Selectmen’s Meeting Minutes — September 20, 2007 — 7:00 p.m. — Memorial Hall
The meeting was called to order by Chairman, Joe Judd. Other members present: John Payne. Bob Manners was absent while attending NIMS training.
Acceptance of the Meeting Minutes: a motion was made by John Payne to accept the meeting minutes of September 6 and September 11, 2007. John noted one minor change to the minutes of September 6th which Terry Mosher incorporated. Motion seconded by Joe Judd. Motion carried unanimously.
Department Liaison Reports:
John reported that the Treasurer has advised him that she is in need of seeking a short-term loan (30 to 60 days) in the amount of $310,000 while the town awaits reimbursement from the Department of Housing & Community Development for Community Development Block Grant construction-related expenses in Buckland. The towns of Shelburne & Buckland were awarded the grant jointly with Shelburne serving as the lead town.
Joe reported that over the last 3 to 4 months, he and Chief Walker have been working to find a suitable location to build a new police station. The property currently being looked at is located on the grounds of the Buckland-Shelburne elementary school (near the band shell). Joe and Chief Walker will be meeting with school officials to discuss the possibility of a land “swap”; transferring ownership of the town-owned ball field for the land near the band shell. Joe has had some preliminary conversations with abutters and has received positive feedback. Following the meeting with school officials, Joe would like to host a couple of public hearings to solicit comment from the residents. His hope is to bring the concept before annual town meeting voters this spring. The proposed 1,100 square foot structure (with room for expansion) would allow the police department privacy while providing the town office more room for various boards and committees.
Temporary measures have been put in place after having received word of a serious fall on the Bridge Street sidewalks. The tree roots along Bridge Street have caused the sidewalk to heave creating uneven surfaces. Highway employee, Mark Shippee sprayed the areas with a bright yellow paint as an indication of “caution”. Tree Warden, James Richardson and Mark Shippee have met and reviewed each problem area. They have suggested using epoxy type cement to feather out the uneven areas that are not too severe. Some areas may require that a section of the sidewalk be removed and replaced.
7:15 p.m. Glen Ayers, F.R.C.O.G. (Deb Coutinho, Board of Health present) – Mr. Ayers was invited in by the Board of Selectmen to discuss his services as a contracted Health Agent. The town appropriated $2,994 for this purpose however, before contracting these services, the Board wanted to interview both an independent inspector as well as a F.R.C.O.G. Inspector in order to compare quality of services offered. Mr. Ayers provided everyone with a copy of his resume. While serving as the Regional Health Agent for the F.R.C.O.G., Mr. Ayers also serves as a Clerk to the Board of Health in Leverett. He is certified in many aspects of Public Health (Title V Soil Evaluator, Title 5 System Inspector, Serve Safe, Lead Inspection, Septic-Design Certification, etc). Unlike his successor, Mr. Ayers stated that his approach is a very cooperative one. Although he has not had to appear in court while representing the F.R.C.O.G., he is familiar with the proceedings and would be comfortable bringing a case forward if necessary. Mr. Ayers indicated that he would be willing to provide training to new Board of Health members. Before making any decisions, John Payne will meet with members of the Board of Health to seek their input. He will bring their recommendation to the next Selectmen’s meeting.
Arms Library – waiting for an update from Bob.
Senior Center Lease – waiting for the Mason’s attorney to revise the lease agreement.
Draft Procedure for Appointments Made by the Board of Selectmen – minor changes to the policy were suggested and made. Final review and adoption of the policy will be tabled until the full Board is present.
Draft Guidelines for Recording Meeting Minutes and Fulfilling Requests for Public Records – Final review and adoption of the guidelines will be tabled until full board is present.
