On September 11, 2015

Clarification on Killington’s West Hill Road projects and Gun Ordinance

Dear Editor,

There have been two issues before the Select Board these past few months that I would like to update the community on: West Hill Road and the adoption of a Gun Ordinance.

First, West Hill Road. Quite a few residents have expressed concerns regarding the safety of traffic (car, pedestrian and bicycle) on this road. Discussions have included (but not limited to) shoulder width and material, signage and placement, line painting, drainage ditches, and the most commonly mentioned point: the slip lane (yes, we are keeping the slip lane!)

I felt the meeting on Sept. 1 was very helpful in clarifying that, in the end, we really all want the same thing: For West Hill to be used and treated as a residential road, and to limit and slow down through traffic as much as possible to help create a safer environment for the locals who live in that neighborhood. The challenge for the Select Board has been to do this as a comprehensive package as opposed to piecemeal so the components of our safety strategy work well together with limited negative results (such as over-signage, traffic flow disruption, etc.). The plan moving forward includes signage for Speed Limit (25 mph), for Weight Limit, No Thru Trucks and Yield all placed more effectively, re-grading of the shoulders as millings become available, and discouraging GPS systems to use West Hill as a shortcut for out of town visitors, among other things. Thank you to all who voiced concerns and suggestions, the process can be very frustrating when trying to balance the needs and ideas of many people.

Second, the Gun Ordinance has been another oft spoken of subject. At our meeting on Aug. 25, we were able to further refine the issues that citizens have with local gun discharge. As I have stated before, the board is not looking to restrict anyone’s rights but rather encourage a balance and awareness of everyone’s rights and reasonable expectations. There are two main issues:

1. Safety in terms of the location of gun discharge.

2. The high volume of noise created by practice and recreational gun use.

Gun ownership is certainly a guaranteed right, but there is also a reasonable expectation that by living in a rural area we can enjoy the calm and quiet of nature at our homes and vacation homes. To address these issues the ordinance restricts practice and recreational gun use (but not for hunting, for purposes of protection, nor necessary dispatch of animals) in certain highly populated areas and areas of high recreational use such as River Road. The ordinance also restricts practice and recreational gun use after sunset until sunrise, again with the exceptions of hunting, protection and necessary animal dispatch. Again thank you to all on both sides of the issue for both input and help in trying to create a reasonable balance.

(This letter is based on my impressions and are not approved of, nor have been reviewed by the full board.)

Thank you for your time and considerations,

Patty McGrath, Killington Select Board Chair

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