Settlement close in Putney park and ride dispute
BRATTLEBORO -- The two sides that are involved in the ongoing park and ride dispute have reached a settlement on most of the issues that are being debated.
But the question of how much lighting should be allowed is still up in the air and the Putney Selectboard will weigh in on the contentious issue tonight at its meeting at 5:30 p.m. The town is a party to the DRB decision appeal and the board will vote tonight on the mediation settlement.
Putney resident Daniel Hoviss, who appealed the DRB decision to grant the state a permit for the 84-space park and ride, met with a mediator and with Agency of Transportation staff Friday.
The state wants to build the park and ride on land it owns near the Putney Fire Station. The project has been on the state's books for more than 10 years, and even though Hoviss' appeal has not yet been settled, the state started clearing the land earlier this month to get a jump on the 2014 construction season.
The town asked VTrans to stop work until the appeal was settled.
Under terms of the mediation agreement, which Hoviss released, the state is going to go ahead with its plans to build the 84-spot facility.
Hoviss was arguing for a smaller park and ride. Hoviss said the state has agreed to install six level 1 electric charging stations for electric vehicles, as well as a covered bike shelter for up to 12 bicycles.
The two sides, however, were not able to reach an agreement on the lighting. The state wants to install six, 105 watt LED lights that would be on all night. Hoviss wants fewer lights and he wants them to be on motion sensors. If there can not be an agreement on the lighting then the case would proceed to Vermont's Environmental Court, where Judge Thomas Walsh is scheduled to hear the case on May 15.
VTrans Project Manager Wayne Davis said he was relieved the two sides were able to agree to some terms. He would not comment on the terms, and said he was not sure when work would start again on the park and ride. He also pointed out that until the Putney Selectboard sings off on the settlement it is a work in progress.
"VTrans is happy with the settlement," Davis said. "It is not only my decision when work will start again. It will be a mutual decision made by VTrans staff members. At this point we are taking things one step at a time and we'll see what happen when we get through this.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.
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