By Lani Duke
Dog rules stand as is
FAIR HAVEN—Fair Haven’s Select Board turned down a request by Eric and Adrianne Gross to revisit and amend the board’s protective order regarding a dog owned by William and Charity Pearo. The dog had escaped its yard along with its housemates and had bitten another dog being walked by Eric Gross January 15. Gross claimed that the protective order was not followed and deadlines were not met, and that he continues to suffer from pain and health problems as well as stress to family members.
However, the Select Board found that the evaluation had been performed within the required 45-day period and noted that no further incidents have been reported. Steve Pollinger of Fair Haven Animal Hospital, a firm recognized for curbing aggressive behavior, has been training the dog, reporting substantial progress.
Town Manager Herb Durfee reported that no appeal had been made to Vermont Superior Court regarding the Board’s decision. The owner has adhered to the leash requirement since the protective order was issued, the fence has been built and the dog(s) have been kept in the house or in the fenced yard. An agency recognized by the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association performed the evaluation; rehabilitation is on-going.
Satisfied with what they heard, the Select Board agreed on June 7 that the dog’s owner has followed the protective order and there is legal precedent that a dog can not be destroyed for a first offense. They see no reason to revisit the vicious dog hearing decision, although they agreed to verify Pollinger’s credentials.
Outdoor liquor permit granted, with conditions
CASTLETON—Castleton Select Board members voted June 13 to allow Edgewater, Inc., to resume serving alcohol outdoors, but within abbreviated hours. Edgewater, doing business as Fishtail Tavern and the Trak-In Steak House, had its outdoor consumption permit suspended rather than renewed April 25. The company’s liquor license and its outdoor consumption permit expired April 30. The board approved Edgewater’s “on premise consumption” but denied the outdoor permit.
Three young people who had been last seen at the Fishtail died in a one-car collision with a tree in March. Peggy Sumner, mother of one of the accident victims, asked the Board members why they wouldn’t wait until the investigation was complete before granting the permit. Chairman Joe Bruno explained that the investigation may take six months to a year and end up exonerating Edgewater.
The granted permit allows outdoor alcohol consumption from noon to 11 p.m. rather than the applied-for hours of noon to 2 a.m. Edgewater must have an employee present at the door area of the tavern from 6 p.m. until closing; an additional condition allows the Select Board to reconsider the application once the Castleton Police Department and Vermont Department of Liquor Control conclude their investigation.
The Liquor Control Department performs a “source” investigation any time a fatal crash may be caused by alcohol impairment, according to William Goggins, director of education, licensing and enforcement for the department.
Tavern manager David Rogers had told the Select Board his business would no longer host college functions other than fundraising gatherings. At a May 9 meeting, Rogers characterized Fishtail as a “Cheers-style” tavern, serving more food than anything else, and planned to close at midnight.
At the June 13 meeting, Rogers rejected any notion that the tavern is a “den of iniquity,” and now paid for a host to stand at the gate from 6 p.m. until closing, having extended those hours that previously began at 9 p.m.
Bruno suggested a sheriff be at the door from 9 until 2 if Edgewater insisted on allowing outdoor consumption until 2.
Water main break
FAIR HAVEN—The town of Fair Haven asked residents and businesses to switch to “water conservation mode” June 15 after the discovery of a broken 4-inch water main on Depot Street. Public Works Supervisor Walter Panoushek said the leak, which spilled some 80,000 gallons of water, was probably caused by a shift in the rocks and stone that cover the 1978 cast-iron pipe.
Although much of the flowing water ran over the tracks, an inspection announced them safe and the Amtrak train ran through without problems. Only four water users suffered a loss of water service when the line shut down while a repair crew dug into the dirt road and installed a repair clamp patch.
Fair Haven voters had already approved a $2.1 million bond to repair the pipe and other waterline segments on Depot, Fourth, Liberty, Maple, Mechanic, North Liberty, and Pine streets, plus on Route 4A and Dutton Avenue. That work is scheduled to begin summer 2017.
The town’s water storage tanks were already low; a Fair Haven Fire Department training exercise and hydrant flushing had already lowered water levels. The water conservation request allowed the two tanks to fill. There was no health threat, town officials reported.
Planned solar project scrutinized
MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS—Rod Viens and Peter Bay of groSolar discussed their company’s proposed Orchard Road Solar project with the residents of Middletown Springs during a special informational meeting May 26. The company plans to lease only five acres of land from property owner Dan Querry, with 3.7 acres of the property used for solar panels. There are no plans to build a second or third solar installation in the area, because Green Mountain Power transmission lines limit the project to 500kw.
The company might sell this project to another company in Vermont. A visual analysis currently underway will determine the extent of a screening project; screening will mitigate the visual impact but not hide the installation completely. Minimal concrete footings will minimize soil disruption; poles will be driven directly into the ground. The company will build a 100-foot-long, 12-foot-wide gravel road to access the site. Project cost is estimated at $1.3 to $1.5 million.
The expected life of the installation is 25 to 30 years. A decommissioning fund, required statewide for all projects of 500kw or more, must be in place before any site preparation takes place and must be maintained by the owner even if another entity buys the project. State tax is based on the equipment value, separate from the landowner’s property tax.
Although the power will, in reality, be used in Middletown Springs, there are no net metering credits for homes in the town. Half the installation’s power is to be sold to Goddard College, which will keep its Renewable Energy Certificates so that the school can state it is purchasing renewable energy.