Friday, February 28, 2014

Town Garage

Jeff Teter

5:08 PM (1 hour ago)
to me
I wrote this for the chit chat there is some new updated info.

Hi, I’m Jeff Teter and I have been working for the Town of Mount Holly on our roads for the last 28yrs. I’d like to give you some information concerning the discussion of the proposed new town garage.

We had an informational meeting that started at the Town garage back in November. What was apparent when you walked in was how the heck do we pack all that equipment in there. The walk to the back of the garage where the office and wood stove are located involves turning sideways and ducking between equipment. One of our main winter tools, the loader, is kept outside because there is no room for it. So bottom line, we need a new garage because we out grew this one years ago plus its flat roof has allowed leakage and mold growth to a serious and unhealthy degree.

We started looking for land around 20 yrs ago back when Warren Cole was a selectman We have looked at several places on 103 and 155 but the best was always the school property. Not only because of it’s central location for school, town office, fire and rescue winter maintenance, which is key for  a efficient  cost effective operation, but we can build it completely  out of site. Do you really want to drive into Mt Holly and see a big sand pile, maintenance building and stock piles of gravel right on the hi way instead of farm land. When we looked at the newer state and municipal garages for ideas, most were off the road and out of site.

Why would the school want to sell the town the land in the first place? The answer to that is our relationship between the school and town in the form of ongoing help on projects that the school could not have afforded on its own, examples being the athletic fields, basketball court ,moving around the wood chips for the playground each year and many more things that helps the school keep its budget lower but still gets extra fun things done. Beyond these areas, we are always close by to be there to take care any of their needs.

The school is willing to sell the town the land, which we have already been using for the last 35yrs and have developed for our needs, for 15k, which is the lowest appraised value, and a 35k solar electric system that the town will own and use in the summer and the school will use in the winter for electric and data for a teaching aid for the children to see real time value of renewable energy.  This is a very progressive and forward thinking deal. 

I should also comment on some of the information, and at times miss information  that has been posted in the chit chat and spread around town.

The concern about sand pile deaths. The situations cited in the chit chat had nothing to do with municipal sand piles. One example given was actually a death where  a path gave way near a river in a state park . Trying to add fear tactics to this discussion sure seems questionable and a waste of everyones time. Also, there will be a fence around the proposed site to make sure it is safe. This has always been a part of the proposal.

The land offered by Carol Ballou is not usable for our needs. It consists of wetlands and hillside. It is difficult to understand why this proposal was put out there.

We have looked at the Dunwoody property on 103  but ruled it out  for many reasons ,the biggest being  it is designated  a class 2 wetland by the agency of natural resources so we would not be able to get a permit  to build the town garage on this land. The class 2 wetland map of this area will be at the town meeting March 3rd at 7:00PM.

So, as tax payers of Mt Holly consider this proposal of buying the school land and building the town garage there,  if you want the logical, least expensive and most efficient site, that even the neighbors are happy with, then it is clear that buying the school land for the town garage and keeping all of the money in town  makes the most sense. Please, let us all use common sense in our decision making.

FYI Town Garage Site Comparison

Michael Blais 

Has anyone looked at the Dunwoody property with the State of Vermont DOT for acceptable entrance to 103 traffic?   I would not be surprised that the state could require a turning lane due to slower town trucks.  South bound heavy truck traffic is usually moving at a good speed in that area.
We just went trough Wet Land delineation as part of our land permits with the state.  The Dunwoody track of land does have some water shed from the land  area in the back.   The state will not allow usage of any land within 50' of wet land area.
This is a perfect piece of land for a low impact usage, residential or lite business.   A truck garage, and / or sand pile may not permit with the State of Vermont.
Land has survey, has there been any septic study done for what the land will support?   Septic could use up a large portion of land.  The land over near the school is basically all sand & gravel, which is better for septic.  I personally have dug in the school playground and along the parking area.
Mike Blais

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Please Support Your Library

The Mount Holly Town Library
Please Support Your Library
    Vote YES for Article 7
It’s a very small price to pay for a very big service!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Annette Lynch

