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Bristol Scout pulls Holley Hall kiosk plan

BRISTOL — An Eagle Scout project to construct a kiosk with an electronic message board in front of Bristol’s Holley Hall has been cancelled.
Town Administrator Therese Kirby informed the Bristol selectboard Monday night that Bristol teenager Victor Hinojosa, who wanted to build the kiosk in part to Eagle rank, had contacted her over the weekend to say that he would be pursuing a different community service project to attain the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank.
According to Kirby, Hinojosa said that because pursuing the kiosk project would likely entail getting an extension from the Scouts, he preferred to pursue something that could be completed in a more timely fashion.
“The town of Bristol is very thankful to Victor Hinojosa for all of his great work and we support his decision to move to a new project because it was right for him,” Kirby told the Independent.
Hinojosa’s project had been encouraged by the selectboard but drew criticism in the community once residents understood it would include an electronic message board. Community members responded positively to the design for the wooden kiosk itself (which Hinojosa designed in collaboration with Lincoln landscape artist Reed Prescott), but negatively to the electronic message board specified in Hinojosa’s proposal. Some likened it to the kind found at malls, car dealerships and casinos; some compared to the blinking lights on the message board at the gateway to Mount Abraham Union High School.
Monday night’s selectboard meeting went on for nearly four hours, said Kirby, because so many members of the public attended to discuss the kiosk project. Given that the project was to come before Bristol’s Zoning Board of Adjustment the very next night, the Bristol selectboard voted to withdraw its permit application for the kiosk. The selectboard vote was three to two, with Joel Bouvier, Peter Coffey and Ted Lylis voting to pull the kiosk permit and John “Peeker” Heffernan and Michelle Perlee voting not to pull it.
After a standing room crowd attended the May 1 selectboard meeting — some in support of Hinojosa, almost all in support of the design for the kiosk structure, but most in opposition to the electronic message board — the matter had then gone before Bristol’s Design Review Committee the next evening. After hours of discussion, the DRC then made the recommendation to the ZBA that the kiosk itself get built, but that the electronic messaging board be suspended until a committee could be formed to further review the matter.
Kirby said the selectboard is now looking for residents interested in volunteering on a committee to “explore ways the citizens of Bristol can become more engaged with town boards and committees.” Kirby said that possible kiosk designs is one of the items such a committee could consider.
The committee will be appointed by and report to the selectboard. Anyone interested in serving on the committee should send their name, contact information and brief statement of interest to Pam Correia at bristoladmin@gmavt.net and should also be prepared to attend the June 12 selectboard meeting.
Reporter Gaen Murphree is reached at gaenm@addisonindependent.com.

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