Cavendish residents asks Select Board to consider town zoning

CAVENDISH, Vt. – The Cavendish Select board met Monday, June 11, to discuss an assortment of topics brought forth by concerned residents. With a larger than average attendance, the meeting didn’t adjourn until after 8 p.m., and was packed with emotion and participation.

zoning
Cavendish residents concerned about town zoning ordinances. Photo provided.

The first concern brought towards the Select Board was regarding a Green Mountain Power project that is scheduled to occur on Brook Road in the coming weeks that would erect power lines so that a nearby home could be connected. Mary Anne Butler, living in a historical building on the road, was worried that the project could create irreversible damage. “It’s a beautiful road, and it belongs to everyone. I know it’s not going to look the same,” she stated.

Having referenced the 2012 Town Plan throughout her presentation, she made the argument that the project violated the goals stated throughout the document. After her speech, Bruce McEnaney, assistant to the Town Manager, pointed out that the issue would fall under Act 249, rather than Act 250, and since the line will only be 1,600 feet, there isn’t much the town can do.

Following her, residents of Tierney Road proposed that the Select Board consider creating a civil ordinance that would require prior authorization for anyone wishing to conduct a home business. The proposed ordinance is the result of an ongoing battle that first began in the summer of 2017 when landowner Justin Savage revealed plans to begin quarrying on a small parcel of land on the road. While a court case is still under way, the worried citizens felt like the ordinance could give the town more control of the situation.

However, due to the lack of zoning in the town, the Select Board revealed that they couldn’t create or enforce a civil ordinance without implementing minimal subdivision regulations.

The conversation then shifted to the concept of introducing zoning to the town. Tim Calabrese, member of the Cavendish Planning Commission believed that “zoning can ruin a town if it doesn’t spell everything out and isn’t strict and thorough.” As stated by Town Manager Brendan McNamara, zoning has been a “hot button issue” in the town for decades. However, it was pointed out that it may be time to revisit the issue, as the last town vote occurred more than a decade ago, which was “soundly defeated.”

While the concerns of Tierney and Brook Road occupied much of the meeting, the discussion continued about the building on 53 Depot Street in Proctorsville, which the North Country Condominium Association believes is “unsafe.” After a licensed independent engineer reported that the building is “past the point of no return,” Pat Moore believes the Derelict Building Ordinance “has to be pursued.”

The Select Board made a motion to begin enforcement of the ordinance and it passed. More information about the meeting can be found at www.Cavendishvt.com.

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