Sunday, January 17, 2016
Berlin News to Know August 21st
This communication is put together and distributed on a volunteer basis by resident Corinne Stridsberg simply in an effort to share information and build community, it is not from the town of
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For historical news look for "
Memories" on facebook. Berlin, Vermont
Be sure to check out the news on paving in
at the end of this new in a post Jeremy Hanson
made on Front Porch Forum. Berlin
Also of note, guardrails on
be replaced this year, I believe in October.
Mike Stridsberg will be on stage at Gusto's both Friday night and Saturday night - Friday with Slant Sixx and Saturday with Native Tongue. Also Saturday at Gusto's there is a LobsterFest. Late nights but fun times!
Below you will find:
TROPICAL STORM IRENE - FOUR YEARS LATER
GETTING INTO THE MORTUARY FIELD WAS A HUGE DECISION
HITS A SNAG IN STORMWATER PERMITTING
FRONT PORCH FORUM BERLIN
TROPICAL STORM IRENE - FOUR YEARS LATER
I don't think we'll ever forget the devastation of Tropical Storm Irene. Some folks had harrowing experiences in escaping the floodwaters and lost their home and belongings. We're fortunate that here in
were lost. Recovery still continues. Some of our friends and neighbors relocated
to other communities. What puts a smile
on my face thinking about the days and weeks that followed the storm was
meeting folks who I didn't already know, working along side both residents and
non-residents and being part of the recovery efforts of cleaning up trash and
brush and trying to help people get connected up with what they needed. It's always wonderful to see folks pulling
together and donating their time and equipment to help in the community. Berlin
The Berlin Historical Society would like to put together a binder of photos, stories, and information about Tropical Storm Irene and would appreciate any you have to share. The Historical Society is always willing to be the one to scan and copy what you have.
Program Upcoming: Thursday, August 27th on PBS
- Flood Bound - about
- Strength of the Storm - about Weston Mobile Home Park people
In the meantime, on-line there is information: Connect... conversation with the filmmakers of these programs: http://vermontpbs.org/show/21408/105 and also an article:
Local Film Explores the Strength of
Residents After Irene Mobile Home Park
Seven Days pub.
2/19/14 by Margot Harrison
Tropical Storm Irene By the Numbers www.anr.state.vt.us/anr/climatechange/irenebythenumbers.html
The August meeting of the Berlin Historical Society will be held at the
office building on Berlin Town Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at . We will be showing some of our old farming,
logging, sugaring etc. photos on our large screen monitor starting at so come early and
enjoy the show.
We're listing our books in an on-line program and are also checking to find how many of these books can be found on line (EBooks, Archive.org, PDF, etc) to read right at home on your screen at your leisure. So far we've found 26 out of the 104 books searched for can be found on-line. Technology is amazing!!
A variety of historical information continues to be shared on our
page. Join us in traveling down memory
lane and learning about the yesteryears of Berlin, Vermont . www.facebook.com/groups/BerlinVermontMemories Berlin
Monday, August 24th the Sewer Commission meets Town office
Tuesday, August 25th the Historical Society meets Town office, come at to see a slide show and look at other materials.
Wednesday, August 26th the Planning Commission Meets
Tuesday, September 1st, Development Review Board Meeting .
Meetings at the Town Office can be found on line at: www.berlinvt.org/calendar
GETTING INTO THE MORTUARY FIELD WAS A HUGE DECISION
5/6/15 The World by Gary Hass
“The funeral business is a lot different than you think,” says 23-year-old Catherine Jaworski, a 2009 Graduate of
Union 32 High School. “But I absolutely love it!”
In her junior year, she had an opportunity to meet a nearby funeral director in
. A one-hour interview turned into a full day
learning experience. When asked if she would like to see an embalming, she said
absolutely! “I had always been curious how it worked and it was so different
than what you would think. Just fascinating!” Connecticut
“Going into the mortuary field I got a chance to use my interest in business administration and even to some degree criminal justice” she said. “It was everything I wanted to do in one job.
