Archive - Nov 29, 2006 - Editorial
In the big scheme of things, Vermont Electric Power Companyâ€™s project to string up a new set of 345Kv transmission lines through Addison County could have been delayed another year or two without (in all likelihood) depriving consumers of an adequate supply of power. It certainly seems reasonable, therefore, to ask VELCO to work around a Middlebury Christmas tree farm during the farmâ€™s peak season between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
To proceed with the erection of gigantic poles within the next two or three weeks, when it means that the poles would be placed right in the midst of the Werner tree farm (see story Page 1), seems like a slap in the face to a fellow Vermont business. Itâ€™s almost an affront that VELCO wouldnâ€™t have foreseen the dilemma earlier and made the overture to avoid work there for this one five-week period.
When a single person is able to use the Act 250 process to delay a project for up to two years for reasons that have been dismissed by all others, the state needs to amend the law.
The instance at hand is with the proposed Eastview housing project â€” a 101-unit retirement community to be built on 30 acres south of Porter Medical Center campus off South Street in Middlebury. Opposed is South Street Extension resident Miriam Roemischer. She has been the proverbial thorn-in-the-side of those who have pushed the project forward. Thatâ€™s a shame.
While other community members, including many along South Street, raised initial concerns about the project â€” including the fact that traffic would increase and they wanted to be sure traffic-calming measures were in place â€” their concerns apparently have been satisfied and the public good of the project (not to mention the appropriate zoning) has outweighed their own personal preferences for a quieter street.
As Gov. James Douglas addresses the task of replacing Secretary of Agriculture Steve Kerr the future of farmers throughout the state may hang in the balance. Itâ€™s not that one person will make or break the farm community, but that the direction state policy proceeds during the next few years could either set the path for new growth on Vermont farms or continue the rapid demise of dairy farms Vermont has seen for the past 50 years.
The demise, as most everyone knows, has cut the number of farms in the state by a third in the past decade â€” from 2,265 in 1993 to 1,459 in 2003. Itâ€™s not a new trend. The number of dairy farms in Vermont in 1983 was 3,216; in 1973 it was 3,852; in 1963, there were 7,127, and in 1953, there were 10,637. On average about 8 percent to 10 percent of our dairy farms have been going out of business each year.