Upcoming Meetings

  1. Open Space Committee MeetingMon, Aug 27 07:00 pm

Selectmen’s Meeting Minutes — April 5, 2007—7:00 p.m. — Memorial Hall

Call to Order:  Chairman Manners called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  Other members present: Joe Judd and John Payne.

Acceptance of Minutes: A motion was made by Joe Judd to accept the minutes of March 16th; March 19th; March 20th; March 22nd; and March 27th.  The motion was seconded by John Payne.  Motion carried unanimously.

Department Liaison Reports –
John reported that he and Board of Health Chairman, Irene DeJackome continue to explore issues with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments inspection-related services. The Cable Advisory Committee met with Comcast and is moving forward with contract negotiations at a reasonable pace.  Treasurer, Virginia Peck has identified a few issues with the vendor warrant process (paid every two weeks) that needs to be worked out. Bob reported that the Town has received notice that we will be receiving approximately $169,000 in Chapter 90 money.  The Highway Department is taking advantage of the dry weather to fill pot holes.

Old Business:
Recreation Committee RE: Proposed Changes to Cowell Gym Director Job Description – a motion was made by Joe to approve the minor changes to the job description.  The motion was seconded by John Payne.  Motion carried unanimously.

Wilbert L. & Bertha Rainville RE: Right of First Refusal – the Rainville’s Attorney (Robert Carey) forwarded a copy of the purchase and sale agreement to the town.  The buyer is Lynn F. Sallee of Lunenburg, Massachusetts.  Being that the notice of sale was received by the town on March 5, 2007; the town has until July 2, 2007 to decide whether or not to exercise its right of first refusal.  John stated that Mass Audubon has looked at the property and attempted to negotiate with the Rainville’s in the past but have never been able to come up with any kind of an agreement.  Information relative to the sale has been forwarded to various town boards (Assessors, Planning, Zoning, Conservation Commission, Open Space and Agricultural Commission) for comment.  To date, the town has received comment from the Open Space Committee who intend to review the parcel for its’ wildlife and bio-habitat value at their next meeting on April 23rd, render an opinion, and report back to the Board of Selectmen following that meeting.

7:15 p.m. Café Martin RE: Transfer of Liquor License – The hearing notice was read aloud at 7:15 p.m.  The hearing was opened by Chairman Manners and turned over to the applicant.  Applicant, Paul St. Martin, owner and manager of Café Martin for the last four years appeared before the Board of Selectmen seeking a liquor license transfer from Paul St. Martin to Café Martin LLC.  Paul explained that the reorganization from sole proprietorship to a Limited Liability Corporation was for insurance purposes; everything else about the business would remain the same. 

After hearing no comments, the hearing was closed.  A motion was made by Joe to approve the liquor license transfer.  Motion was seconded by John.  Motion carried unanimously.

New Business:

Letters from Karen Gould: Ms. Gould requested that each of the letters be read and entered into the meeting minutes.  An overview of each letter is as follows:
Request to Serve as the Agricultural Commission’s Representative to the Open Space Committee – Ms. Gould’s letter indicates that on March 15th she submitted a letter to the Board of Selectmen requesting to serve as the Agricultural Commission’s representative to the Open Space Committee (that letter was forward to Carolyn Wheeler for recommendation).  Ms. Gould states that she has been waiting since January 22nd when she first notified Carolyn Wheeler, the Agricultural Commission’s Chairperson of her interest in serving in that capacity.   Ms. Gould believes that she would make an excellent candidate and would be a “valuable asset” to the committee however she alleges that Open Space Committee member, John Payne has been influencing Carolyn Wheeler in her decision; not only giving the appearance of conflict of interest but delaying the process and offending Ms. Gould as well.

Others Interested in Serving the Open Space Committee – Ms. Gould states that six letters of request to serve as members of the Open Space Committee were submitted to the town on March 19th.  The Open Space Committee met on March 26th at which time all of the potential candidates were in attendance.  Ms. Gould alleges that appointments to the committee were not discussed and potential candidates were not allowed to speak.  Ms. Gould contends that the Committee has been in existence for two years and have had ample opportunity to find new members.  She is concerned that the six volunteers Joel Dwight, Chris Davenport, Noreen Palasciano, Beth Simmonds, Jim Gamache and Richard Dils are being discriminated against and by not appointing them; “places this town and her tax dollars in a very precarious situation legally”.  Ms. Gould feels that members of the Open Space Committee should be considered “suspect in their intentions and perhaps should be removed from the committee for their actions, but in the least a letter or reprimand must be put in their files”.

