January 22, 2018

Letters to the Editor

Too close for comfort

After reading the “Hens in the ’hood” article in last week’s edition of the Williston Observer about the Williston Planning Commission recommending dropping the ban on backyard chicken coups in lots less than an acre, I had some strong concerns.

First, if selectboard member Joy Limoge’s statement that neighborhood covenants supersede any town allowance is correct, there may be no issue here. But I am concerned about challenges to covenants.

If you live in a neighborhood where the lots are less than half an acre, and one where many of the backyards back up to each other, then the proposed coop guidelines of 15 feet from the rear property line and 10 feet from the side property line is awfully close. And if you chose to live in a neighborhood without chickens by having signed covenants that state no fowl are allowed, then I suspect many might not appreciate having chickens that close.

I’m also concerned chickens might draw foxes and possibly coyotes into neighborhoods with young children and pets.

Lastly, teaching sustainability is great. But this isn’t about teaching sustainability; it’s about neighbors living companionably and respecting each other in relatively small environments.

Leslie Trifilio
Williston

Collecting for homeless care packages at WCS

My family and I bring food to local homeless people every week, and I’ve noticed that many of them do not have proper winter attire. I am planning to make “Homeless Care Packages,” and I am hoping people will donate some items.

Some ideas are: hand-warmers, bottles of water, snack mix, gloves, socks and hats.

My sisters and I will be distributing these care packages in Burlington, South Burlington and Williston to homeless people this winter. The white collection bin is located in the front office at Williston Central School. Thanks so much for considering.

Emma Rich, fourth grade
Williston Central School

Observer courtesy photo
The Chittenden County Courthouse on Main Street in Burlington after trees were removed due to recent wind damage.

Stumped by courthouse tree situation

You may have noticed that six Norway maple trees no longer line the sidewalk in front of the County Courthouse on Main Street in Burlington.

Due to heavy damage from the Oct. 29 windstorm, the trees had to be removed for the safety of pedestrians passing by the courthouse.

The Burlington city arborist recommended replacing them with Princeton elm trees to match the Burlington city trees from yesteryear (there’s an example of a Princeton elm across the street between Junior’s and Old Gold).

There have been other suggestions too, including planting signature Vermont sugar maples (that could be tapped), or leaving the lawn treeless to highlight the beauty of the James Knox Taylor-designed building as it appeared over a century ago.

Former Assistant Judge Elizabeth Gretkowski was surprised and saddened to see the trees removed, remembering the time and effort put into pruning them to help them grow. But she also remembers that fellow Assistant Judge Tom Crowley was in favor of cutting them down to better reveal the beauty of the building.

So, as a steward of the county courthouse, I’d love to hear thoughts from Chittenden County residents on the matter. After all, it is your courthouse.

If you live in Chittenden County, email me at: Connie.Ramsey@Vermont.gov with your thoughts.

Connie Ramsey
Chittenden County
assistant judge

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