Letters to the Editor

Thank you

The staff, volunteers and kids of King Street Center in Burlington would like to send a heartfelt appreciation to Bob Pasco and the Brick Church Music Series Committee members. We were the non-profit beneficiaries of the sold-out Maple Jam a cappella concert last week. The audience was delighted by wonderful holiday music and the gathering was a joyful experience—truly a bright spot during challenging times.

Williston is so very fortunate to have this music series as part of its community fabric. Affordable concerts highlighting diverse, quality talent throughout Vermont’s grayest months are a gift to the whole region.

Thank you for embracing King Street Center as part of this experience and be sure to check out the rest of the series offerings on the town website!

Susannah Kerest,
development director,
King Street Center, Burlington

Building codes

On Front Porch Forum, there was a discussion on the fact that Williston does not have enforceable single-family home building codes.

The first poster was nonplussed that she could not get the fire marshal “to inspect a new replacement deck/stair which failed to meet state safety standards for handrails and guardrails.”

A townsperson responded that building codes lead to “silly, needless regulations and inspections” but still hoped that single-family homes would be included so inspectors would have more to inspect and “get them off our backs/properties.”

These two posts remind me of the difference between the left and right view of government. Those on the left believe they cannot freely act with their own agency and request strong government actors to fix problems. In contrast, the right sees the government’s actions as needless and intrusive.

I tend to agree with the right—single-family home inspections are not in the public interest and are perhaps a violation of the Fourth Amendment. In the end, Fire Chief Kenneth Morton Jr. laid out the current bureaucratic landscape. “The Williston Fire Department has no code enforcement authority. We do have four personnel trained as inspectors, however, we can only act in an advisory capacity, and cannot charge any fees for our service,” he wrote in a post. Williston relies on the state fire marshal for enforcement authority and the state currently does not inspect single-family homes.

Chief Morton submitted his “Plan to the Town Manager which included funding for a Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer.” Adopting this proposal means the Williston “Department would perform the function currently handled by the State Fire Marshal.”

To me, this indicates the Williston Fire Department will continue not inspecting single-family homes. I’d like to see the Williston Observer do an article on this issue. The chief suggests townspeople follow this process through the budgeting cycle.

Matt Szafir,