Open Space Committee’s New Application Process – Ms. Gould is writing to inform the Board of Selectmen that on the night of March 26th, the Open Space Committee met to discuss a new “application” proposal.  Ms. Gould alleges that during the course of the meeting, the application as well as the requirements that one would have to meet in order to be considered for an interview by the Open Space Committee was discussed.  Ms. Gould further alleges that the Open Space Committee’s proposed application was seeking information relative to the individual’s work history, as well as a list of properties they owned, etc.  When Ms. Gould requested a copy of the document at the end of the meeting, she was refused by the Chairman, Larry Flaccus.  Ms. Gould alleges that John Payne indicated that the Committee had 48 hours before they had to provide a copy of the document.  Of concern to Ms. Gould is that she alleges that members of the Open Space Committee seemed quite familiar with the draft document.  Ms. Gould questions whether members of the Open Space were working on the document via email correspondence.  Ms. Gould is also concerned that Open Space Committee member, John Payne wanted to “cast a wider net” and advertise in the West County News that they were looking for people to join the Open Space Committee, when in fact, sitting in the audience were the people who had already submitted their written requests.  Overall, Ms. Gould is concerned about a process that denies and violates her constitutional right.

Request for Documentation from the F.R.C.O.G. RE: Route 2 Corridor Management – since March 15th, Ms. Gould has been waiting to receive information from F.R.C.O.G’s representative, Linda Dunlavy relative to the Route 2 Corridor Management project.  Specifically, Ms. Gould would like a list of Shelburne residents who participated in the project, minutes of each meeting, the time, date and location of each meeting.  Ms. Gould has notified the Division of Public Records of her request and Terry Mosher has made two written requests to the F.R.C.O.G. on Ms. Gould’s behalf but to date, none of the information requested has been received.

Mass Audubon RE: Proposed Conservation Restriction – representatives from Mass Audubon met with members of the Conservation Commission this evening.  Following that meeting, Conservation Chairman, Norman Davenport reported that members of his Commission voted to accept the conservation restriction after a rather frank discussion with Audubon representatives.  After a brief discussion a motion was made by John to accept the conservation restriction on behalf of the Conservation Commission.  Joe seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously

Steve Fitzgibbons, Comcast RE: Massachusetts State Franchising Bill – legislation has been proposed that would strip local government of their power to franchise cable television and would transfer this power to the State.  Under this legislation, local governments would have no authority to approve who is using its right of way nor to require that service be made available to all of its residents.  Verizon is pushing this legislation.  Both the Massachusetts Municipal Association and Comcast oppose the bill and encourage municipalities to send a letter to our State legislators voicing their opinion.  A motion was made by Joe to accept MMA’s and Comcast recommendation and ask the Cable Advisory Committee to write a letter on behalf of the town opposing the proposed bill.  John seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