For the complete story and a photo of Catherine who is working at Hooker Whitcomb, go to this link:
On Wednesdays, except for the first Wednesday, U-32 will dismiss at and the elementary schools at . The school year calendar can be found at: http://wcsuonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=285&Itemid=176
Look for U-32 Welcome Back information at: www.u32.org/grades9-12
Including the principal's letter which details admin changes at the school
U-32 Open House Thursday, September 3rd,
Lots of Berlin Elementary information available at www.berlinschool.org
You've perhaps heard about Act 46 in the news. If you'd like to follow what's happening in the Washington Central Supervisory Union (WCSU) with their talks on consolidation, go to the WCSU website http://wcsuonline.org and in the upper left corner under "Latest News" pick "ACT 46 Overview" At the link there is both links for video of meetings and lots of paperwork.
There seems to be discussion of both consolidating the school boards for U-32 and the five sending schools (Middlesex, Calais, Worcester, East Montpelier, and Berlin) down to one board. There have also been rumblings about if this would also mean closing any of the elementary schools in the district.
Berlin Elementary School (BES) Board Member Carl Parton is part of this Act 46 Study Group. Contact him if you'd like to be notified regarding upcoming meetings.
Current board members at BES are Chris Rice, Chris Winters, Craig Frazier, Amy Tucker, and Carl Parton.
representatives on the U-32 Board are Mike Law and
Jonathan Goddard. Contact information
for board members can be found on the school websites. Berlin
Interview with Kristen Carlson regarding
GMP news and update.
HITS A SNAG IN
Publ. 8/15/15 Times Argus by David Delcore
This week the state Agency of Natural Resources joined the mall’s owner in requesting the District 5 Environmental Commission alter the permit that it issued for a new 55,000-square-foot Kohl’s store late last month.
At issue in both motions — one filed by the mall’s lawyer, Charles Storrow, and the other by Leslie Welts, an attorney with ANR — is a permit condition that both argue is at odds with the actual evidence presented during the quasi-judicial commission’s protracted review of the Kohl’s project.
Included in that evidence were two state-approved stormwater permits which, in the view of the agency’s technical experts, raised no red flags with respect to water pollution.
One of those permits was issued in 2010 and covers the vast majority of the mall campus which, at the time of its approval, included the pre-existing parking lot that is part of the otherwise undeveloped “out-lot” where sitework for Kohl’s is now underway.
The existing parking lot accounts for 4.1 of the 4.3 acres of “impervious surface” attributed to the Kohl’s project, and the mall’s owner obtained a companion stormwater permit from ANR earlier this year for the remaining two-tenths of an acre that will be occupied by the yet-to-be-built department store. Stormwater generated by that portion of the project will be treated separately and must meet stricter standards.
However, the Act 250 permit condition that has prompted push-back from the developer and the agency seeks to apply those standards to the entire “project site” — essentially treating a parking lot that was constructed long before those standards were drafted in 2002 as if it is “new development.”
In a corresponding conclusion of law that Storrow and Welts have also asked be deleted from the Kohl’s permit, the commission acknowledged the “substantial deference” typically afforded state permits as part of the Act 250 review process, while outlining its rationale for ignoring the agency’s advice.
“Effective treatment of stormwater runoff from development is a critical water quality issue in the
The two newly filed motions suggest that is illogical, impractical, unnecessary and unilaterally overrides the unrebutted presumption that the state’s own technical experts actually got it right when reviewing and issuing the stormwater permits in the first place.
“The permit condition is not supported by clear evidence in the record, the permit condition makes it impossible for the applicant to comply with the permit, and the permit condition raises significant policy issues that are not appropriate for case-by-case decision-making,” Welts wrote.
Welts tackled those issues in order, citing case law that suggests that, absent “clear evidence,” the commission was compelled to accept the stormwater permits at face value.
“No parties challenged the legitimacy of the permits, the presumption afforded the permits, or offered any evidence demonstrating that the applicant’s compliance with the permits would result in undue water pollution,” Welts wrote.
Although Welts acknowledged the “retrofitted stormwater system” that was permitted for the mall complex in 2010 does not meet the 2002 standards for “new development,” it far exceeds those for “re-development” projects and “… will not result in undue water pollution.”
Welts went on to point out that complying with the challenged permit condition would require redesigning an approved stormwater system, obtaining an amended permit from the agency and then likely applying for an amended Act 250 permit due to changes that would necessitate additional review.
“This feedback loop cannot be what the commission intended,” she wrote.
