Brattleboro Selectboard approves skatepark design

Wednesday February 20, 2013

The Brattleboro Selectboard voted 3-1 Tuesday night to approve the proposed design for a new skatepark at Crowell Lot.

The zoning administrator has confirmed that the design conforms to the plan that the Development Review Board approved in August 2011. The design, Zoning Administrator Brian Bannon said in a letter to Planning Director Rod Francis, also takes into consideration a mediated agreement that was reached between Barry Adams and the town.

The board's vote, as well as Bannon's decision to approve the design, takes supporters of the Crowell Lot skatepark one step closer to beginning construction on the 11,000-square-foot park.

Only board member Dora Bouboulis voted against the design, and David Gartenstein was not at Tuesday's meeting.

The Brattleboro Area Skatepark is Coming, or BASIC, committee still needs to raise more than $200,000 to begin construction, but the board's vote Tuesday was a very big step in Brattleboro's decade-long quest to get a skatepark built.

Before the board vote opponents continued asking the Selectboard to hold off on making a decision, saying that a complete public site evaluation was never held.

Spencer Crispe, however, said the town's skateboard committee did a "monumental amount of process, thinking and consideration," in developing the plan.

Brattleboro resident Dan Sontag, who said he has not been involved with the process from the start, said the skatepark would enhance the Crowell Lot, and the neighborhood, and he said he supported the plan.

Opponents continued raising questions about how the skatepark would affect the rest of the park.

Brandt Kurowski asked if the proposed design conforms to the mediated settlement that was reached between the town and Barry Adams, who appealed the DRB decision to the Environmental Court.

Kurowski asked about plans to address landscaping at the park.

Recreation and Parks Director Carol Lolatte said the town would address those issues later.

She said it was not the designer's responsibility, though she said the town would make sure the rest of the park is developed appropriately.

Mike McIntyre, a skatepark designer with ASD/Stantec, explained the public planning process that gave area residents a say in the layout and design of the proposed park. He said he did look at the whole park and consider setbacks and trees in areas away from the skatepark area.

No tree will be removed, McIntyre said.

Three public planning meetings were held in Brattleboro, and McIntyre said the plan changed and evolved as he and skateboard supporters walked around Crowell Lot and considered what would fit and what supporters could afford.

The design came in at around 11,000 square feet, though the final design might come in smaller depending on how the park is situated within the Crowell Lot.

Before the board voted, Selectboard member Ken Schneck asked McIntyre about the board's long list of requirements, including noise abatement, impact on trees, signage, sight lines and ongoing costs on the part of the town.

McIntrye addressed each of Schneck's concerns and Lolatte said other municipalities say skateparks costs less than $1,000 a year to maintain.

Lolatte also said she is continuing to work with Green Street School officials to find the best place to put the playground and backstop, which will both have to be moved to allow the skatepark in the site.

Before Tuesday's vote board member Dora Bouboulis continued to ask the board about the public process and said the Selectboard never worked with neighbors to make sure concerns were addressed.

Schneck disagreed, saying that every single meeting the Selectboard, the school board and DRB held, were public and all of the comments and input delivered at those meetings were on the record and part of the public process.

The Brattleboro School Board will likely consider the skatepark design at its next meeting.


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