“In the best of times, I don’t think we’d be comfortable with this, and we’d want to contribute,” said selectboard member Susan Haughwout. “But we can’t, and we’re grateful to Dover.”
The temporary business assistance person would be hired through Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation to help businesses in Dover and Wilmington get back on their feet after last month’s flood. Wilmington Economic Development Consultant Bill Colvin said the person could be “on the ground” as soon as October 1.
“This came up very suddenly, within the last 26 hours,” Meg Streeter told board members. “(Mount Snow General Manager) Kelly Pawlak was going to the Dover Selectboard to suggest support for the whole community. Before we knew it, Dover had voted to spend up to $20,000 to help hire a business assistance person to work intensively for the next three months, at least.”
The board also agreed to hold a joint economic development “summit” at 6 pm on Tuesday, September 27, at Dover School.
In other flood-related matters, the board tabled, pending additional information, approval of an interim zoning bylaw that would expedite the permitting process in areas where flood damage occurred. Zoning administrator Alice Herrick said the information that was needed, pertaining to historic structures, would likely be ready before the end of the week.
The temporary bylaw would essentially allow Herrick to approve most zoning applications administratively, eliminating the Design Review Board process. The current zoning regulations would remain in place, only the approval process would be changed. Most permit fees for repair and renovation work would be waived.
“So we’re not lifting or amending the regulations, just streamlining the process,” said Haughwout.
Herrick said the state and FEMA must approve the interim bylaw before it can go into effect.
The board will present the interim zoning process to business owners at an informational meeting at 7 pm on Monday, September 26, at Twin Valley High School.
Town manager Fred Ventresco reported that, of three firms from which he requested cleanup proposals for the Memorial Hall basement, only one returned a bid. The $35,991.23 bid, from a local Paul Davis Restoration franchise, was accepted “pending further information.” Board member Jim Burke requested additional information regarding the scope of work, including whether the bid included removal and cleaning of the floor in the changing rooms.
Ventresco also said that most of the town’s property damages would be covered by insurance. “Insurance will cover the buildings, contents, and anything related to the building itself,” he said. Insurance will not cover underground pipes, roads or other infrastructure, but FEMA would cover up to 75% of the cost. Additionally, with the signing of a minor change in the road policy, Ventresco said the state would reimburse up to 15% of the cost – leaving Wilmington responsible for 10% of the cleanup and repair cost.