12:47 PM (1 hour ago)
to me
Two sites for the construction of the Town garage have been offered to the Town. The Select Board has declined to compare these two sites with the School site that it has proposed. Many factors need to be studied and compared to arrive at a decision that is best for cost, building operation, and the future of the School and Town. A few of the factors are set out below:
Site 1
Site 2
Site 3
Route 103 S
School Street
Hedgehog Hill Road
Marilyn Martin & Phil Dunwoody
Mount Holly School
Carol Ballou
4.1 AC
5.6 AC
5.0 AC
Cost to Town
Lot characteristics
flat, grassland
slopes, tall pine trees
steep hill, mixed vegetation
Closeness to Town Office
1/4 mile
50 yards
3+ miles
Road type
State Highway
Class 2
Class 3
Access to Rte. 103.
1,000ft. of direct access
Hazardous intersection at Belmont Rd
Average intersection at Healdville Rd
Negative Impact
Added buildings on Rte. 103
School loses almost half of its area, nature trail and open classroom. Limited ability to expand including School and Town’s sports fields. School gets a close semi-industrial neighbor. Retains hazardous sand pile.
Garage in residential neighborhood. No expansion capacity
Positive Impact
Site allows future expansion. Removes hazardous sand pile from a site with children. Adds to land owned by Town.
Some people value that Town facilities are close together
Gift could be structured to allow for a swap with owner of a more suitable site.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sam and Barbara Lloyd to Perform "Love Letters" in Ludlow

OLA (Friends of Ludlow Auditorium) announced that Sam and Barbara Lloyds, frequent performers at the Weston Playhouse, have agreed to perform A. R. Gurney's play, "Love Letters", in the Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium on Saturday, May 17 at 7 pm.  The two-actor play deals with corresondence between a man and woman from their youth forward and reflects the mores and issues of the 1950's forward.  The play has been a vehicle for many Broadway and Hollywood performers.  Both Barbara and Sam have performed in many Weston Playhouse productions.  "I really am grateful to the Lloyds for agreeing to this production," noted FOLA chair Ralph Pace, "it will be a fantastic program to welcome to the auditorium." 

barbara and sam lloyd sr.JPG

Controversy Persists In Mt. Holly Garage Project


Mount Holly voters will consider bonding for a new town garage on Town Meeting Day.
Credit VPR/Nina Keck
On Town Meeting Day, voters in Mount Holly will consider a $600,000 bond vote to build a new town garage. Talk about a new town garage has been going on for years in Mount Holly. Last fall the select board faced allegations that too much of the planning was going on without adequate public notice.
Perhaps as a reaction to that, this month's Mount Holly Chit Chat, the town's online publication, is brimming with mentions of the project. The project is mentioned in the published select board minutes and school board minutes. There is also a letter to the editor on the subject and an un-attributed posting, as well as copies of the bond resolution, a declaration of intent to repay the bond, and the vote warning.
Although recent discussions about the project are quite public, there's still controversy. An excerpt from the Jan. 14 Select Board minutes show the board agreed to a complicated land deal with the school board that involves an exchange of money and a cooperative solar project for the parcel where the garage would be built:
Jim Heald reported that one Selectman and one townsperson were present at last week’s School Board meeting, where a proposal was made to sell the town the 5. 6 acres for the garage and the School Board had approved it. The proposal was for a cash payment of $15,000 and additionally the town would commit $35,000 for a joint solar system, to be completed within two years. The School Board would also have the right of first refusal to buy the land back for the original $15,000.
Minutes from the Jan. 8 school board meeting where that offer was unanimously approved also mention the existence of a petition being circulated regarding an offer to donate the town land to site the garage away from school property:
Ted Crawford asked if the Board was aware of a petition being circulated regarding the donation of land for the garage made by Carol Ballou. The Board stated they had heard about it, but have not seen the petition, and has [sic.] no firm knowledge regarding the offer. Ted stated he hoped that the land would be perked and have a subdivision permit at the owner’s expense before the town would consider accepting it. Jeff Teter noted that the property is not really appropriate for the garage, as it has wetlands and is also mostly hillside.
An un-attributed posting in the February edition of the Mount Holly Chit Chat says the land donation will also be a topic of discussion at Town Meeting:
A proposal will be offered to town voters on Town Meeting day to accept these 5 free acres and residents will have the opportunity to vote on this. A YES vote will reopen discussion and consideration of alternative sites for the highway department garage, safely away from the elementary school.
One thing's for certain, talk about the Mount Holly Town Garage project is likely to continue right up until the bond vote on March 4.