OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SELECTBOARD SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
August 31, 2015
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:07 a.m. Selectboard members Lewis Sumner, Edee Edwards, and Douglas Grob were present, as were Marilyn Allen, Jesse Ferland, Arthur Copeland, Lynda Copeland, Stephan Chait, Sue Kelly, Brad Rafus, and Robbin Gabriel.
Changes and/or Additions to Agenda
Quarry Roads Information/Discussion with Road Commissioner
Using the projector, the Board resumed editing their findings summary on the Act 250 Denison quarry permit application. Doug Grob had a question about the source of the information in the document. Edee Edwards said there were several sources; some of the material was drawn from a list of questions and concerns composed by the Selectboard during the hearing process, some from testimony offered during the hearing itself, and some from information presented during a joint Selectboard/Planning Commission meeting held earlier this year. Grob recommended simplifying some of the language outlining suggested conditions for road repair and upkeep. One option, said Edwards, would be to request the quarry operator to pay a percentage of maintenance costs. Jesse Ferland asked whether there was a historical precedent for requiring business owners to pay for damage to public roads. No, replied Lewis Sumner, with the exception of several occasions when trucks have broken through bridges, and the companies owning the trucks paid for the damage. On those occasions, he told Sue Kelly, insurance paid damages; no charges were presented for wear and tear on roads.
Brad Rafus had put together cost estimates for upgrading the roads on which quarry trucks proposed to travel. On Stark Mountain Road, Rafus estimated the total cost for tree removal, rip-rap, installation of guardrail, gravel, and replacement of seven culverts, at approximately $65,000. This figure includes some, but not all, labor costs. Edwards said she would like to see a total cost for bringing all of Stark Mountain up to state standards. She also asked for the same data for the portions of Amidon, Jacksonville Stage, and TH52 that quarry trucks would use. As TH52 is a Class 4 road not maintained by the town, she said that road should be handled separately. Rafus made the point that the Town had adopted state codes and standards; it is the town’s responsibility to bring substandard roads up to state specifications. Edwards disagreed, saying a developer undertaking a project that requires an Act 250 permit should be responsible for upgrading.
Marilyn Allen asked whether yearly maintenance costs would be included in the road improvement budget figures. Edwards said she was considering a percentage of maintenance costs. I think we have to be careful, said Sumner. We are not asking any other truckers to pay for maintenance. We can handle other trucks through policies and overweight fees, answered Edwards. The Board agreed to ask Rafus to compile total upgrade costs, then the Board would decide on a percentage of those costs to be paid by the quarry permit applicants as a condition of a permit. Edwards told Rafus to use Class 3 specs in computing costs of upgrading TH52.
Grob said he would like to work through the section of the summary addressing the Town Plan, with the objective of creating wording satisfactory to all three Board members. Edwards noted that when the Selectboard and Planning Commission voted jointly on whether to submit the original document to the Environmental Commission, that vote was not unanimous. That submission, Stephan Chait remarked, made the statement that the application was not in conformance with specific portions of the Town Plan. After further discussion, the final line of the summary was changed to read, “The project is not fully in conformance with the Town Plan as indicated above and during the hearing.”
The quarry roads summary will be on the September 15th regular agenda; the Board expects to include Rafus’ additional information and finalize the document at that time.
Discuss VTrans Bridge Information
Marc Pickering of VTrans has forwarded the structural engineer’s plans, information, and recommendations for repairs on the Branch Road (#15) bridge. Pickering advised the town could proceed with the project on its own, and according to their own schedule, or wait and apply for a structures grant next year. Rafus will attempt to get a rough estimate on the concrete/guardrail work for discussion at the September 1st regular meeting.
Rafus has talked to the contractor engaged to pave Jacksonville Stage Hill shortly; the vendor is willing to pave a 423-foot section of Reed Hill Road where the box culvert was just installed for $6,000. This work would be done at the same time Town Hill is paved, thus saving equipment and materials moving costs. The Board agreed Rafus should arrange for a change order to initiate the process.
Hearing of Visitors
The meeting was adjourned at 8:41 a.m.