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Selectmen’s Meeting Minutes — September 6, 2007—7:00 p.m. — Memorial Hall

The meeting was called to order by Vice-chairman, John Payne at 7:02 p.m.  Other members present: Robert Manners.  Chairman, Joe Judd was unable attend due to illness.  In the absence of the Executive Secretary, Bob Manners served as Clerk for the Board.

Acceptance of Minutes:   a motion was made by Bob Manners to accept the minutes of 8/9/07; 8/14/07; and 8/21/07 as presented.  John seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Noteworthy News:  nothing to report.

Department Liaison Reports:
John reported that the cable advisory committee was continuing to work on the new contract for cable despite a move by the FCC and Verizon to take away local negotiation authority across the country (with the exception of Massachusetts).  Shelburne is unaffected by these new developments. There will be more information later in the meeting.

Although Joe was not present to speak on behalf of the police department, John spoke of the recent accident at the glacial potholes where a young man was critically injured while attempting to jump from the rocks.

Bob Manners reported that the highway crew was presently on vacation and that chip sealing of Hawks Rd and Guy Manners Rd would most likely occur some time next week.  In addition, the re-striping of cross walks and parking spaces has been completed in the village area.

Appointments:
7:05 p.m. Town Clerk, Beverly Neeley came in and spoke about the up coming US Census that will occur in 2010. She reported that she had attended a training seminar sponsored by the US Department of Census Bureau regarding a program called Local Update Census Address (LUCA). This program will provide the town with a set of maps and street listings for the town to review and make corrections as needed before the census occurs. Beverly recommended that Shelburne participate in this worthwhile program for there is no cost and it would benefit the town with future grant applications.  After no further discussion, a motion was made by Bob to take part in the program.  John seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously. Joe will sign the application as Chairman and submit before 10/31/07.
7:15 p.m. Michael S. Thomas RE: Class II License Request - John called the public hearing to order with regards to an application presented by Michael S. Thomas for a class II Auto Dealership License to be located at 1155 Mohawk Trail (at the site of All Around Tile).  Mr. Thomas (the applicant) and Ricci Smith (the owner of 1155 Mohawk Trail) were present and presented the following information.
Mr. Thomas reported that he has been in auto sales business for several years following his retirement from the military.  He has sold over 950 vehicles in those 10+ years.  Mr. Thomas now finds himself in a position where it is possible to venture out on his own.
He had developed a relationship with Ricci Smith through sales and thought that his location on Route 2 would be ideal for his business. Aside from serving as Mr. Thomas’s landlord, Ricci stated that he will not be involved in the Class II business due to the restrictions set forth by M.G.L.  He does believe however, that the proposed Class II auto sales would be a good fit for the both of them in terms of business.
Mr. Thomas stated that he would have no more that 10 vehicles on site in the price range of $5,000 to $10,000.  He intends to contract out any repair work that would need to be done and he would be utilizing the former creamy stand as his office.
Ricci indicated that he would pave the area between the store and the stand; placing three cars in front and the rest be parked behind the front row.  Any additional vehicles would appear to be parked at the store.  Mr. Thomas assured the board that there would be no flashing signs, no streamers, balloons or other eye catching measures. The only thing that would be present would be a sign indicating the business name and auto sales.
Following their presentation John opened up the meeting to public comments and questions.  Susan Flaccus of 1349 Mohawk Trail asked about signage.  Ms. Flaccus owns a Bed & Breakfast on the trail.  Mr. Thomas and Ricci agreed that sign would be tasteful and fitting for that location. Jim Wall of 40 Dragon Hill praised the improvements that Ricci has made to the present location and stated that he would support the dealership going in. Don Emery of 1147 Mohawk Trail questioned the potential increase in traffic and suggesting lowering the speed limit through that whole section of Route 2 as a safety precaution. This idea will be forward to Steve Walker for his input before approaching Mass Highway. Larry Flaccus of 1394 Mohawk Trail asked whether or not zoning regulations would require a special permit to be issued in this matter.
