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March 13, 2007
Regular Session 7:34 PM
Mr. MacIver, Ms. Tully, Mr. Edmundson
Mr. MacIver advised that the scheduled public hearing for street acceptance of Brewer Way and Olmsted Drive would not be held since the article has been withdrawn at the request of the petitioners.
Public Hearing - Grant of Location on Squirrel Hill Lane to Hingham Light Plant
Mr. Tdjakian explained that the new line down Squirrel Hill Lane is to feed the Baker Hill subdivision. The first pole on Squirrel Hill Lane requires a guy wire to support it. The only way to do that is to install a pole on the other side of Squirrel Hill Lane. The primary pole is 45 feet high. The wire will be 32 or 33 feet above the roadway. It is almost horizontal with a slight slope across the road to the other pole and then angles down to provide support to the pole. There were no objections to the request.
Voted - to approve a grant of location to the Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant to install a new guy pole #1/1 on Squirrel Hill Lane approximately fifty feet (50') in the westerly direction towards Fottler Road from existing pole #1 on Squirrel Hill Lane.
Voted - to appoint Albert Currie Inspector of Animals for the year ending
April 30, 2007.
Mr. MacIver thanked Mr. Currie for all for his hard work
Voted - to appoint Mary Power a member of the Fourth of July Committee
Ms. Tully advised that she is in the process of reviewing guidelines for railroad safety in town. These guidelines will be included in this year's warrant book.
Long Range Planning Committee for South Shore Country Club
Mr. Edmundson introduced the committee noting the excellent mix of people. Mr. Ramsdell said golf provides 80% of the revenue for the club. Golf is the linchpin but there is a flat or perhaps declining market due to competition. Other services currently include food or banquet services, tennis, bowling and the swimming pool. The question to be considered are what kind of quality is the town trying to provide and what other services could be provided in the future. In order to remain competitive it is necessary to bring the quality offered up to snuff to compete with Pembroke or Pine Hills. The food service piece has been a critical issue on golf outings. The committee was broken into subcommittees, one of which deals with food service. That subcommittee is discussing the options of food service in-house or a caterer. The walkthrough found this to be a relatively tired facility. The bowling is a 1945 state of the art facility yet there is a consistent demand for birthday parties, bowling league, etc. The swimming has been a major topic for the committee. There seems to be a genuine interest in moving from a summer pool to a year round facility. It appears there may a significant demand but the cost must be investigated. Another questions facing the committee is whether the Town wants to compete in the fine dining market or should the offerings be snacks and a catering service for golf outings and weddings. Other considerations include tennis, paddle tennis, fitness center and possible some sort of daycare.
Mr. Edmundson noted that the recreation fitness center question is very important. He also commented that it would be helpful for the town to know what businesses presently at the South Shore Country Club money and which ones loose money. Are the fees competitive.
Mr. Welch remarked that the facility was purchased 20 years ago, a limited capital investment was made to get it up and running and some capital was spent over the past 20 years. One of the big issues is the need for long-term capital planning. The facility will impede what can be done without significant investment.
Ms. Tully said the Board recognized that the facility was at a turning point. If something is to be done to the facility the Board needs to be sure about what is going to be done and where the Town wants to be in the future. Because of the structure of the leases for restaurant and bowling, we make money but it is difficult for the lessee to make money. Food is one the loss leaders in any club. Family entertainment such as movies, etc. would offer great appeal to the town and would offer more than one type of recreation. Ms. Tully also recommended that the committee view the country club as being a true twelve month facility.
Mr. MacIver commented on the tremendous natural beauty of the golf course. The potential is there for a first class golf course. The question is what standard do we wan to meet? Mr. Edmundson said he would like to see it at the high end for its class - public facilities within 50 mile radius. Mr. MacIver concurred that that seemed to be a fair way of approaching it. Ms. Tully noted that the structure of the facility is fabulous the maintenance is lacking. Mr. Ramsdell said the experience is important. The public should have a fairly consistent experience - how does the club accomplish that?
The committee asked if the $400,000 that goes back to the Town each year is negotiable. The Board said that it might be a town meeting discussion if this change were to be associated with advantages that could not be obtained in another fashion. Crafting a plan that would redirect the $400,000 over time might be more acceptable than something that is done all at once.