Finally, Welts expressed concern about a permit condition that addresses an issue the agency is under legislative directive to resolve by
“The commission’s condition … pre-empts this process by requiring the applicant in this case to comply with the 2002 Stormwater Management Manual prior to the agency’s adoption of a schedule, prior to the agency’s adoption of new technical standards for retrofits, and prior to the agency’s development of a system of off-sets and trading for systems that cannot meet technical standards,” she wrote. “These requirements will apply to many stormwater systems throughout
According to Welts, that involves rulemaking, necessitates public input and “should not be driven by case-by-case decisions.”
Those policy and political concerns were absent from Storrow’s separately filed motion, but, like Welts, he argued the permit condition at issue was not supported by any evidence or testimony received by the commission. Storrow argued the only evidence before the commission on the stormwater issue were two state-approved permits.
“The fact that the stormwater management system may not be as effective as one that is built from scratch does not necessarily mean that it does not afford an adequate degree of water quality treatment in relation to the issue of whether the project will cause undue water pollution,” he wrote. “In fact, in approving the stormwater management system in 2010 (the state) necessarily determined that discharges from the system would not violate the state’s water quality standards.”
With sitework underway, Storrow indicated fast action from the commission on the motion will be needed to avoid potentially expensive delays that could prompt Kohl’s to back out of its agreement with his client.
Pub. 8/21/15 Times Argus by David Delcore
The, 4-1, vote came during a special meeting Wednesday and capped a discussion that began two nights earlier and nearly ended with a much different result.
Though the board initially balked at signing a letter of support that was drafted and supplied by the mall’s lawyer, Charles Storrow, during its regular meeting Monday, members agreed to do just that as Wednesday’s special session came to a close.
It wasn’t a full-blown change of heart, but, with one exception, any apprehension members had when they discussed the letter on Monday night evaporated during a brief meeting with Storrow late Wednesday afternoon.
Although Storrow told the board the letter of support from the town wasn’t “do-or-die,” he said it wouldn’t hurt if another statutory party to the review process that produced the permit with the newly challenged condition chose to chime in.
“It would be appreciated,” he said. “It would be helpful … Your voice would carry some weight.”
At issue is the three-member commission’s finding that the Kohl’s project must meet stricter standards than contemplated in separate state-approved stormwater permits.
Storrow and a lawyer for the state Agency of Natural Resources have both filed motions asking the commission to delete that potentially precedent-setting permit condition that they contend is at odds with the evidence submitted during the quasi-judicial review process.
At best, Storrow told board members, complying with the permit condition would significantly delay the store’s planned opening next spring while driving up the cost to his client by an estimated $500,000. At worst, he said, it could derail plans to build a free-standing, 55,000-square-foot store on mall property where bulldozers are already busy.
“As a practical matter, (the permit condition) is extremely problematic,” Storrow said, suggesting it was also unexpected.
The vast majority of the mall complex — 21 acres of impervious surface — is covered under a stormwater permit that was approved by ANR in 2010, and the only addition is the rooftop of the proposed Kohl’s building that will be treated under a separate permit the agency issued earlier this year.
According to Storrow, those permits usually matter in the Act 250 review process.
“The idea here is unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary you ought to be able to rely on technical permits (issued by state agencies),” he said.
George Malek, president of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce, agreed.
Malek, who made it a point to attend the special meeting, said it is “extremely rare” for state permits to essentially be ignored by a district commission and unheard of when those permits were uncontested during the public portion of the review process.
“It just sets a precedent that’s an absolute killer,” he said, suggesting if the permit condition stands it could have chilling effect on development by making an already unpredictable process even less predictable.
According to Malek, the mall owner might be able to absorb the unanticipated expense, or Kohl’s could “walk away,” but the permit condition in question would “bankrupt most local folks.”
“Smaller businesses facing that same kind of scenario who aren’t already gun shy are going to be even more shy if they get the blessing of the agency, seeing nobody contest it … and turn around and start losing permits,” he said.
Selectman Jeremy Hansen, who urged the board not to sign the letter Monday night, said his mind hadn’t changed. He said the board was ill-equipped to second-guess the findings of the district commission and should simply let the process play out.
“I’m not a hydrologist. I’m not an engineer. I can’t make that determination,” Hansen said, reiterating his reluctance to sign a letter drafted by a lawyer who represents the interests of a private developer, not the town.