John responded by stating that at present, Shelburne’s zoning by-laws allows for commercial operations in this area without a special permit from the zoning board. 
Larry followed up with a question to Ricci and Mr. Thomas asking whether or not they would they be willing to put in writing what they have stated about signage and site locations.  Ricci and Mr. Thomas both readily agreed that they would be willing to do what ever it took to make this happen.
Beverly Neeley of 1176 Mohawk Trail, former owner of the property noted that Ricci has done a great deal of improvement to the property adding that the location has a long history of commercial operations.  She stated that when her family ran the store at that location they had sold campers and cars as well.  Beverly stated that she supports the application. She then inquired as to the use of the North side of the property.  Ricci indicated that due to the large pine trees and the costs associated with their removal, it would not be cost effective to consider that location.
Karen Gould of Cooper Lane stated that she supports the idea of bringing any new business into town and sees it as a benefit to other local business with folks returning to the look at the cars several times. Karen also asked a question relative to the notification process for this public hearing.  Bob Manners explained that abutters were notified as a matter of proximity and protocol leaving the general public to learn of this hearing via the legal ad in the newspapers. Jim Wall readdressed the board stating that if the owners were asked to put conditions (relative to the signage, etc) in writing it would be precedent setting.  Mr. Wall does not recall any other business having to adhere to this type of conditions in the past.
Bob Manners explained that a public hearing provides everyone an opportunity to speak and air their concerns.  Before acting on this license request, the Board will take into consideration all of the dialogue that has occurred and consult town counsel if necessary so not to overstep the Board’s authority in these areas.
Following public comment period, members of the Board of Selectmen asked questions.
John wondered if 10 vehicles where enough to make a living and if Mr. Thomas had given any thought to increasing the number of vehicles on site in the future.  Mr. Thomas stated that he would hope that his innovatory would turn over every 90 days noting that in larger dealership each sales person was responsible for selling 10 cars a month.  John asked about any potential concerns with Conservation Commission relative to paving close to wetlands.  Ricci stated that the area is closer to Route 2 than the septic system that was installed and that was measured and located outside the buffer zones of the wetlands. Following no further questions, the public hearing was closed at 7:55 p.m.
John advised Mr. Thomas and Ricci that the Board would not be making any decisions this evening but would hope to have one by the next selectboard meeting in September.
7:55 p.m. Richard Calisewski was invited by Joe to discuss the possibility of hiring him as an independent Housing Inspector for the town. If hired, Mr. Calisewski would assist the Board of Health.  John explained the town’s options; either contracting with the F.R.C.O.G. or hire an independent inspector.  Mr. Calisewski understood the town’s situation and stated that since his retirement he has been working part time for a neighboring town. He stated that he works about 20 hours a week on an as needed basis.  His schedule is very flexible.  Mr. Calisewski has been certified in most aspects of health related areas (to include building code inspections). He stated that during any complaint investigation he takes a systematic approach, looking at the issues as well as any underlying history.  He stated that he has only had to go to court twice in the six years that he has been doing this type of work. He stated that he has been able to resolve most issues through negotiations and working with all parties involved. He stated that he also utilizes the resources of the state as well when questions do arise.  He works for the sprit of the law and doesn’t try to “break” anyone. He does acknowledge that there are some issues when no deviation can occur (i.e. lead paint) however for the must part looks for the middle ground and moves in the direction of compliance of the law.
Deb Coutinho of the Board of Health asked about his availability given his present commitments. He stated that his schedule is flexible enough to ensure that inspections and investigations would be done in a timely manner.  Bob Manners asked that if the Board were to offer him the position, would he be willing to accept the offer. Being familiar with the town’s history, he indicated that he would accept the offer.  In fact, if hired, he would be happy to have members of the Board of Health tag along to see how the process is done. 

8:15 p.m. Rob Riggan, President of the Shelburne Falls Cable Advisory Board spoke in regards to a letter that he sent to the board requesting that a Technology Committee be appointed to work jointly with the committee that Buckland recently created for the advancement of high speed internet in areas that are not presently served by Cable. Mr. Riggan stated that it is highly unlikely that there will be any major advancement in this area for propagation of high-speed service. He feels that this development is crucial for the viability of the town for more and more people are looking for high-speed connection for work and business opportunities.
John and Bob felt the proposal was worthwhile but decided to table any action until the full Board was present.

Old Business:
Arms Library:  Bob reported that he met with the Arms Library Trusties on the 29th of August. During that meeting he answered several questions with regard to Town’s financial control.  During the meeting Bob emphasized the town’s willingness to resolve any outstanding concerns regarding the Library (i.e. ownership, maintenance, etc).  It was agreed that that first area that should be addressed was a review by town counsel as to the true ownership and over sight of the building and any steps that would need to be taken in order to resolve and/or clarify these issues. Bob will pursue the matter with Town Counsel.
Senior Center Lease: nothing to report.
Draft Procedure for Appointments Made by the Board of Selectmen: tabled until full board is present.
Building Inspector RE: Inspection of Cowell Gym: at present, the doors, the emergency lighting and the steps have been addressed.  We are presently awaiting a report from a structural engineering firm as to the status of the fire escape.

New Business:
Draft Guidelines for Recording of Meeting Minutes and Fulfilling requests for Public Records: tabled until the full Board is present.
Solid Waste Management District RE: Sales of Compost Bins and Buckets: Bob explained that unbeknown to the town, the transfer station operator had obtained two compost bins and several recycling buckets through the Solid Waste District and sold them at the transfer station with a great deal of success. Lynne would like to continue selling these items however, before authorizing her to do so, the Board must first consider who will pick-up the items from the Solid Waste District, where will they  be stored, and how will the money be kept separate from that of the trash label sales.  Until a decision is made, these items are currently available to residents at the Colrain transfer station and the Solid Waste District. Bob will continue to explore.
Contract for Cable Service: John presented a contract for legal services for the Board’s review and approval. He reported that the total cost of $14,000 would be shared with the Town of Buckland.  The attorney providing this service has been informed that the town has allocated $3,500 and the remaining $3,500 will have to be appropriated at a later date (Bob suggested doing so at the next special town meeting). The attorney indicated that he is willing to wait until next fiscal year for final payment if necessary. Action was tabled until the full Board was present.

Correspondence:
Rob Riggan RE: Creation of a Technology Committee: see above
Melissa Alosso of Patten Road RE: Interest in Serving on the Conservation Comission:  Ms. Alosso submitted a letter expressing interest in serving on the Conservation Commission. Ms. Alosso was presently meeting with the Conservation Commission this evening and if in agreement, they will present their recommendation for appointment to the Board at their earliest convenience.
Ted Cahill, 36 Main Street RE: Two Concerns: Mr. Cahill sent an email expressing concern for the following two items

  1. The Arrow Head Shops and the signage out:  Mr. Cahill feels that the area is an eyesore and asked whether or not the businesses are in compliance with the town by-laws with regards to signage.  This concern was to be forward to the building inspector for review.
  2. Mr. Cahill also expressed concern for a perpetual tag sale at the Paul Moyer property on Water Street and wondered if Mr. Moyer needs a business license and whether or not they charging sales tax.  Being that Mr. Moyer’s “gift shop” type business is in a commercial zone he is allowed to conduct his tag sale type business.  Terry Mosher will check with the Town Clerk when she returns to see if Mr. Moyer’s business is registered with the town.

Public Comments: none

A motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Bob at 9:10 p.m.  The motion was seconded by John.  Motion carried unanimously.

Minutes of the meeting were recorded by Bob Manners, Clerk of the Board of Selectmen.