Community Preservation Committee Articles
Affordable Housing Pilot Loan Program - Ms. Cole reviewed some of the specifics of the pilot loan program. This would be a small-scale program for loans up to $50,000 secured by the property and payable at the time of sale of the property. The Committee envisions the interest rate between to be between 3 and 5%. The Committee is interested in the program because the CPA is written in such a way that it is a priority to maintain existing housing stock.
Mr. MacIver agreed that the purpose of this program is very important. The administra-tion of this program is difficult. There are options for contracting with local entities. Ms. Cole said the Community Preservation Committee views this as a pilot year working together with Town Counsel, Hingham Institution, South Shore Housing, etc. If the obstacles were too great then the Committee would have to come up with something else.
Ms. Tully said it is a laudable goal but she could not see how this counts as affordable housing. It doesn't add to the count, it doesn't keep a piece of property affordable and there are no restrictions. Mr. Edmundson asked what would this do that the private sector can't do. The Committee would make this available to income-eligible residents of all ages. Ms. Tully commented that it does not feel right. It is her opinion that the Town is getting in over its head. It doesn't seem that this amount of money should be spent without a clear picture of how it is going to be handled. Mr. Edmundson suggested the committee consider lowering the $50,000 per household for the first year. Mr. MacIver commented that the Advisory Committee voted to recommend this. The Board has to look at this from an administrative viewpoint. Mr. Battaglia commented that the local banks would be anxious to partner up because this would meet their CRA requirements (community reinvestment act). The Board will revisit this article at a future meeting.
Open Space acquisition on Hersey Street will probably not go forward.
The Main Street back lots program is moving forward 4 out of 5 homeowners have said yes to putting restrictions on their back lots. This will be discussed at a future meeting. Hingham Center Cemetery will be discussed at the 28th.
Beal Street Playing Fields
Tom Hoffman, president of Hingham Sports Partnership, said that March 15 was set up as a deadline for the decision on who would be responsible for building the field house.
The Sports Partnership is working with Warren Baker developing an agreement that the
partnership would go out and raise funds to supplement the $150,000 from Mr. Hastings. Money raised and pledges to date total $140,000. The only thing that is going on in the fields now is the cutting of the fields and emptying trash barrels. The extras will include portable goal posts, batting cages, etc. There is a charitable pledge agreement that would say the money would go directly to the town to preserve the charitable status. There are a number of people in town who are very supportive of the project. Rob Murray has volunteered all his time and expertise.
The work for preparing design is complete. We went out to bid to Hingham subcontractors and negotiated a deal with Steve Jacobs to work as general contractor with all subs working with him. Financially, Mr. Jacobs is ok with the deal. Open issues to be resolved include the site work price and Hingham lumber requested a re-quote 30 days prior to the start of the project. The insurance requirements are quite high. Many of the subcontractors are residential subcontractors, not commercial tier contractors. There has been allowance carried in the estimate to satisfy the requirements. Tom Hastings as the owner will hold the contract and Steve Jacobs would be the contractor - recommending the AIA 1997 document. Mr. Hoffman has emailed a copy of the charitable pledge agreement form to Mr. Hastings for submittal to Bruce Isadore. Jim Toomey will also review the document.
In the development agreement there was a deadline of March 15. Mr. Hastings was amenable to extending two weeks to the March 28 meeting so that everything can be done in order to have the Selectmen vote. The only other things that need to be done before the project moves forward are the federal signatures and the legislative approval for the land swap. Rep Bradley's expectation is that it will be this week.
The Assessors' article to reduce the interest rate charged on real estate tax deferrals is still under discussion. The Assessors feel that the 4% number is reasonable. The recommendation could be amended that it would have to come back to the Board of Selectmen every two years but something like that can get lost. Mr. Edmundson will talk to Advisory about the possibility of revisiting this.
Last week the picture quality and sound was poor on the televised meeting. When the Board meets downstairs the picture and sound is poor. If residents are still having problems they are asked to let the office know. Ms. Tully noted that the new proposed street lamp is in front of St. Pauls. The lamp is the same height but it is not as attractive to many people and does not address the lighting issues that were brought up. It does not provide anything that is much different. There are some styles that are more colonial looking. Mr. Cristello noted there was a lot of discussion as to the level of restriction and what could happen in the future on properties. Mr. McDowell indicated willingness for preservation restrictions on the property adjacent to Hersey House. They see the value of preserving the barn and the streetscape.
Meeting adjourned 9:30 PM.
Betty Foley, Clerk