Special Select Board Meeting Minutes 9-4-2020
TOWN OF RUTLAND SELECT BOARD OPEN MEETING
SEPTEMBER 4th, 2020
- Location: Rutland Housing Authority project site, 101 US Route 4 East
- Board members present: Joshua Terenzini, Mary Ashcroft, Sharon Russell, John Paul Faignant and Joe Denardo
- Also present: Town Road Commissioner Byron Hathaway, Town Administrative Assistant Bill Sweet, Kevin Loso and Terry Moran from the Rutland Housing Authority, Tanner Romano ands Nick Denardo from Naylor and Breen, Nicole Kesselring from Enman Kesselring Engineering, Claudio Fort from the Rutland Regional Medical Center and Town Delinquent Tax Collector Jim Scholtz
- Meeting began at 12:00 P.M.
The board is meeting to discuss the proposed project to redevelop the site at 101 US Route 4 East.
- Mr. Loso gave a summary of the Rutland Housing Authority goals and history of their projects in Rutland. He summarized the plan for this property, which involves creating individual efficiency apartments with a mix of 1 and 2 bedroom units and a 24-hour on site manager. This manager will be responsible for oversite of the residents.
- Claudio Fort spoke about the support of the project on behalf of the hospital. They have also pledged funding to this project.
- Russell asked if this were the right place for some of the patients who are being discharged from the medical center that they would plan to put here. Mr. Loso said there are plans in place to support them.
- Ms. Russell stated she has been contacted by neighboring business owners who have expressed with this project.
- Ms. Ashcroft said the window has passed to request a hearing with Act 250 and that this discussion should be limited to the Municipal impact Questionnaire
- Ms. Ashcroft said she felt this was a good project for our community.
- Mr. Loso said this facility is not designed to be a destination, just a step. The RHA has a plan to contribute towards the tax base of the town.
- Addressing questions about children attending the town school Mr. Loso said it is unlikely any of the residents living there would be able to afford a permanent residence in Rutland Town to allow their children to continue to attend the town school and that the intention is to allow the children to stay in the current school.
- Mr. Loso stated this facility is not a substitute for the hotel program.
- Mr. Terenzini said it was a good concept when it was related to the covid pandemic. The purpose seems to have shifted to a general need for the community.
- The comments made by Byron Hathaway, regarding he sidewalk, were reviewed specifically regarding he utility pole in the sidewalk path.
- Nicole Kesselring said the sidewalk directly in front of the property to the West of the driveway is in the City of Rutland, the sidewalk to the East of the driveway is in the Town of Rutland.
- Ms. Kesselring said there is about 30” of clearance now and ADA requirements are for 36”. A section of concrete could be added between the utility pole and the roadway to widen this area. It would make the most sense to go around the pole on the opposite side, but this is private property and would involve easements. Using the road side avoids the private property issues.
- Mr. Hathaway stated that VTrans owns the right of way in front of the pole and doing work there would require approval from them.
- VTrans did grant approval for a sidewalk connection along the west edge of the property to allow a direct connection to the project.
- Tanner Romano stated the only issue he is aware of is a letter from the Town Police Department, with concern that they will not be able to provide adequate service and that the Municipal Impact Questionnaire is the only opportunity left to address any potential issues.
- Mr. Romano had contacted the Vermont State Police and learned that any calls not able to be handled by the RTPD are given to the State Police and was told they would respond if needed.
- Several board members commented that in many cases they do not respond and hold the calls until a RTPD officer comes on duty.
- Mr. Loso addressed the issue of the property tax assessment and said that is a separate issue from the Act 250 process.
- Mr. Faignant asked if the school was copied on the questionnaire. Ms. Kesselring stated Act 250 did not require it. Mr. Faignant stated concerns with the potential impact they could face with an unknown number of new students from this facility and on the town and its taxpayers.
- Mr. Loso said there is no evidence to suggest 8 new students will enroll at Rutland Town. Also, there is no evidence there will be a burden on town services. The onsite manager will be responsible to help mitigate any issues that could need a police response. This project is designed to transition residents into permanent housing.
- Ms. Ashcroft moved for the Municipal Impact Questionnaire to be completed with the following information for Part A.
- Fire Department – Yes, there is an ability to provide service
- Mr. Denardo asked if the building will be retrofitted with sprinklers. Mr. Tanner said it will not as they are not required.
- Police Department – No, based upon the letter provided by Chief Dumas. This letter, and a previous letter from August 21st should be attached to the submission.
- Rescue Service – town does not provide
- Road – Yes, and the comments provided by Mr. Hathaway should be attached.
- Solid Waste – Yes, there will be no impact.
- Mr. Loso stated they will contact with a local solid waste hauler.
- For Part B, would the deficiencies occur without this project it would be answered Yes for Highway and No for Police.
- For Part C regarding the deficiencies being common, it would be answered No for Highway and Yes for Police.
- For Part D, being available for an Act 250 hearing to discuss, it would be answered Yes.
- Mr. Denardo seconded the motion.
- There was discussion how the Board of Civil Authority decision could affect these answers. The tax portion will be decided by the BCA and the board will participate in this meeting.
- Ms. Kesselring restated while the questionnaire does have a school component, they are not required to fill it out. There is a draft permit now and if the town had no issues, it would allow the process to move forward.
- In comments received from Police Chief Dumas, he has asked for a contact person on site, the site manage would be the point of contact.
- Mr. Faignant asked when the draft permit was approved. Mr. Romano said it was approved on September 1st. Mr. Loso stated they are 15 days behind schedule currently.
- Mr. Loso said they have heard from their funders they need a decision by the close of business today or they may pull their support. Mr. Terenzini said he has heard this and understands that is not the case.
- Mr. Denardo said the vote goes back to Act 250 and they can still come back to the board.
- Ms. Kesselring said the taxation has no impact on Act however the questionnaire does impact the Act 250 process.
- Mr. Loso said that without a tax concession it would hinder the long-term feasibility of the project, but they still would be able to proceed.
- Mr. Romano said the project could move forward right now but they did not start renovations out of respect to the board.
- Mr. Denardo said a vote should be taken because we have answered the questionnaire.
- Mr. Terenzini and Mr. Faignant stated their concerns about voting now and would like to wait until after the BCA meeting on Tuesday.
- The board voted and the motion was defeated. Ms. Ashcroft and Mr. Denardo voted in favor of the motion and Mr. Terenzini, Mr. Faignant and Ms. Russell voted against the motion.
- Fire Department – Yes, there is an ability to provide service
- Mr. Faignant moved to table the approval until after the BCA meeting on Tuesday. Ms. Russell seconded the motion. The motion passed 4-1 with Ms. Ashcroft voting against the motion.
- A special Select Board meeting will be warned immediately following the BCA meeting for the purpose of answering the questionnaire. Mr. Romano stated the Act 250 board said the town could refuse to answer the questionnaire.
There being no other business, the meeting adjourned at 1:05 PM.
Respectfully submitted, Mr. Bill Sweet
|Joshua C. Terenzini, Chairman|
|Mary Ashcroft, Clerk|
|John Paul Faignant|