Chelsea Selectboard Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, July 5, 2022, 7:30 pm at Town Hall
Selectboard Members present: Levar Cole, Geoff Clayton, Mark Whitney, Merrill Whitney
Other Town Officials/Employees present: Marianne McCann (Administrative Assistant)(Herald), Nolan
LaFrancis (COO Chelsea Water System), Rick Ackerman (Road Foreman).
Members of the public present: Bruce Hook, Tyler Hook, Jeremy Hook, Kate Willard, Clinton Rogers,
Mark Lembke, Cindy Allen, Andy Pomerantz, Dave Paganelli, Phillip Mulligan, Tim McCormick.
- Call Meeting to Order
Meeting convened by Levar Cole, Chair, at 7:31 pm.
- Conflict of Interest Disclosure
- Changes to the Agenda
Admin. Assistant adds a few items.
- Town Clerk
- Town Treasurer
Mark Whitney moved to approve the orders. Merrill Whitney seconded the motion. Motion passed
- Department/Liaison Updates
Town Forest Plan: Mark Whitney stated Kate Willard has been helping organize the Forest Plan. Kate
Willard stated Dave Paganelli, Orange County Forester, has completed an inventory of the Chelsea Town
Dave Paganelli addressed the Board, summarizing the history of the Town Forest. There are two parcels,
and previous wood species, dates, and timber sales were noted. Paganelli stated it is ready to cut again.
Paganelli also stated Moose are getting a lot of the young hardwoods. He advises someone ought to
start shooting the moose. Paganelli noted a culvert is blocked and there is erosion gullying in the road
path. He advises the Town to deal with unblocking and/or increasing the size of the culvert, as it will
effect travel and the timber sale. Paganelli also noted a landing is plugged up with debris, and asked if
the Town wanted that blocked off, or is that temporary? Rick Ackerman stated the Road crew has been
putting stuff there, and will clear the landing with an excavator. Paganelli noted that the tree cutting
should be done in the next year or two. The Town is advised to not wait 5-10 years. Ash Borer is on
Action: Dave Paganelli wants to know the direction the Town wants to go with respect to the timber sale
and the management plan. Paganelli will draft a Town Forest Management Plan and deliver to the
Action: Mark Whitney is taking the lead on the Town Forest. Whitney will make a recommendation to
the Selectboard after the Town Forest Plan is finished and public comments are heard.
Cindy Allen asked if there will be walking trails in the town forests. Paganelli replied timber sales require
access for equipment. If the trails are left open, not choked with brush, those trails could be for
recreational use. We can set it up with the trails in mind, if that is what the Town requests, then the
Town can finish up the trails. Cole stated the Town is considering trails. Andy Pomerantz stated the snow
machine club has been helpful with trail maintenance in the past. Kate Willard stated the reason to have
Paganelli do an inventory is to provide information to the Town in consideration of more public trails, as
well as tree management. Phillip Mulligan asked if we could maintain a certain amount of larger trees,
or legacy trees. Paganelli stated wildlife trees and legacy trees are tallied and included in the Forest Plan.
Emerald Ash Borer: Mark Lembke, Town Tree Warden, passed out examples of the Emerald Ash Borer
insect, examples of bark damage, and a paper titled “Town of Chelsea, Ash Tree Inventory, July 5, 2022”.
Lembke stated he performed an ash tree survey in Chelsea along a 5.8 mile loop, that represents 10% of
the total miles of Chelsea Class 3 roads. Ash trees were counted within the town road right of way. The
survey showed 284 trees counted, with Lembke estimating that there would be about 2,840 trees total
along the roads in Chelsea.
Cole asked if Lembke will make a recommendation to the Selectboard. Lembke advised that some
neighboring towns have started funds to prepare. Lembke advised putting some money aside to take
some of the trees down. Lembke has not found a grant to cover this.
Mark Whitney asked how fast is it moving through a forest that is thinner on ash? Would that slow it
down? Or, are the ash trees doomed, no matter what? Paganelli stated the ash trees are probably
doomed no matter what. Small trees will be unaffected. Infested trees will be damaged and ash does
not hold together structurally, so effected trees are not safe to cut with a chainsaw after three years. In
the woods, they will just fall down. Near the roads, it’s much more difficult to take the trees down.
Paganelli stated some towns have hired Limlaw to take trees down on gravel roads. The power company
would be responsible to take down the trees in the power line right of way.
Cindy Allen asked if the landowner would have any ash tree responsibility. Allen stated some
landowners may want to take their own trees down and use them for firewood. Some would want the
wood. Some would not.
