PUTNEY -- The town's Energy Coordinator is going to appeal the Development Review Board's decision to approve an 82-space park and ride near Exit 4 on Interstate 91.
Daniel Hoviss said he is willing to appeal the decision before Vermont's Environmental Court if the state decides to go ahead with the plan to build the park and ride near the Putney Fire Station.
"As the town energy coordinator I understand the need to support park and rides and get cars off the roads, but this is not the right project for Putney," he said. "I have never seen the study that says we need something like this."
The Vermont Agency of Transportation owns the land, which is in both Putney and Dummerston, and wants to build the park and ride for commuters who are traveling on the Interstate.
The development review boards from both Putney and Dummerston approved the permits for the facility after a two and a half hour meeting last week when a number of residents questioned the project.
Hoviss said he has signatures from eight other people who were at the meeting who also do not want an 82-space park and ride built on the site.
Hoviss said the lighting, pavement and size of the proposed park and ride are inappropriate for a small village like Putney.
In a previous interview VTrans Project Supervisor Wayne Davis acknowledged that there were some tough questions asked at the meeting, but he said most of the skeptics went home feeling better about the project after hearing more details about the plan and about the need for state-supported park and rides along the highway.
The Putney facility has been in the planning stage for 12 years.
The votes by the Putney and Dummerston development review boards were the final hurdles VTrans needed to get through before sending the project out to bid.
If Hoviss appeals the decision, and Vermont's Environmental Court rules in favor of the project, Davis sad construction could begin in the spring and the park and ride could be open next year.
But Hoviss said he wants a study done to determine if southeastern Vermont needs such a large facility.
Davis said the park and ride is being built large to accommodate projected growth in the number of cars the state expects will use the facility once people are used to it being available.
He said if it took the state 12 years to get the project to this stage, it would not make sense to build the park and ride small, and then have to start the permit and funding proposals again in a few years.
"They say, ‘If we build it they will come,' but they have not shown us any data that say a facility of this size is needed," Hoviss said.
Hoviss also said he was dissatisfied with the state's reluctance to consider installing motion sensor lighting.
The state plans on installing low watt lights on 20 foot poles that point down.
The Putney DRB decision is contingent on the state following its lighting plan.
Hoviss said that he should be considered an interested party because he is the Energy Coordinator, and he also lives near the proposed site.
Under Putney's zoning ordinance an interested party can appeal a DRB decision within 15 days of the date of the decision.
The DRB then rules on that appeal.
If the party wants, the appeal can then be brought before the Environmental Court.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. Follow Howard on Twitter .