Bristol selectboard receives plan

BRISTOL — After last week’s town meeting, the Bristol selectboard regrouped on Monday at Holley Hall to receive a newly proposed town plan, choose a new chair and tend to a range of timely matters.
After the Bristol Planning Commission last week approved a long-debated land-use section in the proposed town plan, the planners wrapped up their revision process and sent the document to the selectboard. The board received the new document and on April 23 will meet with members of the planning commission, who will highlight certain elements of the plan.
The selectboard and planning commission hope to have a new Bristol Town Plan ready for voters by the November General Election. But before then, the selectboard will hold at least two public hearings on the document. The first hearing will be May 14 at 7 p.m. in Holley Hall, and the date of the second hearing will be determined after the first one.
“The thing has got to be finalized by the end of September,” said Town Administrator Bill Bryant. “We basically have five months to get through the selectboard’s review process in keeping with the November General Election goal.”
The plan and its 100-plus-page appendix will be posted on the town’s website in the next week, said Bryant, and paper copies will be available in the town offices, though the appendix will come with a fee because it is a large color document.
In other news from Monday’s meeting, the selectboard:
•  Chose John “Peeker” Heffernan as its new chair to replace Joel Bouvier, who was just elected to his second three-year term. It’s Bristol tradition that the chair rotates annually.
•  Began scheduling the town officer appointment process. The hottest open seats are on the planning commission, where six people are vying for four three-year terms. Incumbents John Elder, Ken Weston and Bill Sayre are hoping to reclaim their seats on the board, and John Moyers, Katie Raycroft-Meyer and John Kromer are also hoping to get on. The selectboard will hold interviews on April 9.
•  Approved an $80,000 loan for kombucha manufacturer Aqua Vitea, which is currently located in Salisbury. The issuance of the loan is contingent upon the company’s ability to raise a like sum. Owner Jeff Weaber said Aqua Vitea — which makes kombucha, a beverage packed with probiotics produced by a microbial digestion of tea — is working with a private group of investors to raise these funds. If Aqua Vitea gains the necessary investment, the company would likely move into the Bristol Works business park on Munsill Avenue.
•  Scheduled its annual road trip, where board members inspect local roads for repairs. The trip is slated for Thursday, April 19, and interested citizens will have an opportunity to accompany the selectboard on a first-come-first-serve basis. The bus leaves from Holley Hall at 3 p.m.
•  Issued a certificate of insurance for the annual New Haven River kayak race, which will be held April 21 and 22. This year’s race will be smaller than last and focus more on attracting local kayakers, said Bryant. 
•  Scheduled May 7 public hearings on the town’s proposed water, sewer and landfill budgets for the upcoming fiscal year. The hearings will begin at 7 p.m. in Holley Hall. The selectboard will make the final decision on the spending plans, but board members will get citizen feedback at the hearings.
•  Discussed the state’s closing of a park-and-carpool location at the intersection of Routes 116 and 17 north of the village. According to Bryant, the state didn’t want to maintain the parking area near Mary’s restaurant during the winter because it’s on private property. He said that free day parking for commuters is available on the south side of the Bristol town green and at the bottom of Lincoln Road by the New Haven River.
•  Decided to hold its meetings every other Monday for the foreseeable future. The next meeting is on March 26.
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected]

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