Lembke explained he will not be recommending the removal of trees leaning away from the roads as
they do not pose a hazard to the road. Lembke said when the hazard trees are cut from the right of way,
the wood still belongs to the landowners, who can request it be removed or left in place.
Highway- Truck sale – Roadside Mowing: Rick Ackerman asked, since Henry is not here, what is going on
with the truck? Cole stated we will have Henry give you a call. I will be the back up person. Ackerman
stated Vershire might be done with their tractor in a few weeks. There is a possibility we could use that
for roadside mowing. Ackerman also stated Ken DeGrasse can go up to the Town Forest and put in a
Transfer Station: Geoff Clayton stated Snook requested an increase in Kristianne Gale’s hours by one
hour for the summer. They have actually been saving us money by being able to more closely monitor
the quantity of trash being put in the compactors/containers. Clayton also stated the bear protection
shed for the compost has been purchased for $549. Clayton stated he and Snook will assemble the shed.
Anyone can volunteer to help. Clayton stated it is possible that the bears could tear the whole thing
ARPA Outreach: Phillip Mulligan and Andy Pomerantz presented a list of ideas for spending ARPA
money. The list is based on public input from a June 14th meeting, and other public input, organized, but
not prioritized. Mulligan stated people are mostly interested in making an investment in the community.
Mulligan suggested hiring a “clerk of the works” for overseeing a complicated project, if a complicated
project is chosen. Pomerantz stated there are people who are really invested in certain projects. It
would be possible to develop a list serve of interested persons. Vital Communities might help with this.
Although this list is in the context of ARPA, there are lots of ways we could pursue these ideas.
Cole stated the Selectboard is still getting feedback from townspeople that they want to spend ARPA
money on (operating) costs. Washington is telling us to spend the money right away, due to inflation.
We could use the money for matching funds for grants. For example, the sewer plant upgrades. We
might get a grant for that. We would consider using ARPA funds in addition to the reserve fund for the
matching portion. Thank you for your work collecting this public input. We are keeping all of this in
Clayton stated some of these ideas we might want to include in the Town Plan. Maybe food resources
could be put in the town plan. Everything is not going to be accomplished with ARPA money.
Mulligan suggested the Selectboard make a date for final proposals for ARPA projects. The Board agreed
to put this on the agenda for September 20, 2022.
- Public Comments
Phillip Mulligan stated he measured the windows in the Town Hall for the Window Dressers plastic
window inserts. Even if we did half of the windows it would make a big difference. We could create
some sort of storage for the inserts. The Selectboard would have to address that in the next month or
so. Mulligan submitted an invoice to the Town.
Phillip Mulligan stated he has contacted VLCT about an energy audit for the Town Garage.
Andy Pomerantz asked about the format for the ATV Vote Informational Hearing Meeting. Should he
prepare a presentation for the Informational Hearing? Cole stated the Informational Hearing would be
run like a regular Selectboard Meeting. We will open it up to Public Comment.
Bruce Hook asked a question, maybe for the zoning administrator, regarding Longest Acre Farm. Is the
barn on the land which is zoned agricultural a commercial business? When you start serving dinner for
170 dollars a plate, I don’t believe it’s agricultural. There is a problem with serving dinner and alcohol
without a license. What will be done about this?
Cole stated, to confirm, this complaint is about Longest Acre Farm and your concern is it appears as if
there is commercial activity, not farming/agricultural activity.
Mark Whitney sought clarification this was about the existing barn, as opposed to the new barn.
Cole stated the Selectboard did not approve the Liquor License. That license was not given to us in time
for approval. This board has not taken up issues prior to being warned and on the agenda.
Bruce Hook stated I saw the flyer. Is there a fine?
Geoff Clayton stated the liquor control for the state will be called. We will put this on the next agenda.
Jeremy Hook asked if he came back in two weeks, would this issue be resolved?
Cole stated we cannot commit to a time. We don’t know what Clayton will find out. We will put it on the
Mark Whitney asked do you know for sure that liquor was served? A flyer was presented.
Cole asked Hook to give us whatever information you would like to support your statements.
Cindy Allen stated Heidi Chapman has started a group to publish a newsletter. The newsletter will be
quarterly, with the first issue planned for October 1st. The newsletter would like to list the organizations
and businesses in Chelsea. There are 50 Chelsea businesses that Allen came up with. The newsletter
requests to have a link on the Town of Chelsea Website.
Cole stated the previous Selectboard had a policy of no links, no advertisements, on the Town website.
We will bring this up again for discussion.