“What’s our opinion?” he asked.
The board’s other four members said, while they appreciated Hansen’s argument, they saw no harm in signing a letter supporting the deletion of a permit condition that could threaten the Kohl’s project.
“I think we do owe it to the mall owners to show as much support as possible because we don’t want to lose this project,” board member Roberta Haskin said. “I think that would be devastating to the mall, Kohl’s, and the town.”
Though he wavered Monday night, Selectman Pete Kelley said that after having time to reflect he had no qualms signing a letter urging the commission to alter the land-use permit to accommodate the mall’s owner and satisfy the state Agency of Natural Resources.
Kelley said the board didn’t need any special expertise to reach that conclusion.
“That’s beyond our responsibility,” he said.
Kelley and Haskin were joined in the four-vote majority by Chairman Ture Nelson and Brad Towne. Hansen was the lone dissenter.
FRONT PORCH FORUM BERLIN
Below are a few recent postings... there have been many more about a variety of topics, looking for services, garage sales, meeting announcement, events, etc. Membership is free - to join go to: http://frontporchforum.com
Issue #696 Berlin August 20, 2015
JEREMY HANSEN, HANSEN.SELECTBOARD@GMAIL.COM, SELECTBOARD MEMBER,
I just got some additional information about the paving projects going on in
this year and next. The
work this year is scheduled to be done in October, and the work in 2016 is
scheduled to be finished in August. More updates will be posted to http://roadworkupdates.com throughout the process. These projects
are in addition to the water system construction, which is ongoing and making
good progress. Berlin
Here are the 2015 projects:
* VT 62 - Milling and paving from Exit 7 to the intersection of
Road. This work is scheduled to start at the end of
Berlin State Highway - Milling and paving
from US 302 (Walker Motors) to VT 62 – both Northbound and Southbound
corridors. This work is expected to start the week of August 24, 2015.
* Airport Road – Milling, reclaiming and paving from
Granger Road to Piper Road which is near the . This work was started
on Berlin State Airport August 19, 2015. Motorists can expect
slow travel for the duration of the project and are encouraged to use caution
when driving over the rough road while the road is being reclaimed.
* Airport Road – Milling, reclaiming and paving from
302 – Barre-Montpelier Road – Milling, paving and
line striping are planned from the Wayside Restaurant to the Barre City Limits
near the Dunkin Donuts. Crews will also adjust the height of manhole covers,
water valves and drainage inlets within the roadway before final paving.
Two-way traffic will be maintained as much as possible. This work is also
planned for daytime work hours. Completion is scheduled for August 2016.
I hope this helps clear up any questions you might have about the construction we have going on in town. If not, please feel free to follow up with me.
to Rent Issue #696
August 20, 2015
Peg E. Monley •
I am a 19 year old male looking for a room to rent in the greater
area. I will be working full time and taking some CCV classes
in the coming year and need a place to stay at night. I'm pretty quiet and
spend most of my free time reading or on my computer. I have great references
and am drug and alcohol free. If you or someone you know have some space they
are looking to fill, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 802-229-1252 Montpelier
Baseball Field Needs Your Help Issue #693
August 17, 2015
Andrea Chandler • Crosstown Road
The Berlin Recreation Board was contacted by a
parent who is helping to move the current baseball diamond from
from the middle of the school's playground to a corner of the field. In the
process, these volunteers will be creating a bare ground diamond and moving two
dugouts. So far, these parents have been able to find donations for gravel and
have already put in many hours of labor with many more hours still to go. They
have put together a minimal budget of materials that they need to prepare the
field for use. Expenses include removable bases, chalk, poured cement slabs for
the dugouts, port-o-lets during the season, and fencing will be needed soon as
well as new dugouts in the future. This translates into a little under $1000 in
the next few weeks. The Rec Board has not budgeted these items but will try to
find the funds to assist all their hard work. The Board will most likely
include funding in their next budget for ongoing chalk and port-o-let expenses. Berlin Elementary school
I am writing to ask you to consider donating to this worthwhile community project and help them get the supplies they need now. Thanks for any assistance you can give.
Tax deductible donations may be made to the Berlin Recreation Board and mailed to Berlin Recreation Board,
108 Shed Road, Berlin, VT 05602.