Meadowridge sewer project clears hurdle

March 24, 2011

By Tim Simard
Observer staff

Homeowners in the Meadowridge subdivision, who won overwhelming voter approval to connect their homes to Williston’s sewer system, cleared one final hurdle this week before the Development Review Board. At a meeting Tuesday evening, the board approved an amendment to an older development permit, allowing the roughly $600,000 project to move forward.

The subdivision needed an amendment to its original building permit that would allow access to the sewer infrastructure. When Meadowridge went through its initial development stages in the late 1980s, its building permit stated that the subdivision would develop its own sewer system and not connect to the town.

In recent years, the development’s sewer pumps broke down frequently, causing serious problems for the 60 homes in Meadowridge. The homeowners association felt one of the only ways to solve their problem would be to join the town’s sewer system. After approaching the Selectboard last fall, the board decided to take the issue to Williston voters. On Town Meeting Day, voters supported a $600,000 bond for the sewer connection – the stipulation being all Meadowridge homeowners would pay the town back the full cost of the bond over time.

Planning and Zoning Director Ken Belliveau told the Development Review Board that Meadowridge’s sewer piping would connect with the town’s system in the Village, using a facility off Oak Hill Road as a pump station.

“This is, as much as anything, a technical issue,” Belliveau said.

Board members expressed support for the project, but also raised a few concerns. They wanted to ensure the sewer piping didn’t affect any nearby wetlands, as well as the Allen Brook. The board also questioned homeowners association representatives about what would happen if someone built another home in Meadowridge and how that might affect the sewer system.

“It is my opinion that we’ve developed all available lots,” said Dennis Johnson, a member of the homeowners association.

“This is obviously a critical issue to our existence,” he added.

Now that the project received Development Review Board approval, the subdivision can move forward on construction. Meadowridge representatives said the project should take about eight to 10 weeks, with a starting date sometime in June.

Finney receives housing allocation again

A planned mixed-use development earned back 32 housing units this week after building permits for the project expired. Finney Crossing, which will add hundreds of residential units and commercial space within Taft Corners when completed, lost building allocation for the units last June and had to reapply with the town in order to build them in the future.

Finney Crossing developers received the units again from the Development Review Board during its annual growth management review on Tuesday night. The board also granted five other housing units that had not received allocation in the past.

During the growth management review, developers compete before the board for limited housing spaces in Williston. While there are generally many projects on the table during the process, Finney Crossing was the only development to go before the board this year.
According to plans, Finney Crossing will feature 356 residential units and 180,000 square feet of office and commercial space in the large, empty field north of Maple Tree Place.

Finney Crossing has been in the works since 2001. Construction was set to begin in 2008, but the deteriorating economy put everything on hold. Williston’s Planning and Zoning Director Ken Belliveau said construction could begin as soon as this summer.