Clayton stated the physical phone books were the old way to spread contact information. That would be
nice to have.
Clint Rogers stated he previously spoke to Geoff Clayton, Selectboard member, regarding widening a
bridge for the snow machine trail. Rogers stated he already had approval for the trail up to the bridge.
Rogers stated the bridge is a public right of way. Rogers is waiting for permission from the Selectboard,
after which he will proceed with paperwork and constructing the wider bridge. Rogers stated there is
some urgency to this request, as the season is 5 months away.
Clayton stated he thought Rogers was going to talk to the landowners. Clayton stated we need to make
sure that’s a town bridge. We need to get the permits from the State. Clayton stated he will double
check and get back to Rogers.
Kate Willard stated she would like help getting public input on the town forests and trails.
- Executive Session for Human Resources
Outgoing Zoning Administrator, Tim McCormick, stated there are loose ends in the applications.
McCormick suggests he meet with the new Zoning Administrator and go over the computer set up and
ongoing permit applications. McCormick stated he will be in this Friday, and that would be his ultimate
last day. I sat down one morning with my predecessor, and I will do the same for the next ZA. Action:
Selectboard states as long as you have the records available for the next person, that is acceptable.
McCann suggests officially turning in the keys and laptop at the end of the day, Friday, in order to avoid
another trip to town.
Levar Cole moved to enter into Executive Session for Human Resources, and inviting Marianne
McCann into the session. Geoff Clayton seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Levar Cole moved to exit from Executive Session at 9:15 pm. Geoff Clayton seconded the motion.
Motion passed unanimously.
Afterwards, Nolan LaFrancis (COO Water System) is approved to have Jason Hook (Water system
employee) work as needed, for emergency coverage and special jobs, up to an additional 10 hours per
Levar Cole moved to enter into Executive Session for Human Resources at 9:26 pm, and inviting
Marianne McCann into the session. Geoff Clayton seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Levar Cole moved to exit Executive Session at 9:29 pm. Geoff Clayton seconded the motion. Motion
Afterwards, the Selectboard Chair will contact the candidate for the Zoning Administrator job.
- Administrative Assistant Report
Village Green Request: New Creation Fellowship requests use of basketball court from 10 -12 daily for
August 8-11 for Vacation Bible School. Approved.
Roberts Gould Field Request: Chelsea Babe Ruth requests use of Roberts Gould Field from 5 – 8 pm on
event dates listed in 2022 season. Approved.
Special Town Meeting updates:
Levar Cole moved to approve Town of Chelsea, Public Informational Hearing, Notice and Agenda. Cole
read the Agenda aloud. Mark Whitney seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Moxley Bridge: Town Questions letter and Right of Way letter received from VTRANS. Rita Seto, TRORC,
and others at VTRANS asked about the possible use of old data to prioritize this bridge project. No
definitive response as yet. It seems VTRANS wants to proceed.
Action: Send Henry an email asking him to take the lead, cc: Levar, Mark.
Grants in Aid: Selectboard is informed that Chelsea has been awarded $35,500. for 2023. That money
will be for a project, the next one on the hydrologically connected roads list. This year, 2022, the project
is Hook Road Ditching. The project cost should be $25,250., with an 80% reimbursement of $20,200.
Special Events Letter: Action: file. N/A for Chelsea.
Vermont Efficiency Letter: Action: Send to Phillip Mulligan, cc: Levar, Mark.
Upcoming request: Brookhaven Bridge. Selectboard is informed in advance of a request for permission
to construct a wooden covered bridge on an existing metal bridge on the Brookhaven property. More
details will be coming.
Liquor License – June 25, 2022: The process for approving liquor licenses is to put the request on a
Selectboard meeting agenda prior to taking action. This liquor license request was not given to us in
time. Action: ask someone at the State re: liquor license timelines. Geoff Clayton will do this.
Town website link request: Brief discussion. Previous boards did not allow third party links or
advertisements on the town website. There are speech problems. Action: The Selectboard will stick to
our policy of no third party links or advertisements on the town website.
Randy Brown made a google website called “Maple Avenue Safety Remedies”. Brown wants the
Selectboard to review his website. A paper version is available. Brown was not available to answer
Geoff Clayton stated a registered sex offender is non-compliant and hanging out at the school. Should
this be reported to state police? Public safety? State’s Attorney? Brief discussion.
- Approve Minutes
Levar Cole moved to approve the Selectboard Meeting Minutes of June 21, 2022. Geoff Clayton
seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Meeting adjourned at 10:02 pm.
The next regularly scheduled Selectboard Meeting will be Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at 7:30 pm.