Building Inspector RE: Inspection of Cowell Gymnasium – there are two outstanding items left to be resolved. First is to hang curtains and/or poster board on the interior doors of the gymnasium that are no longer in use so that in the event of an emergency the doors are not mistaken as exits (Terry is waiting word from the Recreation Committee and second is the fire escape. Brian Devriese hired a structural engineer, Ryan Hellwig to review the structure. It is Mr. Hellwig’s assessment that the overall condition of the fire escape is poor. Because of the amount of work, and the fact that it involves almost all of the escape’s components, the repair costs will be significant. Mr. Hellwig suggests that the town investigate the option of complete replacement of the fire escape with a new galvanized steel construction. Brian Devriese is in the process of obtaining a quote for both options.
F.C. Solid Waste Management District RE: Sale of Compost Bins and Recycling Buckets – Terry Mosher reported that the town will be receiving 50 recycling bins at no charge as a result of a F.C. Solid Waste District grant therefore she sees no need to sell them. As for the composting bins, the Board will await Bob’s feedback.
Rob Riggan, Falls Cable Corporation RE: Creation of a Technology Committee – representatives from the towns of Shelburne and Buckland has been meeting over the last six months to discuss the renewal of the cable contract. Out of those discussions, it became apparent that there is a considerable amount of technology expertise in the area and a considerable need for technology. The group discussed the concept of harnessing that expertise in the form of a Technology Community. John noted that Buckland has already voted to form a committee and although Shelburne does not have candidates to name or suggest, he recommended that we form a committee as well. After no further discussion, John made a motion to authorize the formation of a Technology Committee with up to five members. Shelburne’s committee would be independent of Buckland’s however the two would work jointly to look for new and existing ways to enhance technology for business and leisure in the surrounding area. The motion was seconded By Joe Judd. Motion carried unanimously.
Cable Advisory Committee RE: Legal Fees – John reported that the proposal for legal fees to assist the towns of Buckland and Shelburne with cable contract negotiations is $14,000. Each town has already appropriated $3,500 each for a total of $7,000. If the Board agrees to sign the contract, both towns would need to appropriate an additional $3,500 at the next special town meeting. Joe suggested that the Board table any action until all members are present.
Michael S. Thomas RE: Class II License Request – John provided Joe with an overview of the Class II hearing that took place two weeks ago. Michael Thomas is seeking a Class II license for the sale of up to ten used vehicles at 1185 Mohawk Trail. John stated that he has given the application a great deal of thought and the proposed location of the business cause him to ask a number of questions centered on public safety. John stated that he is concerned with the difficult line of sight at that location, the number of accidents that have occurred in that area over the years, the 50 mph speed limit and the fact that individuals will be getting behind the wheel of a unfamiliar vehicle and pulling out into oncoming traffic. John suggested that the Board look carefully at these concerns. In Bob’s absence, Joe read a letter submitted by him stating that he is not opposed to the location or the plan presented by Mr. Thomas. Bob feels that the license should allow for up to 10-12 vehicles; he would like to see the signage in keeping with the character of the site; and he suggested that the Town request that Mass Highway reduce the speed limit from 50 mph to 40 mph from Peckville Road to Frank Williams Road given the number of accidents along that stretch of Route 2. John stated that he is not comforted by a reduction in speed noting that vehicles rarely travel the posted speed limit. The decision was tabled until the full Board is present.
Conservation Commission RE: Request to Appoint Melissa Alosso - Chairman, Stephen McCormick submitted a letter to the Board of Selectmen endorsing Ms. Alosso as a candidate for the Conservation Commission. Ms. Alosso resides on the Patten Road and has attended several meetings over the last several months. Members of the Commission feel that she her skills would serve them well and at the September 6th meeting of the Conservation Commission there was a unanimous vote to endorse Melissa’s appointment. A motion was made by John to appoint Melissa to a three-year term. Motion seconded by Joe. Motion carried unanimously.
