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November 20, 2019 top stories
Developer pitches
array compromise

BRADFORD—The Bradford Selectboard appeared frigid to a request from a solar project developer to drop objections to a proposed array on the Lower Plain.
Representatives from Encore Renewable Energy attended the selectboard meeting on Nov. 14 to discuss a plan to build a 500 kW solar array on a vacant parcel next to Bradford Mini-Mart.
Earlier this year, Cairns Brothers Realty Partnership filed a petition with the Vermont Public Utilities Commission seeking approval to construct the array on a 2-acre hayfield between between NAPA Auto Parts and the Mini-Mart on Route 25 not far from the I-91 interchange. Cairns also owns the Mini-Mart and the adjacent self-storage units.
Cairns is based in South Burlington and is a subsidiary of Champlain Oil, which was purchased by Global Partners, LP of Waltham, Massachusetts in 2018. Cairns has contracted with Encore to develop the array.
But several local groups, including the Bradford Business Association, the Bradford Planning Commission, the Bradford Selectboard, and Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission, have opposed the plan arguing that the parcel is better suited to commercial use or a similar use because of access to water and sewer infrastructure and the relative dearth of such properties in town. The property is along the multimillion Lower Plain sewer extension that the municipality completed a few years ago.

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Log yard approved
despite objections

NEWBURY—The Newbury Development Review Board has approved a proposal to develop a log yard, or log transfer station, at the intersection of Route 302 and Leighton Hill Road.
Russell and Derrick Berry, who operate Berry’s Logging out of Lyndonville, proposed the log yard, which will occupy approximately 7.5 acres of a 24-acre parcel that is currently vacant.
The approval comes after officials from Blue Mountain Union School had objected to the proposal. The school’s entrance is almost directly across Route 302 from the log yard.
“There would be a lot more added trucks and traffic at the school entrance,” school board chair Angeline Alley said in an interview. In addition, she said noise generated by truck traffic when they use jake brakes could interfere with school operations.
Alley said the board proposed restrictions on truck traffic at the beginning and end of the school day when activity on the school’s driveway is at its highest. But the applicants did not agree to that suggestion, she said, and the DRB did not make that a condition of the permit.

Coalition assesses
prevention efforts

WELLS RIVER—What does the story of a foster puppy named Oscar who was once so small he could fit in a hot dog bun have to do with substance misuse prevention?
At a Nov. 5 community forum on substance misuse prevention that was held in Wells River, assistant director of behavioral health at Little Rivers Health Care Michael Brandli gave a presentation called “Resiliency: A Discussion About Adverse Life Experiences, Addiction and Hope.” He told the story of his dog Oscar who proved to be a survivor in spite of numerous traumatic events.
Brandli said his wife brought Oscar home after the puppy traveled from Connecticut to a Vermont organization that fosters and adopts out dogs. He was one of four from a litter of six who survived the trip, and one of the two remaining puppies who survived the first year in their new homes.
A pit bull mix who grew to be a full-size, healthy companion for his adopted brother, Marley, Oscar then survived the grief of losing Marley in 2013, only to later sustain a broken neck during a fall. Brandli and his wife agreed to a surgery which had a 50 percent chance of success.
Oscar came through, but was left paralyzed from the neck down. He gained some mobility after spending a month and a half in a rehabilitation center, and then with the help of his owners, he regained his mobility after a lot of hard work.

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Board set to change
business park rules

NORTH HAVERHILL—The Haverhill Selectboard is poised to amend the regulations it imposes on businesses that purchase land in the town-owned business park on Benton Road in North Haverhill.
The selectboard conducted a “second reading” of the proposed changes at its meeting on Nov. 12. A third reading and possible adoption could be held at the board’s next meeting on Nov. 25. changes would not affect existing businesses operating in the park.
Although there are several minor land use rules in effect, Haverhill is a town largely without zoning. But the town does impose land use restrictions on the eight lots in the business park, which were all at one time owned by Haverhill. Today, just three of the lots—totaling 12 acres in size—remain vacant.
Selectman Tom Friel had previously characterized the covenants as “spot zoning.”
The covenants address a number of topics, including setbacks, height requirements, and environmental impacts. They also empower the board to conduct site plan reviews.

FRAMING—Snow covers the lookout at Wright’s Mountain in Bradford after Kelcie Beck took a walk one evening last week to take in the sunset. It’s the 25th anniversary of Wright’s Mountain and there will be a celebration on Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. at the Wright’s Mountain Road trailhead for a campfire, cookout, and music.
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