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Crews correct tree-cutting gaffes

MIDDLEBURY — At its Oct. 24 meeting the Middlebury selectboard received an update from Tree Warden Chris Zeoli on restoration of a recently botched tree trimming project off Forest Ridge Drive.
The trimming, conducted by SD Ireland, was intended to afford better visibility to pilots at the southern approach of the nearby Middlebury State Airport. But the contractors, according to Zeoli, did not give enough notice before starting work, didn’t limb the trees before cutting them and didn’t leave the tree stumps, which could affect the stability of the  sloped harvest site.
Zeoli reported on this  past Tuesday that contractors returned to the site and were able to regain the slant of the slope, which they have now seeded and covered with a protective fabric.
“They pretty much did what they promised,” Zeoli said of the remediation, but added, “they did the absolute least they should have done.”
In other action on Tuesday, the Middlebury selectboard:
•  Received a petition, signed by more than the requisite two-thirds of property owners in the Middlebury Village area, to reauthorize the Downtown Improvement District (DID) through June 30, 2024. The ordinance has been in effect for around two decades and features a special tax on village properties to pay for improvements to public property in the downtown. The DID has helped bankroll hundreds of thousands of dollars in downtown upgrades since it took effect, including new streetlights, signs and walkways.
•  Formed a new task force to study a tax stabilization request from Aqua ViTea and develop a revolving loan fund policy for the town. The new panel will include selectboard member Heather Seeley and residents Brian Bauer, Betty Nuovo, Robin Scheu and Hudson Tilford. The panel is slated to make a progress report to the selectboard on Nov. 14.
•  Conducted the first of two scheduled hearings on updates to the Middlebury Town Plan. The final selectboard hearing is slated for Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m.
•           Voted to consider merging the Addison Central Teens organization, which runs the local teen center, with the municipal Parks & Recreation Department as a way of giving the youth friendly operation long-term financial and organizational stability (see full story in last Thursday’s edition).

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