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October 5, 2004
Regular Session 7:40 PM
Ms. Tully, Mr. Edmundson, Mr. MacIver
Voted - to accept the minutes of June 29, 2004
Voted - to appoint the following members of the Cable TV Advisory Committee:
Voted - to appoint Russell Erikson a special police officer for the upcoming year.
Public Hearing/Grant of Location Hearing on the Request of Verizon re: 451 Main Street
Ms. Tully called the hearing to order. Ms. Kane requested that hearing on 451 Main Street be continued.
Voted - continue the public hearing/grant of location hearing regarding 451 main Street until October 19, 2004
Public Hearing/Grant of Location Hearing on Request of Verizon re: 96 Central Street
Ms. Kane requested a grant of location at 96 Central Street. The purpose of a larger cabinet is to minimize the amount of copper cable in the downtown area. By reducing the amount of old technology, the number of cabinets necessary downtown would be minimized. The copper cables go from downtown to Derby Street. These new fiber cables would eliminate the necessity of moving many of the copper cables and the new cabinet would function as a mini central office. The cabinet is approximately 6 feet tall and sits on a 12 x 15 pad. Mr. MacIver expressed concern that the visual effect of the pad and the cabinet be minimized. He suggested the vote include a requirement that the landscaping be approved by the Tree and Park Department.
Voted - to approve a Grant of Location to Verizon New England Inc. to locate the following in the public way, subject to the stipulations of the Department of Public Works:
One new communications cabinet on a new 12’ x 15’ near 96 Central Street. Also place 15 feet of conduit from the new pad to existing conduit in the sidewalk. (The new cabinet works via fiber and electronics technology and will assist in minimizing the amount of cooper cable and conduit that will have to be relocated in Hingham Square.)
Preservation Restriction 54 Lincoln Street
Mr. Ohrenberger, representing the Linds, advised the Board that they would like to apply for the National Architectural Trust program. The State of Massachusetts requires approval of the preservation restriction by the Board of Selectmen. The program requires that the property be in the National Register that the entire building have structural integrity. Fire insurance must be carried for full replacement value. There are 380 such restrictions in the United States, 18 of which are in Massachusetts. Mr. Ohrenberger characterized the program as a concurrent jurisdiction in which the Historic District is overlaid by the restrictions of the National Architectural Trust. The property covered by the restriction is inspected annually and compared to the pictures taken of the façade to make sure there has been no change. If a subsequent owner were to get into the position where they could not afford to maintain the structural integrity of the building, the Trust could go in and do the repairs themselves. Such repairs would be funded from a $10 million fund to secure the integrity of the properties. The program was originally designed to attract investment funds to marginal areas.
The Internal Revenue Service determines the charitable tax deduction on the basis of the reduced value of the property to the owner due to the restrictions. The reduced value of the property occurs under this agreement due to the owner’s abandonment of certain rights under their bundle of property rights. Mr. MacMillan of the Historic Commission did not support the request as he saw no benefit to the town. He noted that there are literally hundreds of houses within the historic districts that are listed in the National Register. It was his contention that there is not a substantial distinction between the bundle of rights under the trust and whether an individual could give away rights previously given away by inclusion in the Historic District. He felt current Historic District regulations provided enough protection for the town. Mr. MacIver said he was having a hard time finding public good for this restriction in the kind of town in which we live. The differences between this and the Historic District restrictions are very minor. Mr. Edmundson said his concern was not as to the right or wrong of federal tax policy. It is that an easement takes away rights and lessens the value and while he accepts the Linds’ good faith, the Board cannot do that for future owners. Other property owners may take the same approach then sell their house and that is a risk that the Board cannot afford to take. Mr. Lind expressed willingness to guarantee that he would not seek an abatement of real estate taxes due to any diminution of value. The Board responded that such a promise would not be binding should the property change hands. Given the number of historic homes in Hingham, it was felt that the approval of this application could set a precedent for other applications and could have long term deleterious affects on the town’s tax base. The benefits do not outweigh the cost or the risk.
Voted - to support the request for a determination of insignificance by the Town of
Cohasset for the Water Resources Commission.
Voted - to sign a contract for rock salt with Granite State Minerals, Inc. in the amount of $38.12 per ton, delivered.
Voted - to sign a contract for rock salt with American Rock Salt Company in the amount of $40.40 per ton, delivered.
Voted - to sign a contract for solar salt with Eastern Minerals, Inc. in the amount of $41.05, delivered.
Selectmen/Town Administrator’s Report
South Shore Tri-town Development and Lennar Partners will be coming to an upcoming meeting. Mr. Edmundson noted that the Board had received a letter regarding the proposed windmill in the Town of Hull. There does not seem to be any regulations as to what the Town can do about. Mr. Edmundson has contacted Representative Bradley and Senator Hedlund on this matter. Ms. Tully reported that letters had been received from DTE finding all three parties at fault in the Verizon outage.
Voted - the Board voted by roll call vote to adjourn to executive session for discussion of collective bargaining issues and not to return to open session this evening
Mr. MacIver – yes
Mr. Edmundson – yes
Ms. Tully - yes
Open Session adjourned 8:50 PM.
Betty Foley, Clerk