On Tuesday, November 13th, 2018, CSWD held a public input meeting at Hinesburg Town Hall to provide an update on the proposed CSWD Drop-Off Center (DOC) site on Beecher Hill Rd., and to gather input from local residents on preferences for services, scheduling, etc.
Residents of Hinesburg, Charlotte, and Huntington have clearly expressed their eagerness to see DOC service return, and our Board has expressed a strong interest in providing a DOC for the southern part of Chittenden County.
Because the usable area of the new Drop-Off Center site is smaller than the former site, it is unlikely that it can accommodate the same level of services as the previous location. CSWD’s Board of Commissioners and staff know that residents want a Drop-Off Center to return to Hinesburg as soon as possible. This meeting was to determine what services residents see as priorities, so staff can plan accordingly and present a realistic cost estimate to the Board.
The purpose of this meeting was not to gauge whether people wanted a Drop-Off Center in Hinesburg, but what services residents see as priorities.
Twelve local residents attended, including Hinesburg Town Administrator Renae Marshall, Development Review Coordinator Mitchel Cypes, Hinesburg’s CSWD Commissioner, Lynn Gardner, and Alternate, Doug Taff. Five members of CSWD staff also attended, as well as a reporter from The Citizen.
CSWD Executive Director Sarah Reeves opened the meeting with background information on our organization and how our facilities fit into our mission to “reduce and manage the solid waste generated within Chittenden County in an environmentally sound, efficient, effective and economical manner.”
People are often surprised to discover that we are not tax-funded, that each town in Chittenden County has a representative on our 18-member Board of Commissioners, and that our charter doesn’t actually require us to operate any of our nine facilities, which include the Drop-Off Centers and the Environmental Depot for hazardous waste. We operate DOCs at the direction of our Board, which recently reaffirmed their commitment to supporting these facilities.
Sarah also reviewed the statewide requirement that any facility that accepts trash must also accept recyclables, food scraps, and leaves/yard debris (during certain months). These four basic materials constitute the minimum level of service required to operate a DOC.
Brian Wright, CSWD Director of Engineering, reviewed the layouts of the current and former sites (click on the aerial maps for a larger view).
Brian discussed the state and local permitting requirements that determine the site’s operational boundaries and highlighted other considerations: counter-clockwise traffic flow through the site, adequate queueing space to prevent back-ups onto Beecher Hill Rd., and turning radius required for CSWD trucks to remove containers from the site. Several meeting attendees asked questions about construction limits, such as whether an entry road could be built along the southern border of the site, or whether that would violate the state’s 150-ft set-back requirement from the nearby creek. (Good question. Brian will seek clarification from the VT Agency of Natural Resources.)
We then asked attendees: If we are able to design a DOC that can accept more than the basic four materials —trash, recycling, food scraps, leaves—what services would you prefer CSWD offer? We asked attendees to “vote” for the collection services (Electronics, Scrap metal, Special recycling, Tires, Natural wood, Large appliances) or convenience factors (Longer hours/more days, More parking, Shorter lines/wait times) most important to them.
Through the activity, two clear priorities emerged from the small group of attendees: Longer hours/more days and Scrap metal. Other preferences, in order: Special Recycling (batteries, fluorescent bulbs, propane tanks, clothing/textiles, motor oil, hard-cover books), Tires, Electronics, Appliances, and Shorter lines/wait times. Two received no votes: Natural wood and More parking.
Michele Morris, CSWD Director of Outreach & Communications, expressed curiosity about the group’s preference for scrap metal collection when Burnett Scrap Metals is located only four miles away. Several residents said they knew of Burnett, but thought they only took large metal items. One attendee said they would feel strange taking a small bucket of bolts to a scrap metal yard.
Renae Marshall voiced concern about the opinions of residents unable to attend the evening meeting. She noted that she has heard from many residents that they want the Hinesburg DOC to come back with the same services.
Jonny Finity, CSWD Marketing & Communications Manager, reminded the group that, based on the size of the new site, CSWD would not be able to provide the same level of service. Though the number of attendees at the event was relatively small, it was important for us to hear their preferences for services beyond the basic four materials—trash, recycling, food scraps, and leaves. Jonny reiterated that CSWD staff weren’t considering attendees’ input alone when making decisions about DOC services. We have read the resident feedback provided by the Town, have heard from a number of residents directly, and have also recorded input from Hinesburg’s CSWD Commissioners. We also must take into account the priorities of all Board members, who have expressed interest in standardizing hours and services across all CSWD Drop-Off Centers.
In closing, Michele presented the next steps for a Hinesburg Drop-Off Center (see “8 Steps to Siting a CSWD Drop-Off Center” on the Hinesburg Updates page). Brian Wright, working with a consulting engineering firm, will be surveying the site and designing proposed services over the upcoming months, and working with the Town’s Development Review Board to address their concerns.
Brian expects to present the plan with cost estimates to the Board in March or April of 2019. If the Board approves the plan, CSWD staff will finalize the plans, get permits, and go out to bid for construction of the site, which would likely begin in late spring or early summer. Barring unforeseen setbacks, the new Drop-Off Center would be expected to open in mid-summer 2019.
Michele wrapped up the meeting by thanking everyone for their attendance and participation.