Lyndonville Trustees Discuss Route 5 Paving Project

PHOTO BY AMY ASH NIXON

This empty house near the Lyndon Municipal Building is in poor condition, and its owner is being sought by the town to discuss code concerns and more.

LYNDONVILLE -- The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) has submitted to the village its plans for the repaving of the state Class One highways in Lyndonville next year, town and village municipal administrator Dan Hill told trustees Monday night.

Hill said he still had several questions to pose to VTrans about the plans, including, "Do we want to include the island on Broad Street in front of the bank and post office?" and "Do we want to narrow the intersection of Grove Street and Main Street enough so that there is not a power pole in the middle of it?"

A third question would be, "Do you want the pedestrian crossing signs to be fluorescent yellow-green or just the ones for the school?"

The plans reviewed Monday night for the paving of Route 5 through Lyndonville show more street signs than the trustees had hoped to see in the heart of the village, and they asked questions about some of the signage, as well as expressed a concern over the placement of a crosswalk across Broad Street.

"The drawing shows a crosswalk from the west side of Broad Street into the parking lot next to the Freighthouse. It does not line up with the sidewalk that runs up Center Street," explained Hill of the board's concerns expressed at the meeting. "Also, the plans do not account for the new entrances to Cumberland Farms. I have a call in to the state to discuss," he said Tuesday.

A crosswalk that was formerly in front of the post office leading to Memorial Park will be re-installed and made accessible for people with handicaps, and a so-called pedestrian refuge island will be constructed in the center of the crosswalk.

Ray Durocher asked if there would be signs "making sure people are aware there's a crosswalk there," and said, "I do like the way they did it; I think it's going to be a lot safer there."

Having the island in the center of the road will stop people from illegally making a left turn from the northbound lane of Route 5 across the double yellow lines to park in front of the post office, a pet peeve of outgoing trustee Stephen Pitman, who is leaving Vermont and was thanked by Hill for his service at Monday night's meeting, his final meeting, as his resignation takes effect Sept. 1.

Village resident Ron Aiken, who lives on the park with his family and who has served on the police commission, was at Monday night's meeting, and so far is the lone resident to express an interest in stepping up and being appointed to Pitman's seat on the trustees, which will happen in mid-September.

In other business, the board approved the new village tax rate, up 1.3 cents on the village side of the equation, noted Hill, and for the schools, he noted, the homestead rate is up 6.05 cents, while the non-residential education tax rate is up 3.9 cents.

Hill also updated the trustees on his retirement plans and intention to return to the post in a part-time capacity in early November, saying he must take off the entire month of October under the state municipal retirement plan's requirements.

Hill asked the board to approve an access permit for the new Cumberland Farms, which the board did. "This obviously is going to be a big taxable event for the village," noted Pitman. "When it's up and running," it will be, agreed Hill, saying, "You're losing three houses, but you're gaining a sizable retail business, which will up the grand list, which needs to happen," he noted. Pitman said he'd like to see the old Cumberland site built into student apartments.

The board also discussed concerns over an absentee landlord whose now vacant and run-down property on the corner of Park Avenue sharing the driveway access with the municipal building, is of increasing concern to officials. Hill said he has tried to find him and the town clerk's office, too, but efforts so far have led only to returned mail. "We cannot locate the guy," said Hill, who said the house is out of code, and "it's just a rat's nest now." The owner, Hill said, is a young man whose parents had bought the house as a student house when he was here; he said the young man is apparently out of state, and there is no one living in the residence now.

The house is owned by Damon Schrotberger, Hill said, adding, "I am trying to reach him on the condition of the property and the house itself." He said the town clerk's office is also trying to reach him regarding delinquent taxes, he understands.

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