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Bristol to weigh in on gas pipeline proposal

BRISTOL — At Monday’s Bristol selectboard meeting, the board voted to submit a letter protecting the town’s interests to the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) concerning Vermont Gas Systems’ proposed pipeline project.
Bristol’s letter will be included, along with letters from other towns along the proposed route, in the Addison County Regional Planning Commission’s submission to the PSB on its official stance on the pipeline. During a meeting last Wednesday, the ACRPC decided to support with conditions the pipeline project, which will transport natural gas from Canada through Addison County.
The Bristol selectboard acted after hearing from town and regional planning commissioner Chico Martin, who said Bristol should send the letter in part to ensure that Vermont Gascommits to a date when gas from the pipeline would be available for the use of Bristol townspeople.
Martin recommended that the letter also cover several other points, including:
•  Support for the pipeline project with conditions, as listed by ACRPC.
•  Reiteration of the town’s interest in receiving service from pipeline fuel.
•  Reservation of the right to speak about project details as they emerged.
The board voted unanimously to submit a letter making each of those points.
In other news from Monday’s meeting, the Bristol selectboard:
•  Heard from Jim Moulton of Addison County Transit Resources about the annual appropriations for ACTR. Last year Bristol appropriated $9,500 to ACTR; this year, ACTR requested a spending increase to around $10,100.
The board voted to make the payment over two years, but gave ACTR the option of petitioning for the full amount this year. Selectwoman Sharon Compagna noted that the board had to be consistent with its policy (as an example, she mentioned that the Bristol Rescue Squad also would have to petition for any spending increase), though no one seemed to doubt ACTR’s ability to get the necessary signatures for the petition if they chose to do so.
•  Discussed plans to improve safety conditions at the intersection outside Holley Hall with Greg Edwards of Stantec Consulting, which is working with the Agency of Transportation to design alternatives to the intersection. Two plans had been presented at the Dec. 3 selectboard meeting. The selectboard voted, 4-1, to request a third alternative, the design of which they said should address drainage issues. Compagna was the dissenting vote.
•  Went into executive session to hold a disciplinary hearing about police chief Kevin Gibbs, related to his handling of a grant application over several fiscal years. At press time on Tuesday, no action had been taken, though town officials said the board had discussed a course of action and was expected to approve a motion by the week’s end.

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