Addison readies for new salt-sand shed

ADDISON — If all goes well, Addison’s highway department could before next winter have its first shed to store sand and salt for use on town roads, and the building would include a storage bay for winter equipment.
There are still hurdles, according to Addison road foreman Bryan Nolan, but he is hopeful that what he called a 14-year process might be over soon.
“I’d like to see it done before winter,” he said.
Addison does not currently have a shed at its highway department headquarters, on the east side of Lake Street, not far north of its intersection with Route 17 (a junction best known in the neighborhood as the home of West Addison General Store).
Town voters took a major step toward fixing that problem on March 5, when they backed, 163-61, a 15-year loan for $175,000 to build a shed.
Nolan said plans call for an enclosed building with two truck doors that will be 100 feet wide, 76 feet deep, and 41 feet tall. It will include a 20-foot-wide equipment storage bay at one end, and be built out behind the existing town garage/office building that runs parallel to Lake Street.
Nolan described the appearance and materials — plastic sheathing over a galvanized frame — as similar to highway sheds in the towns of New Haven, Ferrisburgh, Starksboro and Hinesburg. He added a number of farms have in recent years added similar buildings.
One catch came with those dimensions. The building meets all zoning setbacks, but the zoning district that includes the highway department headquarters imposes a 35-foot height limit.
The highway department is seeking a height variance from the Addison Development Review Board, which will convene a public hearing at the town clerk’s office on Monday at 7 p.m.
Nolan said the height is a structural necessity in order to put up a building with that footprint.
“It’s all based on the structure. We could go shorter, but then it would have to be narrower,” he said.
Nolan added he believed a number of farm structures in the district might also already exceed the height limit.
If the Addison DRB grants the variance, Nolan said it would then be up to the Addison selectboard to make final a deal for the financing, possibly at its May meeting. He’ll be sitting tight until then.
“Until that happens I don’t order anything,” he said.
The new shed will not bring everything in the department up to state muster, Nolan said. One reason for the storage bay in the planned shed is that trucks covered with snow and salt can be cleaned off without floor drains, a practice that state officials frown upon.
Addison’s existing garage has floor drains, and environmental officials also do not approve of towns doing maintenance of vehicles in buildings with drains because of potential groundwater pollution, Nolan said.
“That’s a no-no these days,” he said, adding that once the shed is up, “That will be next year’s project.”
Adding the storage bay to the planned shed was a cost-effective way to solve part of the problem, and Nolan said he and the selectboard will continue to try to deal with issues while imposing as little a burden as possible on town taxpayers.
“We’re trying to do it and be reasonable with our budget,” Nolan said.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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