CAVENDISH, Vt. – During their Jan. 11 meeting, the Cavendish Selectboard updated the town on several local issues including a possible future settlement amongst Tierney Road residents over a controversial proposed Snowstone quarry.
Current discussions happening at the Vermont Supreme Court and their interpretation of the state’s ACT 250 legislation may have implications that impact many new zoning towns including Cavendish. Depending on their interpretation, any parcel of land under one acre, may be open for skirting any ACT 250 oversight.
That debate is ongoing and a final decision on the matter is likely weeks or months away. In the meantime, Cavendish Town Manager Brendan McNamara said the town will keep following the issue to see how this might affect the town. He is also talking to the town counsel to find out what the town’s next steps might be specifically toward zoning if the ACT 250 statute interpretation is changed.
Tierney Road resident Mike Harrington, who has also served as a spokesperson for the Tierney Road residents, told the board that at the end of 2021, his group heard from the Snowstone lawyer who asked if there was any interest in a collaborative resolution in 2022, and Harrington said that as far as he, and other Tierney Road residents were concerned, “Absolutely.”
According to Harrington, all the Tierney Road landowners who have stood in opposition against Snowstone, have put Harrington in charge of ‘course of direction’ so if there were to be a settlement, he would be the only one in the room with the attorney, the other stakeholders, and their attorneys negotiating the outcome. “I really feel like trying to reach a settlement is the right thing to do for all the parties involved including the town,” Harrington said. He said they would be looking for a settlement agreement where everybody gets a piece of the pie and can start to mend fences.
In other town business, the town has still to decide how they will structure town meetings since the state has approved towns to adopt remote options due to Covid-19 precautions. They will also be deciding how to structure their selectboard meetings, whether to go with a hybrid or all virtual option. McNamara is looking at options for purchasing equipment, covered under ARPA funds, to equip the town office for that purpose.
An ongoing animal control issue has McNamara trying to determine next steps over two dogs who have been continually getting loose along Route 131 for the past several years. Fines in excess of $7,000 have been levied against the owners but haven’t been paid and it has not fixed the problem. McNamara is exploring what other options he might have with the town’s attorney.
Resident and volunteer Firefighter Chris Marks has been appointed as Fire Warden, after Roger Shehan resigned from the post.
First draft of next year’s budget has been distributed to the select board, with special budget meetings starting last week.
As part of their discussions, the board will consider a request by resident Mark Huntley, speaking on behalf of the Black River Valley Senior Center, who asked earlier in the meeting for an increase in the allocation for Meals on Wheels for Cavendish residents. Huntley hopes the raise the amount from $2,500 to $5,000.
The next regular Cavendish Selectboard meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cavendish Town Office.