Carolyn & David Engle RE: Curb-Cut Inquiry – the Engles appeared before the Board to air their concerns regarding improvements made to a shared driveway that leads to private residences as well as the communication towers off of Old Albany Road. The Engles contend that the improvements made and the relocation of a deeded right-of-way should have been subject to the town’s curb-cut by-law. The Engles also contend that the layout of the newly constructed road no longer lies within the deeded right-of-way therefore, every time they access the road to get to and from their house, they must trespass over property owned by Mr. Manz. After a rather lengthy discussion John asked the Engles why they were bringing this matter to the Board of Selectmen when it appeared to be a property dispute amongst abutters. The Engles believe that it is indeed a town problem because a curb-cut application was never filed for the improvements and if it had been, the town would have recognized by looking at the proposed plan that the road was being illegally built on someone else’s property. For the record, Selectmen Manners, Fire Chief Dun and Highway Superintendent Pete Hillman were contacted by the Bluver/McClouds last year to see whether or not a curb-cut permit was necessary. After review of the area, it was deemed by the three that the driveway was already in existence and the use would remain unchanged therefore, a permit was not necessary. The Engles respectfully disagree arguing that the use of the road has changed considerably and should require a permit. They would like Town Counsel to respond to their concerns in writing.
Shelburne Fire Department RE: Columbus Day “Boot” Drive – the Shelburne Fire Department is requesting permission to hold a “Boot Drive” on Columbus Day along the Colrain-Shelburne Road. A motion was made by John to grant the request. Motion seconded by Joe. Motion carried unanimously.
S.F.A.B.A. RE: Request to Install Pole Banners – the SFABA is seeking permission from the towns of Shelburne and Buckland for the installation of Pole banners on the town-owned lamp posts. The 18”x48” banners would depict seasonal images with the Shelburne Falls website printed on the bottom. The SFABA will incur all purchasing, installation, replacement and maintenance costs pertaining to the banners, brackets and banners. The SFABA is simply seeking access to Buckland and Shelburne property being the posts themselves. John thinks that the banners are a marvelous idea and made a motion to allow the SFABA to place the banners on town-owned light poles. The motion was seconded by Joe. Motion carried unanimously.
McAuliffe Regional Charter School RE: Request to Access Glacial Potholes – the Charter School is requesting permission to access the glacial pothole area using the town-owned stairs for the purpose of an educational field trip(s) on Thursday, October 11, 2007 and again on Thursday, October 18, 2007 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Providing that the weather is conducive to safe access, a motion was made by John to approve the request. Joe seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
Art Schwenger, S.F.A.B.A. RE: Request to Sponsor a Grant Application to Create a Hiking Trail along the Deerfield River - in October, 2006, the Town of Shelburne submitted a grant application to the Department of Conservation & Recreation with the hopes of receiving $50,000 in funding for a topographic survey, design & engineering plans for an handicapped accessible decked trail system at the glacial potholes site. That application was not funded. Since that time both the S.F.A. Partnership and the Falls Observation Task Force have met and decided to resubmit the application with the hopes of receiving $50,000. If successful, the money would be used to construct phase one of a one-mile extension of the Mahican-Mohawk Trail starting at the glacial pothole site. The first phase of the trail would be located primarily on town-owned land. With that said, the Partnership felt it was appropriate for the Town to sponsor the grant. The grant if funded would require a 20% match. The Partnership would raise the money independently of the town. Art is hopeful that the management and oversight of the trail would be the responsibility of an independent group so not to burden the town or abutters. The application is due October 1, 2007. Funds will be awarded in the spring of 2008; and the project would have to be completed by June, 2009. A motion was made by John to sponsor the application. Joe seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
F.R.C.O.G. RE: Mohawk Trail Infrastructure Project – to be discussed at the next meeting.
Town of Colrain RE: Possibility of Shared Health Agent – the Town of Colrain is exploring the possibility of hiring a part-time Health Agent to assist their Board of Health. They are wondering if any neighboring towns would be interested in sharing the position. John Payne will speak to members of Shelburne’s Board of Health to see if there is any interest.
Resignation of Michelle Beaudoin RE: Board of Health – the Selectmen received a letter of resignation from Michelle effective October 1, 2007. Michelle has served on the Board of Health since 2006. Her letter of resignation was accepted unanimously with regret.
A motion to adjourn was made by John Payne at 9:35 p.m. Joe seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.