Saturday May 4, 2013

DUMMERSTON -- In late January, town officials participated in a relatively quick and painless state-permitting hearing for a much-needed new gravel pit. But more than three months later, no Act 250 permit has been issued for construction of the new Renaud gravel pit and expansion of an existing pit.

Some had hoped that construction could begin as soon as the spring snow melted, so the project now is slightly behind schedule.

"We’re really just sitting and waiting," Selectboard member Steve Glabach said at a Wednesday meeting.

The towns of Dummerston and Putney have struck a deal with Vernon-based Renaud Gravel Inc. to open the new pit on land off Route 5 near Hidden Acres Campground. Renaud owns the campground as well as ABF Trucking, which will provide access to the new pit.

Also, plans call for an adjacent, existing pit -- owned by SB Lands Partnership -- to expand toward the Renaud site and continue to operate for several additional years.

Officials from both towns say they soon will need a fresh supply of road gravel. But the permitting process, which also involved two hearings last year before the Dummerston Development Review Board, has been lengthy.

Cory Frehsee of Brattleboro-based Stevens & Associates said the project may move forward soon.

"We have to get all of our other state permits before the Act 250 permit is issued," Frehsee said Thursday. "The one permit we’re waiting on is a storm-water permit. We expect that to be issued in the next week or so."

In other Dummerston Selectboard business this week:

-- Gravel was a common theme as officials also discussed a pending increase in the price the town pays for gravel and sand from the Carpenter pit in Dummerston.

That price is adjusted according to inflation every two years, Selectboard Chairman Zeke Goodband said. The board on Wednesday approved raising the price from $2.78 per cubic yard to $2.92 per cubic yard.

The adjustment will take effect July 1.

-- The Selectboard authorized Town Clerk Pam McFadden to request that Windham Regional Commission perform a traffic study on Sugar House Road in response to residents’ complaints.

Officials say the dead-end road next to Maple Valley Ski Area may be mistaken by some motorists as an alternate route to Dover.

"The request is that Windham Regional put some wires out there to get an idea of just how much traffic there is and what speed they’re going," Goodband said.

The town also will place a "no outlet" sign at the bottom of the road and will post a 35-mph speed limit, officials said.

-- Alex Wilson, a member of the town energy committee, said the committee will renew efforts to improve exterior lighting in the area of the town office.

In response to a resident’s question, Wilson said committee members are aware there is a need for better lighting.

"I’ll make sure that gets on the front burner," he said.

-- Selectboard members opened two bids -- one for $54,700 and the other for $53,950 -- for a new tractor/mower/blower for the highway department. Voters approved $55,000 for the purchase at Town Meeting.

The board is scheduled to award a bid at its May 15 meeting.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.