Two Sides Reach Sewer Accord

The following article appeared in the Local News section of the Burlington Free Press on Friday, March 28, 2003

By Molly Walsh
Free Press Staff Writer

MILTON -- The town of Milton and the Conservation Law Foundation have signed an agreement that could resolve a long debate over expansion of the town's sewer system.

Under an agreement signed Wednesday, expansion would be allowed but undeveloped areas would not be hooked up to the sewer service until
Milton has completed a planning process to address growth in the areas.

The pact also says the sewer would not be allowed to extend beyond the
Milton-Colchester line. This reduces the chances for big-box retail
stores or other sprawl development in the relatively open lands at Exit
17 of Interstate 89, said Sandy Levine, a staff attorney for the
Conservation Law Foundation office in Montpelier.

"It won't have sewer to foster sprawl there and I think that will limit
what sort of development can go there," Levine said.

The town and the environmental group have been at odds over sewer
expansion along U.S. 7. In the past, town officials disagreed that
proposed expansions would cause sprawl and complained that the statewide environmental group was meddling. CLF staffers responded that state money should not be used to allow localities to build infrastructure
that stimulates scattered development outside town centers.

The Milton Selectboard unanimously endorsed the agreement. To be
finalized, the agreement must also be accepted by the District
Environmental Commission reviewing the sewer expansion under the state
Act 250 process.

"Allowing the sewer to serve the downtown area and the Catamount
Industrial Park will help create new jobs in Milton," said Gregg Wilson,
an attorney who represented the town of Milton in the matter.

Talks leading to the new agreement were facilitated by the Preservation
Trust of Vermont.

"The Milton Selectboard and CLF were able to put aside past differences,
and they worked very hard to develop a solid and workable agreement,"
said Paul Bruhn, executive director of the trust. "The town of Milton
and Vermont are the real beneficiaries of the willingness of the two
parties to find common ground."