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Selectmen Meeting Minutes — April 17, 2008—7:30 p.m. — Memorial Hall

Called to Order:
Chairmen Judd called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Other members in attendance: John Payne and Robert Manners

Acceptance of Minutes: A motion was made by John to accept the minutes of April 3rd and April 8, 2008 as presented. Bob seconded the motion; motion passed unanimously.

Noteworthy News:
Annual Town Meeting, Tuesday, May 6th at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall.

Department Liaison Reports:

  • John reported on the Pothole Task Force Meeting. Guntlow & Associates, Inc. presented the Task Force with several different design drawings for the glacial pothole observation deck and handicapped accessible trail. The committee will be looking them over.
  • Terry Mosher will be back from vacation on Tuesday, April 22nd.
  • Joe indicated that he has been talking with Chief Walker regarding the police station location study committee.
  • Bob reported that highway truck # 3 has been taken off the road and the crew has been keeping busy with pothole repairs and spring clean up.

Old Business:
Senior Center Lease - Joe stated that after meeting with Donna MacNicol regarding the lease, he feels that the document is not ready to bring forth at town meeting unless a wide variety of legal issues have been worked out. Joe recommended that the proposed warrant article for the lease agreement be revised to reflect a one-year agreement rather than a 5-year term. John moved that the language be changed from 5 years to 1 year. Bob seconded the motion; motion passed unanimously.
Franklin Land Trust RE: George Randall APR Application - George Randall's agricultural preservation restriction was approved by the Conservation Commission last week. Members of the Commission recommended that the Board of Selectmen act favorably upon the application. A motion was made by John to accept the agricultural preservation restriction. Bob seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Appointment of Police Location Study Committee - Joe reported that the following people have agreed to be on the committee, Frank Field, Rodney McBride, Steve Walker. He is talking with other folks and anticipates the group to be working about a year with a 2-fold mission, permanent and temporary location of the police station.
Alan Edmond RE: Farmer's Market Request - Joe read a letter submitted by Alan Edmond which detailed his plans for layout and traffic flow while the market is being held. He noted that he has spoken with Chief Walker and he approves the plan.
Following the letter discussion was held on the topic and John moved that we allow the Farmers Market to take place on Friday afternoons on the lower end of Deerfield Ave in the cul-de-sac area. Bob seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
7:15 p.m. Chris Davenport, Planning Board RE: Concerns with Proposed Zoning By-Law Changes - Chris spoke of his concerns with the proposed Zoning Bylaw changes that are being presented at the annual town meeting. Chris stated that everyone agrees that changes are needed however he has concerns about the overall process. He feels the process has been rushed; that there are many changes; with not enough time to review the existing bylaws in comparison to the proposed bylaws. He reported that he and Beth Simmonds are not in favor of the document as presented. Chris stated that as a new member to the Planning Board, he is having a difficult time understanding everything that is going on and if he is having trouble; he is concerned that the general public will have a difficult time understanding as well. He feels that zoning bylaws should be built around the ability to create new growth in the community and in doing so, help build a better tax base so to create a better fiscal climate for the town when preparing the annual budget. Chris stated that his primary areas of concern are as follows: home base businesses, Special Permit process, districts that have been created and their names i.e. rural residential / agriculture, agriculture manufacturing in addition to the entire process being rushed. He believes that the proposed changes amount to nothing more than site plan review and an increased cost to the person going through the process. In closing he asked if John Payne would be allowed to vote as a member of the Board of Selectmen when determining whether or not to place the proposed zoning bylaw changes on the annual town meeting warrant. Joe Judd deferred the question to John. John stated that he has been in conversation with the Ethics Commission regarding this topic and has thought a great deal about the issues that have been raised. He concluded that while he has every right to vote as a member of the Board of Selectmen, he will not.
7:30 p.m. Larry Jutres RE: 33 Bridge Street, Economic Opportunity Area - Mr. Jutres appeared before the Board of Selectmen on behalf of Fani and Nick Gitsis to present a warrant article for the development of a Economic Development plan for the area once housing the block that burned. The motion would be placed on the town meeting warrant with the eventual plan of creating a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) agreement in order to provide some tax relief at that location should they decide to rebuild. According to Mr. Jutres, in 1994 several committees (including Shelburne) applied to be in an economic target zone which to date the town has not taken advantage of. John asked if the neighboring buildings were eligible for designation as an Economic Opportunity Area. Larry indicated that because this location would be newly constructed, the value would be greater than the assessed values on the other properties making it difficult to compare. However if other businesses wanted to undergo major renovations, they too would be able to apply for similar tax relief options. After hearing the presentation, John stated that he was supportive of the Gitsis proposal. Bob also indicated that he was in favor of anything that would provide an opportunity to rebuild following the devastation that occurred. In Greenfield, many buildings that were devastated by fire are now parking lots! If this incentive program will bring a building back on the tax rolls, then the town should be supportive. Joe reminded everyone that the Board was supportive of this concept once before with the former Sweetheart Restaurant however, the revitalization never occurred due to financial related problems on the owner's part. After no further discussion, John moved that the motion as presented be placed on the warrant. Bob seconded and the motion, the motion passed unanimously.

8:45 p.m. Chuck Washer, Chairman of the Planning Board RE: Proposed Zoning By-Law Amendments - (Member John Payne excused himself from the discussion and left the room). Chuck presented the proposed zoning bylaw changes dated April 11, 2008. These amendments were accepted by members of the Planning Board with a 3 to 2 vote in favor of bringing them forth to town meeting. Chuck explained that the process began in 2005 and it is the first time in 15 years that major changes have been made. He reported that there where public hearings in accordance to the law and that he would like the Board of Selectmen to place the proposed amendments on the annual warrant. Bob thanked Chuck and his committee for the hard work and many hours that have gone into the process. Bob indicated that he has reviewed the proposed changes and believes in the democratic process. Further, if an elected board of the town following a lengthy process and majority vote requests that the Board of Selectmen place something on the town meeting warrant for consideration, then the Board should comply. With that said, Bob moved that the document be placed on the warrant. Joe seconded the motion.

A brief discussion ensued. Bob stated that the town's voters have always done the right thing when given the opportunity to participate in the voting "process" and they should be given the opportunity to decide on the proposed amendments. The motion was put to a vote. Both Bob and Joe voted in favor of placing the proposed zoning bylaw changes on the warrant. John abstained from the vote.

New Business:
Stacy Kontrabecki RE: Permission to Access Glacial Potholes - Joe read a letter from Stacy Kontrabecki requesting access to the potholes on July 26th via the town stairs so that wedding photos may be taken by the water. During the brief discussion, it was suggested that TransCanada be contacted with regards to river flow and other safety issues. Jim Gamache who was present for the discussion indicated that Mathew Cole of Trans Canada would be the contact for that type of information. Joe requested that the decision be tabled until he had an opportunity to speak with Chief Walker.
Terry Caldwell RE: Petition Article - Ms. Caldwell brought forth a petition article to be placed on the annual town meeting warrant regarding Vermont Yankee. Town Clerk, Beverly Neeley has verified that Ms. Caldwell has sufficient signatures on her petition. Bob moved that the petition article be placed on the town meeting warrant. John seconded the motion, motion passed unanimously.
Andrew Baker RE: Petition Article - presented a non-binding article for the annual town meeting warrant regarding petition articles. Town Clerk, Beverly Neeley has verified the signatures needed to do so. John moved and Bob second the motion to place the article on the warrant. Motion passed unanimously.
Annual Town Meeting Warrant - Joe mentioned the annual town meeting warrant asking if there was anything else that should be placed on it. It was agreed that the April 9th version should reflect the following changes and additions, Article 9 term limit on lease, proposed changes to the zoning by-laws, Gitsis motion to develop an Economic Opportunity Area, Teresa Caldwell's petition article, and Andrew Baker's petition article added. John moved that the warrant be closed with the above changes, Bob seconded. Motion passed unanimously.

Public Comment Period:

Dick Dills spoke, he is unhappy with the bylaw revisions in zoning and felt the process was rushed.

Carolyn Wheeler thanked members of the Select board, Planning board and the Zoning Board of Appeals for all of their hard work. She also commended them for not allowing themselves to be bullied by a small group of people.

Adjournment: Joe asked for a motion to adjourn. Bob made a motion to adjourn at 8:24 p.m. John seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

Minutes submitted by: Robert Manners