Letter from the District Attorney’s Office to the Shelburne Planning Board – the District Attorney’s Office has received a complaint alleging that the Planning Board has violated the Open Meeting Law.  More specifically, it is alleged that a quorum of the Planning Board or a subcommittee of the Planning Board attended meetings of the Ad Hoc Zoning By-Law Revision Committee with the FRCOG in order to review zoning revisions but that no minutes of these meetings exist.  The letter lists twenty specific meeting dates.  The letter goes on to state that it is further alleged that a meeting of the Planning Board was held on September 14, 2006 and that the minutes of that meeting make no mention of attendance by FRCOG employees and certain action taken at the meeting.  The complainants allege that the Planning Board’s minutes are inconsistent with the FRCOG’s quarterly report.  In order to investigate the allegations, the District Attorney’s Office has requested specific documentation by April 27, 2007.  The Chairman of the Planning Board has been notified of the letter via email however, Chairman Manners will contact him directly to ensure that he receives the message in a timely manner.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Land Court Summons (Pioneer Nutritional Formulas, Inc. verses Mitchell Excavating, RVM Realty Enterprises, Bank of Western Massachusetts and Town of Shelburne – pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 185, section 1 (j ½), the Land Court has exclusive jurisdiction to determine the validity and extent of municipal zoning ordinances, by-laws and regulations.  This action is brought forth to determine the validity and the application to the subject property of the provisions of the Shelburne Zoning Bylaw.  The plaintiff, Pioneer Nutritional Formulas “prays” that the Court adjudicate the manner and extent to which the provisions of the Shelburne Zoning Bylaw are valid, are applicable to the Mitchell land, or both, and grant such other and further relief as it deems just in the circumstances.  The initial Case management Conference shall be held on May 22, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. in Worcester Land Court.  Joe estimates that it will cost the town approximately $4,000 to $5,000 in legal fees to complete this process.  Recognizing that Shelburne’s zoning by-laws are out-dated and illegal, Joe stated that in the last 10 years the Town of Shelburne has brought forth major zoning by-law changes on two occasions only to have them defeated by voters.  Joe contends that both times “site plan review was the hot ticket item and it is obvious that Shelburne doesn’t want it.”  Joe stated that the only good thing that will come out of this whole process is that “at the end of the day a judgment will be made directing the town what to do.”

Polly Bartlett RE: Permission to Dump Road Sweepings – Ms. Bartlett is aware that the Swan building lot (now owned by Michael Bolio) is privately owned but is hopeful that the town could get permission to dump its road sweepings in the “hole”.  Ms. Bartlett believes that it would make people “happier and the town more attractive”.  Rita Jaros (a member of the audience) cautioned the Board against dumping sand potentially laden with road salt so close to the river.  The Board requested that the letter be forwarded to Mr. Bolio to see what he thought.

F.R.C.O.G. RE: Closing Engineering Program – Linda Dunlavy sent a letter to the Board notifying them that the Engineering Program will be closing as of June 30, 2007 due to financial reasons.  The program currently operates as a fee for service program and has not been able to bring in enough revenue to cover its costs. 
Eugene Butler RE: Open Space Committee – Mr. Butler’s letter recommends that the town welcome all interested residents in Shelburne who wish to serve as members of the Open Space Committee (particularly landowners who will be impacted by any zoning changes).  No further action taken.

7:30 p.m. Finance Committee RE: Review of Budget & Warrant Articles (Jerry Dubie, Greg Oles, Lynn Benander and Laura Sandvik) – Joe gave a brief presentation of the proposed fiscal year 2008 budget; highlighting the town’s revenue verses proposed expenditures.  For the moment, the Board has developed a level-funded budget that includes approximately seven departmental cuts; funding the MTRHS budget at the requested $1,955,460; and five capital items (only one of which (MTRHS debt) is being funded by the Stabilization account).  Capital requests made and not funded in the budget are the Arms Library deferred maintenance in the amount of $44,579 and the Arms Library roof repair in the amount $145,000.  Earlier in the day, Arms Library trustees submitted updated quotes for the deferred maintenance and roof replacement costs.  In addition, they requested that an article be placed on the annual town meeting warrant requesting that the town authorize the Board of Selectmen to borrow money for the roof repair.   Discussion surrounding the library was lengthy.  Members of the Board felt that it made sense to look at the entire building particularly the condition of the roof structure underneath the clay tiles before investing any money in the interior.  Finance Committee member Lynn Benander felt differently.  She feels as though the roof repair and the interior work have been on the table long enough and that the town should stop delaying the process.  Bob tried to explain the ongoing struggles between the town and the Arms trustees and how their relationship differs from that of the Shelburne Free Public Library and the town.  Finance Committee member Jerry Dubie believes that the town should have some lengthy discussion as to whether or not it can continue to support two libraries.  Joe suggested that the town seek proposals for a feasibility study in order to determine the extent of work that needs to be done.  Finance Committee member Greg Oles agreed that a feasibility study would be a good idea.  Estimates dating back to 2005 suggested that a feasibility study would cost the town approximately $15,000.  No decisions were made.

Those areas of the omnibus budget reflecting proposed cuts were reviewed by members of the Finance Committee.  Budgetary line item # 810-142 for Health Agent services provided by the F.R.C.O.G. in the amount of $2,997 generated the most discussion.  Initially John Payne had recommended that the town leave the money in that account and allow the Board a year to investigate whether or not to continue with the F.R.C.O.G. services; discontinue the F.R.C.O.G. service and utilize our Board of Health members; or hire the services of an outside independent contractor on an as-needed basis.  After a lengthy discussion with Board of Health member, Irene DeJackome, John is now recommending that the money be placed in the Board of Health expense account until a decision is made.  John assured everyone that this action in no way implies that a decision has been made either way.  The money would remain untouched until all options can be thoroughly researched.  Finance Committee member Lynn Benander disagreed.  She feels that the F.R.C.O.G. is the town’s organization and Shelburne cannot afford to try and recreate the level of services that they provide.  She suggested that if the town is unhappy with their services, that Shelburne should insist upon change.  Given the late hour with appointments still remaining, the Board decided to postpone the review of the annual town meeting warrant articles until April 19th when the Moderator will be present.

8:30 p.m.  Richard Dils, Chris Davenport & Karen Gould RE: March 26th Open Space Committee Meeting – Mr. Dils read a letter aloud signed by 6 residents of Shelburne (5 of who were in attendance at that particular meeting).  The group alleges that they were treated rudely by members of the Open Space Committee and demand that the Board of Selectmen review the behavior of “these” people and take appropriate measures to recall and replace them immediately with “appropriate candidates who will behave in the manner dictated by state and federal law, and the rules of common civility and decency.”  The letter contends that members of the Open Space committee were “arrogant, condescending and insulting”.  They further allege that a request for documentation being discussed at that meeting was denied by the Chairman, Larry Flaccuss and they were denied the opportunity to voice questions.  The group also questioned the validity of a proposed application form that was discussed at length during the meeting; a document which the group believes had “evidently been pre-organized in some other closed venue.  They referred to the structure of the Open Space Committee (adopted by town meeting) and questioned why six volunteers who have submitted letters of interest have not been appointed.  The group believes that the creation of an application screening process that was not authorized by town meeting is discriminatory and unfair to citizen volunteers.  In closing the group requests prompt attention to this matter.  During the discussion that ensued following the letter having been read, Mr. Dils stated that it is “irregular and illegal” to have a document pulled out of thin air (referring to the application form) and suggested that if pursued this town and members of the Open Space Committee could be faced with a law suit.  Chris Davenport asked Joe if had been aware of the application.  Joe replied that it was not made aware until the evening of March 26th when he learned of the application after having received a telephone call(s) from individuals who had attended the meeting.  Joe stated that while he does not think it is the right way to do things, he would like to think that the Open Space created the application as a means of screening the numerous applications received.  As one member of the Board, Joe stated that he believes that the Open Space Committee is becoming dysfunctional and if he continues to feel this way, he might suggest disbanding and restructuring the Committee; noting that his decision has no reflection on its current members.  Bob stated that he too was unaware of the application and was rather surprised to learn that it had been created.  While not opposed to the concept, Bob stated that he would prefer to see a uniform process for the entire town.  Richard Dils asked John if he had drafted the application.  John indicated that he presumed that Larry Flaccus drafted the application noting that the first time that he saw the document was when he received it along with the agenda for the meeting.  It was Johns understanding that the document was created because suddenly there are more candidates vying to serve on the Open Space Committee than there were seats.  John believes that it was a “good faith” effort on Larry Flaccus’s behalf and members of the Committee hadn’t intended to insult anyone.  John offered an apology on behalf of the Committee and on behalf of himself.  Joe believes that the contention comes from both sides of the table and until the Board of Selectmen has had an opportunity to address these concerns with the Open Space Committee on April 10th, he would like to have the proposed application taken off the table.  In closing Karen Gould stated that she thinks Joe’s idea of completely disbanding the Open Space Committee is a good one and is in the town’s best interest.

A motion to adjourn was made by Joe at 10:00 p.m.  Motion seconded by John.  Motion carried unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Mosher
Executive Secretary