Around the Region: Changes at Blueberry Hill Inn spur citizens’ questions in Goshen

GOSHEN — In late March, Tony Clark, owner of Blueberry Hill Inn and Cross Country Ski Center, closed on a deal to sell 54 acres of his land to the National Forest Service.
The sale is the first of several potential changes coming to the Blueberry Hill Inn. In February, town officials at a selectboard meeting said that the Moosalamoo Association had applied for a grant of $1 million to purchase the ski touring center as Clark moved toward retirement.
At April’s selectboard meeting, selectmen and residents discussed the possible effects of a transfer of ownership to Moosalamoo, including the potential increase of traffic on town roads.
If sold, the Moosalamoo forest land would stay on the town’s tax roles, but the 54 acres sold into federal forest land have already been removed — a significant loss of taxable land for the town. Although the property tax rates for the coming year have yet to be calculated, Town Clerk Rosemary McKinnon said the loss of taxable land would lead to a large increase in tax rates.
The Goshen Planning Commission will hold a meeting on Monday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall, at which McKinnon said Tony Clark and representatives of the Moosalamoo Association would be on hand to discuss their plans.
The following real estate sales have been recorded in Goshen in the past several months:
• Dec. 1: John and Heather McDonough to Douglas and Gerry Cummings, a seasonal dwelling and 1 acre at 2498 Gap Road, $44,000.
• Jan. 4: Tammy Walsh to Jennifer and Martin Keeler, 10.3 acres at 1740 Carlisle Hill Road, $58,500.
• March 23: Anthony Clark to U.S. Department of Agriculture, 54 acres on Goshen Ripton Road, $190,000.
• March 25: Estate of John Hull Brown to Katrina Ohman, home and 6.5 acres at 421 Hathaway Road, $162,000.
Orwell buys new town dump truck
ORWELL — The Orwell Board of Selectmen put in a bid on a replacement truck following the April 26 meeting, following the allocation of funds for the purpose on Town Meeting Day.
At the meeting, officials put in a bid on a new 2011, single-axle International dump truck. The town has since purchased the truck for around $135,000 (Selectman Roland Simmons said the price could be a little higher or lower depending on the ultimate trade-in value of the towns old 1993 Mack truck). Simmons expects it to arrive in about a month, and it will have to be assembled.
Voters had authorized the town to spend up to $135,000 on a replacement truck.
Also at their April 26 meeting, selectmen approved an extension of the Orwell Free Library’s open hours by five hours each week, in response to a petition.
Earlier in April, selectmen offered to host a new home for the ShoreWell medical clinic after it lost its home in Shoreham’s Newton Academy, which burned to the ground after being struck by lightning. Dr. Allan Curtiss, who runs the clinic, declined the offer because a Shoreham location was more convenient for his clients.
In other recent activity, the selectboard:
• In February received a $9,000 grant from the state’s Better Backroads program to build a stone-lined ditch to correct water problems on Chipman’s Point Road.
• In March applied for a state paving grant for a one-mile section of Route 73 West.
• Received a free energy audit for the town’s fire and rescue building from the Addison County Regional Planning Commission.
The following real estate sales have been recorded in Orwell in the past several months:
• Dec. 1: Elizabeth Paxson to Malcolm and Rita Swogger, home and 5.6 acres at 106 Brown Lane, $330,000.
• Jan. 20: Vida Seck to Christopher Dundon, home and 5.3 acres at 294 Route 22A, $170,000.
• Jan. 26: Borghild Lester to Richard Maharay, home and 43.2 acres at 118 Sunset Lake Road, $161,800.
• Jan. 29 James and Melissa Banahan to Mark and Deborah Gibbons, home and 14 acres at 79 Young Road, $155,000.
• March 19: Conrad and Marion Seck to Travus Whittemore, home and 2 acres at 35 Mount Independence Road, $147,000.
• March 22: Cathy Allen to Arthur Prentiss, home on Mount Independence Road, $5,000.
• March 22: Constance Remes to Trina Ashline, home and 0.3 acres at 545 Singing Cedars Road, $60,400.
• March 29: Susan Baker to Andrew Buxton and Mary Brown, home and 0.25 acres at 65 Church St., $170,000.
Leicester seeks review of CLA
LEICESTER — At the meeting of the Leicester selectboard on April 5, the board decided not to accept the results of the most recent Common Level of Appraisal from the Vermont Department of Taxes.
The most recent CLA assessment puts Leicester at 97.69 percent, a fall of more than one point from 99. The board questioned the calculations behind the new number. A drop in the CLA results in a corresponding increase in property taxes.
The board has requested a review of the CLA results, but the review hadn’t been done as of press time.
At the selectboard meeting on April 19, town zoning administrator Kate Briggs reported that property owners along Route 53 were calling into question the enforcement of the town’s junk ordinance. Residents reported that the conditions along the road have deteriorated, and voiced their concerns about a potential decrease in property values. Briggs suggested that the town should look at the ordinance and how it could be changed so that it is better enforced.
After an initial planning meeting, the selectboard at the April 19 meeting voted to change the name of Maple Street to Maple Run Road.
The selectboard also approved the transport of beams for Middlebury’s Cross Street Bridge project. The beams will travel from Carrara on Route 116 through Leicester and into Middlebury.
The following real estate sales have been recorded in Leicester in the past several months:
• Dec. 18: Greentree Servicing LLC to Broadview Estates LLC, mobile home at 2747 Lake Dunmore Road, $37,500.
• Feb. 25: Ida Rae Bessett to Adam Piper, 2 acres at 344 Red Gate Road, $27,000.
Whiting qustions bridge beam transport
WHITING — On April 12 the Whiting selectboard reviewed Carrara’s proposal to transport beams for the Cross Street Bridge through Whiting, turning from Leicester-Whiting Road onto Route 30. The selectboard agreed to go back to the company for more information on why the beams needed to travel through Whiting, and later approved the proposal.
At their March 22 meeting, selectmen discussed the idea of making the town’s old school house into a library, and agreed to further investigate the possibility at a later date.
Also on March 22, selectmen initiated the search for a new lister after Gloria Bertrand resigned from the position. Just before the April 26 meeting, Russell Allaire accepted to step into the position. Selectmen approved the repair of a door on the Whiting salt shed for a cost of $1,451. A Feb. 25 windstorm damaged the door, and insurance paid the town $500 on the claim.
In January, selectmen learned that Whiting had received two energy audits from the Addison County Regional Planning Commission, one for the fire station and one for the school. The town paid for the one at the fire station, while the school audit was free.
The following real estate sales have been recorded in Whiting in the past several months:
• Nov. 10: Laurie Nichols to Matthew Ethier, land at Old Stovepipe Avenue, $12,000.
• Nov. 30: Frederick William Sunderman Jr. Trust to Cindy Bushey, home and 5.2 acres at 270 Barnes Road, $310,000.
• April 15: Richard Iffland to Paul Quesnel, 63 acres at North Main St., $82,000.
Reporter Andrea Suozzo is at [email protected].
CORRECTION: This article originally mischaracterized the stance of the Whiting selectboard toward J.P. Carrara & Sons’ request to transport beams for the Cross Street Bridge in Middlebury through Whiting. While minutes of a Whiting selectboard meeting showed selectmen questioning how the beams would be transported on Whiting’s roads, the selectboard later went to the company seeking clarification on the logistics of the proposed beam transport out of concern for safety. After assurance on the viability of the transportation plans, the selectboard approved the request. In fact, the beams were trucked through Whiting this week. We regret the error.

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