Workers from Turner and Renaud build a pedestrian bridge over the Deerfield River in Wilmington. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer file photo)
Workers from Turner and Renaud build a pedestrian bridge over the Deerfield River in Wilmington. (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer file photo)

WILMINGTON -- The Development Review Board wants to make sure the state has all the necessary documents before it makes a decision on a foot bridge that was constructed and is currently utilized in town.

Since the Agency of Natural Resources requested more information, it was decided to recess the most recent hearing on Feb. 3.

"There are many people in ANR," said Wilmington Zoning Administrator Alice Herrick. "Apparently, whoever it was (previously) sent to in ANR was not a flood hazard person. There may have been a verbal approval but I have yet to see a written permit."

She was addressing questions regarding why the hearing was to occur with a decision that will be a retroactive one.

The DRB is to consider if the Reardon Bridge fits the standards of the historic review district. Applicants are also seeking approval for conditional use and flood hazard review for its construction even though it already sits above the Deerfield River, between 29 Shafter St. and 36 West Main St.

Property owners on the application include Windham Housing Trust, Cliff Duncan and the town. Wilmington Economic Development Consultant Gretchen Havreluk was sworn in, representing the town.

"The bridge was installed in June this past summer and it was primarily used as a walking bridge," she said. "It's a really nice gateway coming from Route 9 traveling east for the visitors to see a pretty design."

Duncan referred to the bridge as an opportunity to further economic development efforts within the downtown village. He spoke of how it promotes a circular pattern, which a committee was tasked with creating in the past.

"That connector will give people the ability to start at one point and come back to the point of origination," he added.

Before the bridge was installed, Duncan had granted an easement or right of way to the town for the project. Around a similar time, the bridge was insured.

For the district review portion of the hearing, its materials were discussed. Havreluk believed the decking consisted of wood, its sides contained cement and metal while the top railing was made completely of metal.

"Not much of this is applicable to that which is not a building," said DRB Chairwoman Nicki Steel.

The bridge has to stand up to a review that agreed it was in line with preserving the landscape and that it fits into its environment. Havreluk testified that it fits in with the style of the downtown.

"(The bridge) is creating more circulization for pedestrians throughout our community," she added.

Havreluk asked if by putting off the hearing until the next scheduled hearing on March 3, property owners would be allowed to put in an application for renovations in the Main Street building, which currently belongs to Duncan.

"If it is unpermitted, another application can be put in," said Steel. "If you're coming in for an application, you're not coming in before the third anyway because we're shorthanded on this board."

She believed that a hearing involving both applications could run smoothly if all the testimony is heard there. Another application would have to be submitted.

"They wouldn't be one application but they could refer to one another," added Steel.

Without a hearing in two weeks, it will mark the second time that the DRB will have to postpone one of its hearings in recent months. The board decided not to have its next scheduled meeting on Feb. 17 due to Steel's absence. She mentioned that there will only be three members for the months of March and April as one member has resigned.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.