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City not ready to give up on rail trail

VERGENNES — At the Oct. 24 Vergennes City Council meeting, the city councilors:
•  Discussed whether to pursue the “Rail Trail” project first discussed about 15 years ago. It would create a walking path linking the Otter Creek basin and Kayhart Crossing areas, following a long-abandoned rail spur. Hawley said if the council did not see value in the project it should abandon an easement granted to a homeowner a number of years ago that is encumbering her property. The council reached a consensus it would like to learn more about alternatives and costs before walking away from the project.
•  Heard from City Manager Mel Hawley that the city has spent $8,700 so far defending the Vergennes Development Review Board’s position that Mahaiwe LLC, of which Ferrisburgh resident David Shlansky is a principal, should put a certain style of fencing around Grist Mill Island as a condition of establishing nine apartments there.
The DRB believes, Hawley said, that the fence is a necessary safety factor. Shlansky maintains his preferred fencing is adequate, and the DRB exceeded its authority in insisting on the other, even though he suggested it in his application. Hawley suggested the appeal process is far from over and that more bills are on the way.
•  Reached consensus on allowing U.S. Geological Survey equipment on city land near Otter Creek that will measure the river’s level. According to USGS documentation, the equipment will be part of an international flood study of Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River.
•  Heard from Hawley that in his role as tree warden that he has called a public hearing on whether the Bixby Library should be allowed to remove two spruce trees from its front lawn. The hearing will be held at the Bixby on Nov. 13, at 6:30 p.m.

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