Purchase of land for a better parking facility for the Town Hall Opera House passed on Town Meeting Day, but a May 17th re-vote is scheduled.
On March 6, Town Meeting Day, Plainfield voters passed the article calling for the purchase of land adjacent to the existing Town Hall lot for additional parking by Australian ballot 138-120. The warned article, which was debated on the floor at Town Meeting, is as follows:“Shall the voters authorize the Selectboard to purchase the Gallison House property at 25 High Street for the purpose of providing parking for the Town Hall Opera House, and to finance this purchase for a sum not to exceed $70,000 payable over a term not to exceed ten years?”
The Board of the Friends of the Town Hall Opera House was extremely pleased at the outcome of the original vote, since the Gallison property will make it possible to double the parking area available for Town Hall events to 28 or so spaces (enough for average-sized events at the Hall). Moreover – and this is key – it will allow for a safe traffic lane within the parking lot itself. Instead of entering a dead end and having to make a difficult maneuver to turn around (particularly when the lot is full), drivers will be able
to let passengers off and drive straight through to exit the new lot. This will be a major improvement in terms of safety and convenience.
Diagram of what the new, expanded Town Hall Opera House parking area might look like.
At Town Meeting, discussion of this article lasted over an hour. Concerns centered on what to do about the uninhabited house on the property, and how that would be paid for. Once the favorable result was in, opponents of the purchase mounted a petition drive for a re-vote, which was signed by 55 voters (5% of the Town’s registered voters), meeting the State Voting Law requirements for a re-vote.
The Selectboard has set Thursday, May 17th as the date for a second vote on this article. The vote will take place at the Municipal Building, 149 Main Street, between the hours of 9 am and 7 pm.
Recognizing that the vote was close and the sentiment in Town is mixed on this issue, the Friends of the Town Hall Opera House decided that it should take on the cost and responsibility of taking down the house and getting the site cleared for parking at a cost of roughly $18,000. It has notified the Selectboard of its intention and, in an April 23 rd appeal mailed out to 150 area households, it solicited funds for this purpose. As of May 1, 2018, $3,000 cash has been raised and another $3,000 has been pledged.
Here is information for Plainfield residents regarding the voting process:
How to register to vote: There is no deadline to register to vote. You will be able to register to vote on the day of the election. You can register prior to visiting the town clerk’s office or going online to olvr.sec.state.vt.us.
Early or Absentee ballots: You or a family member can request early or absentee ballots in person, in writing, by telephone, email or online at mvp.sec.state.vt.us. The latest you can request ballots is 4 pm on Wednesday, May 16th .
Ways to vote your early ballot: You may vote at the Town Clerk’s office before the deadline; you can mail or deliver it back to the Town Clerk’s office before May 17th or to the polling place before 7 pm on the day of the vote.
A public hearing on this article was held on Monday, May 7th. A link to the discussion can be found at https://plainfieldvt.wordpress.com/2018/05/10/gallison-house-discussion/