BY ARIADNE WILL
PITTSFORD — Pittsford’s selectboard meeting last Wednesday, Oct. 6, sparked hours of discussion on agenda items, including hot topics on a proposed wind project at Grandpa’s Knob and VTrans’ proposed replacement of the bridge at the intersection of Route 7, Oxbow Road and Route 3.
Following an intense and extended discussion of a proposed wind turbine project at Grandpa’s Knob (see accompanying story on Page 1), selectmen turned to the topic of the Route 7 bridge redesign.
A presentation on the bridge redesign was initially heard at the Sept. 1 selectboard meeting, after which the selectboard has expressed reservations about the state’s proposed plan. To that end, the selectmen are interested in sending a letter to VTrans outlining their concerns with the proposed design.
Concerns include the elimination of the historic green and the elimination of the slip lane at the bridge, which many think would compromise the safety of the intersection.
Carolyn Cota of VTrans said at the Sept. 1 meeting that the redesign was necessary for VTrans to place a temporary bridge over Furnace Brook in order to maintain both lanes of traffic through construction.
But many residents and town officials have pointed out that it doesn’t make sense to give up safety and a historic green because of a temporary bridge.
A member of the public who spoke at last week’s meeting said that he had offered VTrans a portion of his land to use during construction so that the historic green wouldn’t be disturbed.
He said VTrans told him that they couldn’t do that, as his property was considered historic and would cause the redesign project to lose state funding – a response that didn’t make sense, selectboard members said, considering the project plans to eliminate a different historic green.
Town Manager John Haverstock said he hopes to send a letter to state transportation officials after he hears from selectmen about his draft.
The selectboard’s opinion on the project is also in line with the Pittsford Planning Commission’s take. Chair Mark Winslow said at the meeting that the planning commission will be submitting comments to VTrans expressing many of the same concerns.
In response to recent rises in Vermont COVID-19 cases, the selectboard considered implementing a vaccine mandate for town employees, but did not move to do so.
Haverstock told the panel that he’d spoken with the union about the possibility of mandating vaccines and regular testing among town employees. He said the union was supportive of the measure.
Following discussion, the selectmen chose not to vote on the item, however, as they observed that COVID-19 cases are currently on the decline again.
George Yan of DG Vermont Solar, LLC. presented on a proposed 2.2 MW solar project located off Adams Road.
Yan said the project will be noninvasive and hardly visible from Adams and Goat Farm roads.
However, Pittsford resident Stephen Belcher said — after speaking on another agenda item — that the solar project will greatly impact the recreation experience of those using Split Rock Trail, which runs right alongside where the solar project would be built.
Other discussion followed, but no action was taken at the meeting. Further examination of the project will take place at upcoming meetings.
• Stephen Belcher – a BLSG representative – informed the selectboard about tweaks it is making to bylaws for member towns.
Changes to the resolution include minor shifts in funding and a statement declaring that the insect control district won’t raise any member town’s budget by more than 5% from year to year.
The selectboard communicated their approval of the changes. Belcher said they did not need to take a formal vote on the item.
• Selectmen also reviewed details regarding the hiring of a new town manager, including where they will be running ads for the position, qualifications for the job and how they would like to hold first and second interview rounds.
The town has hired the Vermont League of Cities and Towns to help with the hiring process. Most of the selectboard’s discussion on the matter was in response to direction from a VLCT consultant.
• Selectmen heard an update on the Second Annual Tractor Parade, scheduled for Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.
• The board went into executive session after three hours of public meeting to discuss accounting and zoning matters. No action was taken thereafter.