be wide enough for the tent at the Brandon Auction. The reconfigured park will hold a smaller audience to attend the Auction or to watch concerts at the gazebo, and will not be well-suited to host vendors at the Independence Day celebration and other similar events. The new Route 7 roadway will be placed about four feet south of the gazebo (where presently located), and elimination of parking adjacent to the park will remove a “buffer” that otherwise has existed between park-users (which include many children) and moving motor vehicles.


In short the meeting made it clear to us that Segment Six dramatically will change the town’s centerpiece and long-standing community-gathering spot. Accordingly, we ask the Select Board to revisit the decision made by a prior Select Board years ago, in January of 2006. That prior board passed the current plan by a narrow majority (3-2).


Given that Brandonites will live with Segment Six, as ultimately constructed, for many generations to come, we must ensure that the Segment Six design meets our community’s needs. Further consideration also should be given to circumstances that have changed since the current plan was approved, most notably the impacts of Tropical Storm Irene.


We have other concerns as well. For instance, the current plan narrows the sidewalks along Center Street and removes many trees that contribute so much to the character of the town. And as alluded to above, the plan does not contemplate mitigation measures to prevent damage of future flooding at the foot of Center Street (such as caused by Tropical Storm Irene). If the repair of Bridge 114 and possible flood mitigation are not coordinated with Segment 6, it would mean the town would have to go through two separate construction periods. All this and much more was brought before those in attendance.


In conclusion, we call upon the Select board to vote to suspend the plan as currently designed until the Board has an opportunity to deliberate fully with additional input from the engineers, the Design Committee, and members of the community. Until we are irrevocably wedded to a particular plan (and we are not there yet), we believe that we share a collective common interest to improve and enhance the plan to serve the best interests of our town. Indeed, given the stakes involved, we owe a duty to ourselves and our children and grandchildren to do nothing less.


Respectfully submitted,


Frank Spezzano. Ettorina Spezzano. Kim Faber. Whitney Hartshorne. Chris Faber. Carol M. Byrne. J. Thomas Rennert. Joan Salkins. Helen V. Moore. Lorraine Kimble. Robert M. Dean. Buzz Racine. Allan Leavitt. Sheri Sullivan. Maria Ammatuna. Peggy Racine. Amy Menard. Steve Dombrowski. Gary Meffe. Roseann Johnson. Larry Johnson. Terry Kline. Dottie Kline. Joel Mondlak. Margaret Donahue. Max Ferro. Richard Kirby. Max Welton. Patricia LaDuke. Eric Jason. Jeff Stewart. Linda D. Stewart. Wayne Rausenberger. Kathy Rausenberger.  Frank Farnsworth. Susan Wallin. Donna Jean Taylor. Sharon Glaser. Judith Bunde. Casey O’Meara. Patricia Frassica. Phil Frassica. Helyn Anderson. Linda Healy. Rob Zollman. Sandy Brutkoski. Beverly Lent. Marilyn McDowell. William Barrett, MD. Jane Carr. Phyllis Reed. Marjorie Moureau. Patricia Black. Charlie Thurston. Donald LaFlam. Annie Griffin. Molly Kennedy. Charlie Tatro. Bette Moffett. Gary Holsten. Enes Holsten. Joan Rowe. Carol Fjeld. Cecilia Dean. Cretia Waldie. Brenda Whittaker. Doug Sawyer. Shelly Sawyer. Penny Powers. Linda Legault. James Olsen. Kenneth Cifone. Nancy  Leary. Samantha Stone. Barbara Torstenson. Bert Torstenson. Joyce Wheeler. Vicki Mohan. Rebecca Zelis. Charles Powell.  Steven Zorn.  Sandra Galicki.  Floyd Galicki.  Anne Moulton.  John Moulton. Bernadette Howland. Charles Jakiela. Nancy Jakiela. Gale B. Parmelee. Brendan Barrett. Lisa Berry. Lance Mead. Joyce Mead. Grace M. Aines. Joan Curtis. Mary Cliver. Andrew Cliver. Nancy Salzman. Shan Xo. Gene Childers. Walter Salzman. Jean Childers. Warren Kimble. Blaine Cliver. Stephen Carr. Pamela Gatz. Peter Bowry. Sharron Kenney. Susan Boswell. Bernard Carr. Carmelita Brown. George Wetmore. Ariel Mondlak. Joe Acinapura. Lois Acinapura. Robert Black. Janie Young. Kevin Thornton. Peter Bowry. Susan Wallin. Nancy Meffe. Thomas Brown. Judith Eve Brown. Russ McColman. Nancy Meffe. Deborah S. Kirby. Danita L.Hanson. Patricia L. Hanson. James E. Keating. Denise Keating. Lisa Alderman. John Wilson. Kathy Clark. Robert Clark. Jon Andrews. Lynn Wilson. June Bohler. Eleanor Young. Scott W. Rideout. R.E. Thomas. Caleb Kenna. Paul Ashley. Fran Bull. Marjorie D. Munger. Scott S. Munger. Lyn DuMoulin. W.T. Orth. Carolyn Memoe. Charles Memoe. Nancy Bunting. Michael McDonough. Gayle Pilat. Helena Cousineau. Laura Abel. James W. Pinkham. Amanda Berry. Will Gahagan. Marielle Blais. Stan Sherwood. Tamara Wallace­ Senft. Curt Scarborough. Maxine Thurston. Heidi Young. Carrie L. Kirby. Patricia Cavanagh. Janipher B. Ripley. Robert Ripley. Sheila Dickerman. Thelma Miner. Emily P. Miner. Kim Miner. Gail Kerr. John Kerr. Linda Trask. Brian Trask. Constance Kenna. Susan Stone. Robin Kent. Wayne Kingsley. Sally Wood. Thomas Gutman. Velma Thornton. Wendy Rowe Feldman. Harmon F. Thurston. Janice Mead. Tad Merrick. Roger Lynam. Richard Brosso. Ginette Milot. Barbara Mazza. Frank A. Mazza, Sr.. Susanne Wetmore. Edward J. Olsen. Lois M. Fjeld Torrey. Mona Rogers. Lawrence Rogers”


Janet Mondlak questioned whether the Select Board had received the letter from the Chamber of Commerce and it was noted the letter had been received.  Richard Baker questioned whether all 114 people signed the letter or did they sign a petition.  Jeff Stewart advised there are actually 197 signatures and the names were typed to assure they were legible when the letter was distributed to the Select Board, however, he noted it was a letter they signed, not a petition.  Devon Fuller reported the ASR’s are complete and will be reviewed, signed and forwarded to the state. Mr. Fuller advised the ASR’s did include recommendations from the Design Committee that includes evaluating the southern row of parking to the north of Central Park to try and increase the size of the Town Green, explore permeable paving for parking at the southern row of parking to the north of Central Park, add parking in front of the Stephen A. Douglas Birthplace, look into potential for Gazebo relocation, reduce the scope of landscaping, review plan species, continue to study LED street lighting and review crosswalk locations. It was noted there will be an additional increase to CLD’s fee by $79,000.00. Linda Stewart hoped that the response from the ASR’s will be brought before the Design Committee for review. Richard Baker stated there will be input, but there will not be a major redesign of the project. Bernie Carr questioned whether the $79,000.00 additional cost will be covered by the federal funds that Joe Acinapura had indicated would be increased. Devon Fuller advised the ASR’s will be forwarded to the state and it will then be determined what federal funds will be allotted to the project, with 95% of the allotted funds coming from the federal government and 5% being matching funds from the town. Joe Acinapura stated he had confirmed there is design money available for the Route 7 project and would be determined once the Select Board submitted the ASR’s. Richard Baker noted the $79,000.00 is over and above what was originally submitted.  Buzz Racine asked if there is a timeline for this project. Devon Fuller stated the ASR’s first need to move forward to determine funding, which will take a couple of weeks. Based on the state’s decision, it will be determined how to move forward with the design. Once a final design has been determined, the project will be put out to bid and after a contractor is chosen, a timeline will then be determined for the project. Buzz Racine stated there has been much discussion on the final design of the park and he would like to know when the final design will be determined. Richard Baker stated if there is going to be a redesign of the park; it would be a major effort and would increase the project significantly. The design changes being considered are not radically different from the design that is already completed and approved. If this board or a subsequent board decides to change the park radically, it will be more work.  There has been discussion of possibly narrowing the lane on the south side of the park, but all of the infrastructure would then need to be changed. If there are significant changes, it would impact all of the infrastructures.  Blaine Cliver questioned if the $79,000.00 increase includes the work done on damages caused by Irene that do not fit in the current design. Ethan Swift stated the study on the hydraulic design is part of the Bridge project. Judy Bunde asked how the increased $79,000.00 relates to their original fees and also questioned if the project had gone to the marketplace, as she was advised that similar work would be in the $25,000.00 range. Richard Baker stated the town has paid $2,218,000.00 to CLD to date, with an additional request for $500,000.00 for the overall design of Segment 6 for downtown Brandon.  Ms. Bunde asked if this is normal and Mr. Baker stated for an $18 million job, this is not unlikely.  He also noted CLD has been working for the town since 1998. Kevin Thornton advised he worked on the Brandon workbook 10 years ago and now the town has design talent that has offered their services and it seems crazy not to take advantage of this offer. Devon Fuller believes the town can have a better park than what was initially designed. Mr. Fuller would like to work towards a park that everyone will enjoy, but may mean spending a little more money. Mr. Fuller stated changes were made to Segment 5 and he feels that the town can continue to work on this item, but he is not in favor of delaying the project. He reported the state and the engineers are reviewing all the information and noted this is an excellent opportunity to create flood hazard mitigation for the town.


8.  Citizen’s Public Forum


Maria Ammatuna questioned whether both companies had been given the same scope of work for P. O. 51570 that was approved this evening.  It was note that the scope of work was the same and Ladue Masonry was the contractor who had already done some of the repairs after Irene. Wayne Rausenberger questioned when the sidewalk on Champlain Street will be repaired; noting it is now in the second work season since he was advised the contractors agreed that the project was defective and would be repaired. He realizes there are a lot of projects taking place to remedy the damages from Irene; however, this issue needs to be resolved. The town paid good money for this project and something should be done to rectify it.  Ethan Swift stated Mr. Arlund has spoken to the contractor and they have agreed to come back and fix the problem. Mr. Rausenberger stated in the scope of everything, this is not a major issue, but it should be done properly. Bernie Carr asked whether the Select Board had any correspondence with the people who own the former Chamberland building. Richard Baker reported letters had been mailed to the owners; however, they have been denied and returned. Mitch Pearl stated this is another item that needs to be discussed with Mr. Arlund when he returns. Maria Ammatuna thanked Richard Baker for all the work he has done with the Segment 6 Project. She noted she has seen projects of this size built obsolete and the town wants to be sure that the monies are well spent and the project is not built just for the sake of completing it. She noted the interest in assuring this project is done correctly is from the community, as witnessed at the meetings, and not from a special interest group. Mr. Cliver stated the Design Committee is happy to work with the engineers to try to resolve some of the issues, such as getting rid of the traffic lights. Janet Mondlak asked if the Select Board had received communication via Steve Beck regarding a repeat of the Brandon Bucks program, similar to the one offered last year after Irene.  Ms. Mondlak noted last year the town had provided $5,000.00 of seed money for the program to encourage tourism in Brandon after Irene.  It has been calculated that $20,000.00 was realized from that project. Due to the success, Ms. Mondlak stated one of the committees suggested repeating the project; with a variation to the program in that any property that sells two nights would put in $25.00 of the $50.00 that is included in the packet. This program would be a town-wide promotion like last year. It would require the town fund $2,500.00 of the project. Ms. Mondlak hoped to advertise the promotion as soon as possible, if approved. Judy Bunde stated this decision is becoming last minute and the inn keepers would be willing to fund 50% of this program, but the planning time is getting short and it would be almost the end of September before the program is advertised if approval is postponed to the next Select Board meeting.  Steve Beck was under the impression monies were encumbered for economic development that could be used for this purpose.


Motion by Richard Baker/Mitch Pearl to authorize up to $2,500.00 ($25 per visit) for the Brandon Chamber Booking program for the upcoming foliage season. A friendly amendment to the motion was to confirm with the Town Manager that the funds are available. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero.


Jim Leary asked if the town is taking the necessary steps to repair Kennedy Park. Devon Fuller advised FEMA has been working with the town, however, this funding is drying up and Mr Fuller stated it may be at a point where the town needs to repair it.  The sewer line needs to be dealt with and efforts are being made to do this project. Mr. Arlund has submitted the documents to FEMA and they are reviewing them. Mr. Fuller will discuss this item with Mr. Arlund upon his return. Mr. Leary stated there are some simple repairs that can be done. Ethan Swift stated the sewer pipe to the Watershed Tavern has been breached and something will need to be done with this first. Mr. Leary stated there are areas far removed from the sewer line and he feels there could be work done in those areas. Richard Baker stated this would negate receiving any federal funds to assist with the repair in doing short-term repairs prior to approval from FEMA. Helyn Anderson asked when the town offices will be open downtown, as their current location is not handicap accessible.  Mr. Fuller will discuss this item with Mr. Arlund when he returns. Terry Kline questioned the status of the crosswalks and traffic counters on Park Street. Devon Fuller reported the traffic counters have been removed and the results will be provided to the town the week after Labor Day. The town will then review the information and determine if this area warrants a 4-way stop and at that time a crosswalk could be added. Bernie Carr expressed concerns regarding infrastructure maintenance as Kennedy Park has become overgrown and the Municipal Parking lot also needs clearing out.  Mr. Carr questioned whether the park maintenance contract with Corrections included these areas. Devon Fuller will check with Mr. Arlund concerning the other areas and noted perhaps these areas could fall under the “Love a Park” program. Helyn Anderson questioned who is responsible for the Neshobe River, as there are trees in the river behind her house. Ethan Swift stated property owners do have the authority to remove them.  Richard Baker questioned whether there was a plan for removing the pylons and debris from the river. Ethan Swift stated there is a program available to remove debris from waterways and a crew has been offered to do clean-up in the Brandon area.  Mr. Swift was contacted by the organization and was advised they will be cleaning up where the Brandon House of Pizza used to be and the area near Mr. Read’s property.  Mr. Swift also showed them the area in Forest Dale that needs clearing and he received permission from Mr. Dilts to do clean up in that area. This organization also deals with hazardous material. Mr. Swift suggested purchasing lunch for the clean-up crew at some point during their visit, as their service comes at no cost to the town.   They will be here tomorrow through the end of the week. It was noted this does not address the pylons, but does address the debris. Ethan Swift reported the new owner of the Watershed Tavern has some ideas on how to rehabilitate the building, which could resolve some of the problem with the pylons.


9.  Old/Other Business (If Needed)


Devon Fuller reported the Select Board has received an invitation to attend the Town Fair sponsored by the VLCT on October 4th.  Mr. Fuller encouraged members to attend.




10.  Possible Executive Session – Contracts/Personnel (If Needed)


There was no executive session held.


11. Adjournment


Motion by Richard Baker/Ethan Swift to adjourn the Select Board meeting at 8:03PM. The motion passed unanimously – 4 to zero. 


Respectfully submitted,


Charlene Bryant